"These are our ancestors, and their history  is  our

        Remember that as surely as we one day
        swung down out of the trees and walked upright,
        just as surely, on a far earlier day,
        did we crawl up out of the sea
        and achieve our first adventure on land."

     Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! Often, before I learned, did
I wonder  whence  came the multitudes of pictures that thronged
my dreams; for they were pictures the like of which I had never
seen in real wake-a-day  life.  They  tormented  my  childhood,
making  of  my  dreams  a procession of nightmares and a little
later convincing me that  I  was  different  from  my  kind,  a
creature unnatural and accursed.

     In  my days only did I attain any measure of happiness. My
nights marked the reign of fear--and such fear! I make bold  to
state  that  no  man  of all the men who walk the earth with me
ever suffer fear of like kind and degree. For my  fear  is  the
fear  of  long  ago,  the  fear that was rampant in the Younger
World, and in the youth of the Younger  World.  In  short,  the
fear   that  reigned  supreme  in  that  period  known  as  the

     What do I mean? I see explanation is  necessary  before  I
can  tell  you of the substance of my dreams. Otherwise, little
could you know of the meaning of the things I know so well.  As
I write this, all the beings and happenings of that other world
rise  up  before  me in vast phantasmagoria, and I know that to
you they would be rhymeless and reasonless.


     What to you the friendship of Lop-Ear, the  warm  lure  of
the Swift One, the lust and the atavism of Red-Eye? A screaming
incoherence and no more. And a screaming incoherence, likewise,
the  doings  of  the  Fire  People and the Tree People, and the
gibbering councils of the horde. For you know not the peace  of
the cool caves in the cliffs, the circus of the drinking-places
at  the  end  of  the  day. You have never felt the bite of the
morning wind in the tree-tops, nor is the taste of  young  bark
sweet in your mouth.

     It  would  be  better,  I  dare  say, for you to make your
approach, as I made mine, through my childhood. As a boy I  was
very  like  other  boys--in my waking hours. It was in my sleep
that I was different. From my earliest  recollection  my  sleep
was  a  period  of terror. Rarely were my dreams tinctured with
happiness. As a rule, they were stuffed with fear--and  with  a
fear so strange and alien that it had no ponderable quality. No
fear  that  I  experienced in my waking life resembled the fear
that possessed me in my sleep. It was of  a  quality  and  kind
that transcended all my experiences.

     For  instance,  I was a city boy, a city child, rather, to
whom the country was an unexplored domain. Yet I never  dreamed
of cities; nor did a house ever occur in any of my dreams. Nor,
for  that  matter,  did any of my human kind ever break through
the wall of my sleep. I, who had seen trees only in  parks  and
illustrated  books,  wandered  in my sleep through interminable
forests. And further, these dream trees were not a mere blur on
my vision. They were sharp and distinct.  I  was  on  terms  of
practised  intimacy  with  them. I saw every branch and twig; I
saw and knew every different leaf.

     Well do I remember the first time in my waking life that I
saw an oak tree. As I looked at the  leaves  and  branches  and
gnarls,  it  came  to  me with distressing vividness that I had
seen that same kind of tree  many  and  countless  times  n  my
sleep.  So  I  was not surprised, still later on in my life, to
recognize instantly, the first time I saw them, trees  such  as
the spruce, the yew, the birch, and the laurel. I had seen them
all  before,  and was seeing them even then, every night, in my

     This, as you have already discerned,  violates  the  first
law  of  dreaming,  namely,  that in one's dreams one sees only
what he has seen in his waking life,  or  combinations  of  the
things  he  has  seen  in  his  waking  life. But all my dreams
violated this law. In my dreams I never saw ANYTHING of which I
had knowledge in my waking life. My dream life  and  my  waking
life  were  lives  apart,  with  not  one  thing in common save
myself. I was the  connecting  link  that  somehow  lived  both

     Early  in  my  childhood I learned that nuts came from the
grocer, berries from  the  fruit  man;  but  before  ever  that
knowledge  was  mine, in my dreams I picked nuts from trees, or
gathered them and ate them from the  ground  underneath  trees,
and  in  the same way I ate berries from vines and bushes. This
was beyond any experience of mine.

     I shall never forget the  first  time  I  saw  blueberries
served  on  the table. I had never seen blueberries before, and
yet, at the sight of them, there leaped up in my mind  memories
of  dreams wherein I had wandered through swampy land eating my
fill of them. My mother set before me a dish of the berries.  I
filled my spoon, but before I raised it to my mouth I knew just
how  they  would taste. Nor was I disappointed. It was the same
tang that I had tasted a thousand times in my sleep.


     Snakes? Long before  I  had  heard  of  the  existence  of
snakes, I was tormented by them in my sleep. They lurked for me
in  the  forest  glades;  leaped  up,  striking, under my feet;
squirmed off through the dry grass or across naked  patches  of
rock;  or  pursued me into the tree-tops, encircling the trunks
with their great shining bodies, driving me higher  and  higher
or  farther  and farther out on swaying and crackling branches,
the ground a dizzy distance  beneath  me.  Snakes!--with  their
forked  tongues,  their beady eyes and glittering scales, their
hissing and their rattling--did I not already know them far too
well  on  that  day  of  my  first  circus  when  I   saw   the
snake-charmer  lift  them  up?  They  were old friends of mine,
enemies rather, that peopled my nights with fear.

     Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom!
For what eternities have I  wandered  through  them,  a  timid,
hunted  creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my
own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and  vigilant,  ready  on  the
instant  to  dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the
prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and
it was in ecstasies of fear that  I  fled  before  the  hunting

     When  I  was  five  years old I went to my first circus. I
came home from it sick--but not from peanuts and pink lemonade.
Let me tell you. As  we  entered  the  animal  tent,  a  hoarse
roaring  shook  the  air. I tore my hand loose from my father's
and dashed wildly back through the entrance.  I  collided  with
people,  fell  down;  and  all  the  time  I was screaming with
terror. My father caught me and soothed me. He pointed  to  the
crowd  of  people,  all careless of the roaring, and cheered me
with assurances of safety.


     Nevertheless, it was in fear and trembling, and with  much
encouragement on his part, that I at last approached the lion's
cage.  Ah,  I  knew him on the instant. The beast! The terrible
one! And  on  my  inner  vision  flashed  the  memories  of  my
dreams,--the  midday  sun  shining on tall grass, the wild bull
grazing quietly, the sudden parting of  the  grass  before  the
swift  rush  of the tawny one, his leap to the bull's back, the
crashing and the bellowing, and the crunch crunch of bones;  or
again,  the  cool quiet of the water-hole, the wild horse up to
his knees and drinking softly, and then the  tawny  one--always
the  tawny  one!-- the leap, the screaming and the splashing of
the horse, and the crunch crunch of bones; and yet  again,  the
sombre twilight and the sad silence of the end of day, and then
the great full-throated roar, sudden, like a trump of doom, and
swift  upon  it  the  insane shrieking and chattering among the
trees, and I, too, am trembling with fear and  am  one  of  the
many shrieking and chattering among the trees.

     At  the  sight  of  him,  helpless, within the bars of his
cage, I became enraged. I gritted my teeth at  him,  danced  up
and  down,  screaming  an  incoherent  mockery and making antic
faces. He responded, rushing against the bars and roaring  back
at me his impotent wrath. Ah, he knew me, too, and the sounds I
made were the sounds of old time and intelligible to him.

     My  parents  were  frightened. "The child is ill," said my
mother. "He is hysterical," said my father. I never told  them,
and   they  never  knew.  Already  had  I  developed  reticence
concerning this quality of mine,  this  semi-disassociation  of
personality as I think I am justified in calling it.

     I  saw  the snake-charmer, and no more of the circus did I
see that night. I was taken home, nervous and overwrought, sick
with the invasion of my real life by  that  other  life  of  my

     I have mentioned my reticence. Only once did I confide the
strangeness of it all to another. He was a boy--my chum; and we
were  eight  years  old. From my dreams I reconstructed for him
pictures of that vanished world in which I do  believe  I  once
lived. I told him of the terrors of that early time, of Lop-Ear
and the pranks we played, of the gibbering councils, and of the
Fire People and their squatting places.


     He  laughed at me, and jeered, and told me tales of ghosts
and of the dead that walk at night. But mostly did he laugh  at
my  feeble fancy. I told him more, and he laughed the harder. I
swore in all earnestness that these  things  were  so,  and  he
began  to look upon me queerly. Also, he gave amazing garblings
of my tales to our playmates, until all began to look  upon  me

     It was a bitter experience, but I learned my lesson. I was
different  from  my  kind.  I  was abnormal with something they
could not understand, and the telling of which would cause only
misunderstanding. When the stories of ghosts and  goblins  went
around,  I  kept quiet. I smiled grimly to myself. I thought of
my  nights  of  fear,  and  knew  that  mine  were   the   real
things--real as life itself, not attenuated vapors and surmised
      For  me no terrors resided in the thought of bugaboos and
wicked ogres. The fall through leafy  branches  and  the  dizzy
heights;  the  snakes  that struck at me as I dodged and leaped
away in chattering flight; the wild dogs that hunted me  across
the  open spaces to the timber--these were terrors concrete and
actual, happenings and not imaginings,  things  of  the  living
flesh and of sweat and blood. Ogres and bugaboos and I had been
happy  bed-fellows, compared with these terrors that made their
bed with me throughout my childhood, and that  still  bed  with
me, now, as I write this, full of years.

     I  have  said that in my dreams I never saw a human being.
Of this fact I became aware very early, and felt poignantly the
lack of my own kind. As a very little  child,  even,  I  had  a
feeling,  in  the midst of the horror of my dreaming, that if I
could find but one man, only one human, I should be saved  from
my  dreaming,  that  I should be surrounded no more by haunting
terrors. This thought obsessed me every night of  my  life  for
years--if only I could find that one human and be saved!

     I  must iterate that I had this thought in the midst of my
dreaming, and I take it as an evidence of the merging of my two
personalities, as evidence of a point of  contact  between  the
two  disassociated  parts  of me. My dream personality lived in
the long ago, before ever man, as we know him, came to be;  and
my  other  and  wake-a-day personality projected itself, to the
extent of the knowledge of man's existence, into the  substance
of my dreams.

     Perhaps the psychologists of the book will find fault with
my way  of using the phrase, "disassociation of personality." I
know their use of it, yet am compelled to use it in my own  way
in  default  of  a  better  phrase.  I  take shelter behind the
inadequacy of the English language. And now to the  explanation
of my use, or misuse, of the phrase.

     It  was not till I was a young man, at college, that I got
any clew to the significance of my dreams, and to the cause  of
them.  Up  to  that  time they had been meaningless and without
apparent causation. But at college I discovered  evolution  and
psychology,  and  learned  the  explanation  of various strange
mental states and experiences.  For  instance,  there  was  the
falling-through-space  dream--the  commonest  dream experience,
one practically known, by first-hand experience, to all men.

     This, my professor told me, was a racial memory. It  dated
back  to  our  remote  ancestors who lived in trees. With them,
being  tree-dwellers,  the  liability   of   falling   was   an
ever-present  menace.  Many  lost  their lives that way; all of
them experienced terrible falls, saving themselves by clutching
branches as they fell toward the ground.

     Now  a  terrible  fall,  averted  in  such  fashion,   was
productive  of  shock.  Such  shock was productive of molecular
changes in the cerebral cells.  These  molecular  changes  were
transmitted to the cerebral cells of progeny, became, in short,
racial  memories. Thus, when you and I, asleep or dozing off to
sleep, fall through space and awake to sickening  consciousness
just  before we strike, we are merely remembering what happened
to our arboreal  ancestors,  and  which  has  been  stamped  by
cerebral changes into the heredity of the race.

     There  is  nothing strange in this, any more than there is
anything strange in an instinct. An instinct is merely a  habit
that is stamped into the stuff of our heredity, that is all. It
will  be noted, in passing, that in this falling dream which is
so familiar to you and me  and  all  of  us,  we  never  strike
bottom.  To  strike  bottom  would be destruction. Those of our
arboreal ancestors who struck bottom died forthwith. True,  the
shock of their fall was communicated to the cerebral cells, but
they  died immediately, before they could have progeny. You and
I are descended from those that did not strike bottom; that  is
why you and I, in our dreams, never strike bottom.

     And now we come to disassociation of personality. We never
have  this  sense  of  falling  when  we  are  wide  awake. Our
wake-a-day personality has no experience of it. Then--and  here
the  argument  is irresistible--it must be another and distinct
personality that falls when we are asleep,  and  that  has  had
experience  of  such  falling--that  has, in short, a memory of
past-day race experiences, just as our  wake-a-day  personality
has a memory of our wake-a-day experiences.

     It  was  at this stage in my reasoning that I began to see
the light. And quickly the light burst upon  me  with  dazzling
brightness, illuminating and explaining all that had been weird
and uncanny and unnaturally impossible in my dream experiences.
In  my  sleep  it  was  not my wake-a-day personality that took
charge  of  me;  it  was  another  and  distinct   personality,
possessing  a  new  and  totally different fund of experiences,
and, to the point of my dreaming, possessing memories of  those
totally different experiences.

     What  was  this  personality?  When  had it itself lived a
wake-a-day life on this planet in order to collect this fund of
strange  experiences?  These  were  questions  that  my  dreams
themselves  answered.  He lived in the long ago, when the world
was young, in that period that we call the Mid-Pleistocene.  He
fell from the trees but did not strike bottom. He gibbered with
fear  at  the roaring of the lions. He was pursued by beasts of
prey, struck at by deadly snakes. He chattered with his kind in
council, and he received rough usage at the hands of  the  Fire
People in the day that he fled before them.

