Neanderthal Boy - 40,000 years ago
My name is Wolf and I live in a cave near the sea.
I live with my mother, father, elder brother and baby sister. My grandmother
and grandfather live here too as well as my father’s brother, his wife and baby.
My father is very strong and wears a beautiful fur cape to keep him warm. He
wears a fur hat too if it gets particularly cold as well as fur boots. This is the time when the daylight is
short and the nights are long and cold.
My mother is also strong and sometimes helps with hunting. She is very clever
at lighting fires and scraping the skins clean from the animals that we have caught.
My grandmother helps my mother and also collects berries and leaves for us
to eat. She helps look after the younger children in our group but is very strict with them.
My grandfather can’t walk anymore and always sits near the fire. He was
injured badly when he jumped on a woolly rhinoceros’ back to try to kill it for meat.
I have one brother who is older than me and he goes with my father and my father’s
brother to hunt. I want to be like him one day because he isn’t afraid of anything, except for spiders!
I have very strong legs and can walk and run very far. I’m lucky that
the skin on the bottom of my feet is tough and thick so I don’t feel the sharp twigs and stones when I
go hunting with my family. We walk or run everywhere. It’s important to be able to run fast, especially
if an angry bear is chasing you!
The women in our group know a lot about the plants that grow around our cave. If any of us are ill or injured,
they make us eat special leaves and drink strange brews and put ointments on us to make us better. My mother
has a lot of animal skin bags to keep these special plants safe inside. It was my mother who pulled my grandfather’s
teeth out when they were rotten.
We always have a fire in our cave because it keeps us warm and the nasty animals
keep away when they see the fire. My mother, grandmother and auntie all work together scraping away the blood
and guts from the animal skins and then after they’ve been stretched and dried we can wear them. We also
use the skin of the deer and the wool of the bison and mammoth to wrap around us when we sleep. My bed is a
big pile of straw covered with deep soft fur hides.
My grandmother made us all cold weather boots. They were very good and kept
out the wet snow because she’d rubbed the outside with lots of fat from the mammoth kill.
Even though my grandfather can’t walk, he can still make tools from
big stones called flint. He makes hand axes and spears and sharp knives for cutting. He also makes scrapers
for cleaning and de-hairing animal skins, and a tool that makes holes in animal skins called an awl. My grandfather
is special and hunters come from all over the area to ask him to make tools for them.
I sometimes go hunting with the men and women. It’s very scary! Once
we followed a herd of mammoth for a very long way. It was too late to go home so we built a shelter from big
mammoth bones we found and some large sticks, and covered the top with twigs and bark. In the morning, we saw
that one of the mammoths had left the herd and so we chased it until it fell over the cliff and died. We ran
down the side of the mountain and cut it up there to make it easier to carry home.
My favourite food is meat and lots of it. Sometimes we cook it on the fire
but sometimes we don’t bother and eat it raw. My sister likes bear meat best but my dad likes deer and
my father’s brother likes bison.
My grandfather is old and can’t chew his meat any more because he doesn’t
have any teeth. My grandmother chews it for him and then he eats it afterwards. Sometimes I do it for him but
I don’t always remember not to swallow!
When the warm weather comes and the snow fades away, you can see the huge flat
land below our cave. Even though it’s marshy and boggy, I love to follow the water channels and collect
shells stuck to rocks. If you put them very close to the fire then they pop open and the meat inside is delicious.
I found a few dead fish once and took them home. My family was delighted when they saw them as they made a beautiful
supper for us all.
I love it when my family come back from hunting with part of a very big mammoth.
We eat well for a very long time when that happens. I especially like the soft jelly that you can suck out of
the bones. I also like the big tusks and hard bones because you can make good sharp tools with these, and what's
more, we spread the fat over the top of a bunch of straw and then light it to help us see in the dark.
From our cave you can see for a very long way and the land changes throughout
the year. Sometimes the sun shines and when it does we have long warm days and you can see pretty flowers, mosses
and small trees on the vast grassland. This is when it’s difficult to run on the ground because it’s
so soft and squishy with water on the surface. This is when my family leave our cave and start following the
animals that have come to the land to eat the grasses and mosses. This is the time when we live in the shelters
made by my dad and his brother. When the cold times come, the winds blow strongly, the earth freezes and the
snow falls. This is the time that we return to our cave because the animals go away and the land as far as you
can see from our cave is completely white and you can’t see the little trees at all!
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