Meet us on:
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Act I

    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter
    (Ten thousand years have passed, and it is the time of the early voyaging from Europe to the waters of the Pacific, when the deserted hillside is again revealed as the moon rises. The stream no longer flows from the spring. Since the grove is used only as a camp for the night when the Nishinam are on their seasonal migration there are no signs of previous camps.)

    (Enter from right, at end of day's march, women, old men, and Shaman, the women bending under their burdens of camp gear and dunnage)

    (Enter from left youths carrying fish-spears and large fish)

    (Appear, coming down the hillside, Red Cloud and the hunters, many carrying meat.)

    (The various repeated characters, despite differences of skin garmenting and decoration, resemble their prototypes of the prologue.)

    [Red Cloud] Good hunting! Good hunting!

    [Hunters] Good hunting! Good hunting!

    [Youths] Good fishing! Good fishing!

    [Women] Good berries! Good acorns!

    (The women and youths and hunters, as they reach the campsite, begin throwing down their burdens)

    [Dew-Woman] (Discovering the dry spring.) The water no longer flows!

    [Shaman] (Stilling the excitement that is immediate on the discovery.) The word of old time that has come down to us from all the Shamans who have gone before! The Sun Man has come back from the Sun.

    [Dew-Woman] (Looking to Red Cloud.) Let Red Cloud speak. Since the morning of the world has Red Cloud ever been reborn with the ancient wisdom to guide us.

    [War Chief] Save in war. In war I command.

    (He picks out hunters by name.) Deer Foot... Elk Man... Antelope. Run through the forest, climb the hill-tops, seek down the valleys, for aught you may find of this Sun Man.

    (At a wave of the War Chief's hand the three hunters depart in different directions.)

    [Dew-Woman] Let Red Cloud speak his mind.

    [Red Cloud] (Quietly) Last night the earth shook and there was a roaring in the air. Often have I seen, when the earth shakes and there is a roaring, that springs in some places dry up, and that in other places where were no springs, springs burst forth.

    [Shaman] There is a sign. The Shamans told it of old. The Sun Man will bear the thunder in his hand.

    [People] There is a sign. The Sun Man will bear the thunder in his hand.

    [Shaman] The roaring in the air was the thunder of the Sun Man's return. Now will he destroy the Nishinam. Such is the word.

    [War Chief] Hoh! Hoh!

    (From right Deer Foot runs in.)

    [Deer Foot] (Breathless.) They come! He comes!

    [War Chief] Who comes?

    [Deer Foot] The Sun Men. The Sun Man. He is their chief. He marches before them. And he is white.

    [People] There is a sign. The Sun Man is white.

    [Red Cloud] Carries he the thunder in his hand?

    [Deer Foot] (Puzzled) He looks hungry.

    [War Chief] Hoh! Hoh! The Sun Man is hungry. It will be easy to kill a hungry Sun Man.

    [Red Cloud] It would be easy to be kind to a hungry Sun Man and give him food. We have much. The hunting has been good.

    [War Chief] Better to kill the Sun Man.

    (He turns upon People, indicating most commands in gestures as he prepares the ambush, making women and boys conceal all the camp outfit and game, and disposing the armed hunters among the ferns and behind trees till all are hidden.)

    [Elk Man and Antelope] (Running down hillside) The Sun Man comes.

    (War Chief sends them to hiding places)

    [War Chief] (Preparing himself to hide) You have not hidden, O Red Cloud.

    [Red Cloud] (Stepping into shadow of big tree where he remains inconspicuous though dimly visible) I would see this Sun Man and talk with him.

    (The sound of singing is heard, and War Chief conceals himself)

    (Sun Man, with handful of followers, singing to ease the tedium of the march, enter from right. They are patently survivors of a wrecked exploring skip, making their way inland)

    [Sun Men]

    We sailed three hundred strong For the far Barbaree; Our voyage has been most long For the far Barbaree; So--it's a long pull, Give a strong pull, For the far Barbaree.

    We sailed the oceans wide For the coast of Barbaree; And left our ship a sinking On the coast of Barbaree; So--it's a long pull, Give a strong pull, For the far Barbaree.

    Our ship went fast a-lee On the rocks of Barbaree; That's why we quit the sea On the rocks of Barbaree. So--it's a long pull, Give a strong pull, For the far Barbaree.

    We quit the bitter seas On the coast of Barbaree; To seek the savag-ees Of the far Barbaree. So--it's a long pull, Give a strong pull, For the far Barbaree.

    Our feet are lame and sore In the far Barbaree; From treading of the shore Of the far Barbaree. So--it's a long pull, Give a strong pull, For the far Barbaree.

    A weary brood are we In the far Barbaree; Sea cunies of the sea In the far Barbaree. So--it's a long pull, Give a strong pull, For the far Barbaree.

    [Sun Man] (Who alone carries a musket, and who is evidently captain of the wrecked company) No farther can we go this night. Mayhap to-morrow we may find the savages and food.

