VI. (26) And not only do those men do damage who devour the property of others with their flocks and herds, but so also do those who inconsiderately and carelessly kindle a fire; for if the power of fire catches hold of any appropriate fuel, it spreads in every direction, and extends and devours all around. And when it has once got ahead it defies all the means of extinguishing it which any one seeks to apply, taking the very things employed for that purpose as food for its increase, until having consumed every thing it is at last exhausted by itself. (27) It is right, therefore, never to leave any fire either in a house or in any stables in the fields unguarded, since we well know that a single spark has often smouldered long, and at last has been fanned into a flame, and so has consumed great cities, especially when the flame has been borne onwards by a favourable wind. (28) Accordingly, in savage wars the first, the middle, and the last power which is excited is that of fire, to which the enemies trust more than they do to their squadrons of infantry, or cavalry, or to their fleets, or to their unlimited supplies of arms and naval stores. For if any one with good aim shoots a fiery arrow among a numerous squadron of ships he may burn it with all the crews, or he may thus destroy vast camps with all their baggage, and furniture, and equipments, on which the army rested its hopes of victory. (29) If, then, any one scatters fire among a heap of brambles or thorns, and the fire kindles and burns a threshing floor full of wheat, or barley, or vetches, or sheaves of corn which have been gathered together, or any fertile plain full of pasture, then the man who scattered the fire shall pay the amount of the damage done, in order that by his suffering he may learn to take good care and to guard against the Beginnings{2}{this resembles Ovid, which may be translated–“Check the first rise: all remedy’s too late / When long delay has made the mischief great.”} of things, and may not awaken and stir up an invincible power which might otherwise have remained quiet.