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Title: Days before history
Author: Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Days before history" ***

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[Illustration: The Lone Wolf

(_See page 61_)]

_Days Before History_


In Nature’s School


_With Sixteen exquisite Full-page Illustrations and a Title-page Design_


THIS STORY details the experiences of a sensitive boy who, in a moment
of revolt, flees from the oppression of some cruel schoolfellows into
the woods, where he meets Nature, who takes him round the world and
shows to him her kingdom of fur and feather. The child is introduced to
all manner of beasts and birds, and learns valuable lessons of kindness
and toleration, while at the same time the facts of natural history
are not distorted to serve the purpose of a story. Everything is true
to facts, so far as they are known from observation and from the best

The Illustrations are of quite unusual merit, and will establish the
claims of this talented artist to a place amongst the best English
interpreters of animal life.






  15 York Street·Covent Garden

  November 1906, 5000; December 1907, 5000._

  Revised, Enlarged, and Newly Illustrated, September 1908, 3000._

  _Letchworth; At the Arden Press_

  _Preface to the New Edition_

IN a book of this kind nothing more will be expected than an outline
sketch of some phases of the life lived by the prehistoric dwellers in
our land. The known facts are few; yet there must have been, even in
those far-away times, well-defined differences of habit and custom due
to local circumstances; so that details more or less true of one tribe
or group would possibly be quite untrue of others.

But, for all that, there are various conclusions upon which the learned
may be considered to be in agreement; and, working from these and
from the descriptions of primitive life in our own times, there is
brought within our reach the possibility of constructing a picture of
man in early Britain which, without leaving the lines of reasonable
conjecture, need be neither meagre nor misleading.

An attempt has been made here to introduce only descriptions which
can in some degree be vouched for; and as much of such authenticated
detail as possible has been included. Some licence has been taken in
bringing together events which in nature were, no doubt, separated by
long intervals of time and space; in suggesting, for instance, that a
man of the newer stone age might have heard some vague tradition of
the makers of the old stone weapons, and yet, in his lifetime, have
witnessed the incoming of the first weapons of bronze: yet, for the
sake of picturesqueness, such licence may be considered to be not only
permissible but, in a book with the purpose of this, actually desirable.

When first it was suggested to the writer that he should undertake
this task, there was only one detail of the necessary equipment which
he could feel to be his own--a childhood’s interest in the subject,
never forgotten. There was the recollection of a chapter in an old
lesson-book, much pored over, with its two or three simple woodcuts
showing the skin-clad “ancient Briton” hollowing out his log canoe,
or shooting at the deer in the forest. There was the memory of a
reputed “British village,” with its pits and mounds, situated on a
distant hill in the neighbourhood of his old home, often talked about,
but too remote to be visited. There were recollections of a village
philosopher, an amateur bird-stuffer and collector of fossils and
antiquities, who carried in his purse and would show a treasure beyond
gold, a barbed flint arrow-head. One he was who did not resent the
companionship of an inquisitive little boy, but took him fishing and
taught him something of the old country lore.

The road into fairyland lay open before that boy in his childhood. With
home-made bow and arrows he stalked the deer on the open hill-side,
or, armed with the deadly besom-stake for spear, tracked the wild boar
to his lair among the whins. A running stream bounding the distant
fields was for him a river to be forded with caution; the woodland
pool was a forest lake, deep and mysterious; the grove of oaks on the
hill-side was a woodland, and the more distant woods a forest vast and

And the skin-clad hunters of the bygone time peopled those hills and
woods. The rabbits became red-deer, the hovering kestrel a flapping
eagle, a chance fox galloping over the hill a ravening wolf, and
the shy badger (only that one could never get more than the hearsay
of him) a fierce old wild-boar. Then there were huts to be built,
fires kindled, and weapons fashioned, marksmanship to be practised,
hunting expeditions to be carried out, and ruthless warfare waged with
unfriendly tribes.

Thus when the writer began the welcome task of setting down something
about the life of a time so remote that only the indestructible
fragments of its framework are now to be recovered, he had for his
guidance these memories of childish games and wonderings; games that
were never played out, and wonderings that have never been satisfied.
And it was his hope that others, whether or not situated as fortunately
as he once was, might perhaps catch a hint of the joy of playing the
old games and following the old ways of life out-of-doors, as our
forefathers followed them in the days before history. We have not all
forgotten them yet.

A glance at the Contents will show that the chapters fall into two
groups; those headed _The Story of Tig_, which are meant to be a story
and nothing more; and those headed _Dick and his Friends_, which aim at
explaining parts of the story and giving further details and comments
from the standpoint of a later time. For anyone who finds these
chapters dull, nothing is easier than to skip them.

A longish list might be made of the various books which have been
read or consulted in the preparation of these chapters. They are
all well-known standard books, such as would be readily found by
anyone who might wish to follow the subject further. This edition
includes six chapters that are new--numbers six, nine, and fifteen to
eighteen--besides various paragraphs and oddments scattered throughout
the book; the chapter-headings have been altered in most instances, and
the illustrations are nearly all new.

The author wishes to offer his sincere thanks to Professor W. Boyd
Dawkins, F.R.S., who generously consented to look over the proofs of
the original book; and to Professor J. J. Findlay and Miss Maria E.
Findlay for their invaluable help and kindly encouragement.

  _The Contents of Chapters_

         Preface                                      _page_ v

       I How Dick and his Friends heard a
          Story                                              1

      II _The Story of Tig_: Tig’s Birthday & his
          Home                                              11

     III _The Story of Tig_: Tig’s Mother and the
          Lessons that she taught him                       18

      IV _Dick & his Friends_: The Hut that the
          Boys built                                        26

       V _The Story of Tig_: How Garff provided
          Food for his Family                               34

      VI _The Story of Tig_: How Gofa sold some
          Meal to a Hungry Man                              42

     VII _The Story of Tig_: The Harvest of the
          Fields and of the Woods                           48

    VIII _The Story of Tig_: How Crubach became
          a Sower of Corn                                   54

      IX _The Story of Tig_: The Story of the
          Wolf that hunted alone                            57

       X _Dick & his Friends_: A Talk about
          Food Supplies                                     64

      XI _The Story of Tig_: How Tig got his
          first Bow and Arrows                              72

     XII _The Story of Tig_: How Tig visited
          Goba the Spearmaker                               76

    XIII _The Story of Tig_: Arsan’s Story about
          Grim the Hunter                                   86

     XIV _Dick & his Friends_: A Talk about
          Stone Weapons                                     93

      XV _The Story of Tig_: How the Pond of
          the Village went dry                              99

     XVI _The Story of Tig_: What Arsan said
          about the Old Pond                               103

    XVII _The Story of Tig_: How they made
          the Pond anew                                    108

   XVIII _Dick & his Friends_: A Talk about
          Dew-Ponds                                        114

     XIX _The Story of Tig_: How Gofa made
          Pottery                                          122

      XX _The Story of Tig_: How Tig went
          hunting the Deer                                 129

     XXI _The Story of Tig_: How Tig became
          a Man                                            137

    XXII _Dick & his Friends_: Dick’s Pottery
          and how he made it                               140

   XXIII _The Story of Tig_: How Tig made
          Friends with the Lake People                     146

    XXIV _The Story of Tig_: How Tig saw the
          Lake People’s Village                            153

     XXV _Dick & his Friends_: A Talk about
          ancient Lake Dwellings                           162

    XXVI _The Story of Tig_: How the Old Chief
          died and was buried                              168

   XXVII _The Story of Tig_: How Tig chose a
          Wife from the Lake People                        174

  XXVIII _Dick & his Friends_: The Boys’ Bows
          and Arrows                                       180

    XXIX _The Story of Tig_: How the Lake
          People brought Tidings of War                    185

     XXX _The Story of Tig_: How they fought
          the Battle in the Wood                           192

    XXXI _Dick & his Friends_: How they dug
          out the Barrow                                   201


  _List of Illustrations_

  Tig Shoots a Stag                _Cover_

  The Lone Wolf             _Frontispiece_

  Dressing a Skin page           _page_ 18

  The Stags                             34

  Gofa Alarmed                          42

  Going to the Fields                   48

  The Wild Boar                         52

  The Wolf at the Beaver’s Hut          60

  The Spear-maker                       80

  The Bear                              88

  Making Pottery                       124

  The Wild Ducks                       130

  Making a Canoe                       154

  Weaving at the Loom                  160

  The Beacon                           190

  The Warrior Chief                    196


  _Chapter the First_

  _How Dick and his Friends heard a Story_

I KNOW a boy called Dick. He is nine, and he lives near London. Last
spring Dick’s father and mother moved house. All their furniture and
things were taken in the vans, and Dick and his father and mother went
in a cab.

When they got to the house, Dick ran in at once to explore. It was
not really a new house, because people had lived in it before; but
Dick was disappointed to find it very much the same as the house they
had just left. There was the drawing-room on one side of the hall and
the dining-room on the other, and all the rooms upstairs, and the
bath-room, and the box-room, just the same as in their other house;
and there was a garden with walls round the three sides, very like
their last one. And Dick was sorry that there was nothing new to see.
So he said to his father that he did not like the new house because it
was just like the old one. But his father said: “You must not grumble
at that. Lots of houses are very much alike, of course. There are so
many people in these days who want the same sort of house built for

That summer Dick went to pay a visit to his uncle, a long way off in
the country. Dick’s uncle lived in a very old house; part of it was
more than four hundred years old, and Dick had never been in such an
old house in his life. His uncle took him all round it, and showed him
many strange things. The oldest part of the house was a square tower
with very thick walls and long, very narrow windows. Dick’s uncle
told him that the windows were made like slits so that the men inside
the tower could shoot their arrows out at their enemies; while the
enemies would find it very hard to shoot their arrows in and hit the
men inside. And he said, also, that in the old days before people could
make glass for windows, it was better to have little windows than big
ones in very cold weather.

And Dick’s uncle took him to the top of the tower and showed him the
remains of an open fireplace, in which the men of the tower used to
light a beacon fire to give the alarm to people in the villages and
towns when enemies were coming.

And outside the tower he showed him part of a deep ditch, and told him
that once this ditch went right round the house and was called a moat,
only that now it was nearly all filled up with earth and stones. But at
one time it was always full of water, so that no one could get at the
tower without crossing the moat. And the people in the tower used to
let down a bridge, called the drawbridge, because it was drawn up and
down by means of chains. So that when they or their friends wanted to
go out or come in, the drawbridge used to be let down for them, and
pulled up afterwards.

And Dick’s uncle told him that all these things used to be done to
make houses safe to live in, because once upon a time long ago there
were a great many thieves and robbers in the land, and there were no
policemen to keep them in order; also that the people used to fight
among themselves a great deal; and his uncle showed him some old pieces
of armour, and a helmet and a battle-axe and some swords, such as the
knights and men-at-arms used in battle long ago.

Dick’s uncle’s name was Uncle John. He was very much pleased to see
that Dick liked his old house and his old swords and armour; but he
said: “I know where there are the remains of some houses a very great
deal older than mine. If you would like to see them, we will go for a
walk to-morrow and try to find them.”

The next day they set out for their walk--Dick and his uncle John and
a collie and two terriers--and Uncle John said: “We will call for Joe

“Is Joe a dog?” Dick asked.

“No,” said his uncle; “Joe is a boy. He is nine, like you, and he lives
in the house with the green gate.”

But Joe said he was afraid he could not come for a walk, because his
cousin David had come to spend the holidays with him, and they had made
a plan to go fishing. So Uncle John invited David, too, and they all
set off together.

After they had gone about a mile along the lane, they came to a heath.
It was a large open heath on the top of a hill, looking down a slope
into a valley. The slope of the hill was covered with bushes, and there
were trees in little groups here and there. The hills beyond were
mostly covered with woods, and there was a stream in the valley down
below. Uncle John led the way until they came to a flattish place on
the hill-side. Then he said:

“Now close to us here is a place where people lived long ago, before
ever they could build towers or houses at all. Who can find where these
old-time people lived?”

And the boys all searched round among the bushes and the rocks; and
after a while Joe called out: “Was it here?”

Uncle John went to look, and he laughed at Joe. For what he had found
was a little rough shed that the rabbit-catchers had put up.

Then Dick called out. He had gone further down the hill, and had come
upon an old limekiln with a little opening, like a doorway, at the
bottom of it.

But Uncle John said: “No, I don’t think that the limekiln is even half
as old as my house. What we are looking for is something not built with
stones and without walls of any sort.”

Then David ran away, and he shouted out; and when they went to where he
was, they found him standing in a sort of pit dug in the ground, about
the depth that David could stand in up to his shoulders, and about
twice as wide across as Uncle John’s walking-stick could measure.

And Uncle John said: “Yes, that is one place; but, if you look about,
you will find several more.”

So the boys hunted about, and they found nine or ten more of the pits;
and then they came back to where Uncle John was sitting and asked him
to tell them about these old dwellings. But he said they must wait a
little while, because he had something else for them to see first.

As they walked homeward over the heath, they came to a place where the
cart-tracks went down to the sand-pits, and the way was bare and rough.
And Uncle John said: “Now which of you boys has got eyes in his head?
Within a dozen yards of where we are standing I have dropped something
which once belonged to one of the men of the pit-dwellings. Sixpence
for the boy who finds it!”

Then they all began to hunt round, but no one could find anything. So
Uncle John said: “It is something made of flint-stone. The man to whom
it belonged used to shoot with it.” And he kept on saying, while they
were looking about: “Dick is hot” or “Joe is warm,” just as if they
were playing at Hide the Thimble.

At last Joe called out, “I’ve got it!” and he came running up with an
arrow-head chipped out of grey flint; and the others crowded round
to look at it. And Uncle John showed them how carefully it had been
chipped, and how sharp the point and edges were, although it was
hundreds and hundreds of years old.

And he cut a strong little shoot off a hazel tree, and shortened it,
and split it at the end, and showed them how he supposed the man who
made the arrow all that long time ago had fixed it to its shaft.

Then he took out sixpence, and said to Joe, “If you might choose,
which would you rather have? The sixpence or the arrow-head?”

And Joe said, “The arrow-head, ever so much rather!”

But Uncle John said, “You mayn’t choose now, so take your sixpence. But
I’ll tell you what: if you three boys would like to know more about the
pit-dwelling people, and about their houses, and how they hunted and
all that, I have a book at home in which there is a lot about these
things; and I think it would be a good way of filling up some of your
spare time these holidays if we were to have some reading out of the
book now and then. You might try your hands at building a hut, to see
if you could do it as well as the pit-dwelling people did. And you
might make some bows and arrows, and even have a try at chipping out
flint arrow-heads. We might have a shooting match with the bows and
arrows, with another sixpence for the prize. Or, better still, we might
have for a prize this flint arrow-head of mine that Joe is so fond of;
and give it to the boy who knows most about what we have been reading,
when we come to the end of the holidays.”

They all agreed that that would be rather a good way of amusing
themselves, if the book were interesting. But by the time they got home
it was too late to begin; so the reading had to be put off until the
next day.

On the next day Joe and David went up to Uncle John’s house. As it was
a wet afternoon they sat indoors. On the table there was a large brown
book; and as soon as they had settled themselves, Uncle John took up
the book and began to read.


  _Chapter the Second_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: Tig’s Birthday and his Home_

ONCE upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a boy called Tig.
When the story begins, Tig was only a baby; he was four, or nearly
four. To tell the truth, he did not quite know when his birthday was.
He did not have a proper birthday every year. Nobody kept birthdays
when Tig was little, because people had not any names for the months,
as we have now.

They talked about the hot-time and the cold-time, two times instead
of four seasons; and if you could have spoken their language, and had
asked Gofa, Tig’s mother, when Tig’s birthday was, she would have
said, “One day in the cold-time.”

When Tig was born, he lived first of all in a little house which had
only one room in it. It was rather like a cellar, because it was dug
out of the ground.

There were no windows in the house. There was only one doorway, and it
was a hole, like the mouth of a burrow; and Tig’s father and mother,
and any of their friends who came to visit them, had to crawl in and
out on all-fours. At night, when the family were all inside, Tig’s
father used to set up a big stone against the entrance-hole. He used
to say in fun that this was to keep out the wolves and the bears. But
neither bears nor wolves had much chance to get in, because there was a
high paling of posts that surrounded all the huts. The big door-stone
was always kept inside the hut, so that it was handy if ever they
wanted to block the doorway against anybody during the daytime.

The fireplace was in the middle of the floor, and there was a hole in
the roof to let the smoke out. In the daytime the hole in the roof made
a kind of window. The roof was made of branches of trees. These were
supported on the ground by a foundation of thick flat stones and pieces
of turf, and were overlaid with smaller branches and turves and a rough
thatch of reeds.

Here Tig’s father, who was called Garff, and Gofa, Tig’s mother, lived
nice and snug in the cold-time. They had no bedsteads nor tables nor
chairs nor chests of drawers. But they had plenty of skins of wild
horses and cows and deer, and wolf-skins and bear-skins, instead of
beds and chairs; and Tig’s own sleeping-cot was a skin of a little bear
that Garff had killed on purpose for him. Their other belongings were
of a useful sort, not large and heavy like furniture, but such things
as cooking pots, the mealing-stone for crushing corn, and the big
wooden mortar in which grain or acorns could be pounded into flour.

In summer-time they used to find the dug-out hut too hot to live in,
and besides, they had to take their cattle out to fresh pastures. So
they, and their friends who lived in the other huts close by, used to
pack up their skin rugs and all their other belongings, and travel to
another part of the hill country. Some of the men used to march on in
front, with their spears and bows and arrows ready, in case they were
to meet any wild beasts. Then came the rest of the men and the boys
with the dogs, driving the cattle along; and after them the old men
and the women and children, with more armed men to bring up the rear.
The women carried the skins and the cooking pots and the food; and
almost every one had a baby bound on to her back. The food was carried
in baskets, and the bigger children helped to carry the baskets.
The smaller children had no loads to carry, except their dolls and
playthings which they hugged in their arms as they walked along beside
their mothers.

The people left the huts and marched down the hill. Then they crossed
the river, wading into the water at a shallow place. But the little
children had to be carried over; and Tig was carried over by his mother
every time until after he was seven.

The tribe used to take a whole day in travelling to the camping-place;
and when they got there at last, they used to make a new fire, and
light bonfires in the open, and cook their supper, and sleep in tents
and booths about the fires.

