We're all Stories in the End: The Hunter's Kill

Neck vertebra of straight-tusked elephant from Wood Farm Quarry, Bubbenhall.
Image courtesy of Warwickshire Museum

The background

In April 2017 Heritage & Culture Warwickshire worked with The Play House and pupils from Westgate Primary to create tales inspired by objects on display at the Market Hall Museum.  Four classes from Westgate Primary came to the museum to work with Julie and Juliet. They used their imagination and created eight new fairy tales and legends, inspired by different objects in the museum.

The Hunter’s Kill by Year 3

The children were inspired by the fossil of the Straight Tusked Elephant, found in Bubbenhall. They imagined a tale of how the elephant came to die, a source of food for the early men hunting it with spears. Listen if you dare to this tale of the hunt and race for survival by early man.

To read more about Straight Tusked Elephants, click here. The fossil is on display in the Market Hall Museum, come and see what inspired Year 3 from Westgate Primary.

Heritage & Culture Warwickshire would like to thank the children from Westgate Primary who created these stories. They are available to listen to at the Market Hall Museum, ask the staff or volunteers at the front door if you can borrow the Story Trail bag. All the objects are in the museum for you to see yourself.

The ‘We’re all Stories in the End’ project was made possible by funding from Arts Council England and with the support of the West Midlands Museum Development team.

Transcript:

The Hunters’ Kill by Year 3

I am one of your early human ancestors. Millions of years ago I lived here in Warwickshire. Me and my family were scavengers like many of the animals around us. We learned how to make hand-axes by chipping away at big pieces of flint, so now we had tools for chopping up meat and getting to the tastiest bits so much quicker than before. The land around here looked very different back then. Warwickshire was covered with forests and lakes. The mud was dotted with different animal paw-prints. My friends and family built our shelters from animal skins. Our homes were cozy and warm. We always had a big fire in the middle of our shelters and we took turns to keep it going by chopping logs with our hand-axes. On the fire, we cooked meat that we had scavenged and we ate grass and worms too.  We all hated winter – we were very cold and hungry.  One day we had a meeting to talk about how we could find food better. We came up with a very good plan, but it was dangerous.

FEMALE HUNTER: Has anyone seen the straight-tusked elephant lately? See, if only we could eat him, he would give us lots of meat and it would last for ages.

MALE HUNTER: I saw him by the lake but we could never catch him, it’s too dangerous. We could trap him instead. Let’s make a plan!

FEMALE: I know, why don’t we make holes in the mud, so he slips up.

MALE: Yeah, then we could push him into the water. What if he doesn’t die? He can swim. If we put spears in the lake like a trap, he will fall on them and die. Then we can eat him.

FEMALE: I know! We can distract him by waving our arms and shouting so he comes to the lake.

The next morning, we took our spears to the lake. And stabbed the mud at the water’s edge to make it soft and slippy, then we threw our spears out into the water with the sharp point facing the sky some of us even swam out into the lake to check the spears were standing up straight. The bravest of us crept through the forest until we spotted the straight-tusked elephant eating a fern. We shouted.

[People shouting, elephant trumpeting]

The straight-tusked elephant saw us and looked confused, but then he began to chase us through the forest and towards the lake. We ran so fast [indistinct] behind a bush.  The elephant slipped and slid over into the mud with a big crash, and then fell into the lake with a splash. Our spears stuck into him and all the blood came out. Soon he was dead. But we still had a problem.

FEMALE: How will we get him out of the water? He’s too heavy to carry.

MALE: I know, we can put logs under him and make a raft.

FEMALE: Good idea! And I can make some string with ivy to tie the logs together.

We dragged the floating elephant to the lake shore and put the meat on the fire. We saved the brain till last. Yum!

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