Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Ice Age Story by Clare

This Was Written By Me.
It's called Curse of the Saber.

The Mammoth Hunt
It was the tribe’s summer camp. In it were all the usual sounds. Children laughing, women scolding, men shouting and talking as they mended spears or fixed their tents.
The chief was called Rancov, and he, his son, and a few select men had gone to hunt a herd of mammoths. They had heard the matriarch of the group grunting and calling to the others.
They grabbed some torches and weapons and set out across the tundra. Hunting would be good, as the herd was veering near to a cliff. Instantly Rancov’s sharp eyes picked out the stragglers, three old females, closest to the cliff edge. The men flattened out and crawled between the huge feet until they were between the old ones and the rest. Suddenly they jumped up, yelling and shouting, waving their spears and torches at the stragglers. The giant beasts reared up, bellowing with rage while the rest of the herd thundered away. It was all shouting, roaring, noise, dirt and dust. But wait! Two dark shapes have broken out and are running away. They have lost two of the mammoths! But no matter. Now they had to turn all their attention to the last one. A well aimed torch from Rancov makes the mammoth jumped back, falling down the cliff.
Whooping and shouting the men scrambled down to claim their prey. “Stan’ back!” Rancov warns. But he was too late. One of the younger hunters, exited by the action, had run straight to the mammoth’s body. However, it’s not dead yet. Full of a blinding rage, the creature rose up its great body to give one last swing at one of its tormentors.  The young man couldn’t get out of the way quickly enough, and a giant tusk ripped him open. Then man and beast fell over, both dead.
Though the group was saddened at the loss of their friend, they still had to butcher the mammoth and harvest its great stores of meat before some other beast did. Suddenly a noise was heard in the distance. “What was that?” Rancov’s son asked. The chief shook his head. “I’m not sure, but whatever it is, I think it wants our food.” Then he and the men worked with all due haste. Suddenly, out of the fading twilight, came three vicious looking monsters. The saber toothed cats were long and lean, like lionesses with bobbed tails. But those teeth, oh, those teeth! The canines were a foot long and razor sharp, used for giving their victims a violent stabbing.
They licked their lips and stared hungrily, amber eyes blazing. The apparent leader was a young male, his fur so light it seemed to glow as it reflected off the setting sun. The men abandoned their work and grabbed the weapons. When the lead saber saw this, he crouched down and snarled. The others followed suit. Rancov and the other rushed at them with spears. The cats roared and fought back.
The leader seemed to single out Rancov. Dodging and rolling underneath feet, he came to the Clan’s chief. With a roar he leapt on him. Falling over, Rancov grabbed the first thing he saw-a burning torch from the small campfire they had lit. With one hand holding the Saber’s face to keep the fearsome looking canines as far away from his face as possible, he plunged the fire into the Saber’s face and up its mouth. Hissing and spitting, the huge beast struggled to get itself away from the searing pain that at suddenly shot down its throat. But Rancov was not done yet. He let go of the Saber Tooth’s face and grabbed a dagger out of his belt. The giant cat was rolling on the ground, screaming unearthly screeches of pain. Jumping forward, Rancov plunged the knife into the Saber’s body. Once, twice and again the knife, now gleaming red, went into the creature’s body. After a moment it shuddered, then went limp.
Rancov wiped the dagger on the grass. He looked around. The other men had chased off the rest of the Sabers. “Saber meat isn’ good.” He told his men. “Go dump the body of this loathsome creature in the river, and let the fishes do the grizzly work.” As three of them went off to do as he had asked, Rancov and the rest finished butchering the mammoth.
When they arrived home, carrying the delicious food, there was great rejoicing. Except for the poor wife of the dead man. Now that he had died she had no way of getting food, because only the families of the hunting men got meat. It would be only from the kindness of her neighbors that she might get a meal.
Then Rancov got up to say something. “This hunt has been good. We kilt a mammoth to feed us and our families, killed another one of the terrible Sabers that roam our land. And,” he said, nodding at the widow, “Wi’ the exception of one, we have all gotten out safely. And so, let us go to the sacred cave. Shaman, bring all yeh’re fancy stuff and let’s go!” Then the entire tribe, the young and the old, headed out to the sacred cave about twenty minutes away, led by Rancov and the Shaman. The Shaman was an important member of the clan, for he can talk to the spirits of animals and land.
When they got there, everybody whispered. The congregation tiptoed to the far back, where all the cave paintings were. The Shaman began to dance, playing strange and eerie tunes on his flute, while Rancov and some others painted on the walls with their hair and bone brushes and thick paints. The rest just sat, listening to the Shaman’s music. Then Rancov leaned over and muttered something to the Shaman and his tune changed to sadness, and the flute’s noise, reverberating off the walls, seemed to moan mournfully. “Today’s hunt, while although good,” Rancov started speaking to the Shaman’s music. “Had sadness. We lost a man to the ripping tusks of a mammoth. And therefore, we shall bury him with respect, and spare his cold body the shredding claws of the Saber, the tearing teeth of the Dire Wolves, and the stomping feet of the Woolly Rhino.  Then his spirit shall rest in peace.”
When they at last left the cave the people buried the young man’s body, while the Shaman stood by, burning sweet smelling herbs and flowers, filling the air with a pungent odor, though Rancov noticed something troubled in his gaunt face.  Then they went home, roasted mammoth meat over the fire, and went to bed contented.

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