Up on the hill-side, at the edge of the forest, where the ground had
been partly cleared, was the place of the first summer camp. The summer
huts were built above ground, of branches of trees, wattled with
withies and twigs, and daubed with clay. Sometimes a man had only to
repair the hut that he had lived in the summer before. But even if he
had to build a new one, it was not such hard work as to build a winter
hut. Before a man began to build his summer hut, he picked out a tree
with a straight trunk to act as the main support of his hut. He used
the tree as a centre pillar to hold up his roof-beams. If he built his
summer hut in the open, away from the trees, he set up a pole for a
roof-tree. We still talk of living under our own roof-tree, just as
those people did long ago.

The fireplaces were made out-of-doors. If they had been indoors, the
huts would often have been burned down. Probably they often were burned
down even then. So whatever cooking Tig’s mother wanted to do in the
summer camps she did at a big fire outside the huts.

The winter village of dug-out huts was high up on the hillside at the
upper end of a sheltered valley, and the summer camps were set up at
different places upon the hills, as the people moved about with their
cattle; and wherever they were, they always put up a stockade of posts
around the huts, to keep themselves and their cattle safe from wolves
and bears.

But besides their dwelling-places, the people had a fort, which was
meant to be used only in time of war for the tribe to retire to, if
their enemies should attack them. It was built at the top of a high
hill, in the form of a ring, with a mound of earth and stones, and a
stockade all round, and a deep ditch outside. The fort was big enough
to take in all the people and their cattle in case of necessity; but
when Tig was a baby, it had not been used for a long time and nobody
lived in it.


  _Chapter the Third_

  _Tig’s Mother, and the Lessons that she taught him_

TIG’S mother was called Gofa. She was the mistress of the house and the
housekeeper. She did not keep any servants, but did the work herself;
she minded Tig and his little brothers and sisters, and cooked their
meals and made clothes for Garff and all the family. Their clothes
were mostly made of skins, and Gofa always prepared the skins for the
clothes with her own hands. To make a suit out of a deerskin was a long
business. The hide had to be dried in the open air, and then scraped
all over with flint scrapers until all the hair was taken off. Then
it was smeared with the animal’s brains and fat, and allowed to dry
again; and then thoroughly washed in wooden tubs and tanned with the
bark of oak-trees. When at last it was cured and dried, it was cut into
pieces and the pieces sewn together with sinews. Gofa’s needles were
made of bone, and they were not very sharp: she used to pierce holes in
the leather with a little bodkin made of flint stone before she could
put in the stitches. But once the stitches were made, they held firmer
than any that are sewn with thread.

Whenever a deer was brought home or a cow killed, Gofa always kept the
big sinews from the legs and dried them in the sun or under the roof of
the hut indoors.

Then she took a flint knife and scraped the sinew and shredded it into
threads, and drew the threads separately through her fingers, and put
them away in a pouch made of deer-skin. This was her store of thread.

[Illustration: Dressing a Skin]

The suit that most people wore was a sark; it was a sort of shirt
which came down to the knees, and was girded with a belt at the waist.
This was generally made of dressed hide; but almost every one had
besides a thicker dress for cold weather, with the hair left on; and
the richer people had these trimmed with different sorts of fur. Some
wore cloaks besides, and caps made of skin with the hair on.

When the men went hunting they wore shoes made of hide, and leather
bands wrapped round their legs for leggings. The people let their hair
grow long; and they often used to spend much time combing and dressing

Most people, unless they were very poor, had also finer garments of
cloth, which the women span and wove. But cloth was much scarcer than
skins, besides being more easily worn out; and so the clothes for
everyday wear were always of dressed hides. Men who spent a great part
of their time hunting and creeping about in the thickets of the forest,
wanted a suit which would turn the wet and not tear easily among the
thorns and briars.

Tig had his first little sark and belt when he was seven years old--it
was made of deer-skin; but he had neither cap nor leggings; for, like
all the other children, he used to run about barefoot and bareheaded.

Gofa taught her children many things, but she did not teach them to
read or to write: she could neither read nor write herself, nor could
any of her neighbours.

People had no books and no writing in those times. Tig did not learn to
do sums or to say the Multiplication Table; but he did learn to count,
by saying the numbers on his fingers. However, as it is such a long
time since he lived, and as no one ever wrote down exactly how people
counted in those days, Tig’s names for the figures are not known for
certain. But it is very likely that they were something like this. On
the fingers of one hand, instead of One, Two, Three, Four, Five, he
said what sounded like

    _Ahn_, _Da_, _Tree_, _Kethra_, _Kweeg_:

and then on the fingers of the other hand,

    _Say_, _Sect_, _Oct_, _Noi_, _Dec_,

for Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten; and that was as far as he got in the
way of counting at first.

But there were many things that Tig learned from his mother
out-of-doors; for Gofa used to do a great deal of work with the other
women, preparing the ground for corn and reaping the crops at harvest
time; and Tig used to go with his mother to the fields, or to the river
when she went to cut osiers for making baskets, or into the woods to
gather firewood. He learned to be always on the look-out; always to
listen for every sound--even so little a noise as the snapping of a
twig; and always to bear in mind what he was going to do in case of
sudden danger, and where he should run to for safety if he had to
flee from a wild beast. Tig did not know many things that most boys
and girls know in these times; but he could do one thing that hardly
any boy or girl can do nowadays--he could move his ears backward and
forward just as he wished, when he was listening very carefully to any
slight sound in the woods.

Tig liked the summer-time best. It was much better fun playing in the
forest near the huts and lying basking in the hot sun than crawling
about in the dark, smoky winter pit-hut. He used to climb about in the
trees, even when he was quite little. While his mother was busy with
her work out-of-doors, she used to put him up into a tree and let him
play about among the branches by himself; and sometimes she even made a
sort of little crib for him with bands of hide, and left him to sleep
safe and sound in a big oak tree. This was to keep him out of danger
from wild animals. For in those days it was dangerous for children to
be out in the open or in the woods away from the huts, because there
were often wolves or other savage beasts prowling about.

But round Tig’s home there was less danger, because the wild beasts
had learned to fear men and their weapons and their fires. But still,
wolves and bears were seen sometimes close to the village; so the
children were safer playing up in the trees than on the ground; and
they all learned to be very good climbers.

From the boys with whom he played, when he grew older, Tig learned
many other useful things. He learned to swing himself down from one
branch of a tree to a lower branch, and catch hold with his feet;
to dive without splashing, and swim under water right across to the
opposite bank of the river; to save his breath when running, so as to
last out on a long race. He and the other boys practised shooting with
bows and arrows, which their fathers helped them to make. And they had
stone-throwing matches, too; and no one was considered to be any good
unless he could throw hard and straight with both hands. Tig and his
friends all longed to become hunters, and their favourite game was to
play at hunting; and as they grew older, they used to go out in parties
into the woods to hunt and fish. But they did not often bring home any

[Illustration: FLINT SCRAPERS]

  _Chapter the Fourth_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: The Hut that the Boys built_

AS soon as Uncle John had finished reading, he asked the boys if any of
them could guess why Tig’s father’s winter hut was partly dug out of
the ground.

Dick thought because of wild beasts; and Joe said: “Because it would be
warmer underground.”

Uncle John said that those were very good reasons, but he thought the
chief reason was that in those early times people could not build
walls. They had no tools such as masons and carpenters have nowadays.
They had no iron to make pickaxes and saws and planes with; they had
only stone axes that were not much use for splitting or shaping beams.
And so they had to live in houses not much better than foxes’ dens or

They went to the heath next day, and looked at the pits again. Dick and
Joe were talking about the pit-dwellings. Dick said they must have been
very damp places to live in; but Joe said no--rabbits and foxes and
badgers live in burrows underground, and their fur is always dry. They
asked Uncle John’s opinion. He said that he thought in very wet weather
the huts would be damp, because the rain would soak in through the
roof. But as the village was on the top of the hill, no water would lie
about the ground; and, anyway, the men probably dug trenches to carry
off the water down the hill.

David said he thought the huts must have been very small; he wondered
how the people managed to live in them.

“Yes,” said Uncle John, “they must have been small. But you see,
the people who lived in them had no furniture, and they did not
mind crowding. It is very likely, too, that they did not lie down
full-length when they went to sleep. There was no room for that in
the winter huts. They slept sitting, with their hands clasped over
their feet and their chins on their knees. We should not find this a
comfortable position to sleep in; but it was the way they were used to.
And besides, if a man had tried lying at full length in one of these
huts, he would soon have found his toes in the fire.

“Before the people learned how to build huts they lived in caves. Why
was it better to live in huts than in caves?”

None of the boys could think of the answer, so Uncle John said:--“If a
man could find a cave that was roomy and dry, it would be a pleasanter
place to live in than a dug-out hut with a leaky roof. But if he wanted
to live in a cave, he would have to go where the cave was; though if
he could build a hut, he might live wherever he pleased. In the whole
of a countryside there might not be more than two or three caves fit
to live in, so that relations and friends could not live near to each
other. But once men had learned to build huts, whole families could
live together, and, what is more, they could build a wall or a stockade
round the huts, as we have read. There is safety in numbers too, and in
many ways it was much more comfortable for them than living scattered
over the country in caves.”

The boys wished very much to build a hut. But as it was summer-time,
they thought they had better try to build a summer hut. Besides, it
would have been too big a piece of work to dig down four or five feet
into the ground. They were a long time before they could find a place
for their hut, because, as they said, they must pretend that it was not
one hut that they were going to build, but a whole village of huts.
They talked over with Uncle John the things that the people had in mind
when choosing a site for a village. They decided that, no doubt, it
must be on high ground, with a clear view of the country round about
on every side, so that the dwellers in the village could see if their
enemies were coming to attack them. Then they would be better able to
defend themselves if they stood above their enemies, than if their
enemies stood above them.

There was another reason for having the village up on the hill rather
than down in the valley, and it was this. The valleys were thick with
forests, in which were bears and wolves, so they were dangerous for men
and cattle. But on the open hill-sides the cattle could be driven out
to feed every day in safety; and if wolves came out of the forest, the
men could see them in the open and keep them in check.

Joe said they must have water for the village, so they must be sure of
being close to a stream or a spring.

Uncle John said that water was very necessary, of course; but that if
you went to live on the top of a hill for safety you could not expect
to have water in abundance, for there are no streams about the tops of
hills, and not often springs. However, he said, the people managed to
overcome this difficulty, as the book would tell.

David wanted to know about firewood; wouldn’t they need to be near the
forest for that?

They certainly would want firewood, Uncle John said, and they must
always depend on having to make many journeys to the forest to get
wood. But the ground must be cleared and kept open round about the
village, so that there might be pasture for the cattle and ground for
growing corn and other crops.

At last the boys found a very good place. It was high up, beyond a
grove of oak trees, and there was a little spring close by: they called
the grove of oak trees the forest. They had not very good tools to
work with. David had a big clasp-knife with a spring at the back, to
prevent it shutting up on his hand, and Joe had a little hatchet that
was not very sharp. But Dick wrote to his mother in London, and his
father sent him a little axe like an Indian’s tomahawk.

It took them three days to build the hut. Although the trees were Uncle
John’s, he could not let them cut down branches. But he let the woodman
bring them some cut boughs from the wood-yard.

This was how they built the hut. They chose a young tree with a
straight trunk. Around this they fixed the longest and straightest of
their boughs upright in the ground. Then they cut smaller pieces of
willow and birch and hazel, and laced them in and out of the uprights,
until they had got a wattled wall all round, except between two of
the uprights, where they left a space for the door-way. The roof they
made by tying sticks across from the uprights to the centre tree,
and lacing these with twigs and brushwood. Then they plastered the
outside with clay and earth. They made a door, with two light poles for
the sides and two shorter ones for the ends, tied cross-wise at the
corners, and the whole interlaced, like the walls, with hazel shoots
and willows.

When the hut was finished, they brought Uncle John to see it. The boys
could all get inside quite comfortably by squeezing a little; but there
was not room for Uncle John. So, as it was a very hot afternoon, they
all sat outside under an oak tree, and read the next chapter from the
brown book.


  _Chapter the Fifth_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: The Food Supplies_

TIG’S father, Garff, was one of the chief men of the village. He was
very strong and a clever hunter, and the people used to look to him to
take the lead in the big hunting expeditions. He was a rich man, too;
but that does not mean that he had much money, because he had no money
at all. Nobody had money in those times: they had cattle instead, and
if a man had to pay a great deal to another man, he gave a cow or a
bullock; but if he had to pay only a little, he gave a joint of meat,
perhaps, or a skin or part of a skin, or a basket of nuts, or a jar of
corn, or a piece of honeycomb.

Garff had a herd of about twenty small shaggy cows like Welsh cattle.
They used to be driven out to feed on the pasture grounds on the hills
in the daytime with other people’s cows, and some of the old men and
boys with the dogs used to look after them. But at sunset the cowherds
drove the cattle inside the stockade of the village for the night, to
keep them safe from wild beasts; and then the women used to come out to
milk the cows.

Garff used to spend most of his time hunting in the forest. Sometimes
he went alone, and sometimes two or three of his neighbours went with
him. They were not often away from home for more than a day or two. But
now and then it happened that they had to follow the game far afield,
and then they were absent for a longer time. They hunted the deer
mostly; but sometimes they killed the great wild cattle and wild horses
and boars. They shot birds, too, of all kinds, and caught fish in the
lakes and streams. They used to bring home anything they could catch
that would serve for food. Sometimes it happened that all the hunters
were unlucky for many days, and meat became scarce. Then the killing
of a bison or a wild horse was a great event. Everybody in the village
came for a share of the meat, and either carried it home or made a
fire and cooked it on the spot. The meat was eaten up to the very last
morsel, and the people used even to smash the bones with pieces of
stone to get the marrow.

[Illustration: The Stags]

When Tig was a boy, the flesh of wild game was the favourite food of
most people, and it was generally the commonest and the most plentiful.
But it is easy for us to understand that, as the people multiplied and
spread about over the country, all kinds of wild game became scarcer.
The more the animals were hunted, the more difficult it became to get
them. So it was well that there were other things for food. In the
autumn the people used to gather all the wild fruits they could get,
and store them up for use in the winter--nuts and acorns and wild
apples. There were other things, too, that could not be stored, such as
pignuts and blackberries and other sorts of berries.

But the best food of all was corn, of which two kinds, wheat and
barley, were grown. Corn was nicer and more wholesome than acorns, and
much more useful, because, with care and good management, the stock
could be increased; but of the wild fruits and nuts men could gather
only what natural supply there might be.

Of their corn, the people made porridge and flat cakes of bread, first
pouring the grain upon a flat stone and rubbing and grinding it with
a long bar-shaped piece of stone, to make it mealy. Also they pounded
their corn and acorns and nuts in mortars of wood or stone. This was
the women’s work: and it might be said that the women were the millers
and bakers, and even the butchers to the households in those days; for
whenever the men brought home a deer or any other game, the women
always came out to skin it and cut it up and to dress the meat for

The people used not always to have regular times for meals, as we
have nowadays. They generally had a morning and an evening meal, but
otherwise, while there was food, they ate when they were hungry,
and only at the feast times did they eat together in company. Gofa
generally used to make a bowl of porridge for breakfast, and for supper
she cooked whatever game Garff had brought home with him; for Garff, as
we have said, was a clever hunter, and could generally provide better
food than roots and acorns for his family.

There were times, of course, when everybody had to go short. In some
years, when the crops had been scanty, food became very scarce before
the end of winter, and then the people used to suffer greatly from
hunger. At such times, men used to hunt longer and more keenly than
during the summer and autumn months; and if a boy could snare a hare
or catch a hedgehog, or creep up along the bank of a pool where the
wild ducks rested, and fling a couple of stones hard among them as they
rose, he would be warmly welcomed at home when he took in his game.

Of course, when food became very scarce indeed, men killed their own
cattle. But they did not do this so long as there was wild game to
be got. Some men were not such skilful hunters as others; and so it
sometimes happened that a man would have to kill all his cows, one
after another, for food during the cold time, and a long winter would
make many men poor. The women and children suffered terribly, and
everybody got very thin. We sometimes say nowadays that the spring is
a trying time to live through; but it was very much harder when there
were no shops where food could be bought, all the year round alike.

The dogs had a bad time, too: and they used to scratch up buried bones
and gnaw them over again, till they had gnawed away all the softer
parts. Everybody longed for the summer and the time of plenty again;
and there were always great rejoicings when the crops were ripe, and
the time came to get in the harvest.

Before he was seven years old, Tig had learned in many ways to be
useful to his mother. He used to go with her to the field and pull
weeds out of the corn, or to the woods and help her to gather dry
sticks and fir cones for fuel; and when she went to milk the cows, Tig
went too and carried one of the milk jars; so he always earned his

There was one thing Tig never tasted: he never had any kind of sweets.
Of course he used to have honey at home, and he used to pick and
eat all kinds of wild fruit, wild strawberries and raspberries and
blackberries, but he never had sweets. There were not such things in
those days. Nobody had sugar because it was not made then. Even salt,
which is so common with us that you can buy as much as you can carry
for sixpence, was very scarce among Tig’s people. The Medicine Men of
the tribe always had some which they got from some other Medicine Men,
who got it from some other Medicine Men who lived by the sea-shore.
But they were not willing to part with it except in little pieces; and
for a handful of salt a man would have to give something valuable in


  _Chapter the Sixth_

  _How Gofa sold some Meal to a Hungry Man_

ONE night, after the cold-time was over, Gofa and Tig and his little
brother Ban and his little sister Fearna and Sona the baby were in
the hut waiting for Garff to come home from hunting. Gofa was making
porridge for supper, and Tig and Fearna and Ban were waiting to have
theirs, for they were hungry. By this time Gofa’s store of corn was
low, and she used to put a handful or two of pounded-up acorns with the
corn-meal when she made porridge or bread.

Gofa was stirring the porridge when she heard a noise outside the hut.
She jumped up and snatched a club and stood ready to strike if there
should be an enemy at the door. Then she called out:

“Who is there?”

[Illustration: Gofa Alarmed]

“It is I, Tosgy,” said a voice outside. So Gofa laid down the club
and pushed aside the stone at the doorway, and then Tosgy crept into
the hut. Tosgy was not a strong man like Garff. He had had his feet
frost-bitten in the cold-time, and he could not run and so he could not
hunt. The people called him Tosgy because he had big teeth.

“See,” he said, “I have brought you a beautiful fox-skin--a fine one,
a rare, fine one; and I beg you give me some meal for it, a little
meal for my children. It is now five days, nay, six days since we have
eaten bread. We have had naught to eat but the green buds and leaves
that we have plucked from the trees and boiled--and oh, but they are
poor stuff! There is no goodness in such food, and my little ones are
ailing. I beg you take the skin and give me meal.”

