Being a caveman in the earliest periods of Earth’s development had its drawbacks. Life could be a bleak and, often, short experience for the average caveman. Hunting dinosaurs was really the only sport available and even that was considered more work than sport since its main purpose was to bring home food for the family. At least work was always abundant because dinosaurs were plentiful. But oh, what a boring way to live.
That is why many of the cavemen in the Green Valley Caves Co-op began drawing pictures on the walls of their home caves. Mostly hunting scenes, the drawings were an effective way to show loved ones what mighty men they were. One caveman, Aarga Stoneman, was something of a disappointment, though, to his entire family. His cave paintings never showed blood gushing from the throat of a defeated Saber Tooth Tiger. His paintings only showed the tiger running away from him (though many suspected the truer truth would show Aarga running from the beast). If not for the kindness of his father and brother, the family would have had nothing to eat. Yes, Aarga was a pitiful caveman by normal Green Valley standards.
And yet it was pitiful Aarga who was destined to change the course of human history. This is his amazing story.
Aarga was fully aware of what other cave dwellers were grunting about him behind his back. Still, for his father’s sake, and because his wife was so charming, he went along every time the family was invited to view the latest caveman drawing of heroic feats. Over the years he had been in nearly every cave in the valley and seen all of the wonderful adventures on the walls. Oh, how they thrilled him . . . how they sparked his imagination. Each spear on each wall seemed as though it were in his own hand. Though he hadn’t been on the actual hunt, he felt as though that kill was his kill. He had thrust the spear. His hands tied the beast to the carrying pole. It was his ears that heard the accolades of his people as the carcass was carried into the village. Oh, what wonderful feelings those wall paintings aroused.
So wonderful, in fact, Aarga decided he couldn’t wait to be invited into neighbor’s caves to view the exquisite adventures. Secretly he began sneaking into caves at night to gaze at the incredible walls. He memorized each stroke of the painting, each color, each life-stirring story. Then he would quietly leave and go to his own home to paint on small flat slabs of shale the unforgettable scenes he had just memorized. For years he had been doing this without ever being caught. Now, after twenty-seven years of memorizing others lives and transposing them to his flatrocks, he had amassed an incredible number of miniature cave paintings. They were for his eyes only, and each night he eagerly allowed his eyes to feast on his treasury of life-moments.
Because he was no hunter, and because he had, over the years, finally been totally rejected by the citizens of Green Valley, Aarga decided it was time to move elsewhere. His wife, faithful to the utmost, went with him, fearing she had just consumed her last decent meal.
It took two weeks to arrive at the next village. Aarga asked the first citizen he met if there were any empty caves he could claim.
“Unga. Ug oogan gag.”
Fortunately they grunted the same language because Aarga understood that a cave had just become available in the middle of town. Then the stranger noticed the sled Aarga was pulling. It was full of his picture rocks and the stranger couldn’t take his eyes off of them.
This, of course, was very encouraging news for Aarga.
Before Aarga was even completely moved into his new cave, word had spread throughout the town of the new family and their amazing collection of rock paintings. One by one, neighbors began stopping by to introduce themselves. To Aarga’s shock they didn’t come empty handed. Each carried a small parcel of food to be exchanged for . . .
You guessed it! Everyone was willing to pay for a brief look at his marvelous rock painting collection. For the rest of his life Aarga earned a wonderful income by simply telling the stories on each rock to visitors from all over the area.
Aarga had developed the world’s very first public library of natural history.
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