The Man Who Tamed a Man (Frag. 1)

Submitted by Ken Watts on Tue, 02/06/2007 - 08:31

In those days, life was still good for Man, and good for Woman.

They had dogs to guard their camp and play with their children and help them hunt. They had fire to warm them and cook their food and harden their arrows. They had tools of stone to skin animals with and carve wood with. They had friends and family and art and stories and music and dancing.

Life was good.

In those days, their children learned by watching the adults, and by asking questions. When an adult said to do this thing, or not to do that thing, the children usually did as the adult requested, for the adults were usually right.

The children didn't always cooperate, I don't mean they did.

The younger ones almost always cooperated, and if they didn't, the adults were bigger, and could make them, if they thought it was important.

And as the children got older they used their own judgment more, for this was the way of humans, and they listened to the Voice within themselves, humans behaving as humans, just as the hippos behaved as hippos, and bison as bison, each playing its part in the dance of life.

For the Voice spoke through them, and they were free, acting without coercion, each according to their nature1.

They were happy.

But something happened that changed that.

In those days, Man and Woman had tamed stones and fire and wolves. They had never tamed a human, but this time they did something new.

How it happened was this.

One day, when Man was fishing in the stream, Woman was left alone with Baby. She was cooking the food, and Baby was laughing at the fire.

Sometimes baby would reach for the fire, or try to crawl over the rocks around the fire's nest, and Woman would tell Baby "NO!" or pull Baby back.

Dog was also there, and Woman knew that Dog would like some of the meat she was cooking, but Dog did not try to eat the meat, for Man and Woman had trained Dog to know Good from Evil.

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1This passage is unique in s, containing, as it does, a close paraphrase of the jc poet. The reader should be cautioned that these lines are not necessarily a quote from that source, especially as it has not been established (in spite of Johnson) which work is actually earlier. It is possible, though not likely, that the jc poet is quoting s. It is more likely that they are each quoting another earlier, and unknown, source.