Gofa took the skin and looked at it; and she said:

“My man brings me many skins as good as this one; but you shall have
the meal for the little ones--mixed meal, look you, such as we have to
eat ourselves. We have no better.”

Then she went to a jar that was standing beside the fire and took out a
handful of baked corn and gave it to Tosgy and said:

“Munch that, while I put up the meal--it is hard fare, but thy teeth be

“Ay, ay,” said Tosgy, “my teeth be good! would that my feet were as
sound!” So he munched the parched corn.

Then Gofa threw some more meal into the porridge pot, and told Tig to
go on stirring the porridge. And she took Tosgy’s jar which he had
brought and filled it up to the brim with meal; and then she took a
smaller pot and filled it up with porridge from the pot beside the
fire; and gave it to Tosgy to take home to his children. And Tosgy
thanked her many times and made haste to go home with the provender. As
he crept out at the doorway, Gofa shouted after him:

“Mind how thou goest! Spill none, and see that my bowls are brought
safe back when they are empty--which they soon will be methinks with
all those hungry mouths to fill!”

Very soon after this visitor had gone, Garff came home. Gofa did not
pick up a club to brain him with. She knew who was coming before he got
to the hut, for she heard his whistle; and Flann his dog came to the
door and whined and scratched outside. Then Garff crept in and threw
down on the floor the game that he had brought home--a squirrel and two

“Poof!” he said, “I am tired! Up hill and down dale all day long and
never a sight of game. As for the deer, there is no getting near them,
and what we shall do if this goes on I cannot tell. But the wolves!
why, they be as bold now as ever they were in the cold-time. There
were five at least prowling about a bowshot from the gate.”

“Ah!” said Gofa, “and thou all alone!”

“Nay, I was not alone,” said Garff. “Darach was with me and he let fly
at one and shot it through the body--a rare long shot--and the rest, as
their way is, fell upon it and pulled it down and tore it to pieces.
We went round to see that the cattle be all safe within walls. I never
knew the wolves so fierce save when there was snow on the ground. But
the cattle be safe; that’s one good thing; the cattle be safe. Give me
some of that porridge, I am hungry.”

So Gofa brought him some porridge and a bowl of milk, and he sat by the
fire and ate his supper, and afterwards ate some parched corn, munching
a few grains at a time, while Gofa set to work to strip the fur from
the squirrel and the water-rats to make them ready for cooking the next

By this time Tig and the other children had gone to lie down to sleep
in the part of the hut where they slept. Then Gofa told Garff about
Tosgy and how he came to ask for meal.

“I fear there will be many hungry mouths among our folk,” said Garff,
“before the fruits are ripe and the harvest fit to be gathered in; and
with game getting so hard to kill too! I am glad thou couldst spare
some meal.”

“But I shall give him back his fox-skin,” said Gofa, “for they are very
poor. See now, I will tell his wife to send one of the children for it
next time she is making a coat!”


  _Chapter the Seventh_

  _The Harvest of the Fields and of the Woods_

ALTHOUGH the people had learned how to grow corn, they could not raise
large crops. They tilled the ground only in patches, and they had no
ploughs or harrows, nor had they any horses to work the land with. All
the work was done by hand, and mostly by the women, although sometimes
the old men and the boys helped them. They cleared the ground beyond
the edge of the forest, and turned up the soil with their hoes.

When a woman wanted to make a hoe, she chose a bough of a tree that
had a bend in it. Then she cut and trimmed this to the shape of the
letter L, and, last of all, bound a flint, which had been chipped to a
broad point, to the shorter limb of the bough with strips of hide; and
so she had a useful tool for tilling her plot of ground.

[Illustration: Going to the Fields]

In the spring the people sowed their corn. They worked in parties, and
as they moved across the field plying their hoes, they used to sing
songs to keep in time with one another, one singing the verses and the
rest all joining in the chorus. They were fond of singing, whether they
were at work or at play; they had songs and choruses for the different
occupations, marching songs and harvest songs and songs about hunting
the deer; and at the feast-times they sang these songs and the choruses
over and over again.

When the time came to gather in the corn, the people often found their
crops very short, for pigeons and rooks and other birds came and ate
the corn, and the wild deer sometimes broke through the fences and
trampled down even more than they ate.

But for all that, the harvest was always a busy time. The women cut off
the heads of the corn with their flint knives and carried it home in
baskets. They stored it up in the store-houses in the winter village,
and when the last of the crops had been gathered in, the people went
back to the village for the winter. Then for many days they kept the
feast of the harvest. There was plenty to eat and drink, and everybody
ate and drank a great deal; and they sang and danced and offered
sacrifices, and gave thanks to their gods for the crops that they had
gathered in.

The pit-hut, which was Gofa’s store-house for her corn, was near the
hut in which she and Garff lived. Like her neighbours she stored up
the ears of the corn, and only rubbed out the grain when she wanted a
supply for making cakes or porridge.

Besides the harvest of the fields there was the harvest of the woods
to be gathered in. Tig used to enjoy more than anything else the days
when they gathered the acorns. The women used to go in large parties,
with some of the children and some of the young men, all singing and
shouting. Then, if a savage old wild boar was routing about among the
fern, and munching the fallen acorns, he would listen to the noise of
the party coming up, and grunt angrily at being disturbed, and move
away into the deep forest; for he feared men, and never attacked them
unless they chased him and brought him to bay.

It was splendid for Tig and the other boys--climbing into the oak
trees, and getting as far out as they could upon the branches to shake
down the ripe acorns. Sometimes they gathered a handful of fine ones
and threw them at one another or pelted the women who were gathering
underneath; and then Gofa, or some one else’s mother, would look up
and say: “Have done now, little badling! or surely we will leave thee
in the forest here to-night, and Arthas the She-bear will catch thee
and carry thee to her den to make a supper morsel for her little ones!”

And they gathered blackberries and nuts and wild strawberries, and
sat down all together to eat the fruit with the corn-cakes that they
had brought; and those who had not had enough to eat, nibbled at the
acorns. But nobody ate many of these, because they were meant to be
carried home for storing, and not to be eaten raw at any time. They
were to be dried beside the fire in jars, and then pounded up and mixed
with corn-meal to make it go further.

At sunset the people all joined into a company again to go home. Every
one had a load. There were big baskets that took two to carry, and
smaller baskets for one, and little baskets for the children: and some
of the lads and women had wallets made of deer-hide slung over their

[Illustration: The Wild Boar]

And so they carried home the harvest of the woods, day by day until all
the trees were bare--and you may be sure that the squirrels had to be
astir very early in the morning to get a share of acorns and nuts for
their own winter stores.


  _Chapter the Eighth_

  _How Crubach became a Sower of Corn_

IN Garff’s village there lived an old man named Crubach. The people
called him Crubach, the Lame One, because when he was a young man he
had had a dreadful fight with a bear, and had been nearly torn in
pieces. The bear clawed his face all down one side and tore his arm,
and would speedily have killed him, but that two or three brave men
dashed in with blazing firebrands and thrust them in the bear’s face;
and among them they killed the bear and saved poor Crubach. In time he
recovered; but he was never able to hunt again, because he was lame and
could not hold either a bow or a spear. But he was strong and clever,
and he did not mean to have to beg his daily bread. So he became a
grower of corn; and in time he was the greatest grower of corn in the
village. He tilled his plot of land more carefully than the women, and
always saved his best corn for seed; and his seed was so much better
than other people’s that they used to go to him at the time of sowing,
and take meat or skins or firewood to exchange for seed-corn.

Then the men began to see that after all Crubach had done well, even
though he was not a hunter; and in course of time, some of them took to
working among the crops and laying up more corn for the winter store.

Besides his crops of barley and wheat, Crubach grew flax, of which
the fibres were dressed and spun into thread. He used to keep a
supply of sticks trimmed and ready for making bows and arrow shafts
and spear-shafts; he also made wooden cups and bowls and wooden tubs.
And he used to gather wild plants of different sorts and use them
for medicine; and it was said in the village that nobody except the
Medicine Men knew more about plants than Crubach.

When Tig grew big enough to run about by himself, he became great
friends with Crubach. The old man was generally to be found working on
his piece of land, or sitting to scare away the birds from his crops.
He used to teach Tig the names of the animals and birds, and tell him
things about them--such as why Broc the badger never walks out except
at night; why Graineag the hedgehog wears a prickly jacket; where
Gobhlan the swallow goes in the cold-time; why Seabhac the kestrel hawk
hangs in the air beating her wings; and who it is that haunts the reedy
marshes, crying: “Boom-boom!” And when Crubach gathered in his harvest,
he bound a little sheaf of corn for Tig, and gave it to him, and said:
“This did I promise thee on the day when we were in the field together
scaring the birds.”

  _Chapter the Ninth_

  _The Story of the Wolf that hunted alone_

THIS is one of the stories that Crubach told to Tig. No one now could
tell it exactly as Crubach told it, but it was something like this:

Once upon a time there was a wolf that hunted alone. Why did he hunt
alone? Now listen, and I will tell thee.

One night he went out with his brother wolves; and they found the trail
of a stag and hunted him in the forest. And the stag stood at bay in
a rocky place and thrust with his antlers and killed three wolves,
and another he killed by leaping upon it suddenly, with his feet
altogether, and breaking its neck. So this wolf, who was a coward,
said: “I have no mind to be killed. I will not hunt stags.” So he went
home to his den and got no supper that night.

On the next night he went out again with the pack, and they found the
trail of a wild bull and hunted him in the forest. And the wild bull
stood at bay in a thicket, and tossed four wolves and trampled them
underfoot and gored them with his horns. So this wolf said: “I have no
mind to be tossed by a wild bull. I will not hunt wild bulls.” And he
went home to his den and got no supper that night.

So on the next night he went out to hunt alone. By and by he saw
Sinnach, the old fox, trotting home with a wild duck that he had
caught, slung across his shoulders. So he called out:

“Ho, there! Deliver up that duck!”

But Sinnach was not afraid when he saw that the wolf was alone, and he
ran to his den, which was in the rocks close by, and he dropped the
duck inside, and then he came to the door and called out to the wolf:
“Ho, there, friend! Go and catch a duck for thyself!” And then he went
back into his den.

And the wolf went on, and soon he came to the village of the Beavers.
The village of the Beavers was in a pond; but the pond was frozen over,
because it was the cold-time; and the wolf walked on the ice and came
to the hut where the grandfather beaver lived. The grandfather beaver
was at home with his family, all sitting snug in the house; and the
wolf knew that all the beavers were at home because he could smell
them. So he came up close outside, and he called out to the grandfather
beaver and said:

“Let me in! Let me in!”

The grandfather beaver knew the wolf’s voice, and he answered:

“Where are thy manners, friend? Come to the door!”

Now the door of a beaver’s hut is under the water; and the water was
frozen over with thick ice; and the grandfather beaver knew that the
wolf could not dig through the ice, so he laughed, and the other
beavers laughed too.

When the wolf heard the beavers laugh, he was very angry, and he
snapped out and said:

“I am coming in through the roof!”

So he began to scratch and dig with his paws at the roof of the
beavers’ hut. But the roof of the beavers’ hut was made of boughs well
laid in and plastered with mud and gravel, and it was all frozen as
hard as the ice on the pond. So when the wolf scratched, he only hurt
his claws and made his pads very sore; so after a while he had to leave
off and go home, limping on his sore pads. And when the beavers heard
him leave off and go away, they laughed again, down in their snug house.

So the wolf went home to his den, and he got no supper that night.

[Illustration: The Wolf at the Beaver’s Hut]

The next night he went out again and hunted by himself. And he was so
hungry that he sat on his tail and howled at the moon.

Gearrag, the young hare, heard him, and she peeped at him from behind a
tuft of grass; but she was not afraid of a wolf that hunted alone, and
she ran off to feed.

And Mulcha the owl heard him; she perched in the fir tree overhead and
cried out: “_Whoo-whoo-whoo!_ Who heeds a wolf that runs by himself?

And Broc the badger heard him. He came up out of his burrow at the
roots of a big oak tree to go on his midnight prowl; he went on his
way, grunting to himself: “I always go out without a mate, for that is
the way of us badger-folk, but it is not the way for him; it is not the
way of his folk. No, no!”

By and by the wolf went on again; and he hunted all the night and found
no trail. But towards morning he smelt the scent of dead game. And he
nosed about and presently he found in a thicket the body of a hind that
had been caught in a trap by its foot. A man had set the trap, but he
was at home lame with frost-bite in his feet, and he could not go to
his trap. The hind was dead, and Bran the raven had found it; Bran was
sitting aloft on a bare branch, calling out “_Kroagh, kroagh, kroagh!_”

When the wolf found the dead hind in the trap, he was very glad. He
said to himself: “Now I will have a feast all to myself. It is a good
thing to hunt alone!”

But Arthas the she-bear was near. She too had smelled out the dead
hind, and she meant to make a meal of it. She saw the wolf, but she was
not afraid of a wolf that hunted alone. So she came up very quietly
behind him and said:


The wolf jumped, for he was very frightened. But he snarled and showed
his teeth. Then he said:

“Go away! This is mine.”

But Arthas said, “Nay, friend, it is mine!”

And the wolf said, “It is mine, for I killed it!”

But Arthas answered: “If thou didst kill it, what is this thing upon
its foot, and what meaneth Bran yonder, crying carrion? Thou art a liar
and I shall cuff thee!”

So Arthas lifted her great paw and cuffed the wolf over the head, and
he fell down dead. And Arthas took the body of the hind and dragged
it home to her den for breakfast for her little ones. But as for the
carcase of the wolf, she saw that it was nothing but skin and bone; so
she left it there in the thicket for Bran the raven, who sat in the
tree crying carrion, and for Feannog the crow, who will eat anything.
And that is the end of the story of the wolf that hunted alone.

  _Chapter the Tenth_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: A Talk about Cattle and Crops_

WHEN the chapter was finished, the boys talked about the plan for
making a dug-out hut, if they could all be together in the next winter
holidays. Uncle John said he would not stop them, but he thought they
would find it too hard a task when they came to dig down into the
ground, unless they could find a place where the soil was deep and

Dick wanted to know what tools the people of the old time used when
they dug out their winter huts.

Uncle John took down another book, and showed them a picture of an old
pick-axe made out of a deer’s antler. But, he said, he did not know
what the men used to do for shovels; perhaps they scooped up the soil
in their hands, and carried it up to the top of the pit in baskets.

Anyway the boys thought that with their spades they would be able to
dig down fairly deep; and then, if they were to lay the soil around the
top as they dug it out, they would make the walls higher.

Joe said it would be great fun to have a real fire and collect acorns
and roast them to see how they tasted. But Uncle John said they would
not find many acorns in the Christmas holidays: the rooks and the
squirrels would have taken care of that. But David said they could
have some chestnuts from home and pretend they were acorns. He said he
thought they would be nicer to eat than acorns, anyway. “Acorns are so
bitter,” said he, “I wonder anyone could eat them at all.”

“Yes,” said Uncle John. “But if they were pounded up and put into a
vessel with water, the water would take out much of the bitter taste;
and then the water could be poured off and the acorn meal dried and
mixed with corn meal, as we read, for either corn-cakes or porridge.”

Then David asked why the people didn’t keep larger herds of cattle, so
that in the long winter, when there was no other food, they could be
sure of having beef in plenty.

“Well,” said Uncle John, “now that’s a question--who can think of an

Dick said that wolves would come and kill the cattle; and Joe said that
enemies would come and steal them.

“Those are both likely answers,” said Uncle John, “for, of course, it
is harder to guard a large herd than a small one--but, can’t some one
think of a better?”

David said he expected it was hard to keep cattle in the winter, if
the people had no byres for them, and no hay to feed them with.

“That is a good notion,” said Uncle John, “the people couldn’t take
a cow down the passage into a pit-hut, though no doubt they built
cowsheds of some sort inside the wall of the village. But cows can’t
live on nothing but fresh air, any more than human beings can; and it
must have been a difficult matter to collect winter forage for even
a small herd in days when nobody made hay. And then, I daresay, it
was not easy to rear large herds, for the cattle which the people had
were only partly tamed; and some would be apt to stray away into the
forests; and the more a man had, the more he would lose, both in this
way and from the attacks of wild animals, as Dick says.

“It is more likely that most men had only a few cattle at first. Then
they naturally tried to keep for use and for breeding those that were
the tamest and the best; and you may be sure that a man would not kill
a cow that was gentle and gave good milk, unless he were driven by

“But, of course, as time went on, men became more skilful in rearing
cattle and sheep, just as they became more skilful in growing corn. And
so it came to pass that people had always food at home, without needing
to hunt the wild deer, except for amusement; but that was not for a
very long while after the time we have been reading about.”

Then Dick wanted to know about the corn that Crubach sowed. Where
did it come from? Was it wild corn? Uncle John said that was a hard
question, and one that even learned men had never been able to answer
completely. There is no wild corn in this country, he said, and the
original stock of the corn that Crubach and his neighbours had must
have been brought from some other country a great many years before
Crubach lived.

“What are pig-nuts like?” Dick asked.

“You dig them up in fields, with an old knife,” said Joe, “a white
flower grows up from them, earlier in the summer than this. They don’t
have a shell; they are like little potatoes, and taste like a nut but
are rather tough.”

“Yes,” said Uncle John, “I don’t suppose the people thought much
of pig-nuts, which probably were not very plentiful in times when
there were fewer meadows; and not easy to get, besides being rather
poor things when you get them, as Joe says. But the wild fruit
that they gathered in the autumn--we have read of acorns, nuts and
blackberries--what other kinds can you think of?”

“Wild strawberries,” said Dick.

“And raspberries,” said Joe.

“Cranberries,” said David, “and blaeberries.”

“What are they?” Dick asked.

“You say bilberries, or perhaps ‘whorts’--go on.”

“Hips and haws.”

“Very likely.”

“Rowanberries?” David asked.

“Yes, very likely: but think of something else--not berries at all.”

“Not crab apples?” said Joe, “they didn’t eat crabs surely?”

“I expect they did. Not that we need guess about it, for to a certain
extent we know. A good many years ago, the remains of several villages
of about the period of this story were found beside the shores of some
of the lakes in Switzerland. There was hardly anything of the huts
to be seen, because they had been burned down. But the fire which
had destroyed the huts had preserved some of the things inside. For
instance, jars were dug out of the silt containing what had once been
food, all charred by the fire but whole and perfect in shape. There
were nuts and acorns and corn of different kinds, but also crabs or
wild apples that had evidently been split and dried. Some of these
things are in the British Museum now; and if we could go and see them,
I daresay you would think them very interesting.”

