Tag Archive: Jarn


Songbird has decided I need new clothes.

Not that I really need them for warmth, unless I go out at night. It cools off fast in the dry season. But there are an awfully lot of thorny plants, and while I don’t sunburn easily, I do sunburn. And the few clothes I had with me are falling to pieces.

That didn’t stop Songbird from close examination of my one-piece shipsuit (or what is left of it) and my woven tunic. Or my crude shoes, for that matter.

She herself is wearing a kind of tunic made of two gazelle skins, beautifully tanned, fastened together at the shoulders and sides. I am not sure whether the purpose is protection from thorns, a sunshade, or simply local cultural mores – I didn’t get a very close look at the females of her people. The men, at least when running down game, wear very little.

But this morning Songbird presented me with a new tunic. It is very coarse of weave, but it is woven – much like the baskets she has woven to hold foodstuffs. It seems to be woven all in one piece, like the baskets, but of softer fibers than grass. When I asked her what the fibers were, she showed me one of the plants she has asked me to gather for the seeds. She then explained that when allowed to soak in water, the fibers could be separated from the stems. Her people use it only rarely, because of the work involved, but she thought that since I am a god it would be appropriate for me.

I have given up on trying to convince her I am not a god.

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This is a continuation from last week of Jarn’s story.  Jarn is a R’il’nian, a very human-like alien, stranded on Earth 125,000 years ago. The Jarnian Confederation, setting of my two science fiction books, was named after him. Jarn’s Journal to date is posted on my author website.

Day 371

I have been here more than a year!

I knew it was more than a Kentra year, of course—the clock and calendar are still working. And the day-length here is close enough to Kentra’s that the count of sunrises alone was enough to tell me that a year had passed on my home planet.

But today I was at my first landing place near sunset. I paused to watch the sinking sun, and it was slightly north of a notch in the hills on the horizon that framed its setting the first time I looked. First it moved north, then south, and now it is moving north again and it is farther north than when I arrived, so more than a planet year has passed. I will have to set up some means of keeping track of were it sets, and develop a local calendar.

I asked Songbird if her people would return. She said yes, they followed the gazelles, which always came back to that place with the sun.

Could they not eat fish, I asked, or any of the other wild foods she was introducing me to?

“Fish is not as sweet as gazelle meat, and besides, they will meet other groups to the north. Aardvark is old enough to mate, and his mate must come from another group.”

“Does the girl go to her mate’s group, or the boy?” I asked.

She looked puzzled. “The shamans of the two clans decide,” she finally said, “but I hope Aardvark stays. We have more girls than boys.”

The shamans again. Was keeping the sex ratio balanced one of their jobs? What else influenced them? I do not know how long these people had been in their camping spot before Patches found them. But this year I will start watching when the clouds begin massing on the northern horizon.

Jarn is a R’il’nian, a human-like alien, stranded on Earth, on the African continent, roughly 125,000 years ago. He has found and rescued a human child. This is the background of the universe I have imagined in my science fiction books Homecoming and Tourist Trap, though they are set much closer to our own time. Jarn’s species has a number of what we would call esper abilities, including something they call conditional precognition.

Day 370

Songbird’s language is beginning to feel much more natural to me. Her views on the world do not.

I cannot help thinking of her as a dependent, as a child who needs shelter and protection.

She rather obviously thinks of me as some sort of godlike being, capable of miracles (such as plumbing and setting her broken leg) and quite incompetent at taking care of myself. She has taken over the cooking, not because she is a better cook than I am (which she is), but because in her mind it is a female’s job to prepare food, as well as to procure most of it.

She also has me thinking twice about the abilities of the shamans.

Songbird’s mother and her mate – Songbird  doesn’t seem to have a word or even a concept for “father” in the biological sense – did not want to leave her, but the shaman assured them not only that leaving was necessary so that the rest of the tribe would not starve, but that leaving Songbird was a necessary sacrifice to the gods. So far as Songbird is concerned, I am the god the shaman predicted. A rather strange and incompetent god, but still a god. Had not the shaman foreseen it?

Is it even remotely possible that the shaman has enough conditional precognition – untrained, of course – to recognize that I would rescue her?