Tuesday, March 31, 2020

LINK: Houdini’s Guide to Coronavirus safety

Let's end this crazy month with a bit of levity and sound advice. Our friend Lisa Hansen of the blog HoudiniFan has created "Houdini's Guide to Coronavirus safety" and it's pretty clever. Click the headline to have a read and stay safe!


Monday, March 30, 2020

LINK: Houdini's sensational swim in the rapids of... the Hudson?

Sean Doran is back with another groundbreaking post at his blog The Mysteriarch. This time Sean tackles the location of Houdini's famous swim of "Niagara" rapids at the conclusion of The Man From Beyond. While still somewhat speculative, I think Sean is onto something and on the brink of rewriting Houdini history. So click the headline and dive on in.

"From the first viewing of The Man From Beyond, I've had reservations that "the swim" actually took place at Niagara. Being from the region myself, and spending many summers exploring Niagara Falls State Park, something always looked a bit off for that scene to have been shot on the rapids of the mighty Niagara."

Below are more of Sean's recent discoveries.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

'The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini' large print edition

A large print edition of Joe Posnanski's The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini is due for release this week from Center Point Large Print. The publisher's website shows very different cover art design from the standard hardcover.

The release date is listed as April 1st, but it appears it may already be shipping from Amazon.com. The online retailer currently shows only 2 left in stock with more on the way.

The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini will be released in paperback in October.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Houdini and the art of faking photos

Here's a video by Dr. Joe Schwarcz using Houdini (and Abe Lincoln) to illustrate the ease and origins of fake photography. Enjoy.

Below are links to a few more Houdini inspired YouTube videos. All the third party videos I share here can also be found in the "Linked Videos" playlist at the WILD ABOUT HARRY YouTube Channel.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Houdini appears in The New Yorker and Skeptic

Print media is still wild about Harry with two significant Houdini pieces in the March editions of The New Yorker and Skeptic magazines.

The New Yorker article is by David Denby and offers a very well-written profile of Houdini's art and career with references to the new books, The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanki and Adam Begley's Houdini: The Elusive American. It appears in the March 30, 2020 issue, but it can also be read online HERE.

In Skeptic Michelle Ainsworth gives a well-balanced review of Joe Posnanski's The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini. Unfortunately, that is not available to read online, but you can buy individual issues or subscribe via the Skeptic website.

The Wall Street Journal also recently published a combo review of the Posnanski and Begley books  by Robert Wilson in their March 14-15 issue. For subscribers you can read it HERE.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Houdini's 278 now has an official website

The owners of Houdini's New York brownstone have launched an official website devoted to their famous residence called "278 Houdini House" (https://house.278.nyc).

The site has just updated with a post announcing shipping of their first wave of 278 souvenir bricks.

Looks like this is going to be a terrific resource, so bookmark and follow 278 Houdini House today!


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Houdini returns to Appleton in 1897

In my Facebook Live chat yesterday with the great Andrew Basso, I mentioned an article I had recently seen in the April 1, 1897 Appleton Post. I thought I'd put that up today so all can have a read. This was well before Houdini (a.k.a. Mr. Weiss) was famous. This is when he and Bess were touring with the Rogers' Orpheum Stars. So this is really just a story about a local boy's return to his home town and that's one of the things that makes it so interesting and special.

The reference to Houdini almost drowning as a boy is especially intriguing. Ken Silverman always made much of the potential psychological motivations this might have played in Houdini's later water escapes. The trip to England appears to be pure fiction on Houdini's part -- unless this is something waiting to be discovered. The reference to his sisters (plural) I find intriguing as it bolsters the idea that Houdini might have had a half-sister.

Houdini would return to Appleton many times during his career and he would always be interviewed by the Post (most famously by Edna Ferber). But how fun to have discovered the first.

I hope you saw and enjoyed the chat yesterday. This was my first live chat and it was an honor to do it with Andrew. I think the chat is re-watchable HERE.

UPDATE: I just realized that Bill Mullins sent me this clipping, I did not "discover" it on my own as implied in my opening paragraph. Thank you Bill!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Happy birthday Houdini

On his 146th birthday Houdini is following the advice of health professionals and socially distancing. Look how easy!

To celebrate Houdini's birthday today I will be joining escape artist extraordinaire Andrew Basso for a live online chat, platform and time to be announced. Follow my Twitter and the Wild About Harry Facebook page for details.

