Mate had gathered a pouch of nuts and seeds. She ordered Ugfug to hunt for meat for dinner. He gathered his lucky spear from the corner of the cave and slung his skunk skin bag over his broad shoulders then set off. He followed the trail past the funny shaped rocks into the forest; to get something before something got him.
“There must be a better way to catch dinner” Ugfug thought, “one which did not involve miles of pursuit”. He dreamed of stopping the animals running away when he was hungry. Someday he would be master of all…. “ARRRRRRRRRRRGGG!”…he surveyed the bottom of a muddy pool, the victim of a tree root that lay like a snare on the trail.
“Arrrrrrrrggg!” trilled a parody from a tree. Ugfug decided what he was going to eat for dinner. He stalked the call until he spotted a small grey and white bird perched on a prominent branch. Ugfug lobbed his spear at the elusive target. The spear lodged in the tree. Typical! Now he would have to climb to get it.
He grunted with effort as he forced his way through the tangle of branches. The bird objected to the caveman’s ascent and attacked with a series of darting pecks. The assault was just a diversion, sufficient to disguise the rotten branch below the spear.
“ARRRRRRRRRGGG!” The branch broke and Ugfug fell. The spear followed and landed on his skull. “ARRRRRRRRRGGG!”
Presently Ugfug realized that the fall was cushioned by a feathered body. The hunting trip was a success! Not a bad return for lacerations, bruises skull and- wince- a couple of broken ribs. Ugfug picked up the bird in a large calloused hand and set off home cheerfully.
Presently, the bird woke up and began to plead. “Let me go! I am a mockingbird and worth far more alive than dead. What about art, music, beauty? I have the best song of all the birds.”
“No” said Ugfug, intent on revenge. His only experience of music was Mate’s crooning lullabies that he blamed for keeping Baby awake all night. “Me going to grill you.”
“You don’t even know what ‘mocking’ means!” taunted the what-ever-it-meant-bird. “It would take at least two of us to make a decent meal. Why not prove your evolutionary cleverness by catching a bigger dinner?” Suddenly the scrawny bird did not seem a great reward for his pains.
“How?” Ugfug grunted.
“Let me go. I will help you build a statue of the great bird god out of those funny shaped rocks. The birds will flock to it and you’ll have plenty to eat.”
Ugfug set the mockingbird down on the ground at spear point. Its’ wing looked broken, the bird helpless, the scheme clever. He agreed to the plan.
The mocking bird instructed Ugfug to move the wedge shaped rock (that looked a bit like a bird tail) against the tall upright one (that resembled a feathered body). Several round rocks were discarded before finding a satisfactory likeness of the bird god’s head. The image was completed with a suitably beaky lump that had to be placed on the top facing skywards.
The caveman stood back to admire the mutant stargazing fowl but no birds came. To add injury to insult the beak fell off and hit Ugfug’s toe. “ARRRRRRRRRGGG!” It was a cry of pain and realization that the miraculously recovered mockingbird was sitting in a tree.
“There’s one thing missing” the mockingbird observed, “The bird god would provide a feast. Get some bird food and spread it around the statue.”
Ugfug wondered why he’d not thought of that before. He crept back to the cave where Mate and baby were snoring blissfully having their afternoon nap. Ugfug stole the food bag and went back to the idol. He replaced the beak and spread the contents liberally over the stones and created the world’s first bird table.
Birds flocked from the forest to gobble the feast. Ugfug grabbed his spear and launched it repeatedly at the swirling flock. They danced out of the way of the sluggish missile. “ARRRRRRRRRGGG!” the caveman screamed furiously.
Mate emerged to see what the commotion was about. She saw the discarded pouch, plump birds and an impotent partner.
“Urrrg!” screamed Mate, which translates as “Stupid caveman! What made you feed our dinner to the birds?” Then she smacked him on the head with her club.
“Arrrrrrrrggg!” mockingbirds chorused in imitation.
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