The Mighty Tadpole, an excerpt from the book, Fifty Thousand Years

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Early Horses of Lascaux
Fifty Thousand Years, is an historical romance. It was written by Skook, under an old family name, Dylan Casa Del Lobos. The 100,000 word scientific novel will be on Amazon this fall. This is a sneak preview. The story follows a maternal line of women, dating back 50,000 years ago to the first major exodus out of Africa, during a glacial pulse of the Great Ice Age. Most of my heroes and complex characters are women. They have a genetic propensity to carve the finest paleolithic flint tools that allowed man to survive and thrive during the difficult eons of the Ice Ages. Their artistic senses would change as science and technology evolved. Science has made dramatic discoveries within our DNA and the Archaeology of the last 50,000 years, some of these new facts will be stressed in this story that is meant to encourage women and give them confidence, rather than convince them to take on the role of perpetual victims. This is Skook’s version of Feminism. This particular story is my favorite out of many. It was plucked from the middle of the book, approximately 30,000 years ago; consequently, you will need to read with an open mind to grasp the nature of the story. Remember, life and water was near the ice. The rest of the world was locked in a drought that lasted for eons. The ice was a miIe high and covered approximately a third of North America, Asia and Europe: the oceans were 160 meters more shallow and our coastlines extended up to and over a hundred kilometers farther into the sea. Our ancestors were much tougher than most of us. I hope you enjoy the story.

The Mighty Tadpole

Lavender and Sturgeon formalized their relationship and were unconcerned about expressing their carnal relationship in the communal lodge. Their daughter, Tadpole, was born nine months later.

The children modeled their behavior upon the behavior of their parents. Tadpole admired her older brother, Raging Bull, and he protected his younger sister, treating her like a tribal princess.

At 20 years of age, Raging Bull became a natural leader in his tribe, He was in line to become chief. He was an excellent flint worker and a superior tracker, and because of his mother’s encouragement, he believed in his own abilities. Raging Bull already had two wives and was looking for another; unfortunately, he intimidated other men and kept potential suitors away from Tadpole.

She didn’t mind being alone. Tadpole was an artist; she mixed and created her own paints from mineral oxides and painted animals on the walls of caves they lived in during their migrations. The tribe always lived near the entrances of the caves. This was a matter of safety; since, there was a real possibility of becoming trapped in the cave by another tribe, a cave bear, hyenas, or a pack of wolves, but Tadpole always disappeared into the darkest recesses of the caves after dinner. She would build a small fire for light and using brushes she made from the bristles of boar hogs, she painted the animals with such realism, that many who saw the paintings wondered if the animals became animated after being painted.

During her early years, she painted the animals as she saw them, later on, she thought of the constellations her father, Sturgeon, had shown to the children on starlit nights and began to paint the different animals to fit within various constellations. The paintings were positioned relative to the locations of the constellations. Using her mother’s stories of migrations from the Indus River, she tried to convey those stories within the context of her art.

The People of the North migrated with the herds and Tadpole had the opportunity to use many different caves. Sometimes, upon returning to a cave after an absence of months or years, there would be a new painting by an unknown artist. Tadpole was always excited to see the work of another artist. She studied the unknown artist’s work carefully. Some of the artists had great skill and others were crude, but to Tadpole, they were kindred spirits, with the same passions that drove her to paint every night.

By the time Tadpole was 19, she had constructed scaffolding and was painting a stampeding herd of horses across a ceiling while lying on her back (Lascaux, Southern France). Raging Bull began to worry about his sister. She was a beautiful, intelligent young woman, but the suitors were no longer begging for a chance to visit. It was well known throughout several tribes, she only cared about her painting and soon she would be considered a spinster, too old to start a family. Raging Bull already had four wives and nine children. It was time for Tadpole to take a husband.

A few weeks before freeze-up, one of the scouts found several large herds of Mammoths and a cave, to the west, 30 miles away. This was going to be their winter home and their winter’s meat supply. Raging Bull told his tribe they were moving in the morning. The tribe trusted his decision and no one complained, but when he told Tadpole of the plan, she said, “I will be there in a few weeks. I want to finish the ceiling.”

Raging Bull looked at her in shocked disbelief, “You can finish the painting when we return. Besides, how will you find us in a few weeks? We will be over 30 miles away and the snows might come early.”

Everyone knew Tadpole was intelligent; the scouts always consulted her when they were using their rudimentary system of celestial navigation. She had memorized the daily, monthly, and yearly movements of the stars, sun, and moon. She was never lost and could tell you their approximate relative position to every landmark the tribe had ever seen. She asked Raging Bull, “Do you think I will get lost?”

Raging Bull was losing another argument to his sister, “You might not get lost, but what about us? Who will keep us from getting lost? What about the deep snow? What about food and what if another tribe abducts you?”

“If I don’t make it to your camp this fall, I will be here in the spring. I need time alone.”

“How will you feed yourself? You are not a hunter. You are a navigator and a painter.”

Raging Bull loved his sister as much as he had loved his mother. He had asked his mother about marrying Tadpole, since she was his half-sister, but his mother said it was against the laws of nature.

He didn’t want to leave his sister, but what could he do with this headstrong woman. She was like her mother.th-1

Raging Bull’s problem was partially solved when Blue Cat volunteered to stay behind and watch over Tadpole. Raging Bull thanked him and said he would ask Tadpole.

Blue Cat was twenty-eight years old and considered the best of the hunters. He had suffered a grievous eye injury, as a boy, during a raid by an outlaw tribe, and lost the sight of his left eye. The injury left him with a large scar on his cheek and a white eye. He was found wandering the countryside in pain and starving. The People of the North took pity on the vagabond and adopted him. It was a wise choice; Blue Cat had an uncanny ability to find game when no one else could. Tadpole was less likely to starve if Blue Cat was with her.

Because of his eye and his scar, Blue Cat had never considered himself worthy of a wife. He was a quiet man, confident in his abilities. If someone had to stay to watch Tadpole, Blue Cat was an excellent choice.

Tadpole agreed after her brother reminded her of the real possibility of starvation and being snowed in all winter.

The tribe left the next morning. Raging Bull was still aggravated with Tadpole and just said enough to qualify as an obligatory farewell. Tadpole smiled to herself; deep inside, she knew her brother was worried about her. However, if she left the cave and her mural on the ceiling, she might not ever finish her masterpiece.

It was very quiet after the tribe left. Blue Cat only wandered back to the work area to watch the painting once in a while. He hunted and cooked two meals a day and if Tadpole didn’t smell the food, she would never know when a meal was ready. Blue Cat rarely said anything. He would smile and then look away as if he was embarrassed, and Tadpole was happy to work without interruptions.

Blue Cat was an excellent cook and it was a good thing; since, Tadpole had never learned to cook or perform any of the jobs of a wife, and she certainly didn’t know how to hunt.

Blue Cat always carried two spears and one day he was visibly upset. He had missed an elk and the flint point had hit a rock. The top one third of the flint spear point was gone and the spear was useless.

Tadpole looked at the broken point and said, “Well, my quiet friend, here is something I can do for you. Follow me.”

They looked among the rocks and found a dozen good flint rocks and several granite rocks about the size of a baseball. He gave her a piece of leather, to hold the flint, and they sat down in the light at the opening of the cave.

Blue Cat watched in amazement as Tadpole’s nimble fingers moved so fast, he could barely follow them. She made 2 new spear points and a two-bladed knife for Blue Cat.

She smiled to see him so happy. It was the first emotion she had seen, since he became her guardian. He looked up to say, “Thank you,” but immediately looked down again.

Blue Cat put her hand under his chin and lifted his face so that he had to look at her. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead. He opened his eyes to look at her and realized her leather-covered bosom was only inches away from his face.

Holding his face with both her hands, she said, “Always look at me, when I talk to you or you talk to me. We are friends and we respect each other.”

These were the kindest words anyone had ever said to Blue Cat and he felt wonderful. From that moment on, Blue Cat would give his life to help Tadpole. She had no way of knowing how deep his commitment was, since, he would never talk about it, but it was real and honest. The snow started coming down at that moment and the two them looked into the white void and wondered about the weather. “I will finish tonight, and if the weather is right, we can leave tomorrow,” Tadpole said, without conviction.

“Yes, Miss Tadpole, we will leave when the weather is good,” Blue Cat said. He was looking at her and hoping for the best, but he knew they had missed their window of opportunity. He had been an orphan his whole life and no one had ever loved him or been nice to him; spending the winter with Tadpole was not intimidating for him. It would be a long winter; at least, he could hunt and she could paint and now, with his self-confidence, they could talk. Blue Cat had always taken what life had to offer and made the best of things, but since Tadpole had shown him kindness, he looked forward to each day.

Catastrophe

The winter hit hard that afternoon and the snow continued for three more weeks. When the snow quit, the temperature dropped to 40 below. Blue Cat’s meals were only once a day and the servings were small. It was hard to hunt in the deep snow and Blue Cat was worried about the possibility of starvation.

He came home after another unsuccessful hunt to hear whimpering from the back of the cave. He called out to Tadpole and she cried for help.

Tadpole had fallen from a ladder and her right lower leg was broken. The bones weren’t protruding through the skin, but the leg was crooked, if he didn’t straighten the leg, she would never walk again.

He picked her up and carried her to the entrance of the cave, where the light was better, to assess the damage and plan the correction. He laid her on his bed and looked at her tiny leg bones. “They will be easier to correct,” he said, to himself. She was shivering from the pain. “Miss Tadpole, I need to align the broken bones. It will hurt.”

Blue Cat had seen a broken leg set once before, and he was the only bonesetter they had.

He gave her a rolled up piece of leather and told her to bite into the leather and scream. Once he started, he would continue, until he was done. He pulled up the leather skirt to her hips and slid his body underneath the broken leg until the leg was resting on his chest. He brought his right foot to rest on her pubic arch and braced his left foot against her right hip. Holding her right foot with his right hand, he felt the broken bones with his left hand; with increasing pressure, he began to straighten his legs and Tadpole’s broken right leg. Tadpole was screaming, but Blue Cat continued until he felt the bones click into place just before Tadpole passed out from the pain. With great care and caution, Blue Cat slipped out from under the leg and wrapped it with a piece of moist leather about three feet long and a foot wide. When the leg was secure in the wrap, he secured the leather with thongs above and below the break. He put a splint on each side and wrapped the leg once again. There was nothing else he could do, broken leg bones were often fatal during the Stone Age; now, he could only hope for the best. He wanted to hunt, but he didn’t want Tadpole to wake up alone and in pain. He sat by the opening of the cave and with the forlorn hope of an animal walking within range of his spear.