UPDATE: Andrew and I will be on Facebook LIVE at 6pm EST/3pm PST. Please join us!


Monday, March 23, 2020

Own an authentic brick from Houdini's 278

The owners of Houdini's New York brownstone (278) have renovated the garden level to include a new door and deck into the backyard. To accomplish this, they had to remove a window and part of a brick wall. This wall is actually visible in several images of Houdini (see below). The result is a lovely new deck and pile of bricks that would otherwise go into the trash. But this is 278!

So as they did with the wood lath last year, the owners have decided to give collectors a chance to own an authentic piece of Houdini's 278 and are offering individual bricks for sale. All proceeds will go back into the restoration. These are limited and will not last long--remember how fast the lath went--so if you are lucky enough to be reading this you might want to jump at this offer by visiting https://house.278.nyc.

For those who might bemoan this alteration, know that the garden level and especially the kitchen have gone through many changes throughout the years and offer very little that is recognizable from Houdini's time. So this is not a bad place to make a change and bring some modern confront into Houdini's 278.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Houdini's 1923 San Francisco straitjacket escape in photos

On March 19, 1923, Houdini did a suspended straitjacket escape from the Hearst Building in San Fransisco. The story of the escape and its preparation were well told in photos that ran in the San Fransisco Examiner, some of which may be new to folks. Click to enlarge and enjoy!

Happily, the Hearst building still stands at the corner of 3rd & Market Street in downtown San Fransisco. Below is the building as it appears today with the location of Houdini's escape marked.

Below are links to some other notable suspended straitjacket escapes.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

Mystifier, Second Quarter 2001

Continuing my issue by issue look back at the Mystifier, the newsletter of the Houdini Historical Center that ran from 1991-2003.

The second quarter 2001 Mystifier is largely made up of an excellent article by HHC curator Kimberly Louagie about "Houdini in 1897." Along with the California Concert Co. she also includes the Houdinis time with Rogers' Orpheum Stars. This is not one of the better documented years in Houdini's life so this article is a treat.

The newsletter continues with the announcement that the HHC website will replace their mailed museum shop catalog (sign of the times). It then covers a recent documentary shoot by the Travel Channel at the center. New members include Bill Martin and Max Maven. Recent Fund Drive Donors are also listed.

Sid Radner begins his "Backstage" column with news that Tom Carrier's Mysteriarch Enterprises has taken over Norman Bigelow's Escape Masters and will relaunch the publication starting October 1, 2001. (Did this ever happen?) Sid then gives a shout out to the new Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, and says his sources tell him the Houdini stamp "is closer to becoming a reality." He then alerts readers to a Houdini-related story in the December 2000 issue of Popular Science.

Sid closes by saying he's working with members of New York University's Center for Advanced Technology on a virtual museum devoted to Jewish culture. "One of these days I will get a computer and join the 21st century," says Sid.

Volume 11, Number 2
Second Quarter, 2001
6 pages

Houdini in 1897
Fund Drive Donors
Museum Shop News
Travel Channel Documentary Crew Films at HHC
Backstage with Sid Radner


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Houdini returns to Murdoch Mysteries

Houdini returned to the popular Canadian series Murdoch Mysteries in the 200th episode titled Staring Blindly into the Future. This time Houdini was portrayed by Grisha Pasternak (right).

The episode, which also featured Nikola Tesla, H.G. Wells and Thomas Edison, first aired in Canada on January 13 and in the U.S. on March 7.

Houdini's first appearance on the series was in the season 2 episode Houdini Whodunit played by Joe Dinicol.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

10th Anniversary: Diggers Rest centennial festival

It was 10 years ago today that Diggers Rest in Australia kicked off their centenary celebrations of Houdini's historic first flight on the continent on March 18, 1910. You can revisit the festival via my post about the lineup of events below:

TEN YEAR UPDATE: The centenary came off as planned and a monument now stands at Diggers Rest (below). Gary Sunderland's model of Houdini's biplane, made especially for the celebrations, eventually landed at the local Houdini's Café e Cucina. However, despite the best efforts of the organizers to discover what happened to Houdini's historic Voisin biplane after he sold it in 1913, it remains a lost artifact.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

'Houdini: The Elusive American' released today

Today sees the release of Houdini: The Elusive American by Adam Begley. The book is part of the Jewish Lives series from Yale University Press. I didn't receive a review copy of this one, so I will be buying it and reviewing it in due time. But I'm always excited when we get a new work of Houdini non-fiction. Below is the book's trailer.

