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"Ice Age Mystery" (Stanley: Fire & Ice)

Mystery in the ice, long ago some spoke here. Long, long, long ago a tribal chief said words.

“Ka oona naw eh. My sons, our people have prospered and grown. There is safe harbor here. Yet, now it is time for young men to explore new land. To me, my father passed the gift given him,” says an old and wise soul having led ten-score people to a new place across a land bridge twenty years, ago. He is the chief of a great tribe of the Siberian plain.

Aging, his five sons will soon have charge of those who dared live and cross snow and ice for so long. They had arrived at a new land. Their numbers had doubled finding good food. Here, there was safety. There was a lake full of healthy fish. There was plenty of water to drink. Caves were here to protect from storms and the game, plentiful. They found a good, new life where animals were abundant.

Ten-thousand years ago, the chieftain continued.

“Take the tablets I have copied. They contain signs of our people,” the old man tells sons who have young families.

Dressed in warm animal skins he goes on. Women in the background work with sharp stone to cut away meat of a stag moose. He talks, as a father who instructs sons. Their call to leave, it is the time of Ice Age mammals. Children of the chieftain’s lineage play at the lake. They wrestle and run in summer grass before the caves.

“Ghtachma daki rahm. The black dust, the black sand encased in the tablets will guide your way,” the wise one says.

Learned, he has magic, stone, books, and golden ice cups for his sons.

“The black dust is a magic you can trust,” says the chief. “Treasure the book and the cup as symbols of your heritage.” In a dialect that would be too strange to, ears of many of today’s Inuit or any archaeologist, nodding, the chieftain adds, “Our people have prospered and grown.”

“Niki don. Yes, father,” the sons reply.

“Takala mae noohoeshe,” the elder makes words. “You shall return here at full moon, one year from now. We shall gather to celebrate news of what people, places, and animals you have found. The morning of the next day you shall be brothers. But you shall be your own chiefs with your own people,” the strong and stately, elder chieftain says. “Five different directions to travel, your stone will guide the way—through ice, through forests, through water. Be strong. Return, then, when it is time. Know you have my blessing.”

“Yes, father,” say sons. Each, watches the old man turn. Slowly, he walks toward his wife who cooks among many.

Tomorrow will be the beginning of a journey. Where it leads, they know not. Some might not return at full moon a dozen moon-seasons from now. Yet, they’re told this is their quest; and they’re duty-bound to honor their father’s words.

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