Tadpole woke up in the middle of the night. She was in pain and bravely fought the urge to cry. She thanked Blue Cat and asked if he could make something to eat.

“I have enough soup for a few more days, but in the morning I must start hunting again. If you wake up alone, I will be out hunting.”

After a small bowl of soup, Tadpole fell into a deep sleep.

The Wolf

Blue Cat didn’t tell her, but the only way he could give her soup was by going hungry. In the early morning hours, he left the cave to hunt. Just as the sun was rising, Blue Cat saw a young bull elk sleeping at the bottom of a small hill.

He threw his spear with accuracy and struck the elk in the right shoulder. It was a crippling wound, but the elk stood and looked like he was ready to run. Blue Cat threw his second spear hard and it pierced the ribcage, delivering a fatal blow. Blue Cat waited, he didn’t want to spook the bull and have it run a mile before dying and decrease his chances of getting back to the cave with the carcass. Finally, the bull staggered a few strides before collapsing in a heap.

He finished field dressing the elk and took a few bites of the heart for the strength he needed to drag the carcass to the cave, when he realized he wasn’t alone. Blue Cat could hear an animal in the bushes. He started to drag the carcass to the cave, when he heard a low growl to his right. He turned and aimed his spear at a starving wolf with a grievous head wound about four feet away. One eye was gone and the fur was torn away from half his skull. Blue Cat pointed his spear at the wolf’s good eye, but he knew his odds weren’t good with the wolf so close. Blue Cat threw the half-eaten heart at the wolf and it was swallowed instantly. He picked up the liver and threw it. It was gone in four quick bites. He picked up a leg bone and threw it, but when the wolf caught it, he dropped the leg and lunged past Blue Cat to fight a tiger that was sneaking up to take the carcass. It was a spirited fight, but a lone wolf was no match for a tiger. Blue Cat stabbed his spear deep into the tiger’s back and the big cat decided he didn’t like the odds. He left while snarling and spitting at the mismatched pair.

The wolf ate the rest of the gut pile while Blue Cat lugged the carcass toward the cave. During the last hundred yards, the wolf walked alongside Blue Cat as if they were the best of friends. Blue Cat shrugged his shoulders and continued toward the cave.

It was midafternoon when Blue Cat showed up with the elk carcass and the wolf. Tadpole had built a little fire and resisted the urge to scream a warning to Blue Cat.

Blue Cat looked at Tadpole and smiled, “Don’t worry, we are friends. We fight tigers.”

Tadpole looked at Blue Cat as if he had lost his mind.

The wolf ran back and forth across the entrance to the cave before lying down just inside the entrance.

Blue Cat started roasting three steaks. When the food was cooked, he threw a steak to the wolf and the wolf swallowed his dinner in two bites.

“Why did you feed the wolf?” Tadpole asked.

“He earned it, that and much more. He saved my life and he saved your life as well, because you would soon starve without me.”

The next morning, Blue Cat worked with the wolf to get it to stay in the cave, instead of following him. He only stayed out for two hours, but when he returned with a small deer, the wolf jumped up and down when he saw Blue Cat.

The wolf got the bones from the evening meal and seemed happy with his share.

Later that night, the hyenas were in front of the cave and wanted to steal the elk carcass. The sight of Blue Cat and the wolf was enough to scare away the hyenas, but they were a dangerous threat.

After watching the wolf stand by Blue Cat, Tadpole began to have faith in the one-eyed wolf. The next morning, the wolf seemed to realize Tadpole was helpless. During the night, the wolf dug out a small depression, in the hard ground, near Tadpole’s bunk and seemed to be guarding her.

Just before daylight, loud growling from the wolf awakened Tadpole and Blue Cat. The wolf was running back and forth across the 20-foot entrance to the cave. Blue Cat picked up a spear and stood at the entrance, but he couldn’t see anything in the darkness. Eventually, the wolf quit running back and forth and sat next to Blue Cat. He was still growling under his breath, but he didn’t seem like he was ready for battle. When the sun came up, the two of them walked out together and found the tracks of a large cave bear. The bear’s paw prints were wider than one and a half times the length of Blue Cat’s foot. The bear was probably twelve feet tall when he stood upright. The wolf had proven himself worthy of trust once again. Blue Cat cut off a large steak from the elk and threw it to the wolf.

The bear probably wanted to dig a winter’s den in the cave and without the wolf, Tadpole and Blue cat would’ve been defenseless at night. During the winter, the wolf took it upon himself to guard Tadpole, especially while Blue Cat was out hunting. When she struggled to go outside to relieve herself, the wolf would whimper and circle her, until she came back into the cave and lay down once again.

When Tadpole grimaced from the pain, the wolf crawled to her side and snuggled his head against Tadpole’s hip. Tadpole was scared, at first, but the wolf nosed his way under her arm and remained still.

