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Tales of Tomorrow

Every night the tribe gathered around the fire to listen to the storyteller. The storyteller was most revered and he sustained the tribe as much as the hunters. When he spoke, the shadows on the cave wall danced and the smoke of the fire took on fascinating shapes. Young and old sat in rapt attention as the storyteller told tales of how the sun came into being, how the pig got his tusks, and how the first men had come from the river.
But this night was different, because on this night the storyteller spoke not of the past, but of the future.
The storyteller described a land where men built mountains made from trees and how the people lived in these mountains, high above the forest floor.
The tribal elders did not understand this story. The cave was where the tribe lived. How could it be otherwise? It was impossible to build a fire in the trees.
The storyteller continued, describing an age where the people were the masters of nature, where roots, berries, mushrooms, and even the pig, were created by men for men.
The elders scoffed. Everyone knew that mushrooms were gifts from the moon and the pig was guided by animal spirits that could never be controlled.
Next the storyteller spoke of men moving through the forest carried by animals that were neither pigs nor reindeer. These animals were much larger and would take them to the places where the sun rose and the sun set.
The elders hooted and howled. This wasn't the story they wanted to hear. This wasn't a story at all. It was nonsense. They demanded to hear about how the pig got his tusks.
The storyteller sighed and began the tale of the pig. And as the elders settled down to listen, the youngsters drifted away from the fire and gathered at the mouth of the cave. There they looked up, wondering how the trees could one day become mountains.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 14th, 2022


Author Comments

This story started with the idea that, for someone living in hunter-gatherer days, a tale set in ancient Egypt would have been science fiction.

- Fred Stesney
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