Pic the Weapon-Maker
PIC THE WEAPON-MAKER
HENRY FAIRFIELD OSBORN
Illustrated by the Author
BONI AND LIVERIGHT
Publishers New York
Copyright, 1920, by
BONI & LIVERIGHT, Inc.
Printed in the United States of America
My Wife and Collaborator
Sydney Holmes Langford
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
|The Journey Through Central France||Frontispiece|
|The Arrival of the Mammoth||3|
|“Ugh! What Are You Doing There?”||26|
|“Why Do You Beat Those Rocks Together?” the Mammoth Inquired||37|
|Grun Waugh Sprang Snarling to His Feet||53|
|The Cave Lion Took One Look—and Waited to See No More||64|
|Pic at Sha Pell||74|
|The Meeting With the Seine Flint Workers||104|
|“Stand Back! For Your Lives, Stand Back!”||129|
|With a Hoarse Cry Pic Sprang to His Feet||145|
|Hairi and the Cave Leopard||211|
|The Time Came When Wulli Failed to Respond||224|
|Pic Discovers the Use of the Bone Tool||240|
|Plucked from Its Mother’s Arms and Whirled Aloft||268|
It has been the tendency of certain anthropologists,of most popular writers, and of most artistsin Europe and America to represent the men of theOld Stone Age as scarcely raised above the levelof the brutes. I have protested against this pointof view on what I believe to be very good grounds,namely, that modern man could not have ascendedfrom a group of brutes. There must have beenfrom the very first, along the various lines of humanascent, a premium on the qualities of mind, on therudiments of human character, and on the refinedtendencies of the best of men as we know themto-day. Such a sprinkling of fine characteristicsis observed by travelers who study the most primitiveraces of mankind with a sympathetic attitudeof mind; many are discovered among the Malays,despite their head-hunting propensities, and delightfultraits of character are found among thePolynesians, despite their occasional cannibalism.
It is in this sympathetic also appreciative stateof mind that the author of the present work approacheshis subject, the Mousterians, a veryancient and primitive branch of the human race.The environment in which these people lived was[xii]certainly very crude and the conditions were veryhard, nevertheless it is reasonable to presume thatthey possessed many desirable although rudimentaryqualities of mind and character. Thepresent author may idealize these primitive men asJames Fenimore Cooper idealized the Indians,but I believe he would be nearer the truth than ifhe brutalized them.
If it is clearly understood that the work of Mr.Langford is an interpretation of prehistoric humannature, an interpretation based on a certain class offacts, a working hypothesis as to the qualities of theMousterian people which may be contrasted withother working hypotheses and developed with theprogress of discovery, then this work is well worthwhile and may be read and enjoyed in the sameway that we enjoy the painted restorations of thesepeople, of their life and times.
HENRY FAIRFIELD OSBORN.
New York, February 7, 1920.
Some thirty or forty thousand years ago westernEurope was inhabited by a race of human beingsnow extinct, the Mousterians who differed so muchfrom modern men that they are classed as a distinctspecies. They were cave-dwellers and flint-workers,living amid hordes of prehistoric beasts; the HairyMammoth Elephant, Woolly Rhinoceros, CaveLion, Cave Bear, Hyena and many others.
The Mousterians were the last of the ancientNeanderthal race whose advent in Europe mayhave dated to two-hundred thousand years or moreB.C. It is my interest in them that I seek to shareintimately with my patient readers and my endeavorhas been to restore in these pages the menand animal characters of those prehistoric days.Their activities and the circumstances surroundingthem are inspired by the following discoveries, nowof historic and scientific record:
Mousterian Civilization.—First recognized in1863 near Le Moustier, Dordogne Dep’t, southwesternFrance. Beneath caves in the cliffs, rudelyfashioned flints of distinctive pattern lay buriedwith bones of the Mammoth, Woolly Rhinocerosand other prehistoric animals. Similar discoverieswere made later in the Seine, Somme and Thames[xiv]River Valleys and many other localities in westernEurope.
The Neanderthal Man.—Fossil skeleton accidentallydiscovered in 1856 in a grotto near theRiver Düssel, Westphalia, western Germany. Theskull-cap with its low forehead and massive eye-ridges,caused a sensation in Europe, it being thefirst evidence that a primitive species of human beingpreceded modern Man in western Europe.
The Boy of Le Moustier.—Skeleton unearthedin 1908 near one of the Moustier caves; a youngman. The low forehead, massive eye-ridges andchinless jaw were primitive features, known by thistime as characteristics of the Neanderthal race.The skeleton lay amid remains of prehistoric animalswith head resting upon a pile of flint-flakes.A fine flint hand-ax was near the right hand.
The Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saintes.—Completeskeleton of an aged man found buried in 1908in a grotto near the village of La Chapelle-aux-Saintes,Correze Dept., France. This fine skeletonshowed conclusively that the Mousterian differedfrom modern Man in almost every bone of his body.This discovery is considered as an intentional burial—mostancient record of man’s care for his deadand recognition of an after life. The body lay amidMousterian flints and bones of prehistoric animals.
The Maid of La Ferrassie.—Part of one skeleton—afemale—exhumed from a rock-shelter near[xv]Le Moustier in 1909 and another in 1910. Bothwere Mousterians and not to be confused with otherdiscoveries of less ancient people of the Old StoneAge.