Tadpole moved her hand until it was resting on the wolf’s head. After several minutes, she began to pet the wolf and he tried to crawl even closer. Tadpole slowly overcame her fear of the predator and the wolf silently pledged his loyalty to her.

The wolf understood, he was supposed to stay home and guard Tadpole. Occasionally, Blue Cat used the wolf to track a wounded animal and the wolf considered himself an important member of this pack of humans. They named the wolf, Dog, their name for guard.

A Dire wolf cross had driven Dog away from his pack. After three days of starvation and loneliness, Dog came crawling back to his canine family. The Dire wolf jumped him and tried to crush his skull. Dog fought for his life and pulled his head from the jaws of death as he heard his skull starting to crack. He lost an eye and there was a terrible scar, but he was still alive. Dog was looking for a new pack, when he saw Blue Cat, who had just killed a bull elk. He was overjoyed when Blue Cat shared the feast instead of fighting over every scrap.

Life with the humans was good. They were never aggressive with him and the male was glad to have help facing a bear or a tiger. The female was crippled, but he was proud to guard her when the male was hunting. He was happy living with humans.

Winter turned into spring and the humans were always looking to the west, as if they expected someone to arrive, but no one came.

The Pup

Late in the spring, Dog heard something in the distance. The humans could tell he was excited, but they couldn’t hear anything; suddenly, Dog ran into the trees at a high rate of speed.

Dog was gone for 20 minutes. When he returned, he had a large female pup in his mouth. Blue Cat noticed the facial markings of a Dire Wolf, but the coloring of a Timber Wolf; the pup was a crossbred. The pup was docile and Dog was cleaning and caring for the pup as if it was his own.

The humans had no way of knowing; the pup was from Dog’s former pack. A female companion of his had given birth to two pups that were sired by the Dire Wolf that had nearly killed Dog. The Dire Wolf bred the female and then forced her out of the pack. Normally, there is only one breeding pair in a wolf pack, but the Dire Wolf bred the unwanted females and then drove them away. She had two large pups, but the pups were too large for her pelvis and she never recovered her full speed. She couldn’t run fast enough to hunt and after six weeks, she and the pups were dying of starvation. She was crying over the death of one of the pups when Dog heard his old friend.

In the way of the canine, she asked Dog to take her surviving pup; she had given all the nutrients she had received from a few rabbits and ground squirrels to her pups. She was too far gone to recover and the best she could manage, was to ask a favor from an old friend.

Dog nudged her neck with his muzzle and licked her forehead to comfort his friend. He picked up the surviving pup and looked one last time at his dying friend before taking the pup to his human friends.

Tadpole saw that the pup was starved. She chopped some caribou steak and fat into a small pile of food and the pup ate the food in a few bites. She laughed at the pup’s swollen belly and named her Pup, their word for big belly.

After eating, Pup staggered a few steps and collapsed to fall asleep instantly.

Blue Cat cooked steaks on the fire and while they were eating, Pup woke up and began to terrorize the humans and Dog. Her teeth were like sewing needles and she liked biting human toes and Dog’s ears. It was funny at first, but Pup was on a rampage and everyone was a potential victim. Suddenly, Pup fell asleep again and there was peace in the cave. Things were going to be much more lively in the cave, with Pup.

Blue Cat removed the cast, but he didn’t like the way the leg looked. There was excess bone formation around the break and the leg wasn’t straight. He apologized and agonized over the leg.

Tadpole was lame, for the rest of her life. It was pointless to blame Blue Cat. He had done a remarkable job, considering he had only seen the procedure one time. She was lucky to have survived such a terrible break and she loved the man who cared for her during the long winter.

Tadpole had survived 21 winters, but had no children and maybe her tribe had not survived the winter. She longed to have a child and the antics of Pup increased her desire to have a child. Tadpole loved Blue Cat, but he was so shy, they might die of old age before he made a move.

A warm summer rain gave Tadpole an idea. She laid down nude on a large flat rock outside the cave and found it to be exhilarating. She yelled for Blue Cat to join her; of course, Blue Cat was reluctant to lay nude in the rain, but Tadpole was insistent. They were enjoying the bath when Dog and Pup joined them on the flat rock. Dog lay on his side, but Pup rolled on her back and enjoyed having her belly washed by the rain.

When the four of them walked into the cave, the wolves shook themselves and the humans had a second cold shower

They were enjoying the warmth of the fire, when Tadpole offered to rub the overworked back and shoulders of Blue Cat. Her soft touch awakened the desire in Blue Cat and after a few minutes of the feminine massage, he turned around to kiss Tadpole and within a few minutes, they had consummated their relationship and become a loving couple.

The Twins

The next spring, Tadpole gave birth to twin girls, Hawk and Wren. Tadpole and Blue Cat were overjoyed to have the babies, but they were both scared. Life in the Stone Age was designed around tribal life. They had no tribal support and it was doubtful whether Tadpole would ever be a strong walker again.

Pup was taller than Dog. She had the size of a Dire Wolf. At one year, she started chasing Dog and biting him. Blue Cat assumed she was coming into season. Sure enough, the next morning the two of them ran away and didn’t return until the following morning.

