“I have seen a man cremated on a funeral pile, and it has given me a wish to disappear in the same manner. In this way everything ends at once. Man expedites the slow work of nature, instead of delaying it by the hideous coffin in which one decomposes for months. The flesh is dead, the spirit has fled. Fire which purifies disperses in a few hours all that was a human being; it casts it to the winds, converting it into air and ashes, and not into ignominious corruption. This is clean and hygienic. Putrefaction beneath the ground in a closed box where the body becomes like pap, a blackened, stinking pap, has about it something repugnant and disgusting. The sight of the coffin as it descends into this muddy hole wrings one’s heart with anguish. But the funeral pyre which flames up beneath the sky has about it something grand, beautiful and solemn.” – Guy de Maupassant, “A Cremation” (trans. McMaster, et al.)

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