     But,  I  hear  you  objecting, why is it that these racial
memories are not ours as well, seeing  that  we  have  a  vague
other-personality that falls through space while we sleep?

     And   I  may  answer  with  another  question.  Why  is  a
two-headed calf? And my own answer to this  is  that  it  is  a
freak.   And   so   I   answer   your  question.  I  have  this
other-personality and these complete racial memories because  I
am a freak.

     But let me be more explicit.

     The    commonest    race    memory    we   have   is   the
falling-through-space dream.  This  other-personality  is  very
vague.  About  the  only  memory it has is that of falling. But
many of us have  sharper,  more  distinct  other-personalities.
Many  of  us have the flying dream, the pursuing-monster dream,
color dreams, suffocation dreams, and the  reptile  and  vermin
dreams.  In short, while this other-personality is vestigial in
all of us, in some of us it is  almost  obliterated,  while  in
others  of  us  it is more pronounced. Some of us have stronger
and completer race memories than others.

     It is all a question of varying degree  of  possession  of
the  other-personality.  In myself, the degree of possession is
enormous. My other-personality is almost equal in power with my
own personality. And in this matter I am, as I said, a freak--a
freak of heredity.

     I  do  believe  that  it  is  the   possession   of   this
other-personality--but not so strong a one as mine--that has in
some  few others given rise to belief in personal reincarnation
experiences. It is  very  plausible  to  such  people,  a  most
convincing  hypothesis.  When  they have visions of scenes they
have never seen in the  flesh,  memories  of  acts  and  events
dating back in time, the simplest explanation is that they have
lived before.

     But  they  make the mistake of ignoring their own duality.
They do not recognize their other-personality. They think it is
their own personality, that they have only one personality; and
from such a premise they can conclude only that they have lived
previous lives.

     But they are  wrong.  It  is  not  reincarnation.  I  have
visions  of  myself  roaming through the forests of the Younger
World; and yet it is not myself that I see but one that is only
remotely a part of me, as my  father  and  my  grandfather  are
parts  of  me  less  remote.  This  other-self  of  mine  is an
ancestor, a progenitor of my progenitors in the early  line  of
my  race,  himself  the  progeny of a line that long before his
time developed fingers and toes and climbed up into the trees.

     I must again, at the risk of boring, repeat that I am,  in
this  one  thing,  to  be  considered  a  freak. Not alone do I
possess racial memory to an enormous extent, but I possess  the
memories of one particular and far-removed progenitor. And yet,
while  this  is  most unusual, there is nothing over-remarkable
about it.

     Follow my reasoning. An instinct is a racial memory.  Very
good.  Then you and I and all of us receive these memories from
our fathers and mothers,  as  they  received  them  from  their
fathers  and  mothers. Therefore there must be a medium whereby
these memories are transmitted from generation  to  generation.
This  medium is what Weismann terms the "germplasm." It carries
the memories of the whole evolution of the race. These memories
are dim and confused, and many  of  them  are  lost.  But  some
strains   of   germplasm   carry  an  excessive  freightage  of
memories--are, to be  scientific,  more  atavistic  than  other
strains;  and  such a strain is mine. I am a freak of heredity,
an atavistic nightmare--call me what you will; but here  I  am,
real  and  alive, eating three hearty meals a day, and what are
you going to do about it?

     And now, before I take up my tale, I  want  to  anticipate
the  doubting  Thomases  of psychology, who are prone to scoff,
and who would otherwise surely say that  the  coherence  of  my
dreams  is  due to overstudy and the subconscious projection of
my knowledge of evolution into my dreams. In the first place, I
have never been a zealous  student.  I  graduated  last  of  my
class.  I  cared  more for athletics, and--there is no reason I
should not confess it--more for billiards.

     Further, I had no knowledge of evolution until  I  was  at
college, whereas in my childhood
      and  youth  I  had  already  lived  in  my dreams all the
details of that other, long-ago life. I
      will say, however, that  these  details  were  mixed  and
incoherent until I came to know the
      science  of evolution. Evolution was the key. It gave the
explanation, gave sanity to the
      pranks of this atavistic brain of mine that,  modern  and
normal, harked back to a past
      so   remote   as  to  be  contemporaneous  with  the  raw
beginnings of mankind.

     For in this past I know of, man, as we  to-day  know  him,
did not exist. It was in the period of his becoming that I must
have lived and had my being.


     The  commonest  dream  of my early childhood was something
like this: It seemed that I was  very  small  and  that  I  lay
curled  up  in  a sort of nest of twigs and boughs. Sometimes I
was lying on my back. In this position it seemed that  I  spent
many  hours,  watching  the play of sunlight on the foliage and
the stirring of the leaves by the wind. Often the  nest  itself
moved back and forth when the wind was strong.

     But  always, while so lying in the nest, I was mastered as
of tremendous space beneath me. I never saw it, I never  peered
over  the  edge  of the nest to see; but I KNEW and feared that
space that lurked just beneath me and that ever  threatened  me
like a maw of some all-devouring monster.

     This  dream,  in  which I was quiescent and which was more
like a condition than an experience of action, I  dreamed  very
often  in  my  early  childhood. But suddenly, there would rush
into  the  very  midst  of  it  strange  forms  and   ferocious
happenings,  the  thunder  and crashing of storm, or unfamiliar
landscapes such as in my wake-a-day life I had never seen.  The
result  was confusion and nightmare. I could comprehend nothing
of it. There was no logic of sequence.

     You see, I did not dream consecutively. One moment I was a
wee babe of the Younger World lying in my tree nest;  the  next
moment  I was a grown man of the Younger World locked in combat
with the hideous Red-Eye; and the next moment  I  was  creeping
carefully  down  to  the  water-hole  in  the  heat of the day.
Events, years apart in their occurrence in the  Younger  World,
occurred  with  me  within  the  space  of  several minutes, or

     It was all a jumble, but this jumble I shall  not  inflict
upon  you.  It  was not until I was a young man and had dreamed
many thousand  times,  that  everything  straightened  out  and
became  clear  and  plain.  Then  it was that I got the clew of
time, and was able to piece  together  events  and  actions  in
their proper order. Thus was I able to reconstruct the vanished
Younger  World  as  it was at the time I lived in it--or at the
time my other-self  lived  in  it.  The  distinction  does  not
matter;  for  I,  too, the modern man, have gone back and lived
that early life in the company of my other-self.

     For your convenience, since this is to be no  sociological
screed,  I  shall  frame  together  the different events into a
comprehensive  story.  For  there  is  a  certain   thread   of
continuity  and  happening  that  runs  through all the dreams.
There is my friendship with Lop-Ear, for instance. Also,  there
is the enmity of Red-Eye, and the love of the Swift One. Taking
it  all  in  all,  a fairly coherent and interesting story I am
sure you will agree.

     I do not remember much of my mother. Possibly the earliest
recollection I have of her--and certainly the sharpest--is  the
following:  It seemed I was lying on the ground. I was somewhat
older than during the nest days, but still helpless.  I  rolled
about in the dry leaves, playing with them and making crooning,
rasping  noises  in  my  throat. The sun shone warmly and I was
happy, and comfortable. I was in a little  open  space.  Around
me,  on  all  sides,  were  bushes  and  fern-like growths, and
overhead and all about were the trunks and branches  of  forest

     Suddenly  I  heard  a sound. I sat upright and listened. I
made no movement. The little noises died down in my throat, and
I sat as one petrified. The sound drew closer. It was like  the
grunt  of  a pig. Then I began to hear the sounds caused by the
moving of a body through  the  brush.  Next  I  saw  the  ferns
agitated by the passage of the body. Then the ferns parted, and
I saw gleaming eyes, a long snout, and white tusks.


     It  was a wild boar. He peered at me curiously. He grunted
once or twice and shifted his weight from one  foreleg  to  the
other,  at  the same time moving his head from side to side and
swaying the ferns. Still  I  sat  as  one  petrified,  my  eyes
unblinking as I stared at him, fear eating at my heart.

     It  seemed  that  this movelessness and silence on my part
was what was expected of me. I was not to cry out in  the  face
of  fear.  It was a dictate of instinct. And so I sat there and
waited for I knew not what. The boar thrust the ferns aside and
stepped into the open. The curiosity went out of his eyes,  and
they  gleamed  cruelly.  He tossed his head at me threateningly
and advanced a step. This he did again, and yet again.

     Then I screamed...or shrieked--I cannot describe  it,  but
it was a shrill and terrible cry. And it seems that it, too, at
this  stage  of  the proceedings, was the thing expected of me.
From not far away came  an  answering  cry.  My  sounds  seemed
momentarily  to  disconcert  the  boar, and while he halted and
shifted his weight with indecision, an  apparition  burst  upon

     She  was  like  a  large  orangutan,  my mother, or like a
chimpanzee,  and  yet,  in  sharp  and  definite  ways,   quite
different.  She  was  heavier  of build than they, and had less
hair. Her arms were not so long, and her legs were stouter. She
wore no clothes--only her natural hair. And I can tell you  she
was a fury when she was excited.

     And  like  a  fury  she  dashed  upon  the  scene. She was
gritting  her  teeth,  making  frightful  grimaces,   snarling,
uttering  sharp  and continuous cries that sounded like "kh-ah!
kh-ah!" So sudden and formidable was her  appearance  that  the
boar  involuntarily  bunched  himself together on the defensive
and bristled as she swerved toward him. Then she swerved toward
me. She had quite taken the breath out of him. I knew just what
to do in that moment of time she had gained. I leaped  to  meet
her,  catching  her  about  the  waist  and holding on hand and
foot--yes, by my feet; I could hold on by them as readily as by
my hands. I could feel in my tense grip the pull of the hair as
her skin and her muscles moved beneath with her efforts.

     As I say, I leaped to meet her, and  on  the  instant  she
leaped straight up into the air, catching an overhanging branch
with her hands. The next instant, with clashing tusks, the boar
drove  past  underneath. He had recovered from his surprise and
sprung forward, emitting a squeal that was almost a trumpeting.
At any rate it was a call, for it was followed by  the  rushing
of bodies through the ferns and brush from all directions.

     From  every  side  wild hogs dashed into the open space--a
score of them. But my mother swung over  the  top  of  a  thick
limb,  a  dozen  feet from the ground, and, still holding on to
her, we perched there in safety.  She  was  very  excited.  She
chattered  and  screamed,  and  scolded  down at the bristling,
tooth-gnashing  circle  that  had  gathered  beneath.  I,  too,
trembling,  peered  down at the angry beasts and did my best to
imitate my mother's cries.


     From the distance came similar cries, only pitched deeper,
into a sort of roaring bass. These grew momentarily louder, and
soon I saw him approaching, my father--at  least,  by  all  the
evidence  of  the times, I am driven to conclude that he was my

     He was not an extremely prepossessing father,  as  fathers
go.  He seemed half man, and half ape, and yet not ape, and not
yet man. I fail to describe him.  There  is  nothing  like  him
to-day  on the earth, under the earth, nor in the earth. He was
a large man in his day, and he  must  have  weighed  all  of  a
hundred and thirty pounds. His face was broad and flat, and the
eyebrows  over-hung  the  eyes. The eyes themselves were small,
deep-set, and close together. He had  practically  no  nose  at
all.  It  was  squat and broad, apparently with-out any bridge,
while the nostrils were like two holes  in  the  face,  opening
outward instead of down.

     The  forehead  slanted  back  from  the eyes, and the hair
began right at the eyes and ran up  over  the  head.  The  head
itself was preposterously small and was supported on an equally
preposterous, thick, short neck.

     There  was  an  elemental  economy  about his body--as was
there about all our bodies. The chest was  deep,  it  is  true,
cavernously  deep;  but there were no full-swelling muscles, no
wide-spreading  shoulders,  no  clean-limbed  straightness,  no
generous  symmetry  of  outline.  It represented strength, that
body  of  my  father's,  strength  without  beauty;  ferocious,
primordial  strength,  made  to  clutch  and gripe and rend and

     His hips were thin; and the legs,  lean  and  hairy,  were
crooked  and  stringy-muscled.  In  fact, my father's legs were
more like arms. They were twisted and gnarly, and with scarcely
the semblance of the full meaty calf such as  graces  your  leg
and mine. I remember he could not walk on the flat of his foot.
This  was  because  it  was a prehensile foot, more like a hand
than a foot. The great toe, instead of being in line  with  the
other  toes,  opposed them, like a thumb, and its opposition to
the other toes was what enabled him to  get  a  grip  with  his
foot. This was why he could not walk on the flat of his foot.

     But  his appearance was no more unusual than the manner of
his coming, there to my mother and me as we perched  above  the
angry  wild  pigs. He came through the trees, leaping from limb
to limb and from tree to tree; and he came swiftly. I  can  see
him now, in my wake-a-day life, as I write this, swinging along
through  the trees, a four-handed, hairy creature, howling with
rage, pausing now and again to beat his chest with his clenched
fist, leaping ten-and-fifteen-foot gaps, catching a branch with
one hand and swinging on across another gap to catch  with  his
other  hand  and go on, never hesitating, never at a loss as to
how to proceed on his arboreal way.

