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THE STORY OF UNG.
ONCE, on a glittering ice-field, ages and ages
ago, Ung, a maker of pictures, fashioned an image of
snow. Fashioned the form of a tribesman-gaily he
whistled and sung, Working the snow with his fingers. Read ye the
Story of Ung!
Pleased was his tribe with that image-came in
their hundreds to scanHandled it, smelt it, and grunted: “Verily, this is
a man! Thus do we carry our lances—thus is a war-belt
slung. Ay, it is even as we are. Glory and honour to
Later he pictured an aurochs-later he pictured a
bearPictured the sabre-tooth tiger dragging a man to
his lairPictured the mountainous mammoth, hairy, ab
horrent, aloneOut of the love that he bore them, scribing them
clearly on bone.
Swift came the tribe to behold them, peering and
pushing and still Men of the berg-battered beaches, men of the
boulder-hatched hill, Hunters and fishers and trappers-presently whis
pering low; “Yea, they are like—and it may be . . . . But how
does the Picture-man know?
“Ung—hath he slept with the Aurochs—watched
where the Mastodon roam ? Spoke on the ice with the Bow-head-followed
the Sabre-tooth home? Nay! These are toys of his fancy! If he have
cheated us so, How is there truth in his image—the man that he
fashioned of snow ?"
Wroth was that maker of pictures-hotly he an
swered the call: “Hunters and fishers and trappers, children and
fools are ye all! Look at the beasts when ye hunt them!" Swift
from the tumult he broke, Ran to the cave of his father and told him the
shame that they spoke.
And the father of Ung gave answer, that was old
and wise in the craft, Maker of pictures aforetime, he leaned on his lance
and laughed: "If they could see as thou seest they would do
what thou hast done, And each man would make him a picture, and
what would become of my son ?
“There would be no pelts of the reindeer, flung
down at thy cave for a gift, Nor dole of the oily timber that strands with the
Baltic drift; No store of well-drilled needles, nor ouches of
amber pale; No new-cut tongues of the bison, nor meat of the “ Thou hast not toiled at the fishing when the sod
den trammels freeze, Nor worked the war-boats outward, through the
rush of the rock-staked seas, Yet they bring thee fish and plunder—full meal
and an easy bedAnd all for the sake of thy pictures." And Ung
held down his head.
“ Thou hast not stood to the aurochs when the
red snow reeks of the fight; Men have no time at the houghing to count his
curls aright: And the heart of the hairy mammoth thou sayest
they do not see, Yet they save it whole from the beaches and broil
the best for thee.
“And now do they press to thy pictures, with
open mouth and eye, And a little gift in the doorway, and the praise no
gift can buy: But-sure they have doubted thy pictures, and
that is a grievous stainSon that can see so clearly, return them their gifts
And Ung looked down at his deerskins- their
broad shell-tasselled bandsAnd Ung drew downward his mitten and looked
at his naked hands; And he gloved himself and departed, and he heard
his father, behind: “Son that can see so clearly, rejoice that thy tribe
Straight on that glittering ice-field, by the caves of
the lost Dordogne, Ung, a maker of pictures, fell to his scribing on
boneEven to mammoth editions. Gaily he whistled
and sung, Blessing his tribe for their blindness. Heed ye the
Story of Ung!