The journey back to the Thunka Grunkas had been a long and difficult one, but Thag had finally returned from his sabbatical with the Drunka Grunkas, learning how to make beer.
Along with this new technology, Thag also returned with the willowy and beautiful Twigla, his new mate.
Naturally, Thag had been somewhat concerned with how his old mate, Onga, was going to take this news. But he needn’t have worried. She had already moved on, mating with one of the most ancient Elders, Methusalag. This was a mating of convenience, really. Methusalag needed someone to take care of him in his dotage, and Onga was still making grunties with the Shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother.
So at first, all was well. He and Twigla settled in quickly — Thag returned to his post as leader of the hunters, and at the same time, started his first batch of beer. Twigla quickly befriended the luscious Vonga, and her mate, Fonzag, who had become a decent hunter; Thag thought he could someday lead the others when he was too old. With Thag leading the hunters and providing beer, the tribe prospered.
But in his absence, the Shaman had solidified his hold on the tribe’s religious development.
“It is the will of the gods that Thag has returned to the Thunka Grunkas, and their divine wisdom makes him brew us beer. They lead him to the mammoth,” Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother told the assembled tribe the night when everyone enjoyed the first batch of Thag’s beer.
“What?” Thag asked.
“It is not your own will, but that of the gods, that brings these good things to us.”
“You not want me go to Drunka tribe. Thag convince Elders.”
“This too was the will of the gods.”
“Where be gods?”
“All around us, Thag. Do you not see their work when the wind blows, when the rain falls? This too is their will.”
“Thag see wind. Rain. Grok no gods.”
Thag had enjoyed perhaps too many bowls of his first brew, and was feeling less inhibited than normal.
Fonzag who had also had quite a few: “Aaay! Let’s be cool.”
“What mean?” Thag asked.
“Not sure, but he is the Shaman,” Fonzag said.
“You should listen to your best hunter,” the Shaman said, “he understands it is the will of the gods that rules, not our own mortal desires.”
“Thag make own decisions,” Thag insisted as he stood up.
“No, it is an illusion. You just feel like you make your own decisions. See, you think that you made yourself stand, when in fact it was an impulse sent to you by the gods. But don’t feel down about it, Thag. A man of limited perception cannot see the will of the gods around him. That is why the Grunkas need the Shaman. Otherwise, we’d be guided by idiots like yourself.”
Thag looked thoughtful for a moment, and pretended to move away from the shaman. Then he hauled back his hunter’s fist, and punched Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother in the nose (with enough force to break said proboscis, and knock the smug Shaman off his feet).
Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother moaned in pain, and Methusalag said, “Thag, how could you?”
“Not Thag’s fault,” Thag explained. “It will of gods.”