I. Hu, the Healer
II. Ack, the Slinger
III. Eck, the Horseman
IV. Rune, the Questioner
V. Og, the Wizard
VI. Sing, the Story Teller
VII. Pinx, Maker of Pictures
"Around the Fire" stories have been so warmly welcomed at many camp fires that it has encouraged the story teller to continue his back-log fancies in these tales about the Cave Boys of the Old Stone Age.
Recent discoveries as to the conditions of life "when Man was young" have furnished the warp for fancy's woof in the fabric of these stories.
Those who wish to go more deeply into the scientific details of the life of primitive man will find the most complete and authoritative statement in Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn's "Men of the Old Stone Age."H. M. B.
THE Old Stone Age (Paleolithic) furnishes the background of these stories of "Cave Boys." It coincides with the last part of the glacial period. The remains of the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal races are found between the third and fourth glacial periods. That means that these races occupied south central Europe at least twenty-five thousand years ago. Some anthropologists would place the date very much earlier.
The Cro-Magnons were a race of fine physique, great intelligence, and highly developed artistic capacity. For a time they seem to have had to contend with tribes of the Neanderthal race which had less intelligence and were of a distinctly lower physical type though immensely powerful. This struggle between "Croms" and "Neans" appears in several of the stories.
It will be noted that a number of the heroes of these tales were deformed or crippled. It is the theory of the writer that physical handicaps made necessary greater use of the brain if the individual was to survive. It may be that the physical weakness of man, as compared with many beasts, was really an asset rather than a liability. Outmatched by scores of beasts in speed and strength and deadliness of tooth and claw, he was compelled to develop powers of mind which made him master of them all.
The caves of the limestone belt of central Europe, France, and Spain furnished admirable homes and places of refuge for the men of the Old Stone Age and it is in them that the most notable "finds" have been made. Most astonishing of all is the great cavern at Altamira in Spain, on whose walls artists of the Cro-Magnon race made drawings and paintings of extraordinary artistic merit. Pictures of the auroch, wild ox, wild horse, great deer, rhinoceros, mammoth, and many other animals are not only etched with wonderful skill but colored with pigments which have retained their luster for over twenty thousand years.
The presence of African animals such as the elephant, lion, sabre-toothed tiger, and rhinoceros during this period is explained by the fact that at that time Europe and Africa were connected by land both at Gibraltar and at Sicily.
One of the greatest triumphs of modern science has been the interpretation of the geologic history of primitive man. These stories of times "when Man was young" would have been impossible without it.