Copyright 1999 Laurence E Dahners
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A humble childhood had the boy who would one day be known as such.
He was born one cold and bitter winter night to a woman called Donte, who gathered and cooked for the Aldans tribe. His father Garen was a flintworker. Garen named his son Pell, a term in their language for a flake of flint.
During Pell’s seventh winter, before Garen had taught his son more than the rudiments of flintworking, Garen developed pains in stomach, then fevers, then agony. He died a few days later. When Garen knew that his death approached, he called to Pell. Mildly delirious from the fever, Garen gritted his teeth against the pain. He said, “I have seen the death spirit Pell—and know it comes for me.” Garen gasped a moment, but then continued, “I hope that you will become a great hunter. But… I have watched you playing with the other boys and ... I fear that you will not have the hunting skill. I didn’t and sons often take after their farthers. Thank the spirits, you don’t have the ‘clubbed foot’ like I did though. If you are like me, your ‘skill’ will be in the making of tools and in being able to see better ways to do things. The others of the tribe may not recognize such abilities as worthy skills. But Pell, whether the others recognize your value or not, where they are strong and quick, you must make and use tools…” He slipped away for a moment, then whispered, “I’m sorry—sorry I didn’t teach you how to work flint.” The boy sobbed as Garen’s consciousness lapsed.