     And as I watched him I felt in my own being,  in  my  very
muscles  themselves,  the  surge  and  thrill  of  desire to go
leaping from bough to bough; and I felt also the  guarantee  of
the  latent  power  in that being and in those muscles of mine.
And why not? Little boys watch their  fathers  swing  axes  and
fell  trees,  and  feel  in themselves that some day they, too,
will swing axes and fell trees. And so with me. The  life  that
was  in  me  was  constituted  to do what my father did, and it
whispered to me secretly and ambitiously of  aerial  paths  and
forest flights.

     At  last  my  father  joined us. He was extremely angry. I
remember the out-thrust of his protruding underlip as he glared
down at the wild pigs. He snarled something like a dog,  and  I
remember  that  his  eye-teeth were large, like fangs, and that
they impressed me tremendously.


     His conduct served only the more to infuriate the pigs. He
broke off twigs and small branches and flung them down upon our
enemies. He even hung by one hand,  tantalizingly  just  beyond
reach,  and  mocked  them  as  they  gnashed  their  tusks with
impotent rage. Not content with this,  he  broke  off  a  stout
branch,  and,  holding  on  with  one hand and foot, jabbed the
infuriated beasts in the sides and whacked  them  across  their
noses. Needless to state, my mother and I enjoyed the sport.

     But  one  tires  of  all  good  things, and in the end, my
father, chuckling maliciously the while, led the way across the
trees. Now it was that my ambitions ebbed away,  and  I  became
timid,  holding  tightly  to my mother as she climbed and swung
through space. I  remember  when  the  branch  broke  with  her
weight. She had made a wide leap, and with the snap of the wood
I  was  overwhelmed with the sickening consciousness of falling
through space, the pair of us. The forest and the  sunshine  on
the  rustling  leaves  vanished  from  my  eyes. I had a fading
glimpse of my father abruptly arresting his progress  to  look,
and then all was blackness.

     The  next moment I was awake, in my sheeted bed, sweating,
trembling, nauseated. The window was up, and  a  cool  air  was
blowing  through  the  room. The night-lamp was burning calmly.
And because of this I take it that the wild pigs  did  not  get
us,  that  we  never  fetched bottom; else I should not be here
now, a thousand centuries after, to remember the event.

     And now put yourself in my place for a moment.  Walk  with
me  a  bit  in  my  tender  childhood,  bed with me a night and
imagine  yourself  dreaming  such   incomprehensible   horrors.
Remember  I was an inexperienced child. I had never seen a wild
boar  in  my  life.  For  that  matter  I  had  never  seen   a
domesticated  pig.  The nearest approach to one that I had seen
was breakfast bacon sizzling in its fat. And yet here, real  as
life,  wild  boars  dashed  through  my  dreams,  and  I,  with
fantastic parents, swung through the lofty tree-spaces.

     Do you wonder that I was frightened and  oppressed  by  my
nightmare-ridden  nights?  I was accursed. And, worst of all, I
was afraid to tell. I do not know why,  except  that  I  had  a
feeling of guilt, though I knew no better of what I was guilty.
So  it  was,  through  long  years, that I suffered in silence,
until I came to man's estate and learned the why and  wherefore
of my dreams.

     There  is  one  puzzling  thing  about  these  prehistoric
memories of mine. It is the vagueness of the time element. I lo
not always know the order of events;--or can  I  tell,  between
some  events,  whether  one,  two,  or  four or five years have
elapsed. I can only roughly tell the passage of time by judging
the changes in the appearance and pursuits of my fellows.

     Also, I can apply the  logic  of  events  to  the  various
happenings.  For  instance,  there is no doubt whatever that my
mother and I were treed by the wild pigs and fled and  fell  in
the  days before I made the acquaintance of Lop-Ear, who became
what I may call my boyhood chum. And it is just  as  conclusive
that between these two periods I must have left my mother.


     I  have  no memory of my father than the one I have given.
Never, in the years that followed, did he reappear. And from my
knowledge of the times, the only explanation possible  lies  in
that  he  perished  shortly  after  the adventure with the wild
pigs. That it must have been  an  untimely  end,  there  is  no
discussion.  He  was in full vigor, and only sudden and violent
death could have taken him off. But I know not  the  manner  of
his  going--whether  he  was  drowned  in  the  river,  or  was
swallowed  by  a  snake,  or  went  into  the  stomach  of  old
Saber-Tooth, the tiger, is beyond my knowledge.

     For  know  that  I  remember only the things I saw myself,
with my own eyes, in those prehistoric days. If my mother  knew
my  father's end, she never told me. For that matter I doubt if
she had a  vocabulary  adequate  to  convey  such  information.
Perhaps,  all  told,  the  Folk in that day had a vocabulary of
thirty or forty sounds.

     I call them SOUNDS, rather than WORDS, because sounds they
were primarily. They had no fixed  values,  to  be  altered  by
adjectives  and  adverbs. These latter were tools of speech not
yet invented. Instead of qualifying nouns or verbs by  the  use
of  adjectives  and adverbs, we qualified sounds by intonation,
by  changes  in  quantity  and  pitch,  by  retarding  and   by
accelerating. The length of time employed in the utterance of a
particular sound shaded its meaning.

     We  had  no  conjugation.  One  judged  the  tense  by the
context. We talked only concrete things because we thought only
concrete things. Also, we depended largely  on  pantomime.  The
simplest  abstraction  was practically beyond our thinking; and
when  one  did  happen  to  think  one,  he  was  hard  put  to
communicate  it to his fellows. There were no sounds for it. He
was pressing  beyond  the  limits  of  his  vocabulary.  If  he
invented  sounds  for  it,  his  fellows did not understand the
sounds.  Then  it  was  that  he  fell   back   on   pantomime,
illustrating the thought wherever possible and at the same time
repeating the new sound over and over again.

     Thus language grew. By the few sounds we possessed we were
enabled  to  think  a  short distance beyond those sounds; then
came the need for new  sounds  wherewith  to  express  the  new
thought.  Sometimes, however, we thought too long a distance in
advance of our sounds, managed  to  achieve  abstractions  (dim
ones  I  grant), which we failed utterly to make known to other
folk. After all, language did not grow fast in that day.

     Oh, believe me, we were amazingly simple. But we did  know
a lot that is not known to-day. We could twitch our ears, prick
them  up  and  flatten  them down at will. And we could scratch
between our shoulders with ease. We could throw stones with our
feet. I have done it many a time. And for that matter, I  could
keep  my knees straight, bend forward from the hips, and touch,
not the tips of my fingers, but the points of my elbows, to the
ground.  And  as  for  bird-nesting--well,  I  only  wish   the
twentieth-century  boy could see us. But we made no collections
of eggs. We ate them.

     I remember--but I out-run my story. First let me  tell  of
Lop-Ear  and our friendship. Very early in my life, I separated
from my mother. Possibly this was because, after the  death  of
my  father,  she  took  to herself a second husband. I have few
recollections of him, and they are not of the best.  He  was  a
light fellow. There was no solidity to him. He was too voluble.
His  infernal  chattering worries me even now as I think of it.
His mind was too  inconsequential  to  permit  him  to  possess
purpose. Monkeys in their cages always remind me of him. He was
monkeyish. That is the best description I can give of him.

     He  hated  me  from the first. And I quickly learned to be
afraid of him and his malicious pranks.  Whenever  he  came  in
sight  I  crept  close to my mother and clung to her. But I was
growing older all the time, and it was inevitable that I should
from time to  time  stray  from  her,  and  stray  farther  and
farther.  And  these  were the opportunities that the Chatterer
waited for. (I may as well explain that we  bore  no  names  in
those  days;  were  not  known  by  any  name.  For the sake of
convenience I have myself given names to the various Folk I was
more closely in contact with, and the "Chatterer" is  the  most
fitting  description I can find for that precious stepfather of
mine. As for me, I have named myself "Big-Tooth." My  eye-teeth
were pronouncedly large.)


     But to return to the Chatterer. He persistently terrorized
me. He  was  always pinching me and cuffing me, and on occasion
he was not above biting me. Often my mother interfered, and the
way she made his fur fly was a joy to see. But  the  result  of
all  this was a beautiful and unending family quarrel, in which
I was the bone of contention.

     No, my home-life was not happy. I smile  to  myself  as  I
write  the phrase. Home-life! Home! I had no home in the modern
sense  of  the  term.  My  home  was  an  association,  not   a
habitation. I lived in my mother's care, not in a house. And my
mother lived anywhere, so long as when night came she was above
the ground.

     My mother was old-fashioned. She still clung to her trees.
It is  true, the more progressive members of our horde lived in
the caves above the river. But my  mother  was  suspicious  and
unprogressive.  The  trees were good enough for her. Of course,
we had one particular tree in which we usually roosted,  though
we  often roosted in other trees when nightfall caught us. In a
convenient fork was a  sort  of  rude  platform  of  twigs  and
branches and creeping things. It was more like a huge bird-nest
than  anything  else,  though it was a thousand times cruder in
the weaving than any bird-nest. But it had one feature  that  I
have never seen attached to any bird-nest, namely, a roof.

     Oh,  not  a roof such as modern man makes! Nor a roof such
as  is  made  by  the  lowest  aborigines  of  to-day.  It  was
infinitely  more clumsy than the clumsiest handiwork of man--of
man  as  we  know  him.  It  was  put  together  in  a  casual,
helter-skelter  sort of way. Above the fork of the tree whereon
we rested was a pile of dead branches and brush. Four  or  five
adjacent  forks  held  what I may term the various ridge-poles.
These were merely stout sticks an inch or so  in  diameter.  On
them  rested  the brush and branches. These seemed to have been
tossed on almost aimlessly. There was no attempt at
      thatching. And  I  must  confess  that  the  roof  leaked
miserably in a heavy rain.

     But  the Chatterer. He made home-life a burden for both my
mother and me--and by home-life I mean, not the leaky  nest  in
the  tree,  but  the group-life of the three of us. He was most
malicious in his persecution of me. That was the one purpose to
which he held steadfastly for longer than five  minutes.  Also,
as time went by, my mother was less eager in her defence of me.
I  think,  what of the continuous rows raised by the Chatterer,
that I must have become a nuisance to her.  At  any  rate,  the
situation went from bad to worse so rapidly that I should soon,
of  my  own  volition,  have left home. But the satisfaction of
performing so independent an act was denied me.  Before  I  was
ready to go, I was thrown out. And I mean this literally.

     The  opportunity  came to the Chatterer one day when I was
alone in the nest. My mother and the Chatterer  had  gone  away
together  toward  the blueberry swamp. He must have planned the
whole thing, for  I  heard  him  returning  alone  through  the
forest, roaring with self-induced rage as he came. Like all the
men  of  our horde, when they were angry or were trying to make
themselves angry, he stopped now and again  to  hammer  on  his
chest with his fist.

     I  realized the helplessness of my situation, and crouched
trembling in the nest.  The  Chatterer  came  directly  to  the
tree--I remember it was an oak tree--and began to climb up. And
he  never  ceased for a moment from his infernal row. As I have
said, our language was  extremely  meagre,  and  he  must  have
strained  it  by the variety of ways in which he informed me of
his undying hatred of me and of his intention there and then to
have it out with me.

     As he climbed to the fork, I fled out the great horizontal
limb. He followed me, and out I went, farther and  farther.  At
last  I  was  out  amongst  the  small  twigs  and  leaves. The
Chatterer was ever a coward, and greater always than any  anger
he  ever  worked up was his caution. He was afraid to follow me
out amongst the leaves and twigs. For that matter, his  greater
weight  would  have  crashed  him through the foliage before he
could have got to me.

     But it was not necessary for him to reach me, and well  he
knew  it,  the  scoundrel!  With a malevolent expression on his
face, his beady eyes gleaming with cruel intelligence, he began
teetering. Teetering!--and with me out on the very edge of  the
bough,  clutching  at  the twigs that broke continually with my
weight. Twenty feet beneath me was the earth.

     Wildly and more--wildly he teetered, grinning  at  me  his
gloating hatred. Then came the end. All four holds broke at the
same  time,  and  I  fell, back-downward, looking up at him, my
hands and feet still clutching the broken twigs. Luckily, there
were no wild pigs under me, and my fall was broken by the tough
and springy bushes.

     Usually, my falls destroy my  dreams,  the  nervous  shock
being sufficient to bridge the thousand centuries in an instant
and  hurl me wide awake into my little bed, where, perchance, I
lie sweating and trembling and hear the  cuckoo  clock  calling
the  hour in the hall. But this dream of my leaving home I have
had many times, and never yet  have  I  been  awakened  by  it.
Always  do I crash, shrieking, down through the brush and fetch
up with a bump on the ground.

     Scratched and bruised and whimpering, I lay  where  I  had
fallen.  Peering  up  through  the  bushes,  I  could  see  the
Chatterer. He had set up a demoniacal  chant  of  joy  and  was
keeping  time  to  it  with  his teetering. I quickly hushed my
whimpering. I was no longer in the safety of the trees,  and  I
knew  the  danger  I  ran  of  bringing upon myself the hunting
animals by too audible an expression of my grief.

     I remember, as my sobs died down, that I became interested
in watching the strange  light-effects  produced  by  partially
opening  and  closing  my  tear-wet  eyelids.  Then  I began to
investigate, and found that I was not so very badly damaged  by
my  fall.  I  had  lost some hair and hide, here and there; the
sharp and jagged end of a broken branch  had  thrust  fully  an
inch  into  my  forearm;  and my right hip, which had borne the
brunt of my contact with the ground,  was  aching  intolerably.
But  these,  after  all,  were  only petty hurts. No bones were
broken, and in those days the flesh of man  had  finer  healing
qualities  than  it has to-day. Yet it was a severe fall, for I
limped with my injured hip for fully a week afterward.

