Horse Spirit

Photo: Palaeolithic art at Foz Côa’s Archaeological Park, Portugal 


“Why do you hit the rock with sharpened stones?”

Golin quaked under The Elder’s frown. It was forbidden to harm The Rocks That Shelter. The big stones protected them from biting teeth and snarling maws. They stopped the wind. They held back scorching sun. They reflected heat from fires.

And let flames paint shadows, Golin thought.

“He will drive away Horse Spirit and we will starve,” Morsen scowled predictably.

“Let him answer,” The Elder said.

Morsen seethed. The old man always favored Golin.

“The Rocks That Shelter do not anger when the fire lives in them,” Golin pointed at the dancing reflection on the wall.

“He makes no sense,” Morsen pouted. A few others nodded but The Elder’s stony gaze did not leave Golin’s face.

“They draw the fire near,” Golin stressed. Couldn’t they see? “Perhaps The Rocks That Shelter will welcome Horse Spirit and call it here.”



For What Pegman Saw: Douro, Portugal


27 thoughts on “Horse Spirit

  1. You do such a compelling job of portraying their mysticism and fear of change — love the use of mythology here. I’m always a sucker for stories about how rituals change and legends start.

    • Thank you, Joy! What a lovely comment! 🙂 Isn’t it fascinating how humanity–in all its millennia and changes–was and remains wary of change? Of course, I wasn’t there at the time (or if I was, in some former reincarnation … I do not consciously recall it … 😉 ), but I really do believe that the relationship complexities we face today are the same early humans had faced. And that we all — from the time language emerged — tell stories and make legends … 🙂 Na’ama

  2. Great take on the prompt! I love the arguments you have Golin propose to the others. Even if he didn’t succeed on that occasion, somebody, sometime must have persuaded the others leading to the wonderful rock drawings that we can still admire today.

    • Thank, Penny. I would think that perhaps he did succeed, as the horse, even if incomplete (by order of The Elder or by other circumstance that left in unfinished), did seem to make it onto The Rocks That Shelter … 😉 And … yes, rock art is absolutely humbling!

  3. The logic that they use in your cave scene is very believable and the same type of interaction could take place at a City Council or PTA meeting. I always like when an artist stands up for the value of his art!

  4. I love that idea of the artist seeing the shadows dancing on the walls and feeling the spirits will welcome other decorations to their surfaces. Love the tone and the voice – nicely written throught

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