Water is Life
I am afraid I cannot say what water really is. Our chemistry master told us it is really made up of two gases, which he called by long names-Oxygen and Hydrogen. I suppose he is right because he is a learned man, but I do not properly understand it. Anyway, everybody knows what water is like; so I need not try to explain it.
Our chemistry master also showed us that when water is heated it turns into something we cannot see which he called vapour. He boiled water in a kettle one day, and it all went away into the air in steam, and we never saw it again. He says warm air can hold a lot of this unseen vapour — it sucks it up as a sponge sucks up water; but if the air gets cold, it cannot hold all this vapour, which appears again as water-just as when we squeeze a sponge, all the water comes out of it again. This is why grass and leaves in the evening are wet with dew.
The water of the sea and lakes and rivers, is always rising up in the shape of unseen vapour in the daytime. Warm air always rises, and when it gets high up, the air gets cold and cannot hold all the vapour which become tiny drops of water, to appear as clouds. When the air round the cloud gets still colder, these tiny drops run together, and then they fall back to the earth as water: and we call it rain. So water is always moving in circle-first water than vapour, then cloud, and then water again.
Water has many uses. In fact, we could not live without it. If a man is kept without water, he dies of thirst. So the first use of water to us is for drinking.
Not only that if there was no water we should die for lack of food; for all our food comes from plants, and plants cannot live without water. Our food partly plants (like wheat, vegetables and fruits), and partly meat; but we could get no meat without water, for animals must have grass to eat, and there would be no grass if there was no water.
Then we need water for cleanliness. We wash our bodies, our clothes, our rooms, and everything, with water, to keep them clean. Since keeping clean is necessary for our health, if we had no water for washing the dirt away from our bodies and clothes, we should soon get all kinds of diseases; for dirt is the mother of disease.
Moving water, like waterfalls and running streams, is a great power; and men use it to work mills, to move the machines that make electricity, and the grind-stones that grind the corn. Water-power, when we can use it, is much cheaper than steam. And steam itself is simply water in another shape.