[Illustration: PICKAXE]

  _Chapter the Eleventh_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: How Tig got his First Bow and Arrows_

WHEN first Tig and his friends played at hunting, they mostly had bows
and arrows of their own making. Tig had made his own bow, but it was
not a good one. He made it of a hazel sapling which was not a very
tough piece of wood, and not well balanced, as one end was thicker than
the other. His bowstring was one that his father had thrown away, and
it was old and frayed.

But one day Garff was sitting outside the hut shaping a shaft for a
spear with his flint knife, and he saw Tig trying to shoot with his
weak little bow. So he called him, and said: “Bring it hither to me,
little son. It is a poor thing, this bow of thine. One of these days we
must make thee a better.”

And Tig said: “Make it now, Dad.”

So Garff laid aside his spear, and he went into the hut and brought
out several lengths of wood from his store, and he looked them over
carefully. He chose one--a piece of a tough ash sapling, about four
feet long. Then he set to work to whittle this with his knife until he
had shaped it to the right form--thickest in the middle and tapering
towards the ends, rounded in front and flattened at the back; and
he scraped it smooth all over. Then he worked some notches at each
end, using for this a little saw made of flint; and he fitted a new
bowstring to it, and gave Tig his first real bow. Of course this was
not done all in a day, but Garff worked at it between whiles when he
had time.

And he made the arrows, too, taking from his stock of arrow-sticks six
of the shorter ones. These he trimmed and scraped, and made a deep
notch at the top of each, to take the bow-string. Then at the tip he
made a deep cut, lengthwise, with the saw, and fitted in a bit of the
leg bone of a deer, shaped and pointed. Then he cut a very fine strip
of fresh hide and bound it around the base of the bone point; and
afterwards laid the arrows one by one in the sun, so that the hide
might dry and shrink, and hold the arrow-head tight in its place.

And Garff took some wing-feathers of a wild goose and split them; and
to each of the arrows he bound three strips of the feathers a little
below the notch, to make them fly straight. And he made a quiver of
birch bark, bound with bands of hide, for Tig to carry his arrows in.
And he cut a mark upon the quiver, and the same mark on each of the
arrows, so that Tig might always know his own; and he told him to be
very careful about his arrows, not to waste them on chance shots, and
always to recover them after shooting, if possible.

None of the boys had a better outfit than Tig’s. Among them they made
a target out of an old skin, stuffed with dry grass, and practised
shooting at it. The men taught them how to aim, standing sideways, on
to the target, with feet well apart, firmly set, and to draw the bow
by hooking the first two fingers of the right hand into the bowstring,
not by pinching the arrow between thumb and finger. Every boy in
the village wanted to practise and become a good marksman. The boys
who could shoot well and run well were always thought much of; and
sometimes they were allowed to go hunting with the men.

  _Chapter the Twelfth_

  _How Tig visited Goba the Spear-maker_

ONE day, not long after this, Tig was bringing in a faggot of sticks
for his mother, when he saw his father getting ready for a journey. He
had a wallet, with food packed into it, slung over his shoulders; also
his bow and a quiver full of arrows. He carried a spear in his hand and
had his stone axe slung at his side.

Tig had never been away with his father, and he wished very much to go.
He asked his father where he was going, and Garff said:

“I am going away over yonder, to get some arrow-heads from Goba, the
spear-maker; but it is too far for thee to travel. We shall be three
days or more about our journey, and we shall sleep out at night. Thou
art better at home.”

But Tig begged hard; so Garff said he might go, if his mother would let
him; and though his mother said she feared it would be too far for him,
yet he might go, for he was getting a big boy and must learn to march
like a man.

Four or five men of the village were going with Garff, and at last
they set out. They left the open ground where the cattle were feeding,
and made their way into the forest, going downward until they came to
the river. They marched along the river-bank, going up the stream, and
then crossed the water and mounted upward by a track through the thick
forest until they reached the high ground on the other side of the
valley. Here they were on the open moor; and the men began to practise
shooting for a match. One man shot an arrow ahead, and then the others,
each in turn, aimed at the first man’s arrow. Then they walked on, and
as soon as they were near enough to see how the arrows lay, they sent
Tig to pick them up. But Tig did not have to ask whose arrow each one
was, because every man had his own mark on his arrows, and Tig knew the
marks just as well as one of us nowadays knows his own initials on a

After sunset they came to a sheltered spot near a clump of oak trees,
and here they camped for the night. Garff and another man then gathered
up dry grass and dead leaves and twigs, and set to work with their
fire-stick to make a fire. This they did by setting the fire-stick
upright, with its end sunk into a hole in a little slab of wood that
they had brought with them. Then one pressed his hand lightly on the
top of the upright stick, while the other brought out a kind of bow
with a loose bow-string, and looped the string around the middle of the
upright stick. Then he worked the bow backward and forward and so made
the fire-stick spin in its socket, which after a while became so hot
that it set fire to the dry leaves and twigs that had been laid around

Meantime the other men had collected dry brushwood and had cut logs,
so that they soon had a good fire. They sat round the fire and ate of
the dried meat and corn-cake that they had with them, and then lay down
to sleep. The men watched by turns to keep the fire up; for so long as
there was a good blaze they need not fear the attack of wild beasts.
Tig lay close beside his father; and when one of the men wakened Garff
to take his turn of the watch, Tig wakened too, and saw the darkness
all about them and the sparks flying upward towards the stars, and he
heard the wind rushing in the tops of the trees around them, and far
away the howling of the wolves hunting through the night.

After three days of such marching and camping, they came to Goba’s
village. Goba’s village was in the hill country and at the top of a
low, rounded hill. There was a wall set with stakes all round the
village, and the huts were mostly larger and better built than any Tig
had seen before. Goba and his sons never went away from their village.
When the people moved off in the summer and went camping with their
cattle, Goba and his sons stayed at home, working at their trade. They
were all busily working when Garff and his party arrived.

[Illustration: The Spear Maker]

All about Goba’s hut there were great heaps of flint stones, and the
floor of the sheds where they worked was covered with broken pieces
and waste chips. Goba and the other men all had different pieces of
work on hand. Goba was making a spear-head; he had laid it on a large
stone between his knees and kept striking it sharply and delicately
with a small stone which he held in his right hand, to finish chipping
the edge and make it sharp. Tig stood by and watched; and when Goba
saw that Tig was watching him, he let him take the spear-head in his
hands and look at it and feel the sharp point. It was made of beautiful
yellow flint stone.

“Did you make it out of one of those stones?” Tig asked.

“Yes,” said Goba, “out of such a one as they have there, see,” and he
pointed to where two men were fixing a large grey flint stone into a
groove between two great logs. Then one of the men took a large stone
and struck the flint at the top and knocked off a long flake. This they
did six or seven times; and then they gathered up the flakes and took
them into the shed.

And Goba showed Tig some of the things the other men were making. Two
of them were at work upon arrow-heads, chipping them very slowly and
carefully; and while Tig was watching, one man made an unlucky stroke
and broke his arrow-head in two. So he spoiled all his day’s work at
one blow, and there was nothing for it but to take another flake and
begin all over again. But the other man took a bone tool like a chisel,
and pressed it along the edge of his arrow-head all the way along,
flaking off tiny chips and making the arrow-head very sharp.

Another man was making a stone axe. He had shaped it out by hammering
it with stones of different shapes and sizes, and was then busily
grinding the cutting edge by rubbing the axe-head backward and forward,
backward and forward all the time, upon a large grooved slab of hard

“With such as this we can cut,” said Goba; “we can fell trees and hew
them in pieces. There is nothing like my axes for cutting. Now see, I
will show thee how the men of the old time made their axes--they that
were in the land before our fathers came hither;” and Goba picked up a
heavy lump of flint stone that had been roughly chipped into the shape
of an axe-head. “Even such as this were the axes of those rude folk!
Ho! ho! right enough to brain a wolf withal, but good for naught when
it comes to felling of trees or hewing of timber. We must have our axes
well ground to an edge for felling timber, little son.”

“Why doesn’t my father make spears for himself?” Tig asked.

“Thy father is a hunter, boy,” said Goba. “Look at me! Can I chase the
deer? Nay! Too heavy and slow am I for hunting. Set thy father’s leg
against my leg and his arm against my arm: then thou wilt see.

“But set thy father’s hand against my hand, his eye against my eye! He
can spy the deer when they are many paces distant among the fern, where
I should see naught. But can he see, as I can see, into the heart of
the stone, and can he handle it aright to shape an arrow or an axe?
Nay, he cannot. Now I was born to love the good stones, and these my
sons follow after me. It is not born in thee to handle stones: thou
wilt grow up to be a hunter, like thy father.”

“I should like to be a spearmaker, and make spears and arrows like
these of yours,” said Tig.

“Then thou must come and learn our craft,” said the old man, “and that
is a long matter. Start young, that’s the only way. The hand must
learn, and the eye must learn, and many a likely piece of stuff be
spoiled before a craftsman is made. But thou wilt not come. Thy father
likes better for thee to learn how to hunt deer and slay wolves, with
the good stones that I and my sons will make for thee. It is not born
in thee to follow our craft, little son.”

Inside his hut Goba had his store of all kinds of weapons made of
stone--axes and spears and arrow-heads and daggers; he also had knives
and chisels, and scrapers to scrape hides with, and little saws, and
many other such things all of flint stone.

Then Garff and his men unpacked the goods they had brought with
them--fine skins, and pickaxes made of deer’s antlers (of which Goba
was always in want, for digging out the flint), and a fine buck that
they had killed in the forest that morning, and as much of the crushed
corn out of their stock as they could spare. And these things they
exchanged with Goba for flint arrows and spears and two or three axes.
And Goba gave Tig a javelin or little spear for his own; because he
said that the party had a long way to travel before they could get
home, and Tig must have his weapon like the rest, in case they should
fall in with wild beasts and be attacked.


  _Chapter the Thirteenth_

  _Arsan’s Story about Grim the Hunter_

ARSAN was the oldest man in Garff’s village; he was so old that no one
knew how old he was. He could remember things that happened before
anyone else in the village was born; and he was very fond of telling
stories about the old times. The people liked to listen to Arsan’s
stories, when they were gathered round the fire in winter, or when
sitting out of doors on a summer evening.

One day in winter, when the snow was thick outside and the people were
keeping at home out of the storm, many of them gathered together in
Garff’s hut. Old Arsan was there, and the people asked for a story,
and Tig crept near so that he could hear it. And Arsan said:

“Once, when I was a child, about the bigness of this youngling here,
or less, I beheld Grim the Hunter. Well do I remember the day when I
beheld Grim the mighty hunter.”

Then the people said: “Tell us a story of Grim the mighty hunter.”

So Arsan began his story, and he said: “In the days long ago men were
great hunters. There be none now that are hunters like them of the old
time. For in the old time there were beasts more and mightier than
there be nowadays, and the men who hunted them were mightier likewise.
There was Laidir who once tracked out the great wild ox and slew him
in the swamp. And there was Curad who wore about his neck a necklace
of three rows of the fang-teeth of wolves that he had slain with his
own hand. But greater than Laidir and greater than Curad was Grim, the
mighty hunter.

“When Grim was but a little more than a babe, he took a spear and
killed a wolf-cub that his father had brought into the hut alive. And
it was said of him, by them that were wise among the folk, that he
would live to be a slayer of beasts.

“Now when he was grown a tall youth, it befell one day that he went
forth into the woods to kill meat. He carried his bow and arrows at his
back, and in his hand a spear. By his side hung his trusty axe, a stone
of the best. So he went, armed like a man, but without the wit of a
man, and heeding naught.

“For by and by he spied a bear-cub moving among the fern in an open
space of the woods. Now Grim greatly desired to have the skin of a
bear-cub, so, without more ado, he shot at the bear-cub thrice with
his arrows and wounded it; and then ran after it and smote it as it
ran, and slew it. And then, since it was too heavy a beast for him to
carry off, he fell to skinning it there and then, so as to load
himself with the hide and come again for the meat. But suddenly he
heard a terrible roar behind him, and turning round he saw a great big
she-bear, that was the mother of the cub, coming upon him out of the

[Illustration: The Bear]

Then some of the people cried out: “Nay, tell us now--surely she slew
him not!”

And Arsan said: “Nay, she slew him not. For Grim was but a youth then,
and as ye know he was thereafter an old man dwelling among the people.
Nay, she slew him not. But the she-bear came upon him with a terrible
roaring. She was dreadful to look upon, of a vast bigness, her eyes
like hot fire and her jaws dripping foam. And Grim turned and ran for
his life; but she ran faster than he, and would surely have caught him,
but that he won to a tree, and climbed up instantly out of her reach.

“Then the she-bear climbed up into the tree after Grim. So he crept
out upon a long branch, and the bear made ready to follow him. Then
Grim fitted an arrow to his bow and took steady aim and shot, and shot
again, and wounded her in the body. But she came on, nevertheless,
growling, and mowing with her great jaws. Then Grim worked himself
along to the end of the branch and held by his hands, and swung and so
dropped to a branch below. And the she-bear turned herself about and
climbed down to that branch and came along towards him as before. And,
again, Grim drew two arrows on her and wounded her twice again, and the
blood came streaming from the wounds. Then Grim saw that he had only
three arrows left. So again he swung from the branch and dropped, and
thence to the ground; and he stood up and shot all three arrows into
the bear from beneath, with all his might and main. And she turned to
climb downwards, and ripped the tree with her great claws, and fell
to the ground; and though she was stricken to the death, she reared
herself on her hind legs and made as though to set upon him. Then,
being eager to kill, he picked up his spear and hurled it, so that it
pierced the bear’s breast, and she fell forward, tearing and biting at
the spear. Then Grim ran in upon her with his axe, and clove her skull
and made an end of her. And he cut out his arrows from her carcase and
struck off her four paws and took them; and he took the skin of the
bear-cub. And then, because it was near to nightfall, he hastened home.

“And he and some of the people came on the next day to the place, and,
lo! the wolves had devoured the carcases of the she-bear and of the
bear-cub in the night, and there remained not even the bones of them.

“And Grim made him a necklace of the claws of the she-bear that he slew
on that day; and it was ever about his neck. This have I seen. And it
was meet that he should wear her claws for bravery and strength; for he
slew her with his own hands.

“Thus was Grim great and famous among the people; and far be it from me
to name his name to his hurt. Howbeit, he was a mighty hunter!”

And the people all said: “Aye, surely that was he--he was a mighty


  _Chapter the Fourteenth_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: A Talk about Stone Weapons_

AS soon as he had finished reading the chapter, Uncle John went to a
cabinet and took out a box in which were a number of flint arrow-heads
of different shapes and sizes. Some were not longer than one’s
finger-nail, and some were two or three inches in length, long enough
to be used as heads for a javelin, such as Goba gave to Tig. Some were
oval in shape like the leaf of a privet bush, others were shaped like
the ace of diamonds; some had barbs at each side, and some a tang
between the barbs for fixing the head to the shaft of the arrow.

Uncle John asked David if he could tell why some of the arrows were
barbed and some not. Joe said that perhaps only the cleverest men could
make the barbed arrows; the others were easier to make.

“No doubt that was so,” said Uncle John, “but all the same, they made a
great many of both kinds.”

Dick said perhaps the plain arrows were for shooting at a target, but
the barbed ones for killing things.

“I expect,” said Uncle John, “that the barbed arrows were used in
battle. A barbed arrow cannot be plucked out of a wound, and so it is
more deadly than the other. The plain arrows were generally used in
hunting. When a man had shot a deer or a hare, he wanted to be able to
pull out his arrow at once and use it again, but a barbed arrow sticks
in the wound and cannot be pulled out.”

Dick wanted to know if one of these little arrow-heads would really
kill a big animal like a deer. David said, “Yes, of course it would. It
is as big as a rifle bullet.”

“But it wasn’t shot as hard as a rifle bullet is,” Dick said.

“However, these arrows were shot quite hard enough,” said Uncle John.
“Some years ago the skeleton of a man was found in a cave in France.
The man had evidently been killed in battle in the old times that we
have been reading about, for sticking in his backbone was the head of a
flint arrow, which had been shot at the man with such force that it had
pierced his clothing and his body, and had half buried itself in his

Then Uncle John opened another drawer in his cabinet, and took out a
stone axe-head, beautifully ground and polished, shaped to a cutting
edge both back and front, and with a hole drilled through for the
shaft. The boys all looked at it and handled it, and Joe said:

“How could men cut down trees with an axe like that? It would never be
sharp enough to cut wood with, surely.”

“I think this one was a battle-axe,” Uncle John answered, “because it
is small and very carefully finished, as you see, and ornamented with
these lines at the top. Axes for cutting wood were larger and plainer,
I daresay. But even then, of course, they weren’t such useful tools
as our steel axes that we use nowadays. Has anyone of you ever heard
what else the men of those old times used, when they wanted to fell a
big tree?--Why, fire! They lighted a fire at the foot of the tree, and
when it was burnt out, they hacked away the charred wood and lighted
the fire again--and so on, until they got the tree down. Then they had
to chop and chop with their axes to trim the trunk; so it was a long
business. But they managed it all the same; for they needed hewn wood
for many purposes, of which, no doubt, the book will tell us later on.”

The next day, out on the heath, the boys gathered flint stones and
tried to make some arrow-heads. They found it very hard work. It was
easy to knock off pieces that had a cutting edge or a sharp point; but
it was very hard to chip these flakes into anything like the proper
shape. They all tried for a long while, and banged and cut their
fingers, without producing a single good specimen; and this they found
a little disappointing. But, as Uncle John reminded them, Goba and his
men were old hands at the business, and no doubt they had had to spend
a long time learning and practising it before they could do it well.
“And even then,” said Uncle John, “how long do you think it would take
a skilled man to make a single arrow-head?” The boys all guessed about
an hour or two. “Well, of course, we don’t know,” said Uncle John. “But
I can tell you this. Some years ago two Englishmen, who were travelling
in the wild parts of North America, came across a tribe of Red Indians
who had nothing but stone weapons. And the Indians told them that
even the cleverest workman of the tribe could not make more than one
arrow-head in a whole day’s work. So a dagger, or a long spear or a
stone axe, especially of the sort that was ground to an edge at both
ends and polished all over, must have taken weeks or even months to

“In the British Museum,” Uncle John went on, “there is a large
collection of very wonderful flint weapons. Some day we will all go to
London, and Dick shall take us to the Museum to see them; and besides
these we shall see the hammer-stones that were used for chipping flints
with, and the grinding stones on which the stone axes were rubbed and
ground to an edge.”


