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The Eagle Hunter's Tale

The Eagle Hunter's Tale is the second of a series of traditional tales that form part of my mesolithic novel The Drowning Land.

"There were in those days two brothers, Windos and Tamesis. Windos had golden hair and pale skin, while Tamesis was dark; but in all other things they were much alike. Each was a master of the bow and arrow. They knew well how to strike a broad arrow for the deer, or a thin one for the rabbit. Their greatest skill was in making the forked arrows, with which they hunted the birds of the air and water.

"The duck they hunted and the goose, the blackbird and the sparrow, but the greatest prize was the Eagle that lived in the high rocks above the sea. Now, Windos looked upon the Eagle and saw that it was as golden as him, and he desired to catch it for its feathers and make a cloak of them. When Tamesis heard this, he grew jealous, because Windos was thought beautiful and he was not. He tried to talk his brother out of his hunt, but the two fell to arguing and would no longer speak.

"Now each brother rose before the dawn, climbing the high rocks to hunt the Eagle. Windos hunted it for its feathers, but Tamesis hunted only to prevent his brother from catching his prize.

"All the long days they hunted, and the nights, till at last Tamesis saw the Eagle on the wind above him and brought it down with his arrows. The great bird fell dead at his feet with blood on its golden feathers. Then the spirit of the Eagle spoke to him in anger, because he had not killed it for its feathers or for its meat, but only to spite his brother. 'Who now will soar the winds and keep the high rocks? Who now will your brother hunt?' it asked him. When he heard this Tamesis knew that he had done wrong, for he had killed without need, and he was filled with sorrow. He took the Eagle's wings, and with them its shape. Now it is Tamesis who soars above the high rock, while his brother hunts him."