Leaven: A Parable

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By Bolton Hall.

A tiny protoplasm wandered in the primeval flux. It could not be heard or seen, it could not even move and it did nothing but germinate.

In the moist heat, it sprouted and grew and filled the earth with plants. But the crust of the world was overturned and the protoplasm was buried. "Surely it was dead"—but mountains deep, the protoplasm roasted into coal and in the coal was force.

The leaven crept through the dough, till the bread rose upon which men feed. Then the loaves were put into the oven and the fierce heat of the coal burned the leaven. "Surely now," men said, "the protoplasm is dead." But in the bread was food.

The spore built itself into the structure of a man. The man died and the blood corpuscles were buried in the earth with the body of the man. "Surely at last the protoplasm is dead." But in his dust was life.

Unnumbered, unremembered as the protoplasm and the leaven and the spore, passes away, and yet remains, the Seed of Life.

  • Bolton Hall, “Leaven: A Parable,” Twentieth Century Magazine 3, no. 15 (December 1910): 244.