  _Chapter the Fifteenth_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: The Village Pond_

THE pond from which the women of the village used to get water for
drinking and washing and cooking was outside the village on the top of
the hill. It was always full of good water, even in dry weather. The
women dipped their jars there, and the cattle drank from it, but there
was always plenty of water. No one had ever known the pond to run dry.

However, one day when the men had all gone hunting, some of the women
went to the pond to fetch water. But soon they came back and ran about
among the huts, crying out, “Oho, oho! The pond is dry! The pond is
dry, oho! oho!”

Then the other women came out of the huts, and some of the old men and
boys with them, and they all made haste to go to the pond. When they
got to it, they found that what the first woman had said was true.
There was not a pond at all, but only a puddle where the pond had been.
And the women tossed up their arms and wailed, “Oho-ho-ho! the pond is

Then during many days the people were sadly troubled for want of water
close at hand. The women had to go in parties down to the river in the
valley and carry the heavy jars of water all the way up the hill to the
huts. And the men had to beat a track through the woods and take the
cattle down to drink at the stream, and guard them carefully going and
coming for fear of wolves, every man carrying his weapons: and this
kept the men at home and hindered them from hunting.

So they sent for a wise man, called a Medicine Man, to come to tell
them what they might do to bring back the water. And the Medicine Man
said, “Make a feast and dance and sing and call upon the gods, praying
them to send rain; and the rain will come and fill up the pond.”

So the people made a feast, and they danced for many hours and sang all
their songs over and over again, and yet no rain came. However, after
three days there was a thunderstorm, and much rain fell; but it did not
fill up the pond.

Then they asked the Medicine Man again, and he said: “Let the people
dance and sing and call upon the gods again. And afterwards let the
women take jars and go and fill them at the river and bring them up and
pour out the water upon the pond. Then the spirits of the water will
return, and the pond will be filled.” So the people did all this; and
the women carried up jars and jars full of water from the river and
poured it into the pond. But the water sank away faster than they could
pour it in, and there was nothing left but a puddle.

Then they asked the Medicine Man again. And he went and brought two
other Medicine Men, and they walked round and round the pond with their
wands in their hands. Then they said: “The gods are angry and have
taken away the water. They will not send it again unless the people
offer sacrifices. Let an ox be sacrificed.”

So the people took an ox and led it out of the fold and brought it on
to the hill-side and killed it for a sacrifice. And they made fires
and cooked the meat, and feasted and danced, singing their songs and
calling on their gods. They kept up the dancing all night long; and
every hour during the night they sent men with torches to see if the
pond was filling up. But every time the men returned and said, “Nay,
there is no water!” And in the morning they went again, but there was
no water and nothing but a puddle. And all the people were very sad.

  _Chapter the Sixteenth_

  _What Arsan said about the Old Pond_

THAT day it happened that Tig found Arsan, the old man, sitting in the
sun outside his hut; so he came near and the old man called him and
bade him sit down. Tig had often heard people say that Arsan knew many
things, so he made up his mind to ask him about the pond.

“How is it that our pond has gone dry?” Tig asked.

“What is it that the wise ones say?” said the old man.

“They say that the water-spirits are angry and have gone away,” Tig
answered; “and they have bidden my father and all the folk to offer
sacrifices and to dance and sing. And all has been done as they have
said; but the spirits do not come back. Will they come back, thinkest
thou, grandfather?”

“Nay, I do not think they will come back,” said Arsan.

“Then shall we have no water to drink?” asked Tig.

But Arsan answered: “Now heed and I will tell thee! ’Tis not the first
time I have known the water-spirits to go away. Once before I have seen
this thing happen: not here, seest thou, but in another village where I
dwelt once. Oh, ’twas dire! The water dried up, and there was none for
man or beast. And all that we could do availed naught--ay, though we
offered sacrifice of cattle, it availed naught.”

“Did the Medicine Men come then?” Tig asked.

“Ay, they came.”

“And what did they say?”

“They said it was not enough. They called to mind a custom of our
fathers that was wont to be observed of old time when the gods were
angry; and they chose out a youth and slew him as a sacrifice. But it
availed not; the waters did not return.”

“And what did the folk do then?” Tig asked.

“What did they do? Why then at last they sought counsel of the old men
that had wisdom, and knew how to make a right dwelling place for the

“Was not our pond a right place for the water-spirits?” Tig asked.

“Now listen, boy, and I will show thee. How is it with us? Do we dwell
always in one place? Nay, thou knowest we do not. We shift with the
cattle and go from place to place; we cannot abide in one place always.
So do the spirits. It is true that after a while we come back to our
village here; and so, perchance, might they return, if we should be
content to wait for them; but meantime the folk and the cattle would
have no water to drink. So what’s to do? Why we must make them a new
home. That’s what we must do--make them a new home!”

“Why don’t the Medicine Men make it?” Tig asked.

“Speak not of them, boy,” said Arsan. “They know their own ways. I am
an old man, but I know not the ways of them. I bethink me of the old
times that are past long ago, and of what our fathers did to prepare a
dwelling-place for the water-spirits.”

“What did they do, grandfather?” Tig asked.

“Nay, now, be content. I have said enough,” the old man answered.

But that night when Tig was in the hut with his father, he said to him,
“Father, I have been talking with Arsan. He knows how to make the
water-spirits come back and fill up our pond again.”

“Oh, he knows, does he?” said Garff. “Then he must tell us.”


  _Chapter the Seventeenth_

  _How they made the Pond anew_

SO on the next day Garff called some of the men of the village, and
they went to the chief’s hut and told him that Arsan knew of a way to
bring back the water-spirits and fill up the pond again. The chief was
glad when they told him this, and he sent to the old man, asking him to
come to the council and make known his plan. Arsan came willingly. The
men sat round in the chief’s hut, and Arsan stood up and spoke.

“It is many years ago,” he said, “I was a young lad then, but I
remember. The spirits of the water did quit the pool where we were wont
to drink. Suddenly they went, no man knew why; nor would they return,
though we danced without ceasing for a night and a day, and sang and
offered cattle in sacrifice to the gods. Then it was said by one of
the Medicine Men that the high gods were angry and that the killing
of cattle would not appease them. So the folk took a goodly youth and
bound him hand and foot and slew him for a sacrifice. But still the
water came not again.

“Then arose one of the folk, an old man that had understanding, and he
said: ‘Are not the spirits even as we? Do we abide always in one house?
Shall not the spirits desire to leave their old dwelling-place and
seek a new one? Do we not know that the deer on the hills abide now in
one place and now in another: and the wild geese, do they not fly from
one place to another? and do not the bees go forth in bands when the
time is come for them to seek a new resting-place? So do the spirits
of the water. They seek a new place to dwell in. Let us make them a

“So when our fathers heard these words, they made haste to prepare a
dwelling-place for the water-spirits after a manner that I remember and
can show. Many days they toiled; and when the work was finished, they
feasted and danced all night and sang the ancient songs. And in the
morning, lo! the waters were returned.”

Then the chief said: “So this manner of making a new place for the
spirits of the water is known to thee, and thou canst tell it.”

“It dwells in my mind, and I can tell it,” said the old man. “But every
one must work and do as he is bid for many days. The hunting-gear must
be laid aside, and every man must work.”

So the chief and all the men laid aside their hunting-gear and set to
work. And this is what Arsan made them do.

First he walked out with all the men to a place on the top of the hill,
close to the village, where there was a flat place that was a little
hollowed out like a saucer; and he set the men to work with hoes to
scratch up the earth to make the hollow place deeper and wider. They
gathered up the earth in baskets, and some of it they threw away down
the hill, and some they laid around the rim of the hollow and trod it
down hard.

Then Arsan sent the men with good, sharp knives of flint to cut down
reeds and rushes and bracken and tough grass, and bind them into
sheaves and bundles; also he bade them cut birch twigs and elder twigs
and tie them into bundles, too. And when they had got large piles of
bundles ready, he showed them how to lay the bundles on the ground in
the hollow place, packing them tight and close together, like a thick
mat, or like thatch.

And when this was done, he sent the men in parties and some of the
women with them who knew where there was good clay to be found; and
bade them dig out clay. Wherever they could find good clay down in the
valley, they had to dig it out and bring it to the top of the hill. It
was very hot and dry weather, and the people hated the hard work and
were very angry with Arsan. But the chief and Garff worked hard and
cheered up the other men, and they all worked together.

When they got the clay up to the top of the hill, Arsan showed some of
the cleverest men and some of the women how to spread it thickly over
the bundles, laying it and daubing it well over. And some did this
while the rest brought more and more clay; until at last the whole of
the hollow place was thickly spread with clay, puddled and trodden
hard; and the outside edge of the bundles all round was covered, so
that the hollow place was like a big saucer of clay.

And Arsan bade the people bring up some smooth, flat stones from the
bed of the river, and these they laid upon the clay at the bottom of
the hollow, and packed them round with more clay, and laid more stones
of the same sort around the edge, and so made all firm and strong.
There only needed the water to fill up the clay saucer and make a pond
of it.

Then on the day when their task was done, they made a big feast and ate
and drank; and at sunset they began the dancing, and danced the whole
night long, some dancing while the others rested; and they sang the
song for rain, and its chorus, and the corn song and its chorus. And
early in the morning when they had sung the rain song again, they sent
men with torches to look at the new pond. And soon the men came back
running and leaping and crying out: “The waters are returning!” and
next morning they found that the new pond was half full of water, and
after two nights more it was quite full.

So they all praised the wisdom of Arsan; and it was a story among them
for years and years to tell how Arsan had shown them the way to make a
dwelling-place for the spirits of the water.

  _Chapter the Eighteenth_


“I CALL it stupid to talk about there being water-spirits in a pond,”
said Joe.

“Well, I don’t know that I agree with you,” said Uncle John. “Of course
that isn’t the way we explain things nowadays; but if you had lived in
those times, I daresay you would have thought as other people thought.”

“But it wasn’t spirits that made the water run out, was it?” Joe asked.

“No, I don’t think it was,” said Uncle John. “What I should like to
know is--can any of you think what did make the water run out?”

“Did the sun dry it up?” asked Dick.

“Perhaps there was a spring and it stopped running,” said David.

“I don’t fancy you have guessed right, either of you,” said Uncle John.
“That pond of theirs was a dew-pond filled by dew--filled from the
clouds; and it went dry not because there wasn’t plenty of dew in the
air to keep it filled up, but because the pond leaked, and the water
ran out faster than it could come in.”

“So I suppose when they made the new one with fresh clay, it was
watertight and didn’t leak,” said Dick. “But I don’t understand now how
the dew could fill it up.”

“And I don’t understand why they put the bundles of fern and brushwood
underneath,” said David.

“It isn’t at all hard to understand, really,” said Uncle John. “You
see there is always a great deal of moisture in the air. Sometimes
it is high up, and then we call it clouds; and sometimes it is low
down, and we call it mist or dew. But there is always plenty of it--a
never-ending supply. Of course you know how it comes to be there?”

“The sun draws it up.”

“Yes, the sun draws it up. The sun is always sucking up water from
the earth, from the sea and from rivers and lakes and ponds, and from
puddles in the road and from clothes hung out to dry. And the warmer
the sun is during the day, the more water it sucks up into the air. But
in the night when the air is cool, some of this water comes back again:
it forms into drops and settles on the grass or on cabbage leaves, or
on a book which you may have left out all night on the garden seat. You
know that if you go out early in the morning and walk in the grass,
you get your boots sopping wet. So if you could find a place that was
hollow so that water could gather in it; and if you could keep it cool
like a cabbage-leaf, so that the water would settle in it; and if you
could make it watertight below so that the water wouldn’t leak out, you
would have a dew-pond.”

“Why should it be on the top of a hill?” Dick asked.

“I suppose because the higher up you go, the more chance you have of
getting into the clouds and the moist air; dew falls more abundantly on
the sides of hills.”

“But why did those people put the bundles of fern and stuff under the
clay?” asked Joe. “That didn’t help to make it water-tight did it?”

“No,” said Uncle John, “but it helped to make it cool. If you want
water to form out of vapour, you must give it something cold to form
on. Breathe on a cold window-pane, and see how the tiny drops of water
settle on the cool pane from the water-vapour in your breath. If you
were to take a cold basin and set it out of doors at night when the
dew is falling, you would soon find the drops of water trickling down
its sides.

“This is just what those people did, only theirs was a larger plan.

“They made their pond, as we read, and finished it one day before
evening. Then what happened? All day long the heat of the sun had been
warming the ground round about, but it could not warm the thick moist
clay so much as it warmed the turf of the hill-side.

“Then, after the sun went down, everything became cooler. But the clay
pond was still the coolest thing there; and the packing of reeds and
brushwood kept the heat of the earth from passing into it from below.

“So the dew began to settle in drops upon the cold clay and upon the
smooth stones, and it trickled down the sides. As we said, there is
always plenty of moisture in the cool night air; and all you need to do
is to provide the proper place for it to collect in. So it was with
the dew-pond in our book.

“One by one the drops formed and ran together, as soon as they had
found something to run into; and millions and millions more joined in,
coming as vapour and settling down as water until the pond was full.

“And so long as the clay bottom of the pond kept whole and sound, the
dew-pond would hold water, making up at night what it lost by day. But
if once the clay were broken or worn through, the water would run away
into the ground, and the pond would never fill up again; partly because
it would not hold water, and also because once the brushwood became
soaked, it would fail to act in keeping the clay cool.”

“Was that why the first pond failed?” asked Dick.

“I expect it was. I expect the clay bed had in some way become worn
through, so that the pond would not hold water. And the people guessed
quite rightly that the only way to mend matters was to make a new pond,
though, as Joe says, they gave an odd sort of reason for it.”

“Do people make ponds in that way now?” Joe asked.

“Yes, I believe so; though not many people know much about it, since
there are so many other ways of getting water possible nowadays. But I
have heard that in some parts of the country there are old men who know
how to make dew-ponds.”

“Do any of the dew-ponds that those people made exist now?” Dick asked.

“I believe so, certainly. They are to be found on the hills, here and
there in different parts of the country. But some learned men say
they were made in later times than those of Tig’s people. But I will
tell you what we will do. To-morrow we will have a long walk upon the
hills and visit a pond which I believe is an ancient dew-pond; and we
will have a picnic there, and then see what we all think about this

“When those people had a feast,” said David, “what did they drink? Only

“I don’t know,” said Uncle John. “But I should think they drank some
kind of beer or spirit--not very strong, perhaps, because drink has to
be well brewed and kept long if it is to be made strong. They may have
made beer out of corn or even out of heather-tips, or perhaps they used
honey and made mead: we do not know. The only thing we can say is that
there are hardly any people in the world who do not make a drink of
some kind from grain or from some part of a plant; and therefore these
old people of ours most likely did the same.

“If Dick will reach me Stevenson’s Poems from the second shelf there, I
will read you one called _Heather Ale_, which will make a good ending
to all this dry talk about dew-ponds.”

  _Chapter the Nineteenth_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: How Gofa made Pottery_

IT has been said before that Gofa did all the work of her own
household, not only cooking the food, but also making the clothes, and
preparing the skins out of which the clothes were made. Also she made
the baskets for storing and carrying the food in, and the pottery, too;
and when her stock of household pots had become low, she used to set to
work to make a fresh lot. And this was how she did it. She went down
into the valley to a place by the river where there was good clay. She
took with her a large basket and a rough-and-ready trowel made out of
the shoulder-blade of a deer. She dug out the clay, enough to fill the
basket, and carried it home on her shoulders.

When Gofa was ready to make pottery, she first prepared the clay
by mixing it with coarse sand, which also she had brought from the
river-side. She moistened the clay with water when she added the sand,
and kneaded it thoroughly with her hands, just as if she were making
dough. She was always careful to mix the sand and the clay in the
right proportions; for clay without sand, or with too little, was apt
to crack when it came to be baked, and with too much it was not stiff
enough to mould well into shape. She always saved the bits of any pots
that were broken, and having pounded them up until they were quite
small, she mixed them up with the new stuff. By long practice Gofa knew
just how to prepare the clay for use.

Having got the clay ready, Gofa took a lump of it in her hands and
laid it on a stone slab which served her as a working bench. Then,
with her fingers and a smooth stone, and a stick shaped into a kind
of blade, she worked up the clay into a little bowl, building up the
sides against the stick, and smoothing the inside with her pebble. But
for the larger jars and pipkins she had another way. She took a round
basket shaped like a basin and set it before her. Then she took a piece
of clay and rolled it with the flat of her hand on the bench until
she had made it like a very long, thin, clay sausage. Then she picked
this up and began to coil it round from the bottom of the basket,
inside, pinching and pressing it with her fingers and the pebble until
it was flat and smooth. Then she rolled out another piece and coiled
this round as before, gradually building up the sides of the pot and
pinching the coils together as she went on. At length, by adding coil
to coil, she raised the sides and neck of the pipkin, which she then
smoothed and finished off outside with the wooden tool.

[Illustration: Making Pottery]

All this time Gofa kept turning the pot she was making round and round
upon the stone.

“Why do you keep on turning it round and round, mother?” Tig asked.

“So that I can see what I am doing,” said his mother. “The pot would be
very ugly if one side bulged out more than the other, wouldn’t it? I
turn it round and round so that I can keep it even and right.”

“Who taught you how to make pots, mother?” Tig asked.

“My mother taught me. She was a famous potter. People used to come to
watch her when she was at work, but they could not make pots like hers;
she had a rare hand in turning. I cannot turn them as she could.”

“I think you turn yours beautifully, mother,” said Tig.

All the pots alike, before they were baked, had to be decorated. This
Gofa did with a bone awl, engraving a pattern of lines and cross-lines
and dots upon the soft clay. She had also a little stamp of bone with
which the dots could be put on in threes.

When Gofa had finished a batch of pots, she and Tig carried them into
the hut to dry, and generally on the next day she found that even the
larger ones had dried enough in the air to enable her to lift them out
of their basket foundations. Then she took each one in turn and scraped
and rubbed it outside with a wooden tool, very carefully and lightly.