     Next, as I lay in the bushes, there came upon me a feeling
of desolation, a consciousness that I was homeless. I  made  up
my mind never to return to my mother and the Chatterer. I would
go far away through the terrible forest, and find some tree for
myself in which to roost. As for food, I knew where to find it.
For the last year at least I had not been beholden to my mother
for food. All she had furnished me was protection and guidance.

     I  crawled  softly  out  through the bushes. Once I looked
back and saw the Chatterer still chanting and teetering. It was
not a pleasant sight. I knew pretty well how  to  be  cautious,
and  I  was exceedingly careful on this my first journey in the

     I gave no thought as to where I was going. I had  but  one
purpose,  and  that  was  to  go  away  beyond the reach of the
Chatterer. I climbed into the trees  and  wandered  on  amongst
them  for  hours,  passing from tree to tree and never touching
the ground. But I did not go in any particular  direction,  nor
did  I  travel steadily. It was my nature, as it was the nature
of all my folk, to be inconsequential. Besides, I  was  a  mere
child, and I stopped a great deal to play by the way.

     The  events  that  befell  me  on my leaving home are very
vague in my mind. My dreams do not  cover  them.  Much  has  my
other-self forgotten, and particularly at this very period. Nor
have I been able to frame up the various dreams so as to bridge
the  gap between my leaving the home-tree and my arrival at the

     I remember that several times I came to open spaces. These
I crossed in great trepidation, descending to  the  ground  and
running at the top of my speed. I remember that there were days
of  rain  and  days  of  sunshine, so that I must have wandered
alone for quite a time. I especially dream of my misery in  the
rain,  and  of my sufferings from hunger and how I appeased it.
One very strong impression is of hunting little lizards on  the
rocky  top of an open knoll. They ran under the rocks, and most
of them escaped; but occasionally I turned  over  a  stone  and
caught  one.  I  was frightened away from this knoll by snakes.
They did not pursue me. They were merely basking on flat  rocks
in  the sun. But such was my inherited fear of them that I fled
as fast as if they had been after me.

     Then I gnawed bitter bark from  young  trees.  I  remember
vaguely  the  eating  of  many green nuts, with soft shells and
milky kernels. And I remember most distinctly suffering from  a
stomach-ache.  It  may  have been caused by the green nuts, and
maybe by the lizards. I do not know. But I do know that  I  was
fortunate  in not being devoured during the several hours I was
knotted up on the ground with the colic.

     My vision of the scene came abruptly, as  I  emerged  from
the  forest. I found myself on the edge of a large clear space.
On one side of this space rose up high  bluffs.  On  the  other
side  was  the  river.  The  earth bank ran steeply down to the
water, but here and there, in several  places,  where  at  some
time  slides  of earth had occurred, there were run-ways. These
were the drinking-places of the Folk that lived in the caves.

     And this was the main abiding-place of the Folk that I had
chanced upon. This was, I may say, by stretching the word,  the
village.  My  mother  and  the Chatterer and I, and a few other
simple bodies, were what might be termed suburban residents. We
were part of the horde, though we lived a  distance  away  from
it.  It was only a short distance, though it had taken me, what
of my wandering, all of a week to arrive. Had I come  directly,
I could have covered the trip in an hour.

     But to return. From the edge of the forest I saw the caves
in the   bluff,  the  open  space,  and  the  run-ways  to  the
drinking-places. And in the open space I saw many of the  Folk.
I had been straying, alone and a child, for a week. During that
time  I  had seen not one of my kind. I had lived in terror and
desolation. And now, at the sight of my kind,  I  was  overcome
with gladness, and I ran wildly toward them.

     Then it was that a strange thing happened. Some one of the
Folk  saw  me and uttered a warning cry. On the instant, crying
out with fear and  panic,  the  Folk  fled  away.  Leaping  and
scrambling  over the rocks, they plunged into the mouths of the
caves and disappeared...all but one, a little  baby,  that  had
been  dropped in the excitement close to the base of the bluff.
He was wailing dolefully. His mother dashed out; he  sprang  to
meet  her  and  held  on tightly as she scrambled back into the

     I was all alone. The populous open space had of  a  sudden
become  deserted.  I  sat down forlornly and whimpered. I could
not understand. Why had the Folk run away  from  me?  In  later
time, when I came to know their ways, I was to learn. When they
saw  me  dashing  out of the forest at top speed they concluded
that I  was  being  pursued  by  some  hunting  animal.  By  my
unceremonious approach I had stampeded them.

     As  I  sat and watched the cave-mouths I became aware that
the Folk were watching me. Soon they were thrusting their heads
out. A little later they were calling back  and  forth  to  one
another.  In  the  hurry and confusion it had happened that all
had not gained their own caves. Some  of  the  young  ones  had
sought refuge in other caves. The mothers did not call for them
by name, because that was an invention we had not yet made. All
were  nameless.  The  mothers uttered querulous, anxious cries,
which were recognized by the young ones. Thus,  had  my  mother
been  there  calling  to me, I should have recognized her voice
amongst the voices of a thousand mothers, and in the  same  way
would she have recognized mine amongst a thousand.

     This  calling  back and forth continued for some time, but
they were too cautious to come out of their caves  and  descend
to  the ground. Finally one did come. He was destined to play a
large part in my life, and for that matter he already played  a
large  part in the lives of all the members of the horde. He it
was whom I shall call Red-Eye in the pages of this  history--so
called because of his inflamed eyes, the lids being always red,
and, by the peculiar effect they produced, seeming to advertise
the terrible savagery of him. The color of his soul was red.

     He  was  a monster in all ways. Physically he was a giant.
He must have weighed one hundred and seventy pounds. He was the
largest one of our kind I ever saw. Nor did I ever see  one  of
the  Fire  People  so  large as he, nor one of the Tree People.
Sometimes, when in the newspapers I happen upon descriptions of
our modern bruisers and prizefighters, I wonder what chance the
best of them would have had against him.

     I am afraid not much of a chance. With  one  grip  of  his
iron  fingers and a pull, he could have plucked a muscle, say a
biceps, by the roots, clear out of their bodies. A back-handed,
loose blow of his fist could have  smashed  their  skulls  like
egg-shells.  With a sweep of his wicked feet (or hind-hands) he
could have disembowelled them. A twist could have broken  their
necks,  and  I  know  that  with a single crunch of his jaws he
could have pierced, at the same moment, the great vein  of  the
throat in front and the spinal marrow at the back.


     He  could  spring  twenty feet horizontally from a sitting
position. He was abominably hairy. It was  a  matter  of  pride
with  us to be not very hairy. But he was covered with hair all
over, on the inside of the arms as well  as  the  outside,  and
even the ears themselves. The only places on him where the hair
did  not  grow were the soles of his hands and feet and beneath
his eyes. He was frightfully ugly, his ferocious grinning mouth
and huge down-hanging under-lip being but in harmony  with  his
terrible eyes.

     This  was  Red-Eye. And right gingerly he crept out or his
cave and descended to the ground. Ignoring me, he proceeded  to
reconnoitre. He bent forward from the hips as he walked; and so
far  forward  did he bend, and so long were his arms, that with
every step he touched the knuckles of his hands to  the  ground
on  either  side  of  him.  He  was  awkward  in the semi-erect
position of walking that he assumed, and he really touched  his
knuckles  to  the ground in order to balance himself. But oh, I
tell you he could run on all-fours! Now this was  something  at
which  we were particularly awkward. Furthermore, it was a rare
individual among us who balanced himself with his knuckles when
walking. Such an individual was an atavism, and Red-Eye was  an
even greater atavism.

     That is what he was--an atavism. We were in the process of
changing  our  tree-life  to  life  on  the  ground.  For  many
generations we had been going  through  this  change,  and  our
bodies  and  carriage  had  likewise  changed.  But Red-Eye had
reverted to the more primitive  tree-dwelling  type.  Perforce,
because  he  was  born  in  our horde he stayed with us; but in
actuality he was an atavism and his place was elsewhere.

     Very circumspect and very alert, he moved here  and  there
about  the  open  space,  peering  through the vistas among the
trees and trying to catch a glimpse of the hunting animal  that
all  suspected had pursued me. And while he did this, taking no
notice of me, the Folk crowded at the cave-mouths and watched.

     At last he evidently decided  that  there  was  no  danger
lurking  about.  He was returning from the head of the run-way,
from where he had taken a peep down at the drinking-place.  His
course  brought  him  near,  but still he did not notice me. He
proceeded casually on his way until abreast of  me,  and  then,
without  warning  and  with incredible swiftness, he smote me a
buffet on the head. I was knocked backward fully a  dozen  feet
before  I  fetched  up  against  the  ground,  and  I remember,
half-stunned, even as the blow was  struck,  hearing  the  wild
uproar  of  clucking and shrieking laughter that arose from the
caves. It was a great joke--at least in  that  day;  and  right
heartily the Folk appreciated it.

     Thus  was  I  received  into  the  horde.  Red-Eye paid no
further attention to me, and I was at liberty  to  whimper  and
sob  to  my  heart's  content.  Several  of  the women gathered
curiously about me, and I recognized them.  I  had  encountered
them  the  preceding  year  when  my mother had taken me to the
hazelnut canyons.

     But they quickly left me alone, being replaced by a  dozen
curious and teasing youngsters. They formed a circle around me,
pointing  their  fingers, making faces, and poking and pinching
me. I was frightened, and for a time I endured them, then anger
got the best of me and I sprang tooth and nail  upon  the  most
audacious  one of them--none other than Lop-Ear himself. I have
so named him because he could prick up only one  of  his  ears.
The  other  ear  always  hung  limp  and without movement. Some
accident had injured the muscles and deprived him of the use of

     He closed with me, and we went at it  for  all  the  world
like  a  couple  of  small boys fighting. We scratched and bit,
pulled hair, clinched, and threw each other down. I remember  I
succeeded  in  getting on him what in my college days I learned
was called  a  half-Nelson.  This  hold  gave  me  the  decided
advantage.  But I did not enjoy it long. He twisted up one leg,
and with the foot (or hind-hand) made so  savage  an  onslaught
upon  my  abdomen  as  to  threaten  to disembowel me. I had to
release him in order to save myself, and then  we  went  at  it


     Lop-Ear  was  a year older than I, but I was several times
angrier than he, and in the end he took to his heels. I  chased
him across the open and down a run-way to the river. But he was
better  acquainted  with the locality and ran along the edge of
the water and up another run-way. He cut diagonally across  the
open space and dashed into a wide-mouthed cave.

     Before  I  knew  it,  I  had  plunged  after  him into the
darkness. The next moment I was badly frightened. I  had  never
been  in a cave before. I began to whimper and cry out. Lop-Ear
chattered mockingly at  me,  and,  springing  upon  me  unseen,
tumbled  me  over. He did not risk a second encounter, however,
and took himself off. I was between him and the  entrance,  and
he  did  not  pass  me;  yet  he  seemed  to  have gone away. I
listened, but could get no  clew  as  to  where  he  was.  This
puzzled  me,  and  when  I  regained  the outside I sat down to

     He never came out of the entrance, of that I was  certain;
yet  at  the  end  of  several minutes he chuckled at my elbow.
Again I ran after him, and again he ran into the cave; but this
time I stopped at the mouth. I dropped back  a  short  distance
and  watched.  He did not come out, yet, as before, he chuckled
at my elbow and was chased by me a third time into the cave.

     This  performance  was  repeated  several  times.  Then  I
followed  him into the cave, where I searched vainly for him. I
was curious. I could not understand how he eluded me. Always he
went into the cave, never did he come out of it, yet always did
he arrive there at my elbow and mock me.  Thus  did  our  fight
transform itself into a game of hide and seek.

     All  afternoon,  with occasional intervals, we kept it up,
and a playful, friendly spirit arose between us. In the end, he
did not run away from me, and we sat  together  with  our  arms
around  each  other. A little later he disclosed the mystery of
the wide-mouthed cave. Holding me by the hand he led me inside.
It connected by a narrow crevice with another cave, and it  was
through this that we regained the open air.

     We  were  now  good  friends.  When  the  other young ones
gathered around to tease, he joined with me in attacking  them;
and  so  viciously  did  we  behave  that before long I was let
alone. Lop-Ear made me acquainted with the village.  There  was
little  that he could tell me of conditions and customs--he had
not the necessary vocabulary; but by observing  his  actions  I
learned much, and also he showed me places and things.


     He  took  me  up the open space, between the caves and the
river, and into the forest beyond, where,  in  a  grassy  place
among  the  trees,  we  made  a meal of stringy-rooted carrots.
After that we had a good drink at the river and started up  the
run-way to the caves.

