Agg the caveman saw lightning hit the dead log and set it on fire. Rushing forth, he grabbed the burning wood and brought it back to the cave. The tribe rejoiced as Agg restored the ancient cold fireplace to life, and Agg was hailed as He Who Captured Lightning. Agg died one year later but the tribe managed to keep the fire lit for several more months.

A hundred years passed.

Egg the caveman was idly tossing dark stones around when one of them sparked brightly, setting some straw on fire. Sensing opportunity, he added more straw to the fire. Eventually he managed to get the fire hot enough to burn wood, and this enabled him to bring flame back to the cave. Egg was hailed as Keeper of the Flames. After Egg died, two years later, the tribe managed to keep the fire lit for several more weeks.

A hundred years passed.

Igg the caveman, while banging stones together, inadvertently set some dry moss alight. It went out too quickly for him to build up the flame, but Igg decided to try banging stones together again. It worked, so he brought some of the magic stones back to the cave. Igg was hailed as Master of Fire because he could, apparently, call it forth at will. Igg treasured his position as Master of Fire and never revealed the secret. The last fire went out a few days after his death.

A hundred years passed.

Ogg the caveman discovered flint in the usual accidental way. As the legends recommended, he was declared Firemaster. But Ogg was quite old — over 30 years! — so he taught his son the secret. The son taught his son, and so on for generations. The tribe had fire for nearly 200 years. Alas, toward the end of a particularly good hunting season a wild beast killed both the Firemaster and his son. Later that same day, the fires also died.

A hundred years passed.

Ugg the caveman found the legendary flint rocks hidden near the back of the cave. After some experimenting he discovered how they worked. The tribal tales declared that this could make him an honored Firewizard, with all the privileges that entailed. But Ugg knew other, older stories about the Firewizards. These said that Firewizards gave the people gifts for only a while, then took those gifts with them into the Great Beyond.

Ugg had an idea. He gave everybody a flint. The tribe rejoiced. Ugg then went to the next valley and gave flints to the tribes there, too. When he returned his tribe killed him for sharing their secret.

A million years passed. The fires continued to keep us warm.

1 comment:

  1. A good exemple of cultural evolution. Or memetic evolution.
    This type of story is so likely. It even makes good reading.
    The guy gets killed for sharing. Lol. The meme survives. Nice touch and likely too.