After this she took them to where she had a fire burning out-of-doors
upon the ground. She raked away the fire to one side, and set the pots
where the fire had been, standing them all upside down, and ranging
them together in as small a space as possible. Then she piled up sticks
and pieces of dried fir tree wood about the pots, and laid little
faggots all round, and raked up the hot ashes and set fire to the pile.
And she and Tig carried fresh fuel as the fire burned, and kept it
going until they could see the pots all red hot. And then they let it
sink gradually and die down of itself; and there were the pots baked
hard and sound, and fit for use as soon as they were cold.

Once Gofa had set to work making pottery, she used to make a good
batch at a time; she did not stop making and baking as soon as she
had finished just what she wanted at the time. For she liked to have
a store of pottery at hand; and if she did not want to use them all
herself, she could always exchange one or two for something useful that
she might happen to want.

When Gofa or any of the other women wanted to make a large pankin for
holding water or milk or meal, she used to make a tall basket, like a
bucket, of osiers and reeds, and daub it inside with clay. The clay was
laid on thickly and then smoothed and trimmed with the stone and the
wooden blade; and the wide neck and the rim were moulded by hand. She
did not attempt to lift the pankin out of the basket mould, but set the
whole thing in the fire as it was; and the fire burned off the basket
work, and left the marks of the reeds showing all round on the outside
like a pattern. And very likely it was the look of this pattern on
the pottery which first gave the women the notion of graving a design
upon the smaller vessels which they made entirely by hand. The women
generally took pains to make neat patterns by using different simple
tools of wood and bone, and sometimes they tied a piece of twisted cord
round a vessel, and impressed its mark upon the clay. Sometimes they
did not use a tool at all, nor even a twisted cord, but made little
dents round the neck of a jar with the thumb nail, and made the pattern
in that way.

  _Chapter the Twentieth_

  _How Tig went Hunting the Deer_

WHEN TIG was a boy and used to play at hunting, the chief of his
friends was Berog. Berog and he were of the same age and equal in
strength; and, though Tig was the better marksman with the bow and
arrow, Berog had the greater skill with the sling. By this time they
were both tall and strong lads. Each of them had been out hunting
several times with the men, and sometimes they had made little
expeditions by themselves. But once in the autumn, after the corn had
been gathered in, they planned to have a real hunt of their own. They
saved some food to take with them, but not much, because men always
hunt best when they are hungry. Tig had a new, full-sized bow, that
he had made himself, and his quiver full of flint-headed arrows, and
his stone axe slung at his side. Berog had his sling and a bag full of
smooth, round stones, and in his hand he carried a club. And so they
set out together.

They did not want to be seen, so they followed a track into the forest
that was not much used by the men of the village. The sun had not yet
risen; the air was keen, and white mists hung about the hills. Their
plan was to make first for the swamps in the valley, so as to get a
shot at some of the birds that lived among the reed beds. They had
explored the way before, and had marked trees or laid guide stones
where the track was doubtful; and so they lost no time in getting down
the valley.

As they crossed the hill-side, they saw two hares cantering away across
the open ground, and Berog slung a stone or two at them, but without
success. When they came to the thickets at the bottom, they walked
warily, for they saw the track of a wild boar, and they had no wish to
meddle with him. Birds of many kinds were seen. Away over the water
ducks were flying high in a trail; kites and buzzards soared higher
still; and far away in the distance, like a silvery flag against the
sky, some wild swans were coming over. Grebes and coots were swimming
about in a backwater of the river seen through the reeds, and a great
grey heron rose from the swamp ahead of the boys, and flapped away,
uttering a loud squawk.

[Illustration: The Wild Ducks]

The boys crouched among the reeds. Tig fitted an arrow to his bow, and
Berog put a stone into the web of his sling. So they waited for a long
time without moving. All at once the sound of rushing wings was heard,
and then a splash and rush of water, as a skein of wild ducks flew down
near by. The boys waited eagerly, and in a moment three ducks appeared,
swimming out from behind a clump of reeds. Tig shot and missed, and his
arrow struck up a spurt of water. Berog slung a stone at the birds as
they rose, and hit one, which fell quacking and scattering feathers
upon the water. At once Berog tucked up his sark, and waded out to
capture the duck; but it was only wounded, and was too quick for him,
and made its escape among the thick reed beds.

After this the boys waited for some time without a chance of another
shot; so they left the river-side, and made their way through the
thickets into the woods, and out on to the open hill-side. Now Tig took
the lead; for with his bow and arrow he hoped to get larger game than
water-fowl. The boys moved along at a quick pace, keeping within the
cover of the rocks and bushes, in order to hide their movements. Two or
three times they entered the woods again, to cross the deep glens that
divided the hills; and they forded the streams that rushed in torrents
down the depths. At last they climbed up a steep craggy place; and,
when they reached the top, they lay down flat and spied the ground
in front. Before them stretched a broad hill-top, and here they hoped
to see some game. Presently Tig moved on, creeping on all fours, and
peeped from behind a rock. Away in the distance was a troop of wild
horses, some of them feeding and some cantering and wheeling about in
play; and as Tig watched them they took fright at something near them,
and galloped off out of sight.

Then Berog crept up, and they both moved on across the ridge, carefully
screening their movements and taking cover behind the rocks and bushes
of heather. When they came to the edge, they lay down again to spy.
Then Tig’s eye picked out, far down below them, an object like a
withered branch of a tree sticking up out of the heather. He called
softly to Berog, who looked also, and they both agreed that three or
four deer were lying down there in the hollow of the hill-side. Then
Tig plucked some blades of grass as he lay, and threw them lightly
into the air to see how the wind blew, so that he might keep it in his
face in working round towards where the deer lay. If once he were to
move where the wind might blow the scent of him towards the animals,
they would be sure to take alarm and move away.

Then Tig turned and went down behind the ridge, moving at a quick trot,
and worked his way round to a point, as nearly as he could guess it,
close to the hollow where the deer were lying. Berog stayed behind on
the hill-top to watch the deer and see if they should move.

When Tig reached the bottom, he crept on all fours for some distance
through the heather, and then lay down to spy. He raised his head
gently. There was the stag lying with its back towards him about a
hundred yards away. Tig studied the ground and noted every boulder and
every tuft of rushes between him and the stag, and then, lying flat
on the ground, he began to crawl towards the nearest stone. High up
on the far hill-top Berog was watching the stag; but he could not see
Tig. So Tig crept on and on, holding his breath when he moved, until
he reached the point where he could see the stag quite plainly. It
was lying in an open green space, wide awake, and it kept turning its
head from side to side as if it were on the watch for its enemies; but
it did not see Tig. When Tig saw its antlers moving, he knew that it
was looking around, and he lay still. But every now and then the stag
turned back its head to scratch its back with its antlers and brush
away the flies that kept teasing it, and then Tig crept up a little
nearer and got an arrow ready in his bow.

All at once the wary stag took alarm. It heard or smelled that an enemy
was near, and got up on its feet. Then, as the stag stood for a second
sniffing the air, Tig leaped up and took aim and shot at it with all
his might. The stag gave a leap forward and bounded away down the
slope; but the arrow had pierced it deep behind the shoulder, and Tig
knew that if only he could follow, he was sure of his game. He waved a
signal to Berog, and set off at full speed in the blood-stained tracks
of the stag.

The other deer of the herd gathered and fled over the hill, and Tig
saw the wounded one try to take refuge with them; but they turned on
it savagely and butted it away. Then Tig and Berog kept up the chase,
and at last, in a thicket at the edge of the forest, they came upon the
poor stag lying dead. They dragged the body into the open, and then,
while Tig stayed by to guard it, Berog went off to the village for

  _Chapter the Twenty-first_

  _Tig becomes a Man_

BEFORE nightfall Berog came back with some of the men carrying torches
and poles. They tied the stag’s hind legs and its fore legs together,
and thrust a pole through, and so carried it home, and Tig and Berog
marched behind. And when they reached the village, all the people
turned out to cheer them. And on the next day Gofa and some of the
women skinned the deer and cut up the meat. Every part of the deer’s
body they kept for some use or other--the meat for food, the hide for
making into leather, the bones to be broken for marrow and some to be
carved into tools, the brains for greasing and curing the hide, the
sinews to be dried and shredded into thread; and the antlers Gofa gave
to Tig, because he had won them. And though before that day Tig would
have had to wait on the women while they were cutting up the stag, and
run errands for them, yet now he did not. He lay outside the hut all
day, and ate his meals when they were brought to him, and behaved just
like any of the men of the village.

For, after this first big hunt on his own account, Tig reckoned himself
a boy no longer. And soon after this, he became a man, according to the
custom of his tribe. That is to say, the Medicine Men, who were the
rulers of the people in all matters of custom and religion, took him in
hand to make a man of him. By their orders he fasted several days, and
kept apart from the people, that he might learn the will of the gods.
Then the Medicine Men took him and some other boys of his age, and led
them into a grove where they said the gods dwelt; and they taught the
boys the names of the gods and how to call upon them. And they tried
each boy’s courage, and bade him remember always to be brave and endure
pain without flinching; and they said that to be a coward is worse than
death, and that it is better to die than to give in or run away.

After this Garff gave Tig a man’s weapons--a battle-axe and a dagger of
flint, and a shield such as men used in warfare; and Tig went also to
an old man of the village who was clever at tattooing, and he tattooed
Tig on his shoulders and chest and arms; and after that Tig felt that
he was really a man.


  _Chapter the Twenty-second_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: Dick’s Pottery and how he made it_

WHILE they were reading about Gofa making the pots, Dick thought he
would like to try his hand at this sort of work; so, after the reading,
when they went out, he got a trug and a trowel from the tool-shed and
said that he should go and look for some clay.

“David and I are going fishing,” said Joe; “and when we have caught
some fish, we are going to make a fire up at the hut and cook them. If
you were a hunter, you would come too; making pottery is women’s work.”

“All right,” said Dick; “but if ever you were to be wrecked on a
desert island, you might have to do women’s work, as you call it.”

However, Joe and David got their fishing rods and set off. Dick went
down to the river too, but he could not find clay anywhere; so he came
back and asked the gardener. The gardener said that a farmer was having
a field drained close by, and the men were digging out lots of clay. So
Dick went down to the field and filled his trug with clay, and then he
made another journey to the river for fine sand. However, he did not
find it easy to mix up the clay properly; for it was lumpy and hard,
and when he put water to it, it was sticky. But, after a time, he got
some mixed with the sand into a stiff paste, and then he was ready to
try his hand at making a pot. He made several attempts at shaping the
clay into a cup and tried to mould up the sides, using a flat stick
and a smooth little stone that he had picked up by the river. But he
did not succeed very well, as the clay was apt to break or get out of
shape, and several times he squeezed it all up and began again. At last
he contented himself with making quite a small cup which he could mould
into shape with his fingers, pinching it and trimming it very carefully
with his wooden tool. This one seemed good; so he made another a little
larger, and then set them aside while he made a fire.

He collected a quantity of chips and sticks, and soon had a bright fire
burning. After it had burned for about twenty minutes and made some hot
ashes, Dick pushed the fire to one side, and set the cups upside down
on the hot place. It was not easy to build up the fire again, because
it had fallen away and was nearly out; and when he put on fresh fuel,
the smoke got in his eyes. Also he poked his best cup with a big stick
that he was putting on the fire, and dented its side; but it was too
late to mend that, and he went on stoking up. He kept the fire going
till he thought the pots must have become red hot among the ashes,
and then he let it die down. He wondered whether he might try to get
the cups out before they were cool; but he decided that it was best to
leave them until the whole thing had cooled down. Just then, Joe and
David came back, without any fish, and when they had heard what Dick
had been doing, and had seen the fire, they all went in to tea.

When they came out after tea, they found the ashes still quite hot; but
they got a garden rake and raked them off, and there were the two cups
baked light brown and quite hard. The one that had been damaged was
also much cracked; but the other one was sound except for one little
crack, though it was not very shapely. Dick took it off to show to
Uncle John.

“That’s a good one,” said Uncle John, “but if you had let them dry
longer before putting them into the fire, they wouldn’t have cracked;
and then you have forgotten something: what is it?”

Dick looked at his cup, but he could not tell what it was that he had

“Why, the ornament,” said Uncle John. “When we pay that visit to the
British Museum, you will see that the pottery of the old time always
had ornament on it--or very nearly always. And I suppose you found it
hard to make a bigger one? I daresay anybody would until he had had a
great deal of practice. Even the old people that we have been reading
about, who were so clever at making pots, had to build up their big
ones on a wicker frame.

“There is something very interesting about the wicker-work frames, and
you ought to remember it. It is this--baskets were made before pottery.
In the very early days, before people could make pottery at all, they
had, at any rate, rude sorts of baskets. And, I daresay, they sometimes
tried to warm their food in baskets beside the fire. No doubt the
baskets often caught fire and the food was spoiled. Then some woman who
had her wits about her thought of daubing the basket with clay to make
it resist the fire. The next thing was to plaster the clay inside the
basket instead of outside, and next to burn the wicker off altogether;
and so, in course of time, they learned how to make vessels of clay
without any framework at all, except for the very large ones.”

That evening they spent some time making their bows. David was making
his out of the stem of an ash sapling that the gamekeeper had given
him; but Joe had got a branch of real yew for his and was whittling it
down with great care. Dick’s father had sent him a set from London--a
bow made of hickory with a stout gut bowstring, half a dozen arrows,
and a bracer to wear on his left wrist as a protection from the string
when shooting. It was very useful to have these to copy from; but Dick
was not content to have only a ready-made bow, and he also got a good
ash stick and set to work to make one for himself.

  _Chapter the Twenty-third_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: How Tig made Friends with the Lake People_

THE men of Garff’s village were masters of all the land round about.
They had the ground that they had cleared of trees for growing corn,
and the open spaces on the hills where their cattle fed: and beyond,
they had their hunting-grounds in the forests and over the moors, for
miles and miles around. It was not often that any of them travelled
beyond the bounds of their own ground, unless they were making a
journey, such as Garff and his party undertook when they went to buy
flints from Goba, the spearmaker.

One day in the summer, when Garff and Tig and some of the others were
away on a hunting expedition in the forest a long way from the village,
Tig wandered away alone into the woods; for there had been a big hunt
for two days before, and the men were all resting in the camp, while
the women cut up the meat. Tig had no need to kill any game, but he
liked to be in the woods watching the ways of the wild creatures,
especially the birds; and on that day he had not taken any weapon
except a light spear. When he had gone some distance, he sat down to
rest and watch. In front of him was a thicket of holly trees; and
presently he heard a jay in the hollies, jarring and scolding as jays
do when they spy an enemy. So Tig kept still and watched. Then the jays
set up a loud screech and flew across towards the tall trees; and then
Tig saw a dog come out into the open, followed by a lad. The lad gazed
around him and then went back among the trees; but his dog had scented
Tig, and it began to bark and growl, bounding out into the open. So
Tig stood up and called to the lad, who at once turned round and came
forward. They went towards one another and made a sign of peace, and
then the lad begged Tig to help him, for he said that he was in great
trouble. Close by, his father was lying wounded and unable to move;
and he could neither help his father home, nor yet leave him to go and
bring help from their village.

“Are you then far from your village?” Tig asked.

“Well-nigh a day’s journey,” said the lad. “We are of the Lake People
and dwell over yonder among the hills. And yesterday we were out, my
father and I, looking to some traps, when we came upon the fresh track
of a roe-buck. So we followed the track and came upon five bucks,
away down below there; and my father shot and wounded one. But it was
lightly hit and got away from us, so we set the dog on its trail and
followed it even here. And after all it escaped us; but what is worse,
my father fell down a rocky place near by, just when we thought we had
got our buck safely. And he is sorely hurt and has lain here all night;
for I could not leave him, nor was there anyone to help us.”

So Tig followed the young man in among the bushes, and there he saw
the man lying, covered with a skin cloak. He told Tig that his name
was Dobran, and when Tig told him his name, he said, “I have heard of
thy people and have even visited thy village long ago. This is a sore
mischance that has befallen me; but truly we should have taken warning!
For as we came forth yesterday, Feannog, the grey crow, croaked at us
thrice, and a fox crossed our path in the woods: and these be evil
omens both. But now if thou wilt in great kindness help my son to get
me home, thou shalt have a warm welcome from my people, and I will try
to reward thee in any way thou mayst desire.”

So Tig and the youth, whose name was Gaithel, planned how they might
help the wounded man. They cut down two young trees for poles and slung
the skin cloak upon these, to make a sort of litter, and on this they
laid Dobran, and then lifted it and carried it between them. The way
was rough and difficult, and they made very slow progress with their
heavy burden; but at last, after a long climb up a wooded hill-side,
they came out upon the top of a ridge overlooking a deep valley. In the
bottom of the valley there was a lake, surrounded by thick woods, and
near to one side of the lake a little island. The island was covered
with huts, and joining it to the shore there was a kind of pier or
gangway. Also Tig saw, what he had never seen before, a canoe on the
water, and some people paddling about in it.

Then the wounded man pointed and said:

“See, yonder is our village where we dwell.”

“Do you keep cattle on the island?” Tig asked, for he could see a man
driving cows along the gangway.

“Yes,” said Dobran, “we house the beasts there too. Sorely crowded
are we, and there has been talk this long while of some of the folk
going away and building a village on a lake that we know of, two days’
journey from hence.”

“Is there, then, another island in the other lake, like this one here?”

“Island! Nay, none--and here is no island! What thou seest yonder our
fathers, that were before us, built long ago. For they felled timbers
and staked them on the bottom of the lake and builded their houses
thereon, and dwelt there, even as we dwell.”

When they came to the waterside, they laid the wounded man down on the
ground. Then Gaithel put his hands to his mouth and gave a peculiar
call, and the people in the canoe heard it and came quickly to the
shore. They lifted Dobran in and paddled away with him to the landing
place; and Gaithel and Tig walked beside the shore and along the
gangway. When they got to the village, they were met by a crowd of the
Lake people; for Dobran had spread the news of how Tig had helped him,
and all the people were eager to welcome the stranger who had shown
kindness to one of themselves. But Gaithel took Tig at once to the hut
where Dobran was lying. His wife had already bound up his injured limb,
and she was then preparing supper; and she brought food and set it
before them, broiled fish and porridge and curds. After supper many of
Dobran’s friends came into the hut to see him, and they stayed chatting
with him till late; but at last they all went home, and the household
settled down to sleep.

