"Behind s's1 deceptive simplicity of style lies a fairly sophisticated understanding of—and a definite point of view on—the anthropological problems of the period, as well as on the fundamental flaws in the inherited world-view, which were only beginning to surface at the time. There is also a subtle sense of humor, approaching parody at points. Witness the story titles2, which (like p, but not jc or f) are original, and should be considered a part of the text."
Semperin Fortesque III,
First Speaker of the Table
New Ohio University
Now Man and Woman roamed the earth for three million years, having their adventures, eating, sleeping, making love, raising babies. That is a very long time. It is 300 times longer than it has been since the first city till today, 6,000 times the years since Columbus, 15,000 times the whole history of the United States3 .
A very long time.
Those days were good. There was plenty to eat, there was always fresh water to drink, and the breeze moved through the treetops and cooled the heat of the day. Woman and Man ate mostly fruit in those days, and there was always plenty of fruit. Sometimes they would eat seeds, and sometimes roots. And sometimes, when a tiger or a wolf would make a kill, they would take some of the meat, and eat that too.
This time I am talking about was two million years ago, 10,000 times the history of the United States.
That, too, is a long time.
Until that time no human had made a tool out of a stone. They had used stones for tools before this, I don't mean they didn't. But this time they did something different.
The way it happened was this.
Woman and Man sat together in the shelter of a hill. They sat very close, because it was cold. So they snuggled together to stay warm. Woman held baby in her arms, and fed him.
She was worried, because they had so little food. This year had been different from the others. The winter had been long, and they had eaten all the berries, all the nuts, all the fruit and roots that they could find.
So Woman said to Man, "I have to take care of baby—but we need something to eat."
Man sighed a deep sigh. "I have been thinking of this," he said, "but there are no berries and no roots to eat. I have looked far and near and found no nuts. There are animals around, but I have not heard a wolf or a tiger, or seen their tracks or spoor, in a long time."
And Woman said, "We must do something or we will die."
* The first of two fragments, in this case. We will publish the fragments as they are translated, in order to speed things along, with the exception that we will not be releasing later fragments of any single literary unit before earlier ones.
1 The "s" stands for "storyteller".
2 S wrote during the last throes of masculine cultural domination before The Second Enlightenment.
3 United States: the name of an ancient political unit. It is likely that s lived within its boundaries, thus accounting for its mention here. "Columbus" was likely a person or event which was important in some way to the United States.