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CENE: A summer plain, the eastern of his mate, Ala; and of those at his right
and left, Ok and Un. hills of limestone, the other sides by a forest. The hill nearest to the plain ter
Uk: minates in a cliff, in the face of which, Be still! nearly at the level of the ground, are four (Turning to the woman behind him) caves, with low, narrow entrances. Be- Thou seest that they become still. fore the caves, and distant from them less None save me can make his kind be still, than one hundred feet, is a broad, flat except perhaps the chief of the apes, when rock, on which are laid several sharp sliv- in the night he deems he hears a serpent. ers of flint, which, like the rock, are blood- At whom dost thou stare so long? stained. Between the rock and the cave- At Oan? Oan,
me to me! entrances, on a low pile of stones, is
Oan: squatted a man, stout and hairy. Across his knees is a thick club, and behind him I am thy cub. crouches a woman. At his right and left
Uk: are two men somewhat resembling him, Oan, thou art a fool! and like him, bearing wooden clubs. These
Ok and Un: four face the west, and between them and the bloody rock squat some threescore of Ho! ho! Oan is a fool! cave-folk, talking loudly among themselves. It is late afternoon. The name of
All the Tribe: him on the pile of stones is Uk, the name Ho! ho! Oan is a fool!
Alints, whose stare he hatest. Gurr cometh Why am I a fool?
nightly to the caves.
One of the Tribe:
(To Ala) Aye! they are marvelous words; they
Had he not become still, Ok and Un
would have beaten him with their clubs. were born within me in the dark.
.. But, Oan, tell us those words that Uk:
were born to thee when Ala did weep. Art thou a woman, that thou shouldst
Oan (arising): bring forth? Why dost thou not sleep when it is dark?
They are wonderful words. They are Oan:
The bright day is gone-
Now I see thou art liar as well as fool:
Oan: brought it not to the Stone ?
But the day was gone in that hour All the Tribe:
when my song was born to me. Wa! Wa! He hath slain in the forest, and brought not the meat to the
Then shouldst thou have sung it only Stone!
at that time, and not when it is yet day. Uk:
But beware lest thou awaken me in the Be still, ye!
night. Make thou many stars, that they (To Ala)
fly in the whiskers of Gurr.
My song is even of stars.
Uk: at the chase. Also it irks me to squat on It was Ul, thy father's wont, ere I slew a branch all day above a path, bearing a him with four great stones, to climb to rock upon my thighs. Those words did
the tops of the tallest trees and reach forth but awaken within me when I was peace- his hand, to see if he might not pluck a less in the night.
star. But I said: "Perhaps they be as Uk:
chestnut-burs." And all the tribe did And why wast thou peaceless in the
laugh. Ul was also a fool. But what night?
dost thou sing of stars? Oan:
Oan: Thy mate wept, for that thou didst
I will begin again: beat her.
The bright day is gone.
The night maketh me sad, sad, sadAye! she lamented loudly. But thou
Uk: shalt make thy half-sleep henceforth at the mouth of the cave, so that when Gurr the Nay, the night maketh thee sad; not tiger cometh, thou shalt hear him sniff be- sad, sad, sad. For when I say to Ala, tween the boulders, and shalt strike the
“Gather thou dried leaves," I say not,
Ok and Un: He is a fool!
All the Tribe:
Oan: I am not a fool! This is a new thing. In the past, when ye did chant, О men, ye did leap about the Stone, beating your breasts and crying,*"Hai, hai, hai!" Or, if the moon was great, “Hai, hai! hai, hai, hai!” But this song is made even with such words as ye do speak, and is a great wonder. One may sit at the cave's mouth, and moan it many times as the light goeth out of the sky.
One of the Tribe: Aye! even thus doth he sit at the mouth of our cave, making us marvel, and more especially the women.
Uk: Yea, he is a fool. But say on, Oan, and tell us of thy chestnut-burs.
Oan: I am thy cub. Suffer that I speak: so shall the tribe admire greatly.
The bright day is gone.
Uk: Said I not that "sad" should be spoken but once? Shall I set Ok and Un upon thee with their branches ?
Oan: But it was so born within me-even "sad, sad"
Uk: If again thou twice or thrice say "sad," thou shalt be dragged to the Stone.
The bright day is gone.
The night maketh me sadOw! Ow! thou makest me more sad than the night doth! The song
Oan (hastily) :
Uk: Be still! ... When I would make women marvel, I do show them a wolf's brains upon my club, or the great stone that I cast, or perhaps do whirl my arms mightily, or bring home much meat. How should a man do otherwise? I will have no songs in this place.
Oan: Yet suffer that I sing my song unto the tribe. Such things have not been before. It may be that they shall praise thee, seeing that I who do make this song am thy cub.
Oan (facing the tribe): The bright day is gone. The night maketh me sa-sad. But the stars are very white. They whisper that the day shall return. O stars! little pieces of the day!