  _Chapter the Twenty-fourth_

  _How Tig saw the Lake People’s Village_

ON the next day, Gaithel took Tig and showed him the village; and Tig
saw what he had taken to be an island was really a large and solid
platform made of tree-trunks laid close together. There was a paling
of stakes at the edge of the platform next the water, all round; and
within the paling were the huts, built close together side by side in
rows with narrow alleys in between, and sheds for the cattle, built of
poles and wattled and daubed with clay like the huts. Besides their
cattle the Lake People had some sheep, which they prized greatly on
account of the wool, from which the women span yarn for weaving into
cloth. At the place where the gangway joined the platform there was a
gate of bars in the paling, and also a rough stairway going down to the
canoes that were drawn up alongside. In an open place in the middle of
the village was a fire burning on a large open hearthstone; and Gaithel
said that nowhere else on the island was anyone allowed to have a fire,
for fear of burning down the huts. In another place was a shoot for
rubbish, to which the people had to bring their household refuse and
tip it into the lake. Then Gaithel took Tig down to the landing stage,
and showed him the canoes that were moored there; “I know someone who
would like to see these canoes of yours,” said Tig. “He is a man in our
village, called Crubach. He is lame. He makes troughs in the same way
as you make canoes, by burning out a tree trunk, only of course they
are much smaller; my mother has one to dip hides in when she is curing

[Illustration: Making a Canoe]

“My uncle is making a canoe in the wood now,” said Gaithel. “He has
been at work on it for weeks and weeks. Shall we go and see him at it?”

So they went together into the wood where Gaithel’s uncle was at work.
He had felled a stout oak tree and had got a portion of the trunk cut
off. This was to be his canoe, and he had already begun to shape it
fore and aft and to hollow it out. He had a little fire of dry chips
and sticks burning in one place on the top of the log; and in another
place, where he had had the fire burning the day before, he was hacking
away at the charred wood with his stone axe. There was another man at
work with him, and this man was hacking at the bows of the canoe; but
his axe would not make a deep cut in the hard oak wood, and he was
getting on very slowly.

Gaithel’s uncle left off work to speak to Tig. He stood up and wiped
his face which was all hot and grimy.

“My boat will be a beauty when she is finished;” he said, “a rare one!
Have you any like her in your village?”

“We haven’t any boats in our village,” said Tig.

“What--no boats? How do you do to get on the water then?”

“We haven’t any water,” said Tig, “at least not a lake--only a pond.”

“Well, yours must be a strange village! No lake and no boats! However,
your men must be spared some heavy work if they don’t make dug-outs;
though, look you, a man may make five or six bark canoes or wicker
canoes in less time than it takes him to make one dug-out. But then a
log canoe will outlast you four of the other, let alone being a deal
more comfortable. So never mind the labour and the sweat, say I; make a
good dug-out.”

Then he took up his axe and went to work again.

Then Gaithel took Tig back to the lake, and they got into a canoe and
rowed on the lake. In the canoe was a spear with a long, fine-pointed
head made of bone, barbed on both sides. This, Gaithel said, was a
fish-spear; and he showed Tig how it was used in spearing large fish
when the Lake People used their drag-net. The nets were kept at home,
so that the women might see that they were kept properly mended.

“But when we are fishing,” said Gaithel, “we have the net weighted
at the bottom with stones to sink it, and the one end is held up in
one canoe and the other in another, and the canoes paddle in ashore,
dragging the net between them. Then some of us wade out into the water,
and spear the fish or catch them with our hands if we can, and then the
net is drawn in closer until we get the rest, but sometimes some of
them get away.”

Then Gaithel took Tig back to the hut, and he stayed to talk to Dobran,
and told him that he thought the village a very wonderful place; and
he asked Dobran why it was that the fathers of the Lake People built
their village on the water.

“Why,” said Dobran, “they built it thus that they might be safe from
the attacks of wild beasts and from their enemies. As I told thee, they
made the platform first, felling trees in the woods and piling them
here, before ever they could set one pole of a hut. And with great
labour they did this, building as large as they could; but even so, the
space is too small.

“We are sorely crowded, as I said before; and now some of the younger
men choose rather to build huts on the shore, hard by, where we have
our cornland and the pasture for the cattle; though we who are older
like the old ways best. Of course the wolves and such like are not
so much to be feared as they were in our fathers’ days; and as for
enemies--why, we have lived in peace many years and perhaps we have
naught to fear. Nevertheless, I promise thee, if enemies should come
to fight us, the folk who have built their houses and their byres and
their sheepfolds away on the land there, with naught but a stockade
around them, would speedily flee for shelter to our stronghold here on
the water.”

Dobran’s wife, who was sitting beside her husband, was busily spinning
yarn; and when Dobran had finished speaking, she began to hum a song as
she drew the thread. She had a big bunch of wool fastened to the end
of a stick beside her, and she drew out some hair from the wool and
twisted it into a thread between her thumb and finger. Then she tied
the end of this to the spindle, which was a pointed stick loaded about
the middle with a ball of dried clay, and started twirling it round
with her other hand. As the spindle went spinning round in the air, and
dropping towards the ground, it drew the thread out longer, twisting it
all the time. As soon as the spindle reached the ground, Dobran’s wife
picked it up, wound the thread round it and set it spinning again; and
so she went on until she had spun a good ball of yarn.

Outside the hut a daughter of Dobran’s, whose name was Eira, was
sitting at the loom weaving cloth. Her loom was an upright wooden
frame, and the main threads, called the warp, were stretched from the
top of the loom to the bottom and kept taut by means of stone weights.
In her hand Eira held a shuttle containing the cross-thread, called
the woof, which she passed in and out through the warp, from side to
side of the loom. After she had worked in five or six cross-lines in
this way, and so had got a narrow piece of cloth woven, she stopped and
picked up a thin, flat piece of wood, cut into teeth like a comb, and
combed the web and pressed it down firmly. Her thread was finer and her
cloth better than the women made in Tig’s village, and he stood and
watched her. “Aye,” said Dobran, “she is a famous weaver. She shall
give thee a girdle of her own weaving. Nay, now, she shall weave
thee a shirt of three colours, and thou shalt come again and fetch it
for thyself.”

[Illustration: Weaving at the Loom]

On the next morning Tig rose early, and found that Dobran’s people were
already astir. Eira and another girl were grinding corn on a big, flat
rubbing stone; and afterwards Eira took the meal that they had ground
to make cakes for breakfast.

Then, after they had eaten the morning meal, Tig bade farewell to his
friends, the Lake People, and set off homeward. Some of the men paddled
him ashore in a canoe, and guided him through the woods and set him on
the way; and he returned to his father’s camp.


  _Chapter the Twenty-fifth_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: A Talk about Ancient Lake-Dwellings_

WHEN Uncle John had finished reading, he asked the boys if they had
ever heard before of people living in houses with water all round as a
defence against their enemies?

“Yes, if you mean a single house,” Dick said, “you told me that your
house here once had a moat all round it.”

“Yes,” said Uncle John, “so it had; and though the village of the Lake
People was built many hundreds of years before ever there was a house
like mine in all the country, yet the notion was the same. In the old
days men felt safer with deep water all round them, than when there
was only a stockade, or even a wall. The villages by the lakes in
Switzerland that I told you of before, were built in that way over the
water on piles.”

David wanted to know how the Lake People had managed to support the
platform on which the huts were built--was it held up by straight
piles, like a table with a lot of legs?

“No,” said Uncle John, “not in Dobran’s village, anyway. I will tell
you what I know about it. Some time ago a farmer who lives near here
had a boggy place on his farm. It lay in a hollow among his fields, and
in winter or after a great deal of rain it became almost a lake. People
used to say that once upon a time there had been a lake there, but it
had got filled up with moss and peat. However, the farmer wanted to
turn it into ploughing-land, so he set to work to drain it; his men dug
drains and ran off all the water, and then they saw a large, low mound
standing up out of the mud. And when they came to clear the mound away,
they found that it was the remains of an ancient lake village that had
lain hidden in the bog under the water for hundreds of years. I heard
about it, so I went, and stayed all the time, day after day, while
they were digging out the remains; and so I got a good notion of how
those old people, that we have been reading about, used to make their
lake-villages in this part of the country--for in other places they had
other ways.”

“What did you find?” the boys all asked.

“Well, we didn’t find any huts; they had all gone to decay long before;
but the great platform of tree-trunks was there, and its foundations
and parts of what had been the gangway to the shore. And we found the
old rubbish-heap, and we picked over and sifted every bit of it; and I
will show you an arrow-head and some beads, and some pieces of pottery,
that I picked out of the rubbish myself. In this rubbish were great
numbers of bones of animals that the people had used for food. The
bones were of deer and cattle and sheep and some of smaller animals,
and some of birds. But the greatest find of all was a canoe. We found
it lying buried in the mud, wonderfully preserved. We could see that it
had been made, like Robinson Crusoe’s boat, out of the trunk of a tree,
and hollowed out by fire, and hewn with stone axes.

“And the mound was cleared away from top to bottom, and very hard work
this was; for it was solidly built of tree-trunks laid in rows like the
sheaves in a corn-stack: there were hundreds of trees, though none of
them very large. Then there were piles driven in upright to hold the
others together, and great stones that had been sunk to keep the beams
down: and at the bottom of all were bundles of brushwood and more large
stones, which had been put down first for the foundations. And if you
bear in mind that the people of the lake-village had had to chop down
all those trees and lop off the branches with their stone axes, which,
as Joe reminded us, were not the best sort of cutting tools, and bring
every faggot and every stone and every beam across the water in their
canoes, you will see it must have been a great piece of work for them.
The farmer and his men had a stiff job to pull the mound to pieces and
clear it away; but these old people, we may be sure, had a much harder
task in building it.”

Joe said that, perhaps, they floated out the tree-trunks on the
water--that would be easier than putting them on the canoes.

“That’s right,” said Uncle John. “When they had got the foundation
of stones and faggots laid, they made rafts of the trees and towed
them out and loaded them up with stones and so sank them upon the
foundations; and then laid more trunks on these, until they got to the
right height above the water.”

“Did you find any other things in the rubbish heap?” David asked.

“We found some bone harpoons for spearing fish, and a number of objects
of stone, such as weights for sinking fishing nets, and some that were
used, perhaps, as whorls for twisting thread in spinning, and some
beads of jet and a number of bone needles; but not many arrows, and
only two or three axe-heads, one of which was broken.”

“Why didn’t you find more weapons?” David asked; “I expect the people
had many more, hadn’t they?” “I expect they had,” said Uncle John, “but
I’m afraid I can’t tell you why no more were found. Perhaps the people
went away to live somewhere else and took their belongings with them.”

“I wish we had been there when you were digging at the mound,” Dick
said. “I suppose there isn’t another one anywhere about?”

“No,” said Uncle John. “I’m afraid there isn’t another one.”

  _Chapter the Twenty-sixth_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: How the Old Chief Died_

NOW it happened, when they all came home again from the hunting camp,
that the old chief of the village fell ill. Caerig was his name, but
the people always called him Old Chief, for he had been the head man of
the village for many years, and they all honoured him because he had
been a clever hunter in the past days and a brave fighter.

The women of the village attended to him in his sickness, and tried to
cure him with the medicines made from wild plants which they gathered
in the woods; but the medicines did no good, and Old Chief grew worse.

Then at last two sons of the old chief went a journey to a village some
distance away where a Medicine Man lived, and they took presents to the
Medicine Man and begged him to come to cure the old chief’s sickness:
and the Medicine Man came. He was a very old man, and he had a great
name for skill in curing diseases. He brought with him his wand of
magic wood and a bone rattle, but no medicines, though it was said of
him that he could make more powerful medicines than any that the women
made. He went into the old chief’s hut, and sat by him for a long time
without speaking. Then he got up and walked solemnly round the bed from
left to right three times, making signs with his wand and shaking his
rattle. Tig and some of the others were waiting and listening outside
the hut, and only the old chief’s sons and some of the older men were
allowed inside. Then the Medicine Man said that an evil spirit was
troubling Old Chief, and unless he could scare it away, the chief
would die. The Medicine Man began to chant a song, shaking his rattle
and beating on the ground with his wand; and the old chief lay groaning
in pain, and the people cried and groaned also. At last the Medicine
Man said that no more could be done that night; but that on the morrow
he would work a stronger spell against the evil spirit. But in the
night Old Chief died.

Then in the morning the news spread about that the old chief was dead;
and the women who had attended him in his sickness stood around the
hut moaning and wailing, and went crying up and down the village. And
all the people mourned for him. Then after two days they carried his
body to the top of a hill beyond the village, and built a funeral pyre
of faggots and burned his body in the fire. This was done according
to the rule of the Medicine Men, of whom there were three present to
take part in the funeral. They gathered the ashes together and put
them into an urn and then carried the urn to a place that they had
chosen. In the meantime the people had built up another great fire;
and they brought an ox, and killed it and roasted it in the fire, and
made a great feast on the hill-top beside the fire, and all the people
sat down and feasted at the funeral feast of the old chief. Then the
Medicine Men bade the people approach to lay the gifts in the grave.
They brought food from the feast and set it in little vessels beside
the urn, because they believed that the chief’s spirit would need food
for refreshment in the spirit world; and they brought his spear and his
axe and his bow and arrows and his shield, and laid them in the grave;
and they brought his favourite dog and killed it there, and laid its
body beside the urn, so that it might attend its master in the world
of spirits. Then when this was done, the Medicine Men made the people
bring stones to raise a cairn over the urn. First they laid large flat
stones, building them like a little chamber about the urn; then they
laid six large blocks in a circle all round, and set others within
the circle and piled them up into a great heap. These stones they
brought from the river bed in the valley and carried them up across
the hill-side to build the cairn. The building of the cairn was a work
of several days; and every day until the work was finished, the women
mourned and wailed in the village at sunset.

At last, on the day that the cairn was finished, the men of the village
met together in council to choose one to be chief in the place of
Caerig. Then Arsan, the old man, stood up and said:

“Garff is the man among us who is fittest to be our chief; for he is an
able man and skilful, whether for hunting or for battle; and he is a
man wise in council and the master of many cattle. Shall we not do well
to choose him to be our chief?”

And the men said, “We shall do well.”

Then Garff stood up and said, “It is too much honour that you do me,
friends, for I am a plain man and little skilled in speaking. But if
you choose me to be your leader, I will strive to do my best for the
good of all, whether in the hunt or in battle.”

So they chose Garff to be chief, and from that day he was the head man
among the people and took the chief place at the councils. And when any
strangers from other villages came with messages, they were taken to
Garff’s hut to deliver their message and to seek his protection.


  _Chapter the Twenty-seventh_

  _How Tig chose a Wife from among the Lake People_

AFTER his first visit to the Lake Village Tig went sometimes to see
his friends there, always taking care to carry with him a present of
game of his own killing, a hare or some birds, for Eira and her mother;
for he was glad that they should see what a clever hunter he was; and
Eira showed him how well she could cook the meat that he brought, and
was pleased when he praised her cookery. Dobran and Gaithel took him
out fishing, but Tig did not care much for this. However, one day they
promised to show him better sport, for a party was going up into their
hunting-grounds to hunt deer in a manner of their own.

They all started very early in the morning and marched up into the
hills. Then the men spread their party out into a long line, curved
like the letter C, and swept across the hill-side with their dogs.
Then they closed in, and beat the woods until the hunters on one side
started a herd of deer. The deer dashed across the woodland valley and
tried to escape on the other side, but the men of the further line
turned them back and drove them into the woods again.

So the hunters kept the deer moving forward, always within the line,
until they drove them to a narrow place near the end of the valley,
where there was a big trap, a high double fence among the trees, made
in the shape of a long V. The hunters closed in on the deer and drove
them in at the broad open end of the fence, and then drove them on and
on until the deer were enclosed in the narrow end, where the ground was
soft and boggy, so that they could not leap out.

Then some of the hunters climbed over the fence, and speared or clubbed
the poor animals that were standing up to their knees in the soft soil,
panting and terror-stricken. In this manner in one day the hunters got
eleven head of deer; but Tig thought it was not such fine sport as
stalking a stag on the hills, though at the time of the drive, when
they were heading the deer down through the woods, it was exciting work.

Then they carried home the deer that they had killed, and they all
spent two or three days in feasting.

Another day when Tig and Gaithel were in the woods, they came to a
valley where a stream flowed quietly along and the trees grew on the
banks near the water’s edge.

“This is the beavers’ valley,” said Gaithel, “they have their village
here. They are our brothers, for they build their houses beside the
water even as we do; but we hunt them and kill them although we do
call them our brothers.”

The beavers’ home was in a pond. They had made the pond by laying a dam
of logs across the stream to hold back the water; and there they had
built their huts with round tops of interlaced branches that showed
above the water. Tig saw where they had cut down many tall trees on the
banks and gnawed them into logs with their strong teeth.

“Do you set traps for the beavers?” Tig asked.

“Yes, we trap them; we bait the traps with fresh wood--fresh sweet bark
is what they like. Sometimes we hunt them in the winter, when their
ponds are frozen over. We go and batter at the huts with clubs. Then
the beavers rush out of their huts under the ice and make for holes
that they have in the banks; but we try to head them off from these by
banging on the ice, and make them come up to breathe at holes in the
ice. They must come up after a time to get breath. Then we stand at
the holes and try to spear them. We often scatter dry husks over the
holes: the stuff floats on the water, and then the beavers cannot see
us waiting by the holes, and we catch them if we are quick.”

“Have you many beavers about here?” Tig asked.

“There are not so many as there were once. My grandfather can remember
when there used to be nine or ten beavers’ dams in these valleys where
there are only three or four now.”

“They are getting scarce in our woods too,” said Tig, “we have hunted
them so much.”

The next day Tig went home to his own village and got some of his
neighbours to help him build a new hut and bring into it the necessary
things. Then he went again to the Lake Village, taking presents for
Eira’s father and mother, and he asked Eira to be his wife. Then they
were married according to the custom of her people, and there was a
great feast at the wedding, and the men ran races, and they all danced
many dances. And afterwards Tig took Eira home to the new hut in his
own village.


  _Chapter the Twenty-eighth_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: The Boys’ Bows and Arrows_

WHEN the boys went out after this reading, they got their bows and
arrows. By this time the bows were finished. Dick had given to each of
the others two arrows out of his set that came from London. These were
well made with blunt metal heads fitting like caps. Besides these Joe
had made himself six arrows, and the other two four each. For heads
they had nails, filed down flat on two sides to make them fit into
the shaft, and sharpened at the point. The great difficulty had been
to get straight sticks, and though they agreed that it was not a real
hunter’s way of doing it, they had cut lengths from a thin piece of
hard-wood board, with a fine saw, and then trimmed and sand-papered
these to make them round and smooth. To fix in the heads they made
a cut, deep enough to take the nail, and then wrapped it with fine
string and glued this well over. When they had fixed the feathers, the
arrows were complete, and each marked his own. Dick had a V for his
mark, Joe a cut between two dots, and David a dot between two cuts. The
gardener made them a target out of bands of straw, and they practised
at it a good deal. But one day they made up their minds to try to
shoot something that might be called “game,” and they went off to the
heath. Each took a different way, but they agreed to meet at the hut
afterwards, with whatever they should have bagged.