    (He glances about.) This far world grows noble trees. We shall sleep as in a temple.

    [First Sea Cuny] (Espying Red Cloud, and pointing.) Look, Captain!

    [Sun Man] (Making the universal peace-sign, arm raised and out, palm-outward.) Who are you? Speak. We come in peace. We kindness seek.

    [Red Cloud] (Advancing out of the shadow.) Whence do you come?

    [Sun Man] From the great sea.

    [Red Cloud] I do not understand. No one journeys on the great sea.

    [Sun Man] We have journeyed many moons.

    [Red Cloud] Have you come from the sun?

    [Sun Man] God wot! We have journeyed across the sun, high and low in the sky, and over the sun and under the sun the round world 'round.

    [Red Cloud] (With conviction.) You come from the Sun. Your hair is like the summer sunburnt grasses. Your eyes are blue. Your skin is white.

    (With absolute conviction.) You are the Sun Man.

    [Sun Man] (With a shrug of shoulders.) Have it so. I come from the Sun. I am the Sun Man.

    [Red Cloud] Do you carry the thunder in your hand?

    [Sun Man] (Nonplussed for the moment, glances at his musket, then smiles.) Yes, I carry the thunder in my hand.

    (War Chief and the Hunters leap suddenly from ambush. Sun Man warns Sea Cunies not to resist. War Chief captures and holds Sun Man, and Sea Cunies are similarly captured and held. Women and boys appear, and examine prisoners curiously.)

    [War Chief] Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! I have captured the Sun Man! Like the foxes, I have captured the Sun Man!--Deer Foot! Elk Man! The foxes held the Sun Man. I now hold the Sun Man. Then can you hold the Sun Man.

    (Deer Foot and Elk Man seize the Sun Man.)

    [Red Cloud] (To Shaman.) He said he came in kindness.

    [War Chief] (Sneering.) In kindness, with the thunder in his hand.

    [Shaman] (Deflected to partisanship of War Chief by War Chief's success.) By his own lips has he said it, with the thunder in his hand.

    [War Chief] You are the Sun Man.

    [Sun Man] (Shrugging shoulders.) My names are many as the stars. Call me White Man.

    [Red Cloud] I am Red Cloud, the first man.

    [Sun Man] Then am I Adam, the first man and your brother.

    (Glancing about.) And this is Eden, to look upon it.

    [Red Cloud] My father was the Coyote.

    [Sun Man] My father was Jehovah.

    [Red Cloud] I am the Fire-Bringer. I stole the fire from the ground squirrel and hid it in the heart of the wood.

    [Sun Man] Then am I Prometheus, your brother. I stole the fire from heaven and hid it in the heart of the wood.

    [Red Cloud] I am the Acorn-Planter. I am the Food- Bringer, the Life-Maker. I make food for more life, ever more life.

    [Sun Man] Then am I truly your brother. Life-Maker am I, tilling the soil in the sweat of my brow from the beginning of time, planting all manner of good seeds for the harvest.

    (Looking sharply at Red Cloud's skin garments.) Also am I the Weaver and Cloth-Maker.

    (Holding out arm so that Red Cloud may examine the cloth of the coat) From the hair of the goat and the wool of the sheep, and from beaten and spun grasses, do I make the cloth to keep man warm.

    [Shaman] (Breaking in boastfully.) I am the Shaman. I know all secret things.

    [Sun Man] I know my pathway under the sun over all the seas, and I know the secrets of the stars that show me my path where no path is. I know when the Wolf of Darkness shall eat the moon.

    (Pointing toward moon.) On this night shall the Wolf of Darkness eat the moon.

    (He turns suddenly to Red Cloud, drawing sheath-knife and passing it to him.)

    More, O First Man and Acorn-Planter. I am the Iron-Maker. Behold!

    (Red Cloud examines knife, understands immediately its virtue, cuts easily a strip of skin from his skin garment, and is overcome with the wonder of the knife.)

    [War Chief] (Exhibiting a long bow.) I am the War Chief. No man, save me, has strength to bend this bow. I can slay farther than any man.

    (A huge bear has come out among the bushes far up the hillside)

    [Sun Man] I, too, am War Chief over men, and I can slay farther than you.

    [War Chief] Hoh! Hoh!

    [Sun Man] (Pointing to bear) Can you slay that with your strong bow?

    [War Chief] (Dubiously) It is a far shot. Too far. No man can slay a great bear so far.

    (Sun Man, shaking off from his arms the hands of Deer Foot and Elk Man, aims musket and fires. The bear falls, and the Nishinam betray astonishment and awe)

    (At a quick signal from War Chief, Sun Man is again seized. War Chief takes away musket and examines it.)

    [Shaman] There is a sign.

    [People]

    There is a sign. He carries the thunder in his hand. He slays with the thunder in his hand. He is the enemy of the Nishinam. He will destroy the Nishinam.