Pup’s puppy days were over. She was more subdued and extremely protective of Tadpole and the twins. She would growl aggressively at Blue Cat if he carried firewood or a knife towards Tadpole and the girls. Blue Cat learned to deal with this personality trait and instead of trying to change the wolf’s personality, he let Pup guard her family.

Time Marches On    

Fifteen years is a long time in the life of a human. The girls were young women, but they had never seen another human. They were small clever girls with dark features and Blue Cat thought they were the most beautiful girls in the world.

Pup and Dog had both passed on six years ago and now three of their pups were getting old after producing pups of different lineages.

Tadpole was aging fast and at 36 she was probably not going to survive another winter. The girls, Hawk and Wren had provided great joy to their parents. They were both artists and painted many different animals on the walls of the cave. They each used their own style and it was fascinating to watch them paint. Hawk was more adventurous and she liked to hunt with her dad and the wolves. Wren preferred cooking exotic meals and was always trying new methods of food preparation. In the evening, the family would tell stories and sing the old songs of their ancestors. Sometimes, a wolf would try to sing harmony and the whole pack would start singing and drown out the humans.

Life in the cave brought many years of happiness to the humans and the domesticated wolves, but one day, Tadpole lay down and said she was never going to get up again. She was dying and there was nothing her family could do for her. She wanted to be buried in the room where she had spent her life painting. She asked that her grave be covered with big rocks, so the bears would not eat her body. Tadpole waved goodbye to her loyal wolves that had protected her for so many years and were now gathered by her deathbed. She kissed Wren and Hawk goodbye and smiled at the only man she had loved. He smiled back with his shy smile and tears in his eyes as Tadpole passed away.

The wolves howled when she died and the girls started crying. Blue Cat built a fire in the room with all the art. He though of how fortunate he was to have loved this kind and talented woman. He worked all night to dig a grave in the rocky soil of the great room.

The next morning, Blue Cat laid Tadpole in the grave with several flint knives and spear points near her hands. He cried with huge sobs, when he covered up his true love, the only person who had shown him kindness in this world. He pushed a huge slab of slate over the grave. When he was finished, Blue Cat sat at the opening of the cave, thinking of all the happiness they had shared in their home.

In the spring, he would take the girls and the wolf pack to find good humans. He would be content to spend the rest of his days in the cave, near Tadpole’s grave, but the girls deserved a future.

The girls were born with a genetic mutation in their mitochondrial DNA; twenty-first Century scientists would designate their line as H1W2 and it caused a lot of confusion, because this new DNA mutation spread in two different directions at the same time.

The Trek

Blue Cat was 45 years old when he set out to the northwest to find a friendly tribe. The girls were excited, but homesick and grieving for their mother. They moved like their ancestors had migrated for thousands of years, eating plants, fruits, nuts, and vegetables that were available and setting up camp after killing a caribou, elk, camel, horse, auroch (wild cattle) or deer and moving on, when they could carry the remaining meat and after processing the leather with the brain of the animal or the tannin residues from leaves.

They traveled over three hundred miles that first summer and could have traveled farther, except for finding an excellent cave with a fresh water spring.

The cave had provided shelter for many vagabonds for tens of thousands of years. There were fascinating paintings, drawings, and etchings on the walls and the flint workers had left piles of discarded flint flakes over thousands of years and these were often rummaged through by others when they needed a sharp edge.

Blue Cat and the girls knew it was best to stop early in the season, upon finding a good cave, and hang as much meat as possible from the ceiling of the cave, before the snows become too deep.

The wolves had changed over several generations; most of the pups were docile and required no time getting used to humans. Sometimes a wolf would disappear for days or weeks at a time. They often returned with the scars of fights and sometimes they never returned. The wolves protected them at night and some of them helped with hunting, but they still lived on the periphery of domestication and sometimes they answered the call of the wild.

Two years later, the girls were 18 years old and Blue Cat’s hair was gray, but he was one of those men who get stronger rather than weaker with age. From a hill above the joining of two rivers, Blue Cat and the girls saw a large encampment. It had been almost twenty years since Blue Cat had seen a tribe and the girls had never seen other humans. Blue Cat saw the fear on the girls’ faces. He smiled and said, “This is what we have been looking for; let’s go down and say, hello.”

As they walked toward the rivers, a group of teenagers started following Blue Cat, the girls, and four wolves. The twins intrigued the youngsters, but the teenagers kept kept a respectful distance. However, a group of older boys were standing in front of Blue Cat. He figured they wanted to assert their masculinity by trying to intimidate Blue Cat and possibly steal the twins.

The ringleader was standing in front, and flanked by five of his friends. He was trying to engage Blue Cat in stupid conversation. Blue Cat brushed him aside. The wolves were nervous; the hair was standing up on their backs and they were growling.

Blue Cat was not going to waste his time talking to insignificant nobodies, but the teenage leader reached out to grab one of the girls. A Dire Wolf yearling pup lunged forward and everyone heard two large snaps as the pup broke the boy’s arm. The boy screamed and the wolf shook his head twice and dropped the severed arm to the ground.

Blue Cat ignored the screaming boy and carefully aimed his spear toward the faces in the crowd. He looked them all in the eye, one at a time and said, “Stay back or the wolves and I will kill all of you.