You can purchase Houdini: The Elusive American at Amazon.com and pre-order at Amazon.co.uk (UK release date May 12).


Monday, March 16, 2020

Houdini ('53) screenings cancelled and other closures

Due to COVID-19 concerns, AGO's screenings of Houdini (1953) on March 18 have been cancelled. The art gallery, which is currently home to the Illusions: The Art of Magic exhibition, has temporarily closed.

The AGO’s highest priority is the health and safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers and extended community. Upon the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the AGO is closing temporarily as of 9 p.m. on Friday, March 13 through Sunday, April 5.

AGO recently screened The Man From Beyond and Haldane of the Secret Service with live musical accompaniment by Marilyn Lerner.

Other Houdini-related closures include The Magic Castle, Harry Ransom Center, Catalina Island Museum, McCord Museum, Appleton's History Museum at the Castle, and The House of Houdini in Budapest. The David Copperfield and Penn & Teller shows in Las Vegas are temporarily dark. The Houdini Museum in Scranton is open on select days (call ahead).

For the latest information on COVID-19 visit the CDC website.

Hope everyone stays safe and well!


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Harry Ransom Center shares another 'Man from Beyond' poster

Our good friend Eric Colleary of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin shares with us today another breathtaking original poster from The Man From Beyond. This rare 1-sheet (Style-A) has never been published or reproduced, and it's a stunner!

Eric has also uncovered a 6-sheet poster (81" x 81") also depicting Houdini's Harvey Hanford frozen in ice. He didn't have the table space to open it in full, but he offers this taste of the colors below.

It's very likely these were Houdini's personal copies and are, to my knowledge, the only surviving examples. The only poster the Ransom Center has not turned up (yet) is the massive twenty-four sheet (246" x 108") shown in The Man From Beyond pressbook below.

Due to COVID-19, The Harry Ransom Center is currently closed until March 30. But the Houdini Collections are available to search via finding aids at the HRC's official website.

Thank you Eric!


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Dean Carnegie dials in Houdini's Radio of 1950

Dean Carnegie's The Magic Detective Podscast is going strong and now in its second season. Dean's latest episode investigates Houdini's little discussed "Radio of 1950" illusion. I agree with Dean that Houdini's magic is vastly underrated, and Radio of 1950 is one of those Houdini originals worth consideration. (I do hope Dean's follows through with his idea to rebuild the illusion.) Click below to have a listen:

Ep. 46: Houdini’s Radio Illusion

Click the top Related link below to see the photo of Hardeen with the Radio of 1950 illusion that Dean discusses in the podcast.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Houdini on King Tut's Curse

It's a shame we don't have many of Houdini's thoughts on the historical events of his lifetime. For example, we don't know what he thought of the Titanic disaster or the Black Sox scandal to name a few. But we do have his thoughts on the discovery of King Tut and the supposed curse. This was all the talk in 1923 after the death of the excavation's financier Lord Carnarvon. So what did the Master Mystifier think?

Check out this article from the April 7, 1923 Los Angeles Examiner and find out.

The "curse" did go on to claim a few more victims, and while Houdini did not live to see the full events play out, he would be happy to know that Howard Carter, the man who opened Tut's tomb and should have been #1 on the hit list, lived a relatively long life, succumbing to cancer at the age of 64.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Salt Lake City History Minute - Harry Houdini

Here's a short video about Houdini in Salt Lake City that I suspect might have been inspired by this post. Enjoy.

All the third party videos I share here can also be found in the "Linked Videos" playlist at the WILD ABOUT HARRY YouTube Channel.


Monday, March 9, 2020

"Dr." Hardeen is in the house

There's a lot to like about this clipping from the November 16, 1926 Boston Globe. First and foremost, this is a pic of Hardeen that I've never seen before. It's also interesting and uncommon to see his real first name, "Franz", here appearing as his middle name. But "DR."?

Before we go in search of Dash's long lost medical license, I think we might just assume this reporter was a sloppy note taker. You'll notice he says Houdini's real name was "Ernest Weiss", likely confusing Harry's name with that of his lawyer, Bernard Ernest.

