Thag’s sabbatical with the Drunka Grunka tribe was not as idyllic as he thought it was going to be, but on the whole, he was quite enjoying his stay.
First of all, the Drunka Grunkas had invented a delectable potage they called “beer” and it was good stuff. He’d already learned all he could about making it himself, and had even come up with the innovation of adding a plant to the mix that gave the “beer” an extra something. (The Drunka headman in charge of the beer called it “hops”.)
Then there was Twigla, who was beautiful and clearly was falling in love with Thag. Sure, she didn’t have the impressive bottom that the Drunka Grunkas valued so much in their women, but Thag was a Thunka Grunka, and they valued size in the top and the front.
But the Elders were driving him crazy.
In exchange for learning the secrets of making beer, Thag had agreed to paint the Drunka Grunkas a mural (and show his artistic techniques to anyone who was interested).
“You should make the next bull bigger,” Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother told him. On the whole, the Drunka shaman was much nicer than Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother, but he still had his own theories on art.
“And it should have an extra set of horns,” insisted Critarg, one of the Elders.
“Yes. Extra horns!” the shaman said enthusiastically.
“I think six sets would be appropriate,” suggested Critarg.
Thag sighed and continued painting. He drew the outline of a very small cow.
“That’s a cow!” Critarg shouted in horror.
“Cow good,” Thag said. “Some Grunkas drink its milk.”
“Not Drunka Grunkas. We only drink beer and water,” explained the shaman. “We don’t need pictures of cows.”
“Cows good,” Thag said, “me grok cow. Cow stay.”
Critarg threw up his arms and said, “I’m going to get the council.”
Just then Twigla walked by, waggling her firm, tiny bottom. Thag smiled at her, and continued smiling, even when the shaman, Cave-Bear-Bite-Leg-Brother said, “what if we draw a representation of the Sky God as a kind of super-sized Cave Bear with a lightning bolt-shaped phallus?”
Here’s the science of Reactance. And there is another group who might not know art, butwho know what they like. Originally published 2006.