I stopped by to watch Rainbow prepare a hide this morning, and found myself wondering what she got out of the relationship with her mate. Her scraper was little more than a rock, and while she used both the scraper and a cutting tool with skill, the tools were scarcely more than chipped pebbles. I could do as well, and I am hardly an accomplished flint knapper!

new arrowOne of the things I have done over the past year is collect various types of stone for Little Gnu, so this afternoon I went by to present him with my finds. I hadn’t intended to bargain, but when I mentioned the state of Rainbow’s tools, he smiled. “Then I will make her new ones,” he said. “It is little enough return for such fine stone, but if she is to make your clothing and prepare your food she should have tools of the best.” He picked up a dulled scraper, and it took him only a few blows to blunt the back and sharpen the edge. “Here,” he said, handing me the resharpened tool. “Give her this for the moment. It is better than what she has, but hardly a finished tool. Have her bring what she has to me, and I will see if any can be saved. If not, her tools will help me design what she can best use.”

“And if she is to prepare your food,” Gazelle said firmly, “she will need tools for that, too. I know you can provide salt and fruit, as well as meat, but she could use a better fish trap. Songbird is still the best at that, and you, Gnu, must make her a good gutting knife. And awls, for sewing. Sinew – who is best at preparing that, I wonder? Perhaps some flax? And porcupine quills for decoration ….

I have a feeling that the whole camp is going to see that Rainbow is better equipped than when she was living with her mate.

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