This is one of the earliest articles announcing Hardeen's return to show business and his taking up the mantle of his recently deceased brother (only 5 days after Houdini's Will was read). Hardeen would begin his tour on January 17, 1927 in Bridgeport, CT.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

"Houdini Didn't Like the Spiritualists" (Official)

There has been no shortage of music inspired by Houdini, but I don't think I've ever heard a song quite like "Houdini Didn't Like the Spiritualists" by Terry Allen and The Panhandle Mystery Band. Enjoy.

Thanks to Bill Goodwin.


Friday, March 6, 2020

Milk Can and Iron Box surprise at auction

The Iron Box seen in Houdini (1953) and a Milk Can that might be the can Houdini used for his Double Fold Death Defying Mystery sold in auction at Bonhams in New York today. The Milk Can sold for $50,075 and the Iron Box for $6,325 (both prices include premium).

I admit I find both these prices surprises. The Milk Can sold for more than I expected and the Iron Box for far less (although I knew the 50,000 - 70,000 estimate on the Iron Box was astronomically optimistic). Try as we might, we could never quite authentic either of these as ever having been used by Houdini himself, although they have interesting history nevertheless.

The real mystery now is who the new owners are. If you're the lucky winner, or know who the winner is, please drop a comment below or shoot me an email. I'd love to know where these intriguing pieces of Houdini history will now reside. [See update.]

My thanks and congratulations to the good folks at Bonhams who allowed me to examine these up close a few weeks back.

UPDATE: It appears the Milk Can has found a new home at the Houdini Estate in Laurel Canyon, CA.


One last Yar

Here's a little something fun to end our week devoted to Houdini's unmade caveman epic Yar, The Primeval Man. In the early years of my Houdini obsession, I would compulsively draw Houdini. One of my masterpieces was a montage devoted to scenes from his movie work. (I recently found these while moving.) On it I included a speculative look at Houdini as Yar. Now that's a caveman!

You can read Houdini's full treatment for Yar, The Primeval Man via the links below.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Yar, The Primeval Man by Harry Houdini (Part II)

Yar, The Primeval Man is treatment for an unmade film that Houdini wrote in 1921. You can read Part I HERE. Below we conclude the saga of Yar, Aie, and War, and also explore how Houdini's psychology is on show in this strangest of all his strange tales.

The roar of the Great Animals draws nearer, awakening Yar to a new peril. Huge rocks are dislodged by Yar and the people and rolled down the hill on the approaching animals, some of which retire. Suddenly there is a shriek is a huge tusked monster attacks Aie’s father. Yar runs to his assistance with a sharp pointed stone and kills the monster.

Realizing the value of the animal’s weapons, Yar, with a sharp pointed stone, cuts out the animal’s tusks. He roars with joy for he now has a formidable weapon to battle with the monsters. Yar also notices that none of the animals approach the fire. He swiftly heaps leaves and twigs on it and surrounds the people in a ring of fire. From this barricade they drive the animals back.

Dawn approaching, the people go to refresh themselves at the big water (drinking hole) and to look for food. The males tear the skin and tusks from the animals they have killed during the night. There is feasting. Aie turns with loathing from the blood-dripping flesh. She remembers the roasted meat and wants some of that. Yar also prefers the cooked meat and burrows for more cooked animals. He then remembers the fire. He drags the carcasses over, places them on the fire, and watches the burning meats.

The females, who have gorged themselves with the raw and dripping meat, now look upon the discarded skins. After speculating upon the matter they arrive at the conclusion that Aie and War look very attractive in their furs. In a short time every male and female is gowned in the latest fashion and has a tusk for a weapon.

But Aie and Huf have not forgotten their old feud during all these wonderful experiences. Huf attempts to take Aie from Yar with the result that there ensues a long battle for supremacy. The two roll down a precipice from the top of the hill, and drop into a tree, the branches of which break, sending the two into the rushing waters. There are the fight continues until Yar, holding Huf’s head under the water, vanquishes his opponent.

Aie watches it as her mother did befor her and gurgles with glee to see Huf vanquished by her mate. Yar returns to Sun Girl. He looks about as if he defies anything to harm her and then crushes her in his arms.

