The Man Who Tamed a Plant (Frag. 1)

The Book of the Story

Man and Woman roamed the earth for another half a million years, having their adventures, eating, sleeping, making love, raising babies.

A very long time.

2500 times the history of the United States, 1000 times the years since Columbus, 70 times as long as it has been since the first city was built.

A very long time.

Those times were good.

They had their tools made of stone, and knew the word of the fire and how to draw its spirit forth from the wood. They could hunt and build and cook their food, and burn a space in the forest for their homes.

They only worked for a couple of hours each day, and spent the rest of their time talking, singing, drawing, carving, dancing, making love, playing with their children, and telling stories.

They hunted for meat to cook, and they gathered fruit and seeds and roots. Sometimes they even moved a tree or a plant close to their house, and took care of it, weeding it and watering it so it would grow.

The time I am talking about is only about 12,000 years ago, 60 times the history of the United States; close to the time of the first city, close to the time the trouble began.

Not so long ago.

Until that time, no human had planted a field of grain. They had eaten grain before this, I don't mean they didn't. They knew how to grind it with their grinding stones, how to mix it with water and cook it. But this time they tried something new.

The way it happened was this.

Woman and Man went out one day to gather some grain. There were large fields of grain growing wild at that time, so it was not hard to find.

Now the word of wild grain is different from the word of tame grain. The wild grain must plant itself, for there is no man or woman to plant it. So when the seeds become ripe, they do not stay on the plant, but fall to the ground.

This is how the grain makes more grain, after its kind.

Man and Woman knew all this, they had seen for thousands of years that each plant and animal uses its seed to multiply after its own kind. They had noticed that birds produce birds, that apple seeds produce apple trees, that children look like their parents.

And so, on this day, when Woman and Man went out to gather grain, Man noticed something, and spoke to Woman and said, "I have noticed something."

And Woman replied, and said, "What have you noticed?"