The mystery of fyre is one which has much occupyed my studies and the studies of men before me. Whence cometh this hot orange humour that speweth from logs? Many have proposed the existence of phlogiston, though I think this absurd that we postulate the existence of a substance we cannot yet isolate!
What then? In my own researches, where I have subjected logs to the most thorough and microscopic investigations, I have concluded that fyre is the product of Fyre Antes. These cureous creatures lyve in wood, dormant larvae, until such time as heat awakes them. Then they begin to devour the wood, turning it black and emitting the noxious and searing miasmas we see as flames.
These antes are too minute to be properly seen, and are best noticed as small orange speckes glowing in the fyre. Their owne digestive heat destroyes them, and in the end there are none left. But during the orgyastyck devouring of wood they also mate, releasing theyr young as spawn in a black cloud we see as smoke. When this landes on other logs it fertilises them and the dormant larvae grow inside, ready to performe their owne fyredance someday.
Professor J Klewlise, "On the nature and origin of fyre" (1542)