Red Son in the SnowMature

a story depicting the struggles of a primitive people and one mans journey into adulthood

Before the yellow sun rises, the Red Son does. He arose early every morning, the early hours where the only time he had to hunt.

His beard was quite full now despite his youth. It was only a matter of time until the men called him to counsel. Soon he would be a man in the tribe's eyes, then he would be free to hunt with the others. Red Son needed to hunt now. His father Low Eyes was a great shame to the family. The wind was weak in him, he could not run or fight as the other men do. Truly Low Eyes was a great craftsman, but that did not make up for the shame of having a weak father. Trade for food was difficult, especially when the heavy snow came. During the heavy snow it was difficult for anyone to get food making trade nearly impossible.

So Red Son had taken it upon himself to hunt small game during the night. It was difficult and he often returned home empty handed. Low Eyes was unable to teach his sons to hunt so Red Son taught himself.

The other men were sure to know Red Son was hunting, how else would his family have food enough for their little family? It would be much easier when he was called to counsel. The mark of a man was nearly upon him, his beard was fuller than Pale Giant's was when he was called to counsel.

Red Son made his way back to camp as the sun began to peek over the mountains. He had caught two long tails, hardly anything worth eating, but he was not worried. The heavy snow had just ended, it was now the season of streams. The hunting was going to improve, the bad season was behind him. It was easy to hide his meager findings and he quickly made his way into the camp and to his family tent. He stopped and gazed at his home with contempt. It was always filled with shame to look upon it. It was made of tusks and hides that were traded for, not earned.

"Are you all right son?" Red Son turned to see his father crouched next to the entry to the tent and he wove some reeds together.

"Shouldn't you be asleep old man?"

Low Eyes peeked up from his work, but not enough to meet his sons disgusted stare. "I can never sleep after you leave. I worry."

Red Son let out a sharp snort. "What reason have you to worry old man? I do your duties. I feed your family. I am strong. You have no reason to worry old man."

"That is true." The old man slowly rose to his feet. "But a man has a right to worry for his son."

"A man has better things to do than weave baskets all day."

Low Eyes looked away from his son a tone of hesitation in his voice. "I'm making baskets for the stream season. Gathering should be good, I'm hoping trade will improve." Low Eyes reached behind the reeds he was working with. "I made something else. Something for you son." A long stick painted red made up the handle of the spear, with three sharp stone points making up the tip of the spear. "I gave it three spikes so it will be more deadly." The old man stated simply as he passed the weapon to his son. "You will be allowed to join the hunt soon. I wanted you to have a weapon you could be proud of. Something I knew could keep you safe."

"You did good work." Red Son stated plainly. It was the closest thing to gratitude he could offer his father. "I am sure it will serve me well." With that Red Son turned and entered the tent.

A low grumble arose as the cold air slithered into the dwelling after Red Son, a small shape moving restlessly under a pelt.

"Brother? Are you done helping Father?" A pale girl arose from beneath the pelts running fingers through her hair. "I thought you were Stone Jaw."

Red Son put his hunt in next to the fire in the center of the tent. "Father does so little. He should not take up our brothers time as he does."

"I see you got your gift. Brother got the branch from outside of the Gray Valley."

Red Son looked down again at the spear.

"He painted it himself too. He traded for the stones, he says they are harder then the ones you find around here, and at the bottom is from Mother." There was a long black lock of hair tied at the end of the spear. "She says it's a charm, that it will keep you safe."

The girl pulled herself out from under the pelts and made her way over to her brothers kill. She was still young, just showing some of the early signs of womanhood.

"Has Pale Giant been leaving you alone sister?"

At this she paused for a moment. Her face growing  serious for a moment, a brief moment, but long enough to show her fear, long enough to show her worry, and long enough to tell a brother what he needs to know. "The men aren't considering me. I am far too young. Besides, Shining Lake is more beautiful than I. He will take her."

"The men look at you more than you know Running Laughter. You can not really be so ignorant to not see the way they look at you."

"They would not try anything." Red Son and Running Laughter turned to see a tall youth standing in the doorway. Some hair ran along the sides of his jaw, a man's beard was still a few seasons away from his somber face. "Even Pale Giant would not want to cross you brother."

Red Son Smiled and opened his arms for an embrace. "Brother! This Spear is fantastic. I thank you for it Stone Jaw."

His brother smiled despite his name. The people had given the name out as something of an insult. The boy rarely smiled, unlike his sister who seemed not to have a care in the world. Stone Jaw gave his brother a quick embrace. "We need you strong brother. You will begin to hunt with the men soon. I really did little though, it is father's work."

Running Laughter continued skinning the small rodents as she watched her brothers dialogue. She had seen it many times before.

"The credit should be yours brother, you went to the Gray Valley for the branch, that is the greatest part of a spear isn't it?"

"It was just outside of the Valley, it was nothing. If not for father it would have remained nothing more than a branch."

"Oh brother, you could have managed it on your own. Fastening the head would be no difficult task."

Stone Jaw frowned as he looked at his brother. "Father is one of our towns greatest craftsmen brother, my work could not compare to his, you know that."

At this Red Son frowned as well. "If you won't take my thanks than I withdraw it, and father's craft is impressive, but not as great as you say brother."

Seeing an argument that had been argued far too many times about to begin Running Laughter decided to intervene. "Stone Jaw, I need to get water. Would you come with me?"

The young man helped his sister to her feet and picked up a small basket. "I need to gather some shells for father anyway. Enjoy your spear brother." The two left the tent as a broad shouldered bearded man entered.

"Red Son, it is time."

The End

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