Even as they embrace there comes the Great Cold, the forerunner of the Great Doom. How long and how far the huge icebergs had traveled no tongue can tell, but slowly and surely they come on. Yar, his arms protectingly around Aie, watches open-mouthed the oncoming white meance. He clutches his tusk but even as he does he realizes that his weapon is useless against such a monster.
The Little People, oblivious to the approaching of the Great Doom, snuggle into their furs with the increasing severity of the Great Cold. On and on comes the huge white monster, towering above the cliff on which a Little People make their homes.

Aie, terrified by the sight of the monster, shrieks and runs, leaving Yar standing as of hypnotized by the glare of the oncoming demon. Aie runs on—anywhere to escape the monster. Yar catches a glimpse of Aie as she disappears. He pursues her. Down the cliffside he rushes and as he is swifter than Aie he overtakes her and draws her, trembling, in his arms.

In the shallow basin which they have reached, Aie again feel safe, for she cannot see the white monster.

Suddenly a terrific roar reaches them—a roar mightier than Thor’s. The next instant the white monster topples toward them. They back against the wall of the basin, their eyes closed to the terrible thing. When they open them again they are choking in water, brought to great heights by the fall of the iceberg into the basin.

Quickly recovering himself, Yar seizes the sinking Aie and after a harrowing struggle brings her safely back to the ledge. Before the fire which Yar has built outside a cave, Aie regains her composure.

Yar sees that the Little People are unhurt, the White Monster having missed them, though they have suffered from the cold and large pieces of ice that fell on their ledge.

Yar vainly attempts to coax Aie into the cave. He tries to force her but still she refuses. Yar is perplexed. Somehow he cannot drag her in by the hair, as has been the custom. He hears the voice of his mother whimpering and enters the cave leaving Aie seated at the fire.

Attracted by the fire, a tail man (ape) wanders towards Aie, seizes her and attempts to carry her away. Her shrieks attract Yar who battles with the tail-man, kills it and frees Aie.

Yar takes Aie back to the cave but still she refuses to enter. He cannot understand for Aie is his mate. After making his whimpering mother comfortable, Yar ponders over his problem.

An inspiration comes. With a smile of assurance for Aie, Yar gathers up some of the larger branches and twigs. Aie watches him curiously and sees him stand the larger branches and twigs upright, then other across the top until Yar has built a tent like lean to. He then gathers leaves and soft moss which he piles inside the shelter until he has formed a soft downy couch. He motions to Aie to enter.

Aie starts toward the shelter, surveys the inside and then turning an illuminating smile upon Yar, she takes him by both hands, purses up her lips and with her lips on his she draws him into their home.

In Yar, The Primeval Man Houdini seems to be digging deeper into is own psyche than ever before. Of course, the idea that he's the smartest and strongest of all the cavemen is not far below the surface. But the most compelling and most discussed aspect is the three-way relationship between Yar (Houdini), War his mother (Cecelia Weiss), and the outsider "Sun Girl" Aie (the Catholic Bess). One of the things I most like about Yar is it's really the first time Houdini has written the authentic Bess into one of his stories. How like Bess are Aies' "rages" which, interestingly, Yar finds attractive. It's his most unsentimental relationship, and, ironically considering the setting, his most realistic.

As for the de rigueur mother worship, in Yar we actually get an evolution. In the end, Yar is able to set his mother aside and join Aie in private (sexual) domesticity. How different from Bahl Yahn the Strong Man, written in 1907, which concludes with Bahl working the fields with his mother strapped to his back for the rest of his life. And speaking of mothers, I find it intriguing that both stories feature spouses who have been unintentionally handicapped by their husbands. Perhaps a deep seeded feeling that Rabbi Weiss unintentionally threw his spouse and family into a world of desperate struggle?

Interestingly, in June 1922 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would show footage at an SAM banquet of dinosaurs created using stop motion animation for a proposed film of his book The Lost World (ultimately released in 1925). While Houdini only refers to them as "animals", it's clear Yar is battling an assortment of prehistoric beasts, and Doyle's footage would have shown him how these special effects could be achieved. Had it been made, Yar might have broken new ground. Wouldn't it have been wild if, along with the first movie robot, a Houdini film would have been credited with the first stop motion dinosaur?

Finally, it's fun to note the many similarities between Yar, The Primeval Man and the classic 1966 film One Million Years B.C. starring John Richardson and Raquel Welch. Not just the battles with dinosaurs and rival cavemen as you'd expect, but the core story of a caveman meeting a mate outside his tribe. But I guess there are only so many cave stories one can tell!