     It was in the run-way that we came upon Red-Eye again. The
first  I  knew,  Lop-Ear  had  shrunk  away to one side and was
crouching low against the bank. Naturally and involuntarily,  I
imitated him. Then it was that I looked to see the cause of his
fear. It was Red-Eye, swaggering down the centre of
      the run-way and scowling fiercely with his inflamed eyes.
I noticed  that  all  the youngsters shrank away from him as we
had done, while the grown-ups regarded him with wary eyes  when
he  drew  near, and stepped aside to give him the centre of the

     As twilight came on, the open space was deserted. The Folk
were seeking the safety of the caves. Lop-Ear led  the  way  to
bed.  High  up  the bluff we climbed, higher than all the other
caves, to a tiny crevice  that  could  not  be  seen  from  the
ground. Into this Lop-Ear squeezed. I followed with difficulty,
so  narrow  was  the  entrance,  and  found  myself  in a small
rock-chamber. It was very low--not more than a couple  of  feet
in height, and possibly three feet by four in width and length.
Here,  cuddled  together in each other's arms, we slept out the

     While the more courageous of the youngsters played in  and
out of the large-mouthed caves, I early learned that such caves
were  unoccupied.  No  one  slept  in  them  at night. Only the
crevice-mouthed caves were used, the  narrower  the  mouth  the
better.  This  was  from  fear of the preying animals that made
life a burden to us in those days and nights.

     The first morning, after my night's sleep with Lop-Ear,  I
learned  the advantage of the narrow-mouthed caves. It was just
daylight when old Saber-Tooth, the tiger, walked into the  open
space.  Two  of  the Folk were already up. They made a rush for
it. Whether they were panic-stricken, or  whether  he  was  too
close  on  their  heels  for them to attempt to scramble up the
bluff to the crevices, I do not know;  but  at  any  rate  they
dashed  into  the  wide-mouthed  cave wherein Lop-Ear and I had
played the afternoon before.

     What happened inside there was no way of telling,  but  it
is  fair  to  conclude  that  the  two Folk slipped through the
connecting crevice into the other cave. This  crevice  was  too
small  to allow for the passage of Saber-Tooth, and he came out
the way he had gone in, unsatisfied and angry. It  was  evident
that  his night's hunting had been unsuccessful and that he had
expected to make a meal off of us. He caught sight of  the  two
Folk  at  the  other cave-mouth and sprang for them. Of course,
they darted through the passageway  into  the  first  cave.  He
emerged angrier than ever and snarling.

     Pandemonium broke loose amongst the rest of us. All up and
down  the  great  bluff,  we  crowded  the crevices and outside
ledges, and we were all chattering and shrieking in a  thousand
keys. And we were all making faces--snarling faces; this was an
instinct  with  us. We were as angry as Saber-Tooth, though our
anger was allied with fear. I remember that I shrieked and made
faces with the best of them. Not only did they set the example,
but I felt the urge from within me to do the same  things  they
were  doing.  My hair was bristling, and I was convulsed with a
fierce, unreasoning rage.

     For some time old Saber-Tooth continued dashing in and out
of first the one cave and then the  other.  But  the  two  Folk
merely  slipped  back  and forth through the connecting crevice
and eluded him. In the meantime the rest of us up the bluff had
proceeded to action. Every time he appeared outside  we  pelted
him  with rocks. At first we merely dropped them on him, but we
soon began to whiz them  down  with  the  added  force  of  our

     This  bombardment  drew  Saber-Tooth's attention to us and
made him angrier than ever. He abandoned his pursuit of the two
Folk and sprang up the bluff toward the rest of us, clawing  at
the crumbling rock and snarling as he clawed his upward way. At
this  awful  sight, the last one of us sought refuge inside our
caves. I know this, because I peeped  out  and  saw  the  whole
bluff-side  deserted,  save  for  Saber-Tooth, who had lost his
footing and was sliding and falling down.

     I called out the cry of encouragement, and again the bluff
was covered by the screaming horde and the stones were  falling
faster  than  ever. Saber-Tooth was frantic with rage. Time and
again he assaulted the bluff. Once he  even  gained  the  first
crevice-entrances  before he fell back, but was unable to force
his way inside. With each upward rush he made,  waves  of  fear
surged  over  us.  At  first,  at such times, most of us dashed
inside; but some remained outside to hammer  him  with  stones,
and soon all of us remained outside and kept up the fusillade.

     Never was so masterly a creature so completely baffled. It
hurt  his pride terribly, thus to be outwitted by the small and
tender Folk. He stood on  the  ground  and  looked  up  at  us,
snarling,  lashing  his  tail, snapping at the stones that fell
near to him. Once I whizzed down a stone, and just at the right
moment he looked up. It caught him full on the end of his nose,
and he went straight up in the  air,  all  four  feet  of  him,
roaring and caterwauling, what of the hurt and surprise.

     He  was  beaten and he knew it. Recovering his dignity, he
stalked out solemnly from under the rain of stones. He  stopped
in  the  middle  of  the  open  space  and looked wistfully and
hungrily back at us. He hated to forego the meal, and  we  were
just so much meat, cornered but inaccessible. This sight of him
started us to laughing. We laughed derisively and uproariously,
all  of  us.  Now animals do not like mockery. To be laughed at
makes them angry. And in such  fashion  our  laughter  affected
Saber-Tooth. He turned with a roar and charged the bluff again.
This  was  what  we wanted. The fight had become a game, and we
took huge delight in pelting him.


     But this attack did not last long.  He  quickly  recovered
his  common  sense,  and  besides,  our missiles were shrewd to
hurt. Vividly do I recollect the vision of one bulging  eye  of
his,  swollen  almost  shut by one of the stones we had thrown.
And vividly do I retain the picture of him as he stood  on  the
edge  of  the  forest  whither he had finally retreated. He was
looking back at us, his writhing lips lifted clear of the  very
roots  of  his  huge  fangs,  his  hair  bristling and his tail
lashing. He gave one last snarl and slid from  view  among  the

     And  then  such a chattering as went up. We swarmed out of
our holes, examining the  marks  his  claws  had  made  on  the
crumbling  rock of the bluff, all of us talking at once. One of
the two Folk who  had  been  caught  in  the  double  cave  was
part-grown,  half  child  and  half  youth.  They  had come out
proudly from  their  refuge,  and  we  surrounded  them  in  an
admiring  crowd.  Then  the young fellow's mother broke through
and fell upon him  in  a  tremendous  rage,  boxing  his  ears,
pulling  his  hair,  and  shrieking  like  a  demon.  She was a
strapping big woman, very hairy, and the thrashing she gave him
was a delight to the horde. We roared with laughter, holding on
to one another or rolling on the ground in our glee.

     In spite of the reign of fear under which  we  lived,  the
Folk were always great laughers. We had the sense of humor. Our
merriment  was  Gargantuan.  It was never restrained. There was
nothing half way about it. When  a  thing  was  funny  we  were
convulsed  with  appreciation  of it, and the simplest, crudest
things were funny to us. Oh, we were great laughers, I can tell

     The way we had treated Saber-Tooth was the way we  treated
all  animals that invaded the village. We kept our run-ways and
drinking-places to ourselves by making life miserable  for  the
animals   that   trespassed   or  strayed  upon  our  immediate
territory. Even the fiercest hunting animals we  so  bedevilled
that  they  learned  to  leave  our  places  alone. We were not
fighters like them; we were cunning and cowardly,  and  it  was
because  of  our  cunning  and  cowardice,  and  our inordinate
capacity for fear, that we survived in that frightfully hostile
environment of the Younger World.

     Lop-Ear, I figure, was a year older than I. What his  past
history  was  he  had  no way of telling me, but as I never saw
anything of his mother I believed him to be  an  orphan.  After
all, fathers did not count in our horde. Marriage was as yet in
a  rude  state,  and  couples  had  a  way  of  quarrelling and
separating. Modern man, what of his divorce  institution,  does
the  same  thing legally. But we had no laws. Custom was all we
went by, and our custom in this particular  matter  was  rather
promiscuous .

     Nevertheless,  as  this  narrative  will show later on, we
betrayed glimmering adumbrations of the monogamy that was later
to give power to, and make mighty, such tribes as embraced  it.
Furthermore,  even  at  the time I was born, there were several
faithful couples that lived in the trees in the neighborhood of
my mother. Living in the thick of the horde did not conduce  to
monogamy.  It  was  for  this  reason,  undoubtedly,  that  the
faithful couples went away and  lived  by  themselves.  Through
many  years  these couples stayed together, though when the man
or woman died or was eaten the survivor invariably found a  new

     There  was  one  thing  that greatly puzzled me during the
first days of my residence in the horde. There was  a  nameless
and  incommunicable  fear  that  rested  upon  all. At first it
appeared to be  connected  wholly  with  direction.  The  horde
feared  the  northeast.  It  lived in perpetual apprehension of
that quarter of the compass. And every  individual  gazed  more
frequently and with greater alarm in that direction than in any

     When  Lop-Ear  and I went toward the north-east to eat the
stringy-rooted carrots that at that season were at their  best,
he  became unusually timid. He was content to eat the leavings,
the big tough carrots and the little ropy ones, rather than  to
venture  a  short distance farther on to where the carrots were
as yet untouched.  When  I  so  ventured,  he  scolded  me  and
quarrelled  with  me.  He  gave  me  to understand that in that
direction was some horrible danger, but just what the  horrible
danger was his paucity of language would not permit him to say.

     Many  a  good meal I got in this fashion, while he scolded
and chattered vainly at me. I could not understand. I kept very
alert, but I could see  no  danger.  I  calculated  always  the
distance  between myself and the nearest tree, and knew that to
that haven of refuge I could out-foot the  Tawny  One,  or  old
Saber-Tooth, did one or the other suddenly appear.

     One  late afternoon, in the village, a great uproar arose.
The horde was animated with a single emotion, that of fear. The
bluff-side swarmed with the Folk, all gazing and pointing  into
the  northeast. I did not know what it was, but I scrambled all
the way up to the safety of my own high little cave before ever
I turned around to see.

     And then, across the river, away into the northeast, I saw
for the first time the mystery of smoke.  It  was  the  biggest
animal  I  had  ever  seen.  I  thought it was a monster snake,
up-ended, rearing its head high above  the  trees  and  swaying
back  and  forth. And yet, somehow, I seemed to gather from the
conduct of the Folk that the smoke itself was not  the  danger.
They  appeared  to fear it as the token of something else. What
this something else was I was unable to guess. Nor  could  they
tell  me.  Yet  I  was  soon to know, and I was to know it as a
thing more terrible than the Tawny One, than  old  Saber-Tooth,
than the snakes themselves, than which it seemed there could be
no things more terrible.


     Broken-Tooth  was  another youngster who lived by himself.
His mother lived in the caves, but two more children  had  come
after  him  and he had been thrust out to shift for himself. We
had witnessed the  performance  during  the  several  preceding
days,  and it had given us no little glee. Broken-Tooth did not
want to go, and every time his mother left the cave he  sneaked
back  into  it. When she returned and found him there her rages
were delightful. Half the horde made a practice of watching for
these moments. First, from within  the  cave,  would  come  her
scolding  and  shrieking.  Then  we  could  hear  sounds of the
thrashing and the yelling of Broken-Tooth. About this time  the
two  younger children joined in. And finally, like the eruption
of a miniature volcano, Broken-Tooth would come flying out.

     At  the  end  of  several  days  his  leaving   home   was
accomplished. He wailed his grief, unheeded, from the centre of
the  open  space,  for  at least half an hour, and then came to
live with  Lop-Ear  and  me.  Our  cave  was  small,  but  with
squeezing  there  was room for three. I have no recollection of
Broken-Tooth spending more than  one  night  with  us,  so  the
accident must have happened right away.

     It  came  in  the middle of the day. In the morning we had
eaten our fill of the carrots, and then, made heedless by play,
we had ventured on to the  big  trees  just  beyond.  I  cannot
understand  how  Lop-Ear  got over his habitual caution, but it
must have been the play. We were having a  great  time  playing
tree tag. And such tag! We leaped ten or fifteen-foot gaps as a
matter  of  course. And a twenty or twenty-five foot deliberate
drop clear down to the ground was nothing to us. In fact, I  am
almost afraid to say the great distances we dropped. As we grew
older  and  heavier  we  found  we  had  to be more cautious in
dropping, but at that age  our  bodies  were  all  strings  and
springs and we could do anything.

     Broken-Tooth  displayed remarkable agility in the game. He
was "It" less frequently than any of us, and in the  course  of
the  game  he  discovered  one  difficult  "slip"  that neither
Lop-Ear nor I was able to accomplish. To be truthful,  we  were
afraid to attempt it.

     When  we were "It," Broken-Tooth always ran out to the end
of a lofty branch in a certain tree. From the end of the branch
to the ground it must  have  been  seventy  feet,  and  nothing
intervened  to  break a fall. But about twenty feet lower down,
and fully fifteen feet out  from  the  perpendicular,  was  the
thick branch of another tree.

     As  we  ran  out  the limb, Broken-Tooth, facing us, would
begin teetering. This naturally impeded our progress; but there
was more in the teetering than that. He teetered with his  back
to  the  jump  he was to make. Just as we nearly reached him he
would let go. The teetering branch was like a spring-board.  It
threw  him  far  out,  backward,  as he fell. And as he fell he
turned around sidewise in the air  so  as  to  face  the  other
branch  into  which  he  was falling. This branch bent far down
under the impact, and sometimes there was an ominous crackling;
but it never broke, and out of the leaves was always to be seen
the face of Broken-Tooth grinning triumphantly up at us.

     I was "It" the last time Broken-Tooth tried this.  He  had
gained the end of the branch and begun his teetering, and I was
creeping  out after him, when suddenly there came a low warning
cry from Lop-Ear. I looked down and saw him in the main fork of
the tree crouching close against  the  trunk.  Instinctively  I
crouched   down  upon  the  thick  limb.  Broken-Tooth  stopped
teetering,  but  the  branch  would  not  stop,  and  his  body
continued bobbing up and down with the rustling leaves.

