[2015] Maddie Crawford: Boy of the Painted Cave

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[2015] Maddie Crawford: Boy of the Painted Cave

Tao is the main character in "Boy of the Painted Cave." He was born with a lame foot. His mother was Vedra, but she died shortly after giving birth. His father was Volt, the clan leader, but Tao did not know Volt was his father until the end of the book. Tao meets a wolf dog. He helps it and names it Ram after the spirit of the hunt. They are companions and hunt together. When Tao's clan finds him in the Secret Cave, he is forced to fight Saxon, the sacred bull.

Tao's clan forces him to fight the sacred bull, Saxon. They put him down and Saxon smells his scent. He charge twice, and both times Tao is able to get out of the way. The third time, one of Saxon's horns grabs the deer skin pouch around Tao's waist and pulls it. Everything in it scatters. Tao grabs the shining stone off the ground and shines it in Saxon's eyes. This confuses the bull. He charges one last time, but again is confused and runs away.

People in Paleolithic times painted caves. In the book, "Boy of the Painted Cave", Graybeard, the shaman, teaches Tao how to paint caves. They used fish oil, animal fat and blood, eggs, honey, red earth, yellow clay, limestone powder, and charcoal dust. Graybeard mixed the colors, and Tao painted a mammoth. He added honey, boiled fat, blood, and charcoal dust to make different shades. Graybeard taught Tao to make long strokes instead of short, choppy storkes. Tao then spread egg white over the painting to make it look real with bright, new colors.

Boy of the Painted Cave

The Secret Cavern is inside of the Big Cave. The Big Cave is near where Tao's clan lived and gave warmth to them over many winters. Deep inside, after many tunnels and passageways, is the Secret Cavern. The Secret Cavern is a place where only Chosen Ones can go. Tao did not think he would ever see it, because he was not a Chosen One. He did eventually see it when he painted in there. The huge room was covered with paintings of animals on the walls. That was also where the rituals of manhood took place.

Graybeard was the old shaman who taught Tao how to paint. He performed magic and painted in the Secret Cavern to bring luck to the hunts. He taught Tao how to draw better, paint, and do what the villagers believed was magic. He was getting old and chose Tao to be the next shaman. He didn't make it to the Valley People, so he couldn't tell them he had chosen Tao.

Cave Painting

The Secret Cavern



Tao met a wolf dog when he was drawing in the dirt, near the beginning of the book. He almost killed the anilmal, but decided not to because it was too thin and weak. When Tao meets the wolf dog again, he realizes that the wolf dog cannot eat because it has a splinter of bone it its upper gum. Tao pulls it out and the wolf dog could eat again. He saw the wolf once more, but this time Tao hunted with him. He was a good hunter and Tao named him Ram, after the spirit of the hunt. Tao and Ram continue to hunt together and become companions.

Tao Fights Saxon

Tao Meets Ram

Mammoths are believed to be ancestors to the modern day elephants. They were around until 1700 B.C.E. Adult wooly mammoths could be twelve feet or taller! They had large, curved tusks made of ivory. They could have been used to fight and scare predators. Paleolithic people used the ivory to make tools. Ivory was easier and fatser to shape than stone. The mammoth's only know predators were humans and saber-toothed cats. If not harmed or killed by these predators, they could live to be 70 years old!

People in Paleolithic times had many taboos. Taboos are things that you are not allowed to say or do in fear of evil spirits or godly forces. There were many taboos in Tao's clan. They were not allowed to make images unless they were a Chosen One. It was taboo to go into the Slough, a swam-like place said to have evil spirits in it.. Wolf dogs, like Ram, were considered evil curses of demons in Tao's clan. Tao did not believe in these taboos and did not listen to them.

Mountains-that-walk(Wooly Mammoths)

"Boy of the Painted Cave," took place in the Dordogne valley of Southern France and around the foothills of the Pyrenees montains, in Spain, about 18,000 years ago.