Descendants of Yar and Aie.


    Monday, March 2, 2020

    Yar, The Primeval Man by Harry Houdini (Part I)

    In 1921 Houdini wrote a treatment for a proposed movie called Yar, The Primeval Man. It was never made, which might have been for the best. Of all Houdini's writings, Yar may be the most revealing of his relationships and his inner world (his inner caveman). And like his short story "Bahl Yahn, the Strong Man", of which it bears many similarities, Yar was clearly written by Houdini himself.

    Houdini copyrighted Yar by printing it as a 12-page pamphlet that he appears to have only given out to friends. I own the copy he gave to Joseph Dunninger and I've used it to transcribe the story in full below. Because of the length, I'm sharing this in two parts. I've also spiced it up with photos from The Man From Beyond.

    Enjoy this strangest of Houdini's strange tales.

    The Strange People are happy. They dance with glee for they have the better position. They squirm in and out the great boulders, and with mighty pushes send huge rocks tumbling down on their enemies, the Little People.
    They soon tire, however, of watching the writhing wretches below, and turn to rest in their caves. Yar, chief of the Strange People, looks for War, his mother (she cannot keep up with the younger people, so Yar always swings her over his back and carries her to her cave) but she is nowhere to be found.

    Yar is perplexed. Where is she? Is it possible she has fallen in the tsish tsish (great waters)? He runs back and anxiously surveys the cliffs. There he sees her hanging helplessly on the ragged edge. His primitive mind, unable to reason his own danger, he run swiftly down the incline, reaches her, and with a guttural cry swings her over his back just as Gurre, the chief of the Little People and deadly enemy of the Strange People, pounces on him and drags him down to his cave.

    Yar holds one hand on his mother to prevent her from tumbling off his back and with the other hand fights gallantly with his assailant. He is overpowered, however, when Huf, son of Gurre, comes to his father's aid and Yar is obliged to watch his mother being dragged away by her hair. The Little People tie Yar with the fibrous ferns and foliage to two long branches of the huge trees, arrow fashion, in the same manner that they dispose of the sick and wounded people, so that he can be catapulted into the great waters.

    After their labor of securing him, the Little People all gaze on Yar with savage joy; all but Aie, the sun woman, whose hair is like the sun. She is the daughter of Ahi the Loon, (Ahi never leaves his cave, not since he lost Ooo, the mother of Aie).

    Many moons before, all the Little People were hunting in the black forest for the small animals for food, Ahi wandered further than any other people ever had dared. He soon returned, however, but with him was a strange woman, a woman with Sun Hair. She was a strange creature, evidently of higher intellect than the Little People, but they accepted Ooo without showing any emotion except the first one of surprise. Ooo liked to wander on the higher cliffs, but Ahi soon showed her, in his primitive way, that he did not care for her wanderings. Ooo was an obedient and affectionate mate. Soon Aie was born. It was then that Gurre, the young chief, coveted Ooo.

    There were some stirring battles between Ahi and Gurre, at which Ooo looked on quietly with her cryptic smile. One day Ooo, who was running swiftly away from Gurre, missed her footing, and fell headlong into the Great Waters, just as Ahi emerged from his cave. He thought Gurre had thrown or pushed Ooo. Again they had a battle. Ahi was badly wounded and ever since he has been a loon.

    Aie, his daughter, brings him food. Seeing Yar, Aie gazes fascinated at this strange being, who is different from her people. She is pleased with him. She touches him, she looks into his eyes. Yar seems as pleased as she. He is really too surprised to release himself, until he sees her shudder. It is the shudder of fear for she hears Thor, the God of Thunder, rumbling with displeasure.

    Yar quickly breaks the bonds while the people run to their caves to get away from the angry waters of Thor. 
    Yar finds his mother in places her in a hole to protect her from the Angry Waters. He, however, does not fear Thor. He rather likes the torrents of water, and the angry lights of Thor’s eyes (lightning).

    He walks toward the black forest, catches some of the scurrying animals and returns to feed his mother. Thor bellows louder and louder and the people huddled together, whimpering with fear. Thor sends another angry flash of his eyes right into the Black Forest and presently the Black Forest burst into flames.