    [Shaman] There is a sign.

    [People] There is a sign. In the day the Sun Man comes, The waters from the spring will no longer flow, And in that day will he destroy the Nishinam.

    [War Chief] (Exhibiting musket.) Hoh! Hoh! I have taken the Sun Man's thunder.

    [Shaman] Now shall the Sun Man die that the Nishinam may live.

    [Red Cloud] He is our brother. He, too, is an acorn- planter. He has spoken.

    [Shaman] He is the Sun Man, and he is our eternal enemy. He shall die.

    [War Chief] In war I command.

    (To Hunters.) Tie their feet with stout thongs that they may not run. And then make ready with bow and arrow to do the deed.

    (Hunters obey, urging and thrusting the Sea Cunies into a compact group behind the Sun Man.)

    [Red Cloud]

    Shaman I am not. I know not the secret things. I say the things I know. When you plant kindness you harvest kindness. When you plant blood you harvest blood. He who plants one acorn makes way for life. He who slays one man slays the planter of a thousand acorns.

    [Shaman] Shaman I am. I see the dark future. I see the Sun Man's death, The journey he must take Through thick and endless forest Where lost souls wander howling A thousand moons of moons.

    [People] Through thick and endless forest Where lost souls wander howling A thousand moons of moons.

    (War Chief arranges Hunters with their bows and arrows for the killing.)

    [Sun Man] (To Red Cloud.) You will slay us?

    [Red Cloud] (Indicating War Chief.) In war he commands.

    [Sun Man] (Addressing the Nishinam) Nor am I a Shaman. But I will tell you true things to be. Our brothers are acorn-planters, cloth-weavers, iron-workers. Our brothers are life-makers and masters of life. Many are our brothers and strong. They will come after us. Your First Man has spoken true words. When you plant blood you harvest blood. Our brothers will come to the harvest with the thunder in their hands. There is a sign. This night, and soon, will the Wolf of Darkness eat the moon. And by that sign will our brothers come on the trail we have broken.

    (As final preparation for the killing is completed, and as Hunters are arranged with their bows and arrows, Sun Man sings.)

    [Sun Man] Our brothers will come after, On our trail to farthest lands; Our brothers will come after With the thunder in their hands.

    [Sun Men] Loud will be the weeping, Red will be the reaping, High will be the heaping Of the slain their law commands.

    [Sun Man] Givers of law, our brothers, This is the law they say: Who takes the life of a brother Ten of the slayers shall pay.

    [Sun Men] Our brothers will come after, On our trail to farthest lands; Our brothers will come after With the thunder in their hands. Loud will be the weeping, Red will be the reaping, High will be the heaping Of the slain their law commands.

    [Sun Man] Our brothers will come after By the courses that we lay; Many and strong our brothers, Masters of life are they.

    [Sun Men] Our brothers will come after On our trail to farthest lands; Our brothers will come after With the thunder in their hands. Loud will be the weeping, Red will be the reaping, High will be the heaping Of the slain their law commands.

    [Sun Man] Plowers of land, our brothers, Of the hills and pleasant leas; Under the sun our brothers With their keels will plow the seas.

    [Sun Men] Our brothers will come after, On our trail to farthest lands; Our brothers will come after With the thunder in their hands. Loud will be the weeping, Red will be the reaping, High will be the heaping Of the slain their law commands.

    [Sun Man] Mighty men are our brothers, Quick to forgive and to wrath, Sailing the seas, our brothers Will follow us on our path.

    [Sun Men] Our brothers will come after, On our trail to farthest lands; Our brothers will come after With the thunder in their hands. Loud will be the weeping, Red will be the reaping, High will be the heaping Of the slain their law commands.

    (At signal from War Chief the arrows are discharged, and repeatedly discharged. The Sun Men fall. The War Chief himself kills the Sun Man.)

    (In what follows, Red Cloud and Dew- Woman stand aside, taking no part. Red Cloud is depressed, and at the same time is overcome with the wonder of the knife which he still holds.)

    [War Chief] (Brandishing musket and drifting stiff- legged, as he sings, into the beginning of a war dance of victory.)

    Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! I have slain the Sun Man! Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! I hold his thunder in my hand! Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! Greatest of War Chiefs am I! Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! I have slain the Sun Man!

    (The dance grows wilder.)

    (After a time the hillside begins to darken)

    [Dew-Woman] (Pointing to the moon entering eclipse) Lo! The Wolf of Darkness eats the Moon!

    (In consternation the dance is broken off for the moment)

    [Shaman] (Reassuringly) It is a sign. The Sun Man is dead.

    [War Chief] (Recovering courage and resuming dance.) Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! The Sun Man is dead!

    [People] (Resuming dance.) Hoh! Hoh! Hoh! The Sun Man is dead!

    (As darkness increases the dance grows into a saturnalia, until complete darkness settles down and hides the hillside.)
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Jack London essay and need some advice, post your Jack London essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?