The chief pushed his way through the standoff and looked at the pathetic boy with his arm torn off below the elbow. The boy was whimpering and trying to stop the bleeding. The chief looked at the one-eyed, gray haired hunter with rock hard muscles, his wolves, and the beautiful identical twins by his side. He said to the hunter, “What happened?”

“He tried to grab one of my daughters. The wolves protect the girls,” Blue Cat said, with a calm voice.

The chief raised his eyebrows and walked up to Blue Cat. He touched the tip of Blue Cat’s spear with his finger and held out his open hand, after nodding his head one time. He was asking for the spear.

Blue Cat handed him the spear, after a few moments of hesitation. The chief handled the spear with confidence and spun around to strike the injured boy across the nose with the shaft of the spear. The boy went down to the ground on his back, but before he could move, the chief plunged the spear through the boy’s heart and he was dead.

The chief turned back around to hand Blue Cat his spear, but noticed one of the girls had already handed him another. The chief smiled and said, “You will have dinner at my lodge tonight, we have many things to talk about.” He reached with his right arm to grasp Blue Cat’s right arm below the elbow and they held on to each other’s forearm, the ultimate sign of respect between hunters.

The chief yelled at the tribesmen gathering around, “Stay 30 paces away. These wolves are not used to silly people who live in villages.”

Mother’s Son

At dinner, the two men talked many hours about hunting and their travels. The chief’s name was Mother’s Son and he was a totalitarian dictator. Mother’s Son had faced 6 challengers, who fought to the death for control of the tribe; he killed them all.

Mother’s Son looked at Blue Cat with exaggerated seriousness, “I hope you haven’t come to challenge me.”

Blue Cat looked at the chief and laughed, “I raised two daughters and trained many wolves to hunt and guard us at night. I have had enough.” They both started laughing, but Mother’s Son stopped laughing and looked Blue Cat in the eye.

“I need a good hunting chief, a man like you,” the chief said, with a serious tone.

Blue Cat leaned in close to Mother’s Son; “I need to find good husbands for my daughters. That is why I am here. When they are married, I can teach your hunters how to track and hunt with wolves.”

The chief smiled and said, “We need to marry these girls as soon as possible. Forget my hunters, I want to learn how to hunt with wolves. Now, tell me about your beautiful daughters.”

“Their mother was a great cave artist. The best I have ever seen and she could make knives and spear points faster and better than anyone I have ever seen. She taught the girls her skills and they are almost as good as their mother was. Wren is a great cook and Hawk prefers to hunt with me and the wolves.”

Mother’s Son looked at Blue Cat with shocked disbelief. “If this is true, these girls would be considered among the most valuable members of my tribe.”

Blue Cat asked Wren to make a knife for the chief and asked Hawk to make a spear point for the chief. The girls looked through their flint pack and each one selected a good rock. They were not in a race, but their hands were moving at an extremely fast pace; yet, they were relaxed as the flint flakes were flying away and two works of art were beginning to appear. In a few minutes, they both handed a finished tool to Mother’s Son. He looked at their tiny forearms and each of them had specks of blood where the flying chips had cut them and Hawk had a nasty cut on her left hand from the surgical sharpness of the stone that had cut through the leather.

Chief Mother’s Son held a tool in each hand and turned them over and over to admire the craftsmanship and soon his hands were bleeding from several cuts. He called to one of his wives, “Take these, woman, before I hurt myself.” His wife laughed at his joke and held the tools in leather to show them to important members of the tribe.

Mother’s Son said, “These girls can paint? Painting will be safer for me.”

Blue Cat looked around and saw a large horse clavicle on the ground and asked, “Can they paint on that clavicle?”

Mother’s Son told a teenage boy to bring the clavicle, but the wolves began growling and the hair stood up on their backs, when the boy picked up the clavicle and took the first step toward the girls.

Blue Cat waved for the boy to stop, he walked over and brought the clavicle to the girls. The wolves were still growling, but softer; it was obvious, they considered the girls to be their responsibility.

Blue Cat asked Wren to paint a mammoth. She reached in her pack and brought out a mixture of several mineral oxides and painted a mammoth in less than 20 minutes. The mammoth was realistic with long grayish brown hair and white tusks. When Wren finished, Blue Cat asked Hawk to paint a Saber Tooth Tiger on the same clavicle. She mixed some black and yellow colors and painted a tiger on a cliff, watching the mammoth from above. She used a little bit of Wren’s white paint to paint his long teeth.

The girls gave the painting to Mother’s Son. After studying the painting for several minutes, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. He looked at the girls and said, “This is beautiful. I will cherish it forever.

Blue Cat looked at Mother’s Son, “Would you like to see them hunt and cook?”

“No, I will believe every word you tell me, for as long as we are both alive,” The chief replied. “I have many sons, some of them might appeal to your daughters.”

“It will be their choice, not mine or anyone else’s, that is the way I raised them.” Blue Cat replied.

Because of the wolves and their distrust of people, Blue Cat and the girls made a camp away from the rest of the tribe. They only had a few visitors and most of those were young men wanting to marry one or both of the girls. The girls were intelligent and men who were slow or stupid seemed boring to the girls; finding husbands for these girls would take time.