    The angry flames come nearer and nearer to the caves and the people, excited and shaking with fear, run in all directions. Yar, with his mother on his back, climbs to the high hills. Aie follows him with her eyes. Surely the strange being can conquer Thor, she feels. She runs after him and her father, who is now forced to leave his hermit cave as the flashes approach, follows. Then the people who cannot reason, forgetful that Yar is their enemy, also follow.

    At the top is safety. Yar stands at the brink, defying Thor to send his flames up on the hill. Aie is close by looking at him in admiration. Her fear leaves at Yar’s bravery, but there in the background is Huf.

    Huf sees the look on Aie’s face. With a quick stride he reaches her side, for he has chosen her to be his mate. He seizes her by the hair. She struggles and squeals. Yar turns to see that it is the Sun Girl.

    He seizes Huf by the nape of the neck and flings him aside. Aie glides shyly to Yar’s side. They chatter in their nameless language, well pleased with each other. As they look each other over, not yet able to understand the call of love, the storm subsides. The people are hungry. Yar is the first to go for food. He enters the black forest. The people follow at a distance, ready to run at the first sign of Danger. But there is no food. The animals have vanished. Yar burrows in the ruins. He soon discovers a creature. Strange, it does not struggle. He had always been obliged to fight the creatures. In a rage, he tears it to pieces. Hunger calls and he tastes. It is not disagreeable, though of course, there is no rich dripping blood. But in all the vast forest there is no fast scurrying creature, so this must suffice until his hunger is appeased.

    Aie soon follows the example of Yar and burrows into the ground.She also imitates Yar by eating the roasted animals. The people, desperately hungry, follow suit and soon all are feasting. After the feast, they look around for caves, and find them on the side of a cliff.

    Yar finds an attractive large one. He enters, but quickly emerges, grasping by the throat an animal which had escaped the flames. He quickly kills it, and dexterously skins it. He now has food for a long time.

    He enters the cave again, but this time more cautiously, and finds no more fighting creatures. He then looks for and finds his mother and gently shoves her into the cave. The people are soon asleep. From the outer edges of the black forest come the Great Animals, who now can find no food, since the fire has destroyed their prey. 
    Yar hears their roars and sends a challenging cry. Aie comes shivering from her cave. The night is cold. He shoves her in the same cave with his mother, but it is cold there too. He has an inspiration. He tosses the skin of the animal he has killed over the two women. (The people wore no covering of any kind, save leaves.) Yar also remembers that he felt no cold when he walked on the ashes of the great forest.

    Again his mental faculties work. He rushes over to the forest, grabs a smoldering ember and places it in front of the cave. The flames lick up the twigs and leaves lying about. He gathers more wood and presently has a roaring fire.

    Aie hears the crackling of the flames and thinking the animals have approached, runs to the entrance of the cave with the bearskin about her. Yar’s mother whimpers when she finds her covering gone. Yar hears her whimper, realizes that both women want the fur, and is perplexed.

    He tries to take it from Aie but she won't give it up. Yar’s mother is shivering. He tries to push the fire near the cave, but finds it hurts. He looks about for another animal. There are only the Great Ones beyond the forest whose growls he hears.
    A solution to his problem offers itself, and acting upon it, Yar takes the fur from Air (who kicks and bites to keep it) and with his teeth tears it in twos he does his food) and gives each woman half of it. They are then all pleased, but Aie soon finds she must keep both hands on the fur to keep it on; she cannot wrap it about her as before.

    She makes a spring to take the other part of the skin from the older woman, but even then it won't stay put. Whenever Aie is perplexed she flies into a rage. To Yar she looks adorable in her rage, but he must find a way to appease her.

    Yar remembers how he was bound on the catapult, so he hunts for the long ferns, wraps Aie in the fur, and winds the ferns about her body. The touch of her flesh thrills him. He touches her again, each time more tenderly, and puts both arms around her. Slowly he crushes her to him. Some impulse drives him to place his lips on her, and then he kisses her. It is the first kiss.

    Aie dances with joy. Yar is astonished at her pleasure and kisses her again and again. The people who had slowly gathered around the blaze look on in awe. Huf, who has looked on all this with displeasure, glides up to Aie. He would like to try this new amusement.

    He touches Aie, roughly seizes her to reach her lips. Aie quickly stoops, picks up a stone and promptly crashes it upon Huf’s head.

    Yar’s mother, hearing all the exciting chatter, emerges from her cave holding the fur about her. Yar remