The winter had been especially severe, and as Thag had predicted, the clan didn’t have enough food to survive it comfortably.
To the Shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother, this had been an opportunity to blame Thag.
“The Sky God is angry with us for putting Thag on this council,” he told the assembled Elder’s Council, which was meeting to discuss how to deal with the food shortage.
A few nodded their heads, while others just looked worried. Thag looked bored. But really he was just angry. The long winter would not have been a problem if they’d had a successful hunting season before it. But they hadn’t, because the Council made one of the Elder’s sons, Dubyag, the leader of the hunters. Many hunters had been killed by the reckless and idiotic leadership of Dubyag (famous for getting kicked in the head by a wooly rhino). The result had been a minor revolt within the Thunka Grunka clan. The Elder who’d pushed for his son to be leader was exiled (and presumably dead in the harsh winter).
Thag had been forced to take back his mate, Onga, and he’d been made the leader of the hunters again. He now had to sit on the Elder’s Council; and if listening to the endless disputes and debates was not bad enough, he had to sit next to the Shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother.
The phallus-with-a-face shaman had been a thorn in Thag’s side ever since he stole Onga away from him the previous year. He was frustrated by how the council continued to listen to Weasel’s insanities.
If nature was their greatest challenge, Thag thought the Shaman was the tribe’s greatest enemy.
“We must sacrifice Thag to the Sky Gods and that will appease them.”
“Sacrifice? What is sacrifice?” one of the most ancient Elders, Methusalag asked.
“We will take him to the top of the mountain, and there tie him to the Earth, so the Sky God can take Thag. This will appease the Sky God.”
“But Thag is our most experienced hunter,” Methusalag said. “How this help the Clan? We need him for hunting, now that the passes are clearing of snow. He must take the hunters out for early hunt. Many will die if he does not.”
“Sky God will continue to be angry,” the Shaman argued. “We can make Dubyag the leader again.”
“How grok Sky God angry?” Thag said. “Maybe it Snow God. Or Wind God. Earth God. Maybe it Invisible God.”
A few of the Elders chuckled. It was well-known that Thag did not believe in the Shaman’s new theory of unseen gods that controlled their fate.
“See,” the Shaman said, “he makes all the gods angry when he talks so.”
“Thag not center universe!” Thag exploded. “If be gods, why they care about Thag? Why care Weasel? Why not help Dubyag if he so good for gods? Why let Dubyag get many hunters killed? Why gods care about Thunka Grunka at all?”
It was an excellent series of questions, and the Council nodded.
“Thag not center universe,” Methusalag agreed. “But in case Shaman right, he no longer be on Elders Council. Stay leader hunters.”
Thag beamed a smile at the old man, and said, “Methusalag grok much. He should Shaman be. Him know wisdom.”