Prehistoric Animals.—Remains of the HairyMammoth, Woolly Rhinoceros, Cave Lion, CaveBear, Hyena, Irish Elk, Long-horned Ox, Bison,Reindeer and a host of others have been and areyet frequently discovered in association with Mousterianflint and skeleton relics. Of these brutes,none were more imposing, none more remarkablethan the Mammoth and Rhinoceros. Friends?Why, of course. Who can deny it and who wouldbegrudge them their fun—while it lasted?
It is my earnest endeavor to portray intimatelythe prehistoric life of western Europe as it wasduring the “Mousterian” Period of 50000-25000B.C. Mankind’s primitive pioneers cannot fail towin the respect of those who choose to understandthem. My characters—men and beasts—were realindividuals; their activities, my free translation ofthe evidence presented by stone relics and fossilbones. Such evidence collected by the world’s leadinganthropologists, is ably summarized in Prof.Henry Fairfield Osborn’s immortal work, “Menof the Old Stone Age” which has been of materialaid to me in the writing of this book.
Joliet, Illinois, March 1, 1920.
PIC THE WEAPON-MAKER
The cold weight of bitter glacial winter layheavy upon the Dordogne region of southwesternFrance. Grass and sedge tuftwere hidden beneath a mantle of erminesnow. The last withered oak and sycamore leaveshad long since fluttered to the ground and only barebranches were left pointing skyward like deadfingers. The bushes stuck straight up like bundlesof stiff rods. No sounds could be heard exceptfaint whisperings of sleet blown over the snow-crustand of rending creaking frost gnawing intoevery hole and crevice.
Bison, moose, stag, ox and every other hoofedand horned beast of meadow, mountain and gladewere assembled near the base of the southern slopeof a long high ridge bristling with outcroppinglimestone crags and pinnacles. Every pair of hornsand eyes was directed upward and every heart beatfast with great awe and fear.
For a monstrous creature was lumbering downthe slope toward them, plowing its way irresistiblythrough the snow-packs like an avalanche launchedfrom the heights—a strange beast of another worlddescending as it were from the sky. Its huge headcrowned with peaked forepart, nigh equalled inbulk the Bison’s body. A ponderous nose-lipdangled from its face, writhing python-like, betweentwo long cream-colored tusks which sweptdownward then outward, then upward and forwardto their polished tips in three graceful, twistingcurves. And yet the colossal head was but a fragmentcompared with the vast body behind it. Bothwere thatched with jumbled masses of shaggy hairfluffed and tossed about by the breeze like tasseledplumes. The massive hulk was borne along uponfour hairy pillar legs, each rivalling in girth thewrist of a stout oak which stood in the giant’s path,thrust upward through the snow like a greatgnarled fist. The lowermost branch rising sometwelve feet above the ground, barely cleared theshaggy head-peak as it passed beneath. Such wasthe Hairy Mammoth, monarch of the bleak northernwastes and largest of all creatures ranging thelength and breadth of Europe.
As his eyes fell upon the formidable hedge ofbristling horns, he momentarily slackened his paceand took stock of the seemingly overwhelming oddsupon which he was advancing. Fight? Yes andno. The Mammoth well knew the full measure ofhis own gigantic strength and how to make gooduse of it when occasion demanded; but there arealways more ways than one to accomplish desiredresults—so the Mammoth reasoned—and he wasa creature of far from low intelligence.
Crunch, crunch, his ponderous feet rose and fellamid the flying snow-clods as he bore down uponthe group of horned animals, calmly and deliberatelyas though without fear or thought of hostilepurpose.
Another and smaller individual trailed in thegiant’s wake. Like the latter, its head and bodywere buried in masses of tangled hair, so thick andmatted that the creature resembled a small haystacksupported by four short peg-legs, which latter werebarely visible beneath the mass. But none heededthis the smaller of the pair. All eyes were centeredupon the shaggy giant with the snake-like trunkand curling tusks.
The latter was only ten paces distant when suddenlytwo of the horned heads detached themselvesfrom their fellows as their owners sprang forwardto meet him. One of them was a thick-set individualalmost hidden beneath a flowing hair-mantleand bearing two hook-like horns plastered acrosshis brow; the other a more slender animal with shorthair and long scraggly antlers. They were theMusk Ox and Reindeer, migrants from the northernranges.
“The Mammoth!” they cried joyfully. “HailHairi, lord of the Tundr! Does the Storm Winddrive the mightiest of the grass-eaters before it asit does us more humble folk?”
The Mammoth, who had halted momentarilywith trunk and tasks thrown into a defensive posture,now emitted an astonished bellow. His earsflapped violently and his trunk waved in joyfulrecognition.
“Hail, old comrades! Peace be with you andyours,” he replied. “Good indeed it is to see oncemore two of the Northland’s best and bravest.The Storm Wind? Aye. The Mammoth finds nofavor there. But it is not from it that I flee, norsnow nor the frost which thickens the waters andmakes all trees look like dead sticks. It is becauseof the ice-mountains that have sealed every drinkinghole and food patch. I must eat and drink tolive and as Death is my last choice, I made hasteto seek this land of plenty—and friends.”
As he concluded, his gaze shifted inquiringlyfrom the Musk Ox and Reindeer to their associates.Sunshine by the cubic yard now exuded from everypore of the huge