Mother’s Son and Blue Cat became good friends and hunting partners and the girls were popular in the tribe. Wren married one of Mother’s Son’s many sons. She had two girls and a son. The boy caught pneumonia and died soon after birth. Hawk married a nephew of Mother’s Son. He was the chief of a small tribe and they migrated to the east. They had two girls and two boys.

The mutation that became the H1W2 genetic marker of the girls’ mitochondrial DNA continued on for tens of thousands of years and was responsible for a strong line of women who influenced world history.

th-2The line of Wren settled in the coastal area of Southern France and often wintered in the valleys of South Central France. The line of Hawk followed the herds as they migrated east, following the Steppe into Asia and beyond.

 

A professional horseman for over 40 years, Skook continues to work with horses. He is in an ongoing educational program, learning life's lessons from one of the world's greatest instructors, the horse. Skook has finished an historical novel that traces a mitochondrial line of DNA from 50,000 years ago to the present. It goes to the copyeditor next month.

15 Responses to “The Mighty Tadpole, an excerpt from the book, Fifty Thousand Years”

  1. 1

    MM

    That was fabulous-I will be buying this book and I’m sending this story on to my friends.

    I remember the stories you used to post and the threats to write a book with more of them. This combines some of those aspects with a cool story line.

  2. 2

    another vet

    Skook- You obviously did some good research on how people lived back then and on the Earth’s history as well. It seems like you have a keen interest in anthropology. It’s interesting how much we’ve been able to piece together about our past but are still learning new things. A couple of weeks ago they discovered a civilization that existed in Cambodia hundreds of years ago that was quite large that they didn’t know existed. The team that discovered it said it will re-write the history of the region that’s how large it was. Then I believe last week, they discovered fortifications that protected a huge naval fleet somewhere in the Mediterranean. That went back even further in time. I will try and find the articles.

  3. 6

    Skookum

    @Spurwing Plover: Actually, there is quite a bit of evidence. For instance, there are all most no human remains older than 50,000 years, outside of Africa. Although, the Neanderthal of Europe and the Denovisian of Asia might be the types of men you are referencing. They were thought to be another species; however the DNA of northern Europeans will have strains of Neanderthal blood typings with between .5% and 4%. The evidence is now suggesting we bred them out of existence, instead of killing them over hunting territories. It is the same thing with the Asian types; although there is a great deal of controversy over the Denovisian samples.

    The DNA evidence, which is a million times more conclusive than global Warming evidence, indicates that the human population 50,000 years ago was only 10,000 people. This is tracked through the DNA, which replicates itself, until a mutation or genetic marker occurs and there have been a concise number of markers within the human genome; although, as we continue compiling DNA samples from around the world, there are many facts waiting to be discovered. These are infinitely more conclusive than prejudicial beliefs and the scientific theories of yesterday.

    DNA is a fascinating field of study; especially, the fairly new science of mitochondrial DNA. Every man has the mitochondrial DNA of his mother, but he can’t pass it on to his progeny. This particular DNA is passed on for tens of thousands of years from mother to daughter in perfect replication, until a mutation occurs and the particular line of the daughter’s children will be changed forever.

    in this story, identical twins will have the same mutation or genetic marker, daughters born one after the other would be extremely unlikely to have the same mutation. Thus lines that run for 10,000 years or more are not uncommon and the tracking of man’s migration trails becomes easier with the passage of time.

    North Africa before the Ice Age was a luxuriant grassland, perfect for the hunter/gatherer societies that lived there, but the ice sheets had a great thirst and they only gave up a small percentage of the ice in the summer months. It was enough to carve out the great river systems of North America, Asia, and Europe and the southern states would have had a climate that would be like the Western Canadian provinces or 15 degrees Celsius colder than they are now. Thus the ice expanded and the Sahara turned into a desert. people began to migrate over thousands of years leaving artifacts and their dead along the trail. Now, scientists are extracting DNA from the root stems of fossilized molars. This reveals manny interesting facts and one of the most obvious is: the native African (with no racial cross contamination) has no Neanderthal DNA. Anyone who is intrigued should have their DNA analyzed. You will be provided a wealth of information about the science and your own origins.

  4. 7

    Skookum

    Thanks for the kind words my friends. The book will be read and edited by me two more times before going to the copyeditor next month, after that it is proofread and all the other stuff like cover art and introductions will be dealt with. Currently it is 104,000 words or 210 pages. Originally it was 150,000 words, too much for one book, but not enough for two. This is what I did over the winter and why I was MIA.

    I plan to develop my Zaporizhian cossack theme for my next book. I think these people have been pivotal in the history of the world, from the Muslim abduction of the little boys to form the Mamaluke cavalry of Egypt to Napoleon and on to the Holomodor of Stalin and now to Putin and his thirst for a warm port for oil. Of course we must include the Huns and Mongols and the first army to declare war on the Bolsheviks, they were the White Army. I love history.

  5. 8

    Skookum

    @another vet: I spent most of my undergraduate study in the archaeology department and I worked on two different sites in the 10,000 to 20,000 BP (Before Present) era. I can tell you, from personal experience, after unearthing numerous murders, early man was prone to violence and he often buried his dead in his lodge in a shallow grave. He wasn’t all that healthy, either; there were lots of bone deformities and infant mortality. The idea of the noble savage is a construct of the literate European who needs a good story. I came across a story by an early 19th Century Brit, who was looking for the noble savage and found a small tribe on the Missouri, living on the carcasses of drowned buffalo in various stages of decay. They didn’t have the basic Stone Age knives or technology of cooking. They ripped the flesh from the animals and ate it raw. They were covered in grease, but otherwise, they were naked. They lived in hovels made from untamed hides stretched over buffalo skulls. Obviously, the Native American Culture varied from tribe to tribe. In fairness, Alexander ran in to a group like this, they were on the Indian Ocean and living off of drowned whales. Probably because of infection, their nail resembled claws and his men didn’t want to foul their weapons with these unclean humans and they left them to their way of life and built no libraries on their beaches.

    For me it is one of the saddest parts of this finite life we are given; we are only given so much time to study the world and the humans who have traversed it for the last 50,000 years.

    Thanks for the lead on the early Cambodians. I did a paper on the Cambodians, nearly 50 years ago, so I will be interested to see the new information and wish i could be on the site.

  6. 9

    kitt

    Geeze I thought the ice age was climate change caused by Mastodon burps and campfires. The slower neanderthal still with us today we call them politicians.

  7. 10

    Skook

    @kitt: They were probably slower, but they could crush a modern man’s chest with one arm and his flint tools and cave paintings are some of mankind’s greatest works of art. The flint pieces were as sharp as modern surgical instruments, but a thousand times more durable; which is a great asset when you are butchering a 20,000 pound animal (the weight of a school bus or mammoth, they lived by the ice and numbered in the millions, a beach in Siberia has over five million mammoths in every stage of preservation and size) and the only tools you have are rocks. The best flint pieces can’t be reproduced with our modern machinery. Don’t write off the Neanderthal too quickly, he may be closer to you than you know.

  8. 11

    kitt

    @Skook: No doubt they were a unique and sturdy human form to survive the sudden climate change and the rapid extinction of known game animals. Having so many frozen carcasses in the Alaskan and Siberian areas speaks of a major disaster killing vast herds. Not so much the cavemen hunting them into extinction as there was much easier and safer game to hunt.

  9. 12

    Skookum

    @kitt: The climate change was relatively slow. The last ice age lasted approximately 40,000 years. The glacial pulses at 50,000 and 20,000 years where the glacial formation intensified. Technically, we are still in the ice age, because of the remaining glaciers, but the ice began to retreat by 10,500 years ago and man migrated into the rich and fertile valleys left by the diminishing ice fields.

    No one knows why the ice started or why it retreated, there are interesting theories, but they are only theories.

    There was no ice on Alaska, Yukon, or Beringia (the land mass that appeared between Alaska and Siberia when the oceans dropped a 160 meters. Animals and men migrated back and forth over Beringia for tens of thousands of years, before man started penetrating south through British Columbia, there was an ice free corridor that ran north to south in BC and again, no one knows why. By this time early man had the technology to make the trip with boats, but this was dangerous sailing off the western coast of BC.
    I have relatives who mine gold near Dawson City, Yukon, and I have seen mammoth tusks that I can walk underneath and not be able to touch the top of the curl with my hand and I am 6 foot two. Imagine trying to drive a spear into an animal that could swing those tusks as fast as a house cat can move. They didn’t need to watch Monday night football, they lived it, but the stakes were much higher.

  10. 13

    another vet

    @Skookum: Sorry about the delay. I got tied up on another thread. Here is a link to the article. Fascinating stuff. It is hard to believe this civilization was only recently discovered given that it wasn’t that “old”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/11/lost-city-medieval-discovered-hidden-beneath-cambodian-jungle

    Here is the one for the naval base.

    http://www.history.com/news/remains-of-ancient-greek-naval-base-discovered-near-athens

  11. 14

    Skookum

    @another vet: Those are fascinating sites. Magnificent cities can be forgotten and disappear within a few generations; although, the reasons why will probably never be known. I always suspect diseases: Mumps, Chicken Pox, Flu, Measles, Cholera, Small Pox, Tuberculosis, were all empire destroyers. Hygiene was the key, but if there were no hygiene procedures within the culture, the society was doomed. These societal traits were accidental in nature, since the concept of germ and virus infection was a slow-moving 19th Century concept.

    It was amazing how fast the wooden ships deteriorated, before protective coatings were invented. It was a tremendous investment to build a small vessel, and to have it waste away in approximately 5 years (Approximate) meant traders had to keep those ships moving. Warships were even a more precarious investment, because they were often never to be used within 5 years. Therefore a warehouse for ships of war was an excellent idea.

    Sometimes we underestimate the clever minds of the ancient people and overestimate our own intellect. Great finds, thanks.

  12. 15

    another vet

    @Skookum: Ancient civilizations are definitely fascinating. While they may not have been up to speed medically, they obviously knew the value of waste disposal given the sewer systems some of them constructed. Most people today couldn’t figure that out. Then of course there were the engineering marvels like the pyramids. And then, somehow, they managed to go from places like the Mediterranean region to the Far East to trade without using compasses, maps like we know them today, or a sophisticated road network. Nowadays people need a GPS or Google Maps just to drive a short distance and even then they still get lost. Sometimes I think modern man is a tad arrogant. We are more advanced in someways, but not others.

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