     I heard the crackle of a dry twig, and looking down saw my
first  Fire-Man. He was creeping stealthily along on the ground
and peering up into the tree. At first I thought he was a  wild
animal, because he wore around his waist and over his shoulders
a  ragged piece of bearskin. And then I saw his hands and feet,
and more clearly his features. He was very much like  my  kind,
except  that he was less hairy and that his feet were less like
hands than ours. In fact, he and his people, as I was later  to
know,  were  far  less  hairy than we, though we, in turn, were
equally less hairy than the Tree People.


     It came to me instantly, as I looked at him. This was  the
terror  of  the  northeast, of which the mystery of smoke was a
token. Yet I was puzzled. Certainly he was nothing; of which to
be afraid. Red-Eye or any of our strong  men  would  have  been
more  than  a match for him. He was old, too, wizened with age,
and the hair on his face was gray. Also, he limped  badly  with
one  leg.  There  was no doubt at all that we could out-run him
and out-climb him. He could never catch us, that was certain.

     But he carried something in his hand that I had never seen
before. It was a bow and arrow. But at  that  time  a  bow  and
arrow  had  no  meaning  for  me.  How was I to know that death
lurked in that bent piece of wood? But  Lop-Ear  knew.  He  had
evidently  seen  the  Fire  People before and knew something of
their ways. The Fire-Man peered up at him  and  circled  around
the  tree.  And  around  the  main trunk above the fork Lop-Ear
circled too, keeping always the trunk between himself  and  the

     The latter abruptly reversed his circling. Lop-Ear, caught
unawares, also hastily reversed, but did not win the protection
of the trunk until after the Fire-Man had twanged the bow.

     I  saw  the  arrow leap up, miss Lop-Ear, glance against a
limb, and fall back to the ground. I danced up and down  on  my
lofty  perch  with  delight.  It  was  a game! The Fire-Man was
throwing things at Lop-Ear as we sometimes threw things at  one

     The  game  continued  a little longer, but Lop-Ear did not
expose himself a second time. Then the Fire-Man gave it  up.  I
leaned  far  out  over my horizontal limb and chattered down at
him. I wanted to play. I wanted to have him try to hit me  with
the  thing. He saw me, but ignored me, turning his attention to
Broken-Tooth,   who   was   still   teetering   slightly    and
involuntarily on the end of the branch.

     The  first  arrow  leaped upward. Broken-Tooth yelled with
fright and pain. It had  reached  its  mark.  This  put  a  new
complexion  on  the  matter.  I  no  longer  cared to play, but
crouched trembling close to my limb. A second arrow and a third
soared up, missing Broken-Tooth, rustling the  leaves  as  they
passed through, arching in their flight and returning to earth.

     The  Fire-Man  stretched  his  bow  again.  He shifted his
position, walking away several steps, then shifted it a  second
time.  The  bow-string  twanged,  the  arrow leaped upward, and
Broken-Tooth, uttering a terrible scream, fell off the  branch.
I  saw him as he went down, turning over and over, all arms and
legs it seemed, the shaft of  the  arrow  projecting  from  his
chest  and  appearing  and disappearing with each revolution of
his body.

     Sheer down, screaming, seventy feet he fell,  smashing  to
the  earth with an audible thud and crunch, his body rebounding
slightly and settling down again. Still he lived, for he  moved
and  squirmed,  clawing with his hands and feet. I remember the
Fire-Man running forward with a stone and hammering him on  the
head...and then I remember no more.

     Always,  during  my childhood, at this stage of the dream,
did I wake up screaming with fright--to find, often, my  mother
or nurse, anxious and startled, by my bedside, passing soothing
hands  through  my hair and telling me that they were there and
that there was nothing to fear.

     My next dream, in the order of succession,  begins  always
with  the  flight of Lop-Ear and myself through the forest. The
Fire-Man and Broken-Tooth and the tree of the tragedy are gone.
Lop-Ear and I, in a cautious panic,  are  fleeing  through  the
trees.  In  my right leg is a burning pain; and from the flesh,
protruding head and shaft from either side, is an arrow of  the
Fire-Man.  Not  only  did  the  pull  and  strain of it pain me
severely, but it bothered my movements and made  it  impossible
for me to keep up with Lop-Ear.

     At last I gave up, crouching in the secure fork of a tree.
Lop-Ear  went  right  on.  I called to him--most plaintively, I
remember; and he stopped and looked back. Then he  returned  to
me, climbing into the fork and examining the arrow. He tried to
pull  it  out,  but one way the flesh resisted the barbed lead,
and the other way it resisted the  feathered  shaft.  Also,  it
hurt grievously, and I stopped him.

     For  some  time  we  crouched  there,  Lop-Ear nervous and
anxious to be gone, perpetually and apprehensively peering this
way and that, and myself whimpering softly and sobbing. Lop-Ear
was plainly in a funk, and yet his conduct in remaining by  me,
in spite of his fear, I take as a foreshadowing of the altruism
and  comradeship that have helped make man the mightiest of the

     Once again Lop-Ear tried to drag  the  arrow  through  the
flesh,  and  I angrily stopped him. Then he bent down and began
gnawing the shaft of the arrow with his teeth. As he did so  he
held  the  arrow firmly in both hands so that it would not play
about in the wound, and at the same time I held on  to  him.  I
often meditate upon this scene--the two of us, half-grown cubs,
in  the  childhood of the race, and the one mastering his fear,
beating down his selfish impulse of flight, in order  to  stand
by  and succor the other. And there rises up before me all that
was there foreshadowed, and I see visions of Damon and Pythias,
of life-saving crews and  Red  Cross  nurses,  of  martyrs  and
leaders  of  forlorn hopes, of Father Damien, and of the Christ
himself, and of all the men of earth, mighty of stature,  whose
strength  may  trace back to the elemental loins of Lop-Ear and
Big-Tooth and other dim denizens of the Younger World.

     When Lop-Ear had chewed off the head  of  the  arrow,  the
shaft was withdrawn easily enough. I started to go on, but this
time  it was he that stopped me. My leg was bleeding profusely.
Some of the smaller veins had doubtless been ruptured.  Running
out to the end of a branch, Lop-Ear gathered a handful of green
leaves.  These he stuffed into the wound. They accomplished the
purpose, for  the  bleeding  soon  stopped.  Then  we  went  on
together, back to the safety of the caves.

     Well  do I remember that first winter after I left home. I
have long dreams of sitting shivering in the cold. Lop-Ear  and
I  sit close together, with our arms and legs about each other,
blue-faced and with chattering teeth. It got particularly crisp
along toward morning. In  those  chill  early  hours  we  slept
little,  huddling  together  in numb misery and waiting for the
sunrise in order to get warm.

     When we went outside there was a crackle  of  frost  under
foot. One morning we discovered ice on the surface of the quiet
water in the eddy where was the drinking-place, and there was a
great  How-do-you-do  about  it. Old Marrow-Bone was the oldest
member of the horde, and he had never  seen  anything  like  it
before.  I  remember the worried, plaintive look that came into
his eyes as he examined the ice. (This  plaintive  look  always
came  into our eyes when we did not understand a thing, or when
we felt the prod  of  some  vague  and  inexpressible  desire.)
Red-Eye,  too,  when  he investigated the ice, looked bleak and
plaintive, and stared across the river into the  northeast,  as
though  in  some  way  he  connected  the Fire People with this
latest happening.

     But we found ice only on that one morning,  and  that  was
the  coldest  winter  we experienced. I have no memory of other
winters when it was so cold. I have  often  thought  that  that
cold  winter was a fore-runner of the countless cold winters to
come, as the ice-sheet from farther north crept down  over  the
face  of  the  land.  But  we  never  saw  that ice-sheet. Many
generations must have passed away before the descendants of the
horde migrated south, or remained and adapted themselves to the
changed conditions.

     Life was hit or miss and happy-go-lucky  with  us.  Little
was  ever  planned,  and less was executed. We ate when we were
hungry, drank when we were  thirsty,  avoided  our  carnivorous
enemies,  took  shelter in the caves at night, and for the rest
just sort of played along through life.

     We were very curious, easily amused, and  full  of  tricks
and  pranks.  There was no seriousness about us, except when we
were in danger or were  angry,  in  which  cases  the  one  was
quickly forgotten and the other as quickly got over.

     We  were inconsecutive, illogical, and inconsequential. We
had no steadfastness of purpose, and it was here that the  Fire
People  were  ahead  of  us. They possessed all these things of
which we possessed so little. Occasionally, however, especially
in the realm of the emotions, we were capable of long-cherished
purpose. The faithfulness  of  the  monogamic  couples  I  have
referred  to may be explained as a matter of habit; but my long
desire for the Swift One cannot be so explained, any more  than
can be explained the undying enmity between me and Red-Eye.

     But  it  was  our  inconsequentiality  and  stupidity that
especially distresses me when I look back upon that life in the
long ago. Once I found a broken gourd  which  happened  to  lie
right  side  up  and  which  had been filled with the rain. The
water was sweet, and I drank it. I even took the gourd down  to
the stream and filled it with more water, some of which I drank
and  some  of which I poured over Lop-Ear. And then I threw the
gourd away. It never entered my head to  fill  the  gourd  with
water  and  carry  it  into my cave. Yet often I was thirsty at
night, especially after eating wild onions and watercress,  and
no one ever dared leave the caves at night for a drink.


     Another  time  I  found  a dry; gourd, inside of which the
seeds rattled. I had fun with it for a while. But it was a play
thing, nothing more. And yet, it was not long after  this  that
the  using  of  gourds  for  storing  water  became the general
practice of the horde. But I was not the  inventor.  The  honor
was  due  to  old Marrow-Bone, and it is fair to assume that it
was the necessity of his  great  age  that  brought  about  the

     At  any  rate, the first member of the horde to use gourds
was Marrow-Bone. He kept a  supply  of  drinking-water  in  his
cave,  which  cave  belonged  to his son, the Hairless One, who
permitted him to  occupy  a  corner  of  it.  We  used  to  see
Marrow-Bone   filling  his  gourd  at  the  drinking-place  and
carrying it carefully up to his cave. Imitation was  strong  in
the Folk, and first one, and then another and another, procured
a  gourd and used it in similar fashion, until it was a general
practice with all of us so to store water.

     Sometimes old Marrow-Bone had sick spells and  was  unable
to leave the cave. Then it was that the Hairless One filled the
gourd  for  him.  A  little later, the Hairless One deputed the
task  to  Long-Lip,  his  son.  And  after  that,   even   when
Marrow-Bone  was  well again, Long-Lip continued carrying water
for him. By and by, except on unusual occasions, the men  never
carried  any  water  at  all, leaving the task to the women and
larger children. Lop-Ear and I  were  independent.  We  carried
water  only  for  ourselves,  and  we  often  mocked  the young
water-carriers when they were called away from play to fill the

     Progress was slow with us. We played  through  life,  even
the  adults,  much  in  the same way that children play, and we
played as none of the other  animals  played.  What  little  we
learned,  was usually in the course of play, and was due to our
curiosity and keenness of appreciation. For  that  matter,  the
one  big  invention  of the horde, during the time I lived with
it, was the use of gourds. At first we stored only water in the
gourds--in imitation of old Marrow-Bone.

     But one day some one of the women--I  do  not  know  which
one--filled  a  gourd  with black-berries and carried it to her
cave. In no time all the women were carrying berries  and  nuts
and  roots in the gourds. The idea, once started, had to go on.
Another evolution of the carrying-receptacle  was  due  to  the
women. Without doubt, some woman's gourd was too small, or else
she  had  forgotten  her gourd; but be that as it may, she bent
two great leaves together, pinning the seams  with  twigs,  and
carried  home a bigger quantity of berries than could have been
contained in the largest gourd.

     So far we got, and no farther, in  the  transportation  of
supplies  during  the  years  I  lived  with the Folk. It never
entered anybody's head to weave a basket out of  willow-withes.
Sometimes  the men and women tied tough vines about the bundles
of ferns and branches that they carried to the caves  to  sleep
upon.  Possibly  in  ten  or  twenty  generations we might have
worked up to the weaving of baskets. And of this, one thing  is
sure:  if  once  we  wove  withes  into  baskets,  the next and
inevitable step would have been the weaving of  cloth.  Clothes
would have followed, and with covering our nakedness would have
come modesty.

     Thus was momentum gained in the Younger World. But we were
without  this  momentum.  We  were just getting started, and we
could not go far  in  a  single  generation.  We  were  without
weapons, without fire, and in the raw beginnings of speech. The
device  of  writing lay so far in the future that I am appalled
when I think of it.

     Even I was once on the verge of a great discovery. To show
you how fortuitous was development in those days let  me  state
that  had  it not been for the gluttony of Lop-Ear I might have
brought about the  domestication  of  the  dog.  And  this  was
something  that  the Fire People who lived to the northeast had
not yet achieved. They were without  dogs;  this  I  knew  from
observation.  But  let  me  tell  you  how  Lop-Ear's  gluttony
possibly set back our social development many generations.

     Well to the west of our caves was a great  swamp,  but  to
the  south lay a stretch of low, rocky hills. These were little
frequented for two reasons. First of all,  there  was  no  food
there  of  the  kind  we  ate; and next, those rocky hills were
filled with the lairs of carnivorous beasts.

     But Lop-Ear and I strayed over to the hills  one  day.  We
would  not have strayed had we not been teasing a tiger. Please
do not laugh. It was old Saber-Tooth himself. We were perfectly
safe. We chanced upon him in the forest, early in the  morning,
and  from the safety of the branches overhead we chattered down
at him our dislike and hatred. And from branch to  branch,  and
from tree to tree, we followed overhead, making an infernal row
and  warning  all  the forest-dwellers that old Saber-Tooth was


     We spoiled his hunting for him, anyway. And  we  made  him
good  and  angry.  He  snarled  at  us and lashed his tail, and
sometimes he paused and stared up at  us  quietly  for  a  long
time, as if debating in his mind some way by which he could get
hold  of  us. But we only laughed and pelted him with twigs and
the ends of branches.

     This  tiger-baiting  was  common  sport  among  the  folk.
Sometimes  half the horde would follow from overhead a tiger or
lion that had ventured out in the daytime. It was our  revenge;
for more than one member of the horde, caught unexpectedly, had
gone  the way of the tiger's belly or the lion's. Also, by such
ordeals of  helplessness  and  shame,  we  taught  the  hunting
animals  to  some extent to keep out of our territory. And then
it was funny. It was a great game.

     And so Lop-Ear and I had chased Saber-Tooth  across  three
miles  of  forest.  Toward the last he put his tail between his
legs and fled from our gibing like a beaten  cur.  We  did  our
best  to  keep up with him; but when we reached the edge of the
forest he was no more than a streak in the distance.

     I don't know what prompted us, unless  it  was  curiosity;
but  after playing around awhile, Lop-Ear and I ventured across
the open ground to the edge of the rocky hills. We did  not  go
far. Possibly at no time were we more than a hundred yards from
the  trees.  Coming around a sharp corner of rock (we went very
carefully, because we did not know what we might encounter), we
came upon three puppies playing in the sun.

     They did not see us, and we watched them  for  some  time.
They  were  wild  dogs.  In  the  rock-wall  was  a  horizontal
fissure--evidently the lair where their mother had  left  them,
and where they should have remained had they been obedient. But
the  growing  life,  that  in Lop-Ear and me had impelled us to
venture away from the forest, had driven the puppies out of the
cave to frolic. I know how their  mother  would  have  punished
them had she caught them.

     But it was Lop-Ear and I who caught them. He looked at me,
and then  we  made  a dash for it. The puppies knew no place to
run except into the lair, and we headed them  off.  One  rushed
between  my legs. I squatted and grabbed him. He sank his sharp
little teeth into my arm, and I dropped him in  the  suddenness
of  the  hurt  and  surprise.  The  next moment he had scurried

     Lop-Ear, struggling with the second puppy, scowled  at  me
and  intimated  by a variety of sounds the different kinds of a
fool and a bungler that I was. This made me ashamed and spurred
me to valor. I grabbed the remaining puppy by the tail. He  got
his  teeth  into me once, and then I got him by the nape of the
neck. Lop-Ear and I sat down, and  held  the  puppies  up,  and
looked at them, and laughed.

     They were snarling and yelping and crying. Lop-Ear started
suddenly.  He thought he had heard something. We looked at each
other in fear, realizing the danger of our  position.  The  one
thing  that made animals raging demons was tampering with their
young. And these puppies that made such a  racket  belonged  to
the  wild dogs. Well we knew them, running in packs, the terror
of the grass-eating animals. We had watched them following  the
herds  of  cattle  and  bison and dragging down the calves, the
aged, and the sick. We had been chased by them ourselves,  more
than  once.  I  had  seen one of the Folk, a woman, run down by
them and caught just as she reached the shelter of  the  woods.
Had  she  not been tired out by the run, she might have made it
into a tree. She tried, and slipped, and fell back.  They  made
short work of her.

     We  did  not  stare  at  each  other longer than a moment.
Keeping tight hold of our prizes, we ran for the woods. Once in
the security of a tall tree, we held up the puppies and laughed
again. You see, we had to have our laugh out,  no  matter  what


     And  then began one of the hardest tasks I ever attempted.
We started to carry the puppies to our cave. Instead  of  using
our  hands  for  climbing,  most of the time they were occupied
with holding our squirming captives. Once we tried to  walk  on
the  ground,  but were treed by a miserable hyena, who followed
along underneath. He was a wise hyena.

     Lop-Ear got an idea. He remembered how we tied up  bundles
of  leaves  to  carry  home  for  beds. Breaking off some tough
vines, he tied  his  puppy's  legs  together,  and  then,  with
another  piece  of vine passed around his neck, slung the puppy
on his back. This left him with hands and feet free  to  climb.
He  was  jubilant,  and  did not wait for me to finish tying my
puppy's  legs,  but  started  on.  There  was  one  difficulty,
however.  The  puppy  wouldn't stay slung on Lop-Ear's back. It
swung around to the side and then on in front. Its  teeth  were
not  tied, and the next thing it did was to sink its teeth into
Lop-Ear's soft
      and unprotected stomach. He  let  out  a  scream,  nearly
fell,  and  clutched a branch violently with both hands to save
himself. The vine around his neck broke,  and  the  puppy,  its
four  legs  still  tied,  dropped  to  the  ground.  The  hyena
proceeded to dine.

     Lop-Ear was disgusted and angry. He abused the hyena,  and
then  went  off alone through the trees. I had no reason that I
knew for wanting to carry the puppy to the cave, except that  I
WANTED  to;  and  I  stayed by my task. I made the work a great
deal easier by elaborating on Lop-Ear's idea. Not  only  did  I
tie the puppy's legs, but I thrust a stick through his jaws and
tied them together securely.

     At  last  I  got  the  puppy  home.  I  imagine I had more
pertinacity than the average Folk, or else I  should  not  have
succeeded.  They  laughed  at  me  when they saw me lugging the
puppy up to my high little cave, but I did  not  mind.  Success
crowned my efforts, and there was the puppy. He was a plaything
such  as none of the Folk possessed. He learned rapidly. When I
played with him and he bit me, I boxed his ears,  and  then  he
did not try again to bite for a long time.

     I  was  quite taken up with him. He was something new, and
it was a characteristic of the Folk to like new things. When  I
saw  that  he refused fruits and vegetables, I caught birds for
him and squirrels and young rabbits. (We Folk were meat-eaters,
as well as vegetarians, and we were  adept  at  catching  small
game.)  The  puppy  ate  the meat and thrived. As well as I can
estimate, I must have had him over a  week.  And  then,  coming
back  to  the  cave  one  day  with  a nestful of young-hatched
pheasants, I found Lop-Ear had killed the puppy  and  was  just
beginning  to  eat  him.  I  sprang  for Lop-Ear,--the cave was
small,--and we went at it tooth and nail.

     And thus, in a fight, ended one of the  earliest  attempts
to  domesticate  the  dog.  We pulled hair out in handfuls, and
scratched and bit and gouged. Then we sulked and made up. After
that we ate the puppy. Raw? Yes.  We  had  not  yet  discovered
fire.   Our   evolution   into   cooking  animals  lay  in  the
tight-rolled scroll of the future.

     Red-Eye was  an  atavism.  He  was  the  great  discordant
element  in our horde. He was more primitive than any of us. He
did not  belong  with  us,  yet  we  were  still  so  primitive
ourselves that we were incapable of a cooperative effort strong
enough  to  kill  him  or  cast him out. Rude as was our social
organization, he was, nevertheless, too rude to live in it.  He
tended always to destroy the horde by his unsocial acts. He was
really  a  reversion to an earlier type, and his place was with
the Tree People rather than with us who were in the process  of
becoming men.

     He  was a monster of cruelty, which is saying a great deal
in that day. He beat his wives--not that he ever had more  than
one  wife at a time, but that he was married many times. It was
impossible for any woman to live with him,  and  yet  they  did
live with him, out of compulsion. There was no gainsaying him.

     No man was strong enough to stand against him.

     Often  do  I  have  visions  of  the quiet hour before the
twilight. From drinking-place and carrot patch and berry  swamp
the  Folk  are  trooping  into the open space before the caves.
They dare linger no later than this, for the dreadful  darkness
is approaching, in which the world is given over to the carnage
of  the  hunting  animals,  while  the fore-runners of man hide
tremblingly in their holes.


     There yet remain to us a few minutes before  we  climb  to
our  caves.  We  are  tired  from  the play of the day, and the
sounds we make are subdued. Even the cubs, still greedy for fun
and antics, play with restraint. The wind from the sea has died
down, and the shadows are lengthening  with  the  last  of  the
sun's  descent. And then, suddenly, from Red-Eye's cave, breaks
a wild screaming and the sound of  blows.  He  is  beating  his

     At  first  an awed silence comes upon us. But as the blows
and screams continue we break out into an insane  gibbering  of
helpless  rage.  It  is  plain  that  the  men resent Red-Eye's
actions, but they are too afraid of him. The blows cease, and a
low groaning dies away, while we chatter  among  ourselves  and
the sad twilight creeps upon us.

     We,  to  whom  most  happenings  were jokes, never laughed
during Red-Eye's wife-beatings. We knew too well the tragedy of
them. On more than one morning, at the base of the  cliff,  did
we  find  the body of his latest wife. He had tossed her there,
after she had died, from his cave-mouth. He  never  buried  his
dead.  The  task  of  carrying away the bodies, that else would
have polluted our abiding-place,  he  left  to  the  horde.  We
usually   flung   them   into   the   river   below   the  last

     Not alone did  Red-Eye  murder  his  wives,  but  he  also
murdered  for his wives, in order to get them. When he wanted a
new wife and selected the wife  of  another  man,  he  promptly
killed  that  man. Two of these murders I saw myself. The whole
horde knew, but could do nothing. We had not yet developed  any
government,  to  speak  of,  inside  the  horde. We had certain
customs and  visited  our  wrath  upon  the  unlucky  ones  who
violated  those  customs. Thus, for example, the individual who
defiled a drinking-place would be attacked by  every  onlooker,
while one who deliberately gave a false alarm was the recipient
of much rough usage at our hands. But Red-Eye walked rough-shod
over  all  our  customs,  and  we  so  feared  him that we were
incapable of the collective action necessary to punish him.

     It was during the sixth winter in our  cave  that  Lop-Ear
and I discovered that we were really growing up. From the first
it  had  been a squeeze to get in through the entrance-crevice.
This had had its advantages,  however.  It  had  prevented  the
larger  Folk  from  taking  our cave away from us. And it was a
most desirable cave, the highest on the bluff, the safest,  and
in winter the smallest and warmest.


     To show the stage of the mental development of the Folk, I
may state  that  it  would have been a simple thing for some of
them to have driven us out and  enlarged  the  crevice-opening.
But they never thought of it. Lop-Ear and I did not think of it
either  until  our  increasing  size  compelled  us  to make an
enlargement. This occurred when summer was well  along  and  we
were  fat  with  better  forage.  We  worked  at the crevice in
spells, when the fancy struck us.

     At first we dug the crumbling rocks away with our fingers,
until our nails got sore, when I accidentally stumbled upon the
idea of using a piece of wood on the rock.  This  worked  well.
Also  it worked woe. One morning early, we had scratched out of
the wall quite a heap of fragments. I gave  the  heap  a  shove
over  the  lip  of  the entrance. The next moment there came up
from below a howl of rage. There was no need to look.  We  knew
the  voice  only  too  well.  The  rubbish  had  descended upon

     We crouched down in the cave in  consternation.  A  minute
later  he  was  at  the  entrance,  peering  in  at us with his
inflamed eyes and raging like a demon. But he was too large. He
could not get in  to  us.  Suddenly  he  went  away.  This  was
suspicious.  By  all  we  knew  of  Folk  nature he should have
remained and had out his rage. I  crept  to  the  entrance  and
peeped  down. I could see him just beginning to mount the bluff
again. In one hand he carried a  long  stick.  Before  I  could
divine  his  plan,  he  was  back  at the entrance and savagely
jabbing the stick in at us.

     His thrusts were prodigious. They could have disembowelled
us. We shrank back against the side-walls, where we were almost
out of range. But by industrious  poking  he  got  us  now  and
again--cruel,  scraping  jabs  with  the  end of the stick that
raked off the hide and hair. When we screamed with the hurt, he
roared his satisfaction and jabbed the harder.

     I began to grow angry. I had a temper of my own  in  those
days,  and  pretty  considerable  courage,  too,  albeit it was
largely the courage of the cornered rat. I caught hold  of  the
stick  with  my hands, but such was his strength that he jerked
me into the crevice. He reached for me with his long  arm,  and
his  nails  tore  my flesh as I leaped back from the clutch and
gained the comparative safety of the side-wall.

     He began poking again, and caught me a painful blow on the
shoulder. Beyond shivering with fright and yelling when he  was
hit,  Lop-Ear  did  nothing. I looked for a stick with which to
jab back, but found only the end of a branch, an  inch  through
and  a  foot  long.  I threw this at Red-Eye. It did no damage,
though he howled with a sudden increase of rage at my daring to
strike back. He began jabbing furiously. I found a fragment  of
rock and threw it at him, striking him on the chest.

     This  emboldened  me,  and, besides, I was now as angry as
he, and had lost all fear. I ripped fragment of rock  from  the
wall.  The  piece must have weighed two or threepounds. With my
strength I slammed it  full  into  Red-Eye's  face.  It  nearly
finished  him.  He  staggered backward, dropping his stick, and
almost fell off the cliff.

     He was a ferocious sight. His face was covered with blood,
and he was snarling and gnashing his fangs like a wild boar. He
wiped the blood from his eyes, caught sight of me,  and  roared
with  fury.  His stick was gone, so he began ripping out chunks
of crumbling rock and throwing them in at me. This supplied  me
with ammunition. I gave him as good as he sent, and better; for
he presented a good target, while he caught only glimpses of me
as I snuggled against the side-wall.

     Suddenly  he disappeared again. From the lip of the cave I
saw him descending. All the horde had gathered outside  and  in
awed  silence  was  looking on. As he descended, the more timid
ones scurried for their caves.  I  could  see  old  Marrow-Bone
tottering  along  as  fast as he could. Red-Eye sprang out from
the wall and finished the last twenty feet through the air.  He
landed  alongside  a  mother who was just beginning the ascent.
She screamed with fear, and the  two-year-old  child  that  was
clinging to her released its grip and rolled at Red-Eye's feet.
Both  he and the mother reached for it, and he got it. The next
moment the frail little body had whirled through  the  air  and
shattered  against the wall. The mother ran to it, caught it up
in her arms, and crouched over it crying.

     Red-Eye started over to pick up the stick. Old Marrow-Bone
had tottered into his way. Red-Eye's great hand  shot  out  and
clutched  the  old man by the back of the neck. I looked to see
his neck broken. His body went limp as he  surrendered  himself
to his fate.
      Red-Eye  hesitated  a  moment, and Marrow-Bone, shivering
terribly, bowed his head and covered his face with his  crossed
arms. Then Red-Eye slammed him face-downward to the ground. Old
Marrow-Bone did not struggle. He lay there crying with the fear
of  death.  I  saw  the  Hairless  One,  out in the open space,
beating his chest and bristling, but afraid  to  come  forward.
And  then,  in  obedience  to  some whim of his erratic spirit,
Red-Eye let the old man alone and passed on and  recovered  the

     He  returned  to  the wall and began to climb up. Lop-Ear,
who was shivering and peeping alongside of me,  scrambled  back
into  the cave. It was plain that Red-Eye was bent upon murder.
I was desperate and angry and fairly  cool.  Running  back  and
forth  along the neighboring ledges, I gathered a heap of rocks
at the cave-entrance. Red-Eye was now several yards beneath me,
concealed for the moment by an out-jut  of  the  cliff.  As  he
climbed,  his head came into view, and I banged a rock down. It
missed, striking the wall and shattering; but the  flying  dust
and grit filled his eyes and he drew back out of view.

     A  chuckling  and  chattering  arose  from the horde, that
played the part of audience. At last there was one of the  Folk
who  dared  to  face Red-Eye. As their approval and acclamation
arose on the air, Red-Eye snarled down  at  them,  and  on  the
instant  they  were  subdued  to  silence.  Encouraged  by this
evidence of his power, he thrust his head  into  view,  and  by
scowling   and   snarling  and  gnashing  his  fangs  tried  to
intimidate me.  He  scowled  horribly,  contracting  the  scalp
strongly over the brows and bringing the hair down from the top
of  the  head  until each hair stood apart and pointed straight

     The sight chilled me, but I mastered my fear, and, with  a
stone poised in my hand, threatened him back. He still tried to
advance.  I  drove the stone down at him and made a sheer miss.
The next shot was a success. The stone struck him on the  neck.
He slipped back out of sight, but as he disappeared I could see
him  clutching  for  a grip on the wall with one hand, and with
the other clutching at his throat. The stick fell clattering to
the ground.

     I could not see him any more,  though  I  could  hear  him
choking  and  strangling  and  coughing.  The  audience  kept a
death-like silence. I crouched on the lip of the  entrance  and
waited. The strangling and coughing died down, and I could hear
him  now and again clearing his throat. A little later he began
to climb down. He went very quietly, pausing every moment or so
to stretch his neck or to feel it with his hand.


     At the sight of him descending, the whole horde, with wild
screams and yells, stampeded for the  woods.  Old  Marrow-Bone,
hobbling and tottering, followed behind. Red-Eye took no notice
of  the  flight. When he reached the ground he skirted the base
of the bluff and climbed up and into his own cave. He  did  not
look around once.

     I  stared  at  Lop-Ear,  and he stared back. We understood
each other. Immediately, and with great caution and  quietness,
we  began  climbing  up  the  cliff. When we reached the top we
looked back. The abiding-place was deserted,  Red-Eye  remained
in his cave, and the horde had disappeared in the depths of the

     We  turned  and  ran. We dashed across the open spaces and
down the slopes unmindful of  possible  snakes  in  the  grass,
until  we  reached the woods. Up into the trees we went, and on
and on, swinging our arboreal flight until  we  had  put  miles
between  us  and the caves. And then, and not till then, in the
security of a great fork, we paused, looked at each other,  and
began  to  laugh.  We held on to each other, arms and legs, our
eyes streaming  tears,  our  ,sides  aching,  and  laughed  and
laughed and laughed.

     After  we had had out our laugh, Lop-Ear and I curved back
in our flight and got breakfast in the blueberry swamp. It  was
the  same  swamp  to  which I had made my first journeys in the
world, years before, accompanied  by  my  mother.  I  had  seen
little  of  her  in  the  intervening  time.  Usually, when she
visited the horde at the caves, I was away in the forest. I had
once or twice caught glimpses of  the  Chatterer  in  the  open
space,  and  had  had  the  pleasure of making faces at him and
angering him from the mouth of my cave. Beyond such amenities I
had left my family severely alone. I was not much interested in
it, and anyway I was doing very well by myself.

     After eating our fill of berries,  with  two  nestfuls  of
partly  hatched  quail-eggs for dessert, Lop-Ear and I wandered
circumspectly into the woods toward the river. Here  was  where
stood  my  old home-tree, out of which I had been thrown by the
Chatterer. It was still occupied. There had  been  increase  in
the  family.  Clinging  tight  to  my mother was a little baby.
Also, there was a girl, partly grown, who  cautiously  regarded
us from one of the lower branches. She was evidently my sister,
or half-sister, rather.

     My  mother  recognized  me,  but she warned me away when I
started to climb into the tree. Lop-Ear, who was more  cautious
by  far  than  I,  beat  a retreat, nor could I persuade him to
return. Later in the day, however, my sister came down  to  the
ground, and there and in neighboring trees we romped and played
all  afternoon.  And  then came trouble. She was my sister, but
that did not prevent her from treating me abominably,  for  she
had  inherited all the viciousness of the Chatterer. She turned
upon me suddenly, in a petty rage, and scratched  me,  tore  my
hair,  and  sank her sharp little teeth deep into my forearm. I
lost my temper. I did not injure her, but  it  was  undoubtedly
the soundest spanking she had received up to that time.

     How  she  yelled and squalled. The Chatterer, who had been
away all day and who was only then returning, heard  the  noise
and  rushed  for  the  spot.  My mother also rushed, but he got
there first. Lop-Ear and I did not wait his coming. We were off
and away, and the Chatterer gave us  the  chase  of  our  lives
through the trees.

     After  the  chase  was over, and Lop-Ear and I had had out
our laugh, we discovered that twilight was  falling.  Here  was
night  with all its terrors upon us, and to return to the caves
was out of the question. Red-Eye made that impossible. We  took
refuge in a tree that stood apart from other trees, and high up
in  a  fork  we passed the night. It was a miserable night. For
the first few hours it rained heavily, then it turned cold  and
a  chill  wind  blew  upon  us.  Soaked through, with shivering
bodies and chattering teeth, we huddled in each  other's  arms.
We  missed  the  snug, dry cave that so quickly warmed with the
heat of our bodies.

     Morning found us wretched and resolved. We would not spend
another  such  night.  Remembering  the  tree-shelters  of  our
elders,  we set to work to make one for ourselves. We built the
framework of a rough nest, and on higher  forks  overhead  even
got in several ridge-poles for the roof. Then the sun came out,
and  under  its benign influence we forgot the hardships of the
night and went off in search of breakfast. After that, to  show
the  inconsequentiality  of  life  in  those  days,  we fell to
playing. It  must  have  taken  us  all  of  a  month,  working
intermittently,  to  make our tree-house; and then, when it was
completed, we never used it again.

     But I run ahead of my story.  When  we  fell  to  playing,
after breakfast, on the second day away from the caves, Lop-Ear
led me a chase through the trees and down to the river. We came
out  upon  it  where  a large slough entered from the blueberry
swamp. The mouth of this slough  was  wide,  while  the  slough
itself  was  practically  without a current. In the dead water,
just inside its mouth, lay a tangled mass of tree trunks.  Some
of  these,  what  of the wear and tear of freshets and of being
stranded long summers on sand-bars, were seasoned and  dry  and
without branches. They floated high in the water, and bobbed up
and down or rolled over when we put our weight upon them.

     Here  and  there between the trunks were water-cracks, and
through them we could see schools of small fish, like  minnows,
darting back and forth. Lop-Ear and I became fishermen at once.
Lying  flat  on the logs, keeping perfectly quiet, waiting till
the minnows came close, we would make  swift  passes  with  our
hands.  Our  prizes we ate on the spot, wriggling and moist. We
did not notice the lack of salt.

     The mouth of the slough became  our  favorite  playground.
Here we spent many hours each day, catching fish and playing on
the  logs,  and  here, one day, we learned our first lessons in
navigation. The log on which Lop-Ear was lying got  adrift.  He
was  curled  up  on his side, asleep. A light fan of air slowly
drifted the log away from the shore, and  when  I  noticed  his
predicament the distance was already too great for him to leap.

     At  first  the episode seemed merely funny to me. But when
one of the vagrant impulses of fear,  common  in  that  age  of
perpetual insecurity, moved within me, I was struck with my own
loneliness.  I  was made suddenly aware of Lop-Ear's remoteness
out there on that alien element  a  few  feet  away.  I  called
loudly  to  him a warning cry. He awoke frightened, and shifted
his weight rashly on the  log.  It  turned  over,  sousing  him
under.  Three  times  again  it soused him under as he tried to
climb out upon it. Then he succeeded,  crouching  upon  it  and
chattering with fear.

     I  could  do nothing. Nor could he. Swimming was something
of which we knew nothing. We were already too far removed  from
the  lower life-forms to have the instinct for swimming, and we
had not yet become sufficiently man-like to undertake it as the
working out of a problem. I roamed disconsolately up  and  down
the bank, keeping as close to him in his involuntary travels as
I could, while he wailed and cried till it was a wonder that he
did not bring down upon us every hunting animal within a mile.

     The  hours  passed. The sun climbed overhead and began its
descent to the west. The light wind died down and left  Lop-Ear
on  his  log  floating  around  a  hundred feet away. And then,
somehow, I know not how, Lop-Ear made the great  discovery.  He
began  paddling  with his hands. At first his progress was slow
and erratic. Then he straightened out and began laboriously  to
paddle  nearer  and  nearer. I could not understand. I sat down
and watched and waited until he gained the shore.


     But he had learned something, which was more  than  I  had
done. Later in the afternoon, he deliberately launched out from
shore  on the log. Still later he persuaded me to join him, and
I, too, learned the trick of paddling.  For  the  next  several
days  we  could  not  tear  ourselves  away from the slough. So
absorbed were we in our new game that we  almost  neglected  to
eat.  We  even roosted in a nearby tree at night. And we forgot
that Red-Eye existed.

     We were always trying new logs, and we  learned  that  the
smaller  the  log  the  faster  we  could  make it go. Also, we
learned that the smaller the log the more liable it was to roll
over and give us a ducking. Still  another  thing  about  small
logs  we  learned.  One  day  we  paddled  our  individual logs
alongside each other. And  then,  quite  by  accident,  in  the
course of play, we discovered that when each, with one hand and
foot,  held  on  to the other's log, the logs were steadied and
did not turn over. Lying side by side  in  this  position,  our
outside  hands  and feet were left free for paddling. Our final
discovery was that this arrangement enabled  us  to  use  still
smaller  logs  and  thereby  gain  greater speed. And there our
discoveries  ended.  We  had  invented   the   most   primitive
catamaran,  and  we  did  not  have sense enough to know it. It
never entered our heads to lash the logs  together  with  tough
vines  or  stringy  roots.  We  were  content  to hold the logs
together with our hands and feet.

     It was not until we got  over  our  first  enthusiasm  for
navigation and had begun to return to our tree-shelter to sleep
at  night,  that  we  found  the  Swift  One.  I saw her first,
gathering young acorns from the branches of a  large  oak  near
our  tree.  She  was very timid. At first, she kept very still;
but when she saw that she was discovered  she  dropped  to  the
ground and dashed wildly away. We caught occasional glimpses of
her from day to day, and came to look for her when we travelled
back and forth between our tree and the mouth of the slough.

     And  then,  one  day, she did not run away. She waited our
coming, and made soft peace-sounds. We could not get very near,
however. When we seemed  to  approach  too  close,  she  darted
suddenly  away and from a safe distance uttered the soft sounds
again. This continued for some days. It took a  long  while  to
get  acquainted  with  her, but finally it was accomplished and
she joined us sometimes in our play.

     I liked her from the  first.  She  was  of  most  pleasing
appearance.  She was very mild. Her eyes were the mildest I had
ever seen. In this she was quite unlike the rest of  the  girls
and  women  of  the Folk, who were born viragos. She never made
harsh, angry cries, and it seemed to be her nature to flee away
from troubl