Joe went off to a place near the edge of the wood, where there were
generally rabbits playing about, and his plan was to creep up near
enough to get a shot at once, if he could do so without scaring them,
but if not, to hide among the bushes and wait for them coming out of
their burrows.

David crept through the furze looking out for birds. He saw an old
blackbird hopping about under the bushes, and he shot at it; but it
flew away with a great deal of noise, as if laughing at David, who had
to spend a long time getting back his arrow from among a lot of prickly
brambles. There were numbers of yellow-hammers perching about on the
furze bushes and crying out: _A very, very little bit of bread and no
chee-e-e-ese_, and a pair of bold little stone-chats that kept flying
round calling _a-tick, a-tick_, but David did not want to shoot at
them. Then a family of green woodpeckers, father and mother and four
young ones, came flying across from the woods; and David was so keen on
watching them that he forgot he was a hunter; so when he got to the hut
he was empty-handed. He was the first in, but after a while Joe came,
and he also had got nothing.

“I nearly shot a starling,” he said; “there was a flock of them running
about on the grass, and I shot right into the middle of them. I wish
I had got one, for it says in that book of mine that a starling is
the best bird to get when you are learning to stuff, as it is easy to
skin--I say, it would be fun to shoot a rabbit and skin it, and try to
cure the skin!”

Just then Dick came in. He had his pockets stuffed out, and the others
wanted to know what he had got. He said they were to make a fire and
then he would show them; so they went out and collected sticks and
made a fire in the fireplace outside the hut. Then Dick brought out of
his pocket six potatoes, and said that was all his game. “I never saw
anything to shoot at,” he said, “but the men in a field over there are
taking up potatoes and they gave me these for twopence, and would have
let me have more if I could have stowed them away. I thought we could
roast them in the ashes.”

But Dick had something else to show. He had found some pieces of wool,
torn off sheep’s fleeces, hanging to the thorn bushes on the heath, and
had gathered them all up.

“To-morrow I shall go and try to get some more,” he said, “and when I
have got enough, I shall make a spindle, if I can find out exactly what
it ought to be like, and see if I can spin some yarn: and if I can spin
the yarn, I shall rig up a loom and have a try at weaving a piece of
cloth. There isn’t much chance of being able to do it right, of course,
but it is good fun trying.”

  _Chapter the Twenty-ninth_

  _THE STORY OF TIG: How the Lake People brought Tidings of War_

ONE day when Tig was sitting at the door of his hut trimming sticks for
arrows, he heard the dogs barking, so he went to the gate and looked
out. He saw three men coming up the hill, and when they came nearer he
saw that they were some of the Lake Village people, friends of his. He
went out to meet them, and brought them into the village and took them
to his father’s hut, because they said they had brought an important

But first, Gofa and some of the other women brought food and set it
before the visitors, and they ate and drank. Then when Garff had
called together the elder men of the village, he asked the leader of
the party to give his message.

Then the man, whose name was Dileas, stood up and said:

“For many months past, O chief, our folk have been sorely molested
by the people that dwell to the southward of our borders, across
the waters of the big river. Their men have trespassed upon our
hunting-grounds, and when we have resisted them, they have fought and
several of our men have been slain. And now of late they have taken to
hunting openly upon our side of the water, coming up the river in their
canoes, in bands, and daring us to drive them back.

“Yet have we worse than this to tell. For nine days ago a party of
their men attacked our cowherds, who were tending the cattle on the
hill-side; and they drove off the cattle and slew one of the cowherds
that was an old man, and carried off two young men to their village.
But a young man who escaped, being a swift runner, fled home and
brought us these tidings. And on the next day our chief sent me and
these two, my companions, to the people across the big river, to make
complaint of the matter. And we saw their chief, sitting with the old
men of the tribe; and we spoke civilly to them, saying that doubtless
the wrong was done by some of their young men that were headstrong
and perhaps ignorant; and that if they would restore our cattle and
release our brothers and make payment for the death of the other, and
would swear by their gods to trouble us no more, then we would not seek
vengeance for blood, but would be at peace with them and keep faith.

“But they gave us only harsh words, saying that our cowherds had fallen
first upon their men, who were but seeking for some of their beasts
that had strayed; that as for the cattle, they had taken them in fair
fight and should keep them; and our brothers they should keep also to
be slaves to them. And their chief boasted and said that his people are
called the Warriors, and that warriors they be; that they are mightier
than we, and are able to drive us into the hills and take away all our
cattle, and take also our women and our young men to be their slaves.
And their chief showed us his axe, the like of which we have never
seen, for it was yellow and shining and of very great sharpness, and
he said that with this axe he hath slain above threescore men. Then he
sent us away, and we departed and came to our own village again, and
brought these woeful tidings to our people.

“And yet worse remains still to be told. For we have deemed it prudent
to send out spies to watch their village, and our spies have brought
us word that the Warriors are going about their streets painted
and arrayed for battle, and that the Medicine Men are making daily
sacrifices to their gods, that their people may prosper in battle; and
by these things we are assured that they will soon make war on us.

“And now, O Chief, we are come to seek help from you and your people;
and we pray you to aid us to fight against the Warriors and drive them
back across the water, lest they, having conquered us and burned our
village, fall next upon your people and do the like to you.”

Then Garff looked round upon the elder men and said:

“Shall we not do amiss if we withhold help from these our friends in
their need? Let us join our arms to theirs and fight side by side with
them against the men who are their enemies and ours.”

And the men all said, “Yes, we will fight.”

Then Garff made an agreement with the Lake Men that they should return
at once to their village, and set spies to watch the fords of the river
and the village of the Warriors; and if an army should be seen to leave
the village, then the Lake People were to light three beacon fires
upon the top of the hill above their village, and he and his men would
come to their aid.

[Illustration: The Beacon]

And Garff sent Tig, with seven young men, to make a camp on the hills
within sight of the Lake People’s hill, that they might watch by day
and night for the signal. Then the three Lake Men departed and went
back to their village.

So Tig and his companions packed their stores and took their arms,
their best bows and all their war-arrows and their shields of
wickerwork covered with hide; and pitched their camp up in the hills.
They watched the hill, day and night, for the alarm-fire; and meantime
they prepared themselves for battle, dyeing and painting their bodies
with red paint and blue paint; also they exercised themselves in
war-games and dances.

Early in the morning of the third day the men on the look-out saw three
columns of smoke rising from the top of the hill far off. So Tig sent
two of the young men who were swift runners to carry the news to
Garff, and he sent Eira, and the other women who had been with them,
home also; and he and his five companions set off to go to the Lake

[Illustration: A VERY OLD STONE AXE]

  _Chapter the Thirtieth_

  _How they Fought the Battle in the Wood_

WHEN Garff and his men reached the Lake Village, they found the people
armed and ready. The Chief of the Lake People, whose name was Bran,
came out to meet Garff, and he called him and some of his men into the
council that they might make a plan of war. And he told Garff that his
spies had seen the army of the Warriors muster at daybreak on the river
bank. They had crossed in canoes, and had built a stockade on this side
of the water, and dragged the canoes ashore. They had been seen fixing
long poles to the canoes, which were light ones made of wicker and
hide; and it was thought that they meant to carry some of the canoes
over the hills to the lake, so that one band of their men might attack
the island from the canoes, while another band should try to force the

Then one of the old men stood up and said:

“Surely this will be their plan! But how can we meet them better than
here on our island, where the water and our good wall are our defence?
Our fathers met their foes thus and beat them back. What is this talk
that I hear of going forth to battle in the woods? If we leave our
defences, we are lost.”

Then Bran said that it was the wish of some of the younger men to march
out and try to take their enemies by surprise in the woods, and that he
himself was in favour of this plan.

“Surely,” said Garff, “that is the right plan. If you had meant to stay
at home and fight behind walls, you had not needed help from us; and
we, too, might have taken our folks and our cattle and shut ourselves
up in our hill-fort. No, leave some of your older men that can yet bear
arms to stay by the village and defend it if need be. But let the rest
of us go out and fall upon these Warriors suddenly in the woods; and
let some of the young men go and watch the fords, to see that none of
the enemy cross the river elsewhere and take us in the rear; but let us
start without delay.”

So they marched at once; and since Bran was an old man and less skilled
in warfare than Garff, he gave the command of all the men to him, and
he himself marched behind.

When they had gone some distance through the forest, and had come to
an open place upon the hill-side, Garff made the men halt and hide
themselves in a thicket at the edge of the wood; and he sent Tig with
two others to spy for the advance of the enemy. Tig and his companions
crept away through the bushes and were gone for some time. At length
they came back swiftly and cautiously, with news that they had seen a
large band of the enemy in the wood below, all fully armed with bows
and slings, and spears and axes and clubs, and carrying four canoes in
their rear. So Garff set all his men in battle-line, and bade them lie
still until the enemy should be well out into the open ground. Then, at
a signal, they were to leap up suddenly and shoot a flight of arrows
and rush upon the Warriors, every one marking his man.

Presently they heard voices and saw the figures of the leaders appear
among the trees. The Warriors were sure of victory, and they had no
thought of the Lake Men coming out to meet them; so they were marching
carelessly along, thinking more of getting their canoes up the hill
than of preparing to fight. They streamed out into the open, led by
their chief who was carrying his axe on his shoulder. Garff waited
till the band were well away from the shelter of the trees, and then
he sprang to his feet with a great shout. At once his men leaped up,
and sent a deadly shower of arrows at the enemy; and every man, as
soon as he had shot, fitted another arrow and shot again. Many of the
Warriors fell, and many were wounded, and they were thrown into great
confusion. But their chief rushed down their ranks shouting to them not
to give way, but to take their shields and advance. Then to gain time
and to save his broken line, he dashed forward alone, holding up his
arm. Garff signed to his men to cease shooting, and the chief of the
Warriors came on shouting:

“Let one of you fight with me! If there be a man among you, let him
come forth and fight with me!”

Then Garff strode out from among his men and went forward to meet the
chief, who stood brandishing his axe, which glittered as he waved it in
the sunlight. And the chief cried out:

[Illustration: The Warrior Chief]

“Ho! Ho! This is my axe! Skull-pecker is his name, for he has pecked
open many a skull--ay, and split them in twain and eaten up the brains.
Come on, come on! He will split thy skull even as the others, and slice
thy flesh and chop up thy bones. Come on, come on!”

But when the chief saw Garff coming out to meet him, he stopped his
boasting, for he saw that he had met as tough a fighter as himself.

Each man had thrown down his shield and each grasped his axe with both
hands. Garff’s weapon was a battle-axe of stone, heavy and strong, but
not so keen as the bronze axe of his enemy and not so deadly, unless he
could get in a sweeping blow. The chief of the Warriors was taller than
Garff, but not stronger, though Garff had the longer arms and was the
more active of the two; also the chief had been wounded in the thigh by
an arrow, and although he had tugged it out, he could not stop the flow
of blood.

For a few seconds they faced one another without moving, and then the
chief made a sudden leap forward and aimed a tremendous blow at Garff’s
head. Garff leaped back to avoid the blow, and then rushed in and aimed
a return stroke as his enemy’s axe swung round, and the chief leaped
back. So they went on, striking and avoiding warily, until Garff began
to give way, leaping backward at each attack and not striking again
in return, for he saw that his enemy was spending his strength, and
he meant to save his own. Never for a second did Garff cease to fix
his eyes on his enemy’s eyes, and the two faced each other savagely.
Then the chief rushed at Garff again in a fury, and struck with all
his might. Garff avoided again, and jabbed upward with his axe-head to
parry the blow, but he was not quick enough, and got a deep cut in the
arm. Then the chief pressed hard upon him, thinking to end him with one
blow; but Garff parried the stroke and gave a mighty spring, and before
his enemy could recover, dealt him a blow on the right shoulder, so
that he dropped his axe and fell prone. Then Garff picked up the bronze
axe of the chief and drove it deep into his skull, then waved his own
axe over his head and gave a great shout.

When the Warriors saw their leader fall, they uttered loud cries, and
some of them rushed forward with spears and axes. But Tig leaped out,
and Garff’s men and the Lake Men with him, and Garff waved the dripping
axe, and they rushed upon the band and put them to flight and chased
them through the woods, every one marking his man. And they killed many
of them there and many by the river-side, and only those escaped who
flung themselves into the river and swam across.

Then Garff and Bran called their men together, and they found that
only five had been killed in the fight and seven wounded. And they
sought out the bodies of their enemies that were fallen, and took their
weapons and their necklaces and cut off their heads; and Garff cut off
the head of the chief, and took his necklace of amber and his famous
bronze axe, Skull-pecker; and so they all marched back in triumph,
carrying their spoils and the heads of their enemies, to their own


  _Chapter the Thirty-first_

  _DICK AND HIS FRIENDS: How they dug out the Barrow_

“I AM afraid,” said Uncle John, when the chapter was finished, “that
we shall not be able to have any more reading these holidays; for
to-morrow and the next day I shall be away from home. There is one day
left after that, as you know, but instead of the story I have planned
an outing for us, which I have been trying to arrange ever since we
read about the burial of the Old Chief. My plan is this. Up on the
moor, beyond the place where we found the pit-dwellings, there is a
barrow, as it is called, the burial mound of one of the old chiefs of
the time that we have been reading about. The owner of the land, who
is a friend of mine, intends to open the barrow; the work is to be
begun to-morrow, and he has invited us to go and see what there is to
be seen.”

So on the next day they all set off to the moor with a big hamper of
provisions and a tea-kettle and a spade each. There were several mounds
and barrows on the high parts of the moor, and in one place there were
three huge standing stones marking what had once been a whole circle of

They walked over the moor until they found the squire and his men. The
men were already at work with picks and shovels, and had made a deep
cutting in the side of the barrow. At first they had dug through a
quantity of the heathery soil and gravel, but after a while they came
to large stones; and digging these out and carrying them back out of
the way was very hard work.

Uncle John rolled one aside and said to the boys:

“Can any of you find me another stone like this one anywhere on the
moor round about?”

They looked at the stone, which was a smooth rounded boulder, and then
searched the ground round about. But the only stones that were there
were small and rough. “This one came from the bed of the stream down
below there,” said Uncle John, “don’t you see it is water-worn. The men
who built this barrow carried that stone and these others like it all
the way up here on their shoulders.”

After they had had lunch, the work was begun again, the men pulling out
the big stones one after another. At last they came to where several
large flat stones were set on edge, leaning one against another. These
were pulled away, and then there was discovered a little chamber right
in the centre of the barrow, walled in with flat stones; and in the
midst of this little chamber a large urn of baked earthenware. Before
anything was moved, Uncle John brought the boys to look, and showed
them how the floor of the little chamber had been strewn with fine
white sand upon which the urn was set. Beside it were three smaller
vessels all empty, and lying beside them were two flint arrow-heads, a
small stone axe, and a hammer made out of the thick end of a red deer’s
antler bored with a hole to fit a handle into. Uncle John lifted the
urn carefully out and they all looked inside it. It was full of dust
and ashes, and some bits of charred bone, and some chips and splinters
of flint that had also been burned. These relics were all gathered
carefully together to be taken to the squire’s house, and the workmen
began to put away their tools.

As Uncle John and the boys walked home, Dick asked: “Did those people
burn every one who died?”

“Perhaps not every one, but they did it very often.”

“Why did they?”

“That is a hard question for me to answer--it was part of their
religion, I suppose; anyway perhaps they thought it the safest thing to

“Did they always kill a man’s dog, too?”

“That I don’t know. In many cases no doubt they did, because dog’s
bones have been found in the barrows; sometimes horses’ bones have been
found too, showing that people thought their horses could follow them
to the spirit-world, and sometimes, it is thought, that a man’s slaves
and even his wife were taken to the grave and killed, so that their
spirits might attend his after death.”

“How did they bore the holes in their axes and things?” David asked.
“The hole in that hammer was as smooth as if it had been drilled.”

“I daresay it was drilled,” said Uncle John. “Not with a flint tool,
perhaps, but most likely with quite a different thing--a hollow stick,
like a tube, with the boring end wetted and dipped in sand. With a
tool of that sort you can bore a hole in any stone, if you keep on at
it long enough, just as you can fine down wood or metal with sandpaper.”

“I suppose you would twirl the stick between your hands and press hard
on the top of it,” said David. “And if the stone were hard you would
want fine, sharp sand,” said Dick.

“Is there any more about Tig in the book?” Joe asked.

“Yes, I believe there is more--he lived to be a very old man and became
Chief in his time, and to him Garff bequeathed the wonderful bronze
axe, Skull-pecker. He had much fighting to do; but he beat back his
enemies and kept his people’s hunting-grounds and their cattle safe, as
long as he lived.”

On the evening of the last day of the holidays Uncle John took the
boys into his study and opened the drawer in the cabinet where his
arrow-heads were.

“Now,” he said, “I want each of you to choose a flint out of this lot,
and keep it as a reminder of what we have been reading about. Each
one can have his pick in turn--Dick first, because he was here first,
and Joe next and then David, as that is the order in which we met one
another.” There were plenty to choose from, and they each chose one of
the barbed war-arrows. Then Uncle John said:

“When I was a boy I used to know an old gentleman who had a flint
arrow-head, and I used to wish he would give it to me. But no--he set
great store by it and wore it on his watch-chain, mounted as a charm.
He called it a fairy-bolt, because he said that it had been made and
shot away by the fairies; and he thought it would bring him good luck
all his life. I hope you are all pleased with your flints; and though,
perhaps, they can’t bring you any good luck, at any rate you have
learned something about them, and about the people who made and used
them long ago, in this same country in which we live and now call


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained. Differences in
chapter titles between the table of contents and individual chapter
headings for Chapters V, X, XV, XVIII, XXI, XXVI, and XXVII are
preserved here.

The following apparent typographical errors were corrected:

Page 86, “villge” changed to “village.” (before anyone else in the
village was born)

Page 126, “firtree” changed to “fir tree.” (sticks and pieces of dried
fir tree wood)

Page 127, “it” changed to “if.” (if she did not want to use them all)

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