In The Trail of the Fox, Ach and the Rock People represent a group of Paleo-Indians, living about 2,000 years ago, in what would later become the Southwestern United States. Home base for this fictional group of people is the Pecos River Valley, just north of Pecos, New Mexico. Not much is known about the people of this region in that period, so this fictional account imagines what their lives might have been like, dealing with raiders, winter cold and the other dangers of their time. The point of it all, is to illustrate that even though they lived a long time ago, in conditions very different than we do, they were, after all, people, human beings, much like us.
Ach is a young member of the Rock Village. He learns about leadership, about life, from the “Old Man”, the elder leader of the Rock People. When the Old Man is lost, Ach must step up and become a leader of the tribe. For the people in the valley, life is all about surviving the cold times. The cold is a bitter enemy, and it will take the efforts of all to defeat it.
“Now, the wolves could be heard, sometimes just outside the lodges, fighting over the fresh meat. Growling and biting, violent, loud noises filled the night. It frightened the children. It frightened the women. It frightened the men.”
Managing danger is a full time activity. Animals encountered while hunting may be deadly, as deadly as the human outsiders who may intrude. Fire and drought visit the valley and claim the lives of several of the people. But all is not unpleasantness. The young men venture to other villages to trade and to find wives. These trips, and the new women coming into their lodges, are an important source for the exchange of knowledge and skills. The weapons and tools the tribe can produce provide valuable trading pieces, and contribute to the people’s wellbeing. Much of the time, life is good in the Rock Village, and the people do well.
“Ach’s uncle raised his spear and prepared to throw. But just as he did this, the rocks at the edge of the drop gave way, and down his uncle slid, crashing, rolling, stopping right in front of the beast! Their eyes met as the beast struggled to its feet, and prepared to kill him.”
About Mark W. Laughlin
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Published January 28, 2013
by Publish Green.
History, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction.