Wolf Eyes – a Bronze Age adventure
The girl’s wolf was gone.
Beneath a dark and angry sky the girl looked for the wolf but nobody in the village had seen him.
The girl looked in her big, round family home.
Her grandmother shook her head.
“Wolf is not here. Take your brothers and sister and look. Do not go far. The sky is angry.”
The girl looked in the village.
“Wolf is not here,” whispered the women weaving at their cloths.
“Wolf. Is. Not. Here,” shouted the Smith at his shield.
“Do not go far. The sky is angry,” warned the Druid.
The girl did not go to the forest.
The men were hunting and that would be dangerous.
“Come with me,” the girl told her brothers and her sister.
The girl visited the boat maker.
“Wolf is not here,” he said. “But stay with me. The sky is angry.”
The sky was angry but the girl did not stay. She wanted to visit the farmers.
The girl did not get far because, even though it was still day, the sun went dark.
The girl’s brothers cried. Her sister cried.
“Come with me,” the girl said. “We must go to the circle.”
It was dark but they could follow the hill down into the valley where the stone circle lay.
“Hurry,” said the girl. “The sky is angry. We are not safe here.”
The girl and her brothers and sister held hands and ran.
“Hurry,” said the girl. “Follow me.”
On and on the children ran.
“Where is the circle?” the girl’s sister asked.
The girl looked around but she could see only trees.
“We are in the forest,” she said. “We will not be able to find our way out on our own.”
They heard a noise in the dark. Like the sound of thunder.
Her brothers and her sister looked. Two bright orbs glared at them from the blackness.
“Look,” said the girl’s sister. “The sun has split in two.”
“Has the sky fallen?” said the girl’s brothers.
“Hush,” said the girl. “I do not know.”
The twin yellow suns came closer.
The sound of thunder grew louder.
They felt a soft, hot wind on their faces.
And the girl said “It is only Wolf! He has found us.”
Wolf’s eyes shone in the dark.
“We can follow Wolf,” said the girl.
The ran behind Wolf until they stood in the wide stone circle.
Wolf howled at the sky and the dark split in two.
The sky surrendered and the sun returned.
“We are safe,” said the girl.
The girl in Wolf Eyes lived during the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age lasted from about 2,500 BCE until about 800 BCE. She does not have a name. We do not know what names people used because nobody wrote at this time.
These are some of the things we do know.
The girl lives in a little village during the Bronze Age (about 4,000 years ago). The house she lived in would have been round, with wattle and daub (mud and straw) walls and a straw roof. All her family – from her grandparents to her brothers and sister, would have lived together.
The Smith was a very important person. He (or maybe she – we don’t really know) was the reason the Bronze Age was named after the metal. Being able to make bronze, and then make things out of it, was a real skill – almost magical at the time. He would have been very wealthy.
Weaving the wool for clothes was done by anyone with the skill. Clothes were just as important then as they are now. Men and women liked to wear clothes which were comfortable, warm, and beautiful. The more well made your clothes, the more you would impress others.
The girl meets a Druid. A Druid was a holy and important person. We know very little about them. They were probably in charge of organising worship and sacrifices for the pagan religion of the time.
Bronze Age people were able to farm the land. This was a big and very important change from when they relied on hunting in order to eat. Farming allowed people to guarantee food supplies and make them more plentiful.
Boats were an important part of Bronze Age life. They would have been used for all kinds of things – including fishing (eel traps have been discovered near boats) and even burials.
The sky goes dark in the story. We now know this would have been an eclipse. But for Bronze Age people this would have been a very important time. We don’t know if they had learned how to predict eclipses but it must have been a very special time – and certainly frightening for the children (and perhaps everyone).
Frightened, the girl decides to go to the stone circle. There are lots of stone circles you can visit today and they are remarkable places. They took a lot of work to build – sometimes needing very large stones to be moved for many many miles. Stone circles were used for lots of different things. They would have been used for important meetings, religious ceremonies and gatherings.
By the time of the Bronze Age, people were keeping dogs and wolves as pets – not to play with but to help hunt and keep guard. Over many years, people mixed different sorts of wolves to make what we now call dogs.
Life during the Bronze Age was hard, even though new ideas – from farming to making things from bronze, helped people live longer. Children were expected to work hard and help out with many of the jobs in the village. However, baby rattles have been found which tell us that some parts of childhood were the same then as they are today.
You can support Dom Conlon’s writing by visiting Unbound and pledging for his new collection of short stories.
Bronze age thanks to Carl Pugh for the illustration. It is amazing – just think what an entire book might look like!
If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read Fire Eyes – a paleolithic adventure!