Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The tribes unite (Dum tales 24)

                              The visitors return satisfied

Some visitors came to the cave one morning who said they came from a clan not far off and then waved his hand vaguely to the south. While one spoke to the men Yum and Dong kept their heads bowed listening but apparently not taking any notice of the men talk. Yum was still feeding Lah-Lah even though she was nearly weaned. They called her Lara now which was a name that she would use when she grew up. It was a name of a bushy shrub that Song had shown them which could be used in cooking or as a medicinal plant for upset stomach (Laurel or Bay leaf).

Wah-Wah her son also had a grown up name and he was now Wara which meant water. Normally a person was named Wara as it was hoped they would be the one to find drinking water in hard times. Dum however had called him that as it was difficult to keep him out of the water whether it was the sea or even a stream as he would be the first one to jump in.

The visitors clearly were making suggestions to their men that they should join together to keep the areas they lived in under their joint control. The discussion was long and obtuse as the men of each camp tried to explain or determine what advantage there would be in the proposal. Dum however did not say a lot and as the talk seemed to be getting nowhere.

Finally Dum pointed to his one good eye and said “I may only have one eye but I see clearly. You have come now because you need us. Here we decided some time ago we would not be wanderers but stay here because we can survive in both summer when food is plentiful and in winter as well because we have found out how to survive when food is scarce.”

The men from the other clan nodded in agreement.

“If you too have done this why do you need us?” Dum then asked.

The visitors then put their heads together and after some discussion the one who seemed to be leader spoke up.

“We have heard that you do things that we do not. You eat more food from the sea than we do and you catch animals and birds in different ways to us. Perhaps in exchange for your ideas we could show you what we do.”

Dum laughed, “You have been watching us yet do not understand what we are doing. What can you do that would help us then?”

Again the visitors bent their heads and murmured among themselves.

“We need you to make our tribe bigger, to be stronger and to resist our enemies. We do not wander either but we stay because we grow our food where we live and do not need to search for it. We store the seeds and fruit that we grow so there is food to eat in hard times. Perhaps a bird that flies has told us that you keep meat and fish for a long time without it going bad. We should exchange these skills of ours. In this way we could reward each other for being friends by sharing this knowledge.”

Dum turned to the men in his tribe and said “Do you want us to continue talking or is there nothing we can learn from the visitors?”

Yum caught his eye and indicated she wanted to talk to him. So Dum held up his hand and said to both his own men and the visitors “However we welcome you. Let us eat together now then we will decide”.

Yum then said quietly to Dum, “Perhaps it was Song that suggested to the men in her tribe that they should come”.

At this Dum nodded without giving anything away.

After the visitors has shared some food with them they commented on the taste of the smoked fish and the other food that they were offered. Dum meanwhile had spoken to the men in his tribe and when the joint discussion began again he announced, “We have long been concerned about the need to be safe and to provide for our families through all the seasons. The wind has blown this way and that and in doing so has shown us how to survive. Perhaps for you too spirits have spoken to you too and suggested that we should share our knowledge. The men of this cave are willing to exchange ideas with your people so that we can live together as one”.

The men from Song’s tribe nodded in agreement and it was agreed they would visit and reward each other by sharing their knowledge not knowing that Dum already knew about Song.

Yum looked at Dong and said “Good, more honey for us”.


  1. If there were a news reporter at this scene, he would write a headline like "The Encounter of Hunter-Gatherers and Agricultural People." -- I enjoyed reading this new chapter in your prehistoric story.

  2. Such a good story. I am amazed at how you manage to put it all in context of the "story of man."

  3. Negotiations can be difficult, but it does seem that the two tribes can help each other. Strength in numbers.

  4. I am always delighted by the amount of thought you put into your story Old Egg, how much we can learn from it, not only of survival of our species, but also of how socialization evolved. Your characters bring history to life, and I could see a wonderful series developed to teach older children such things. I love Yum, she is a wise woman, and Dum is wise because he values her thoughts and opinions. They have an awesome relationship, and I hope they are given long lives together! Your TST tale is something I look forward to every week! :-)

  5. I, again, enjoyed your story. Have you read "The Blessing Stone". There are some ancient relationships in that book that had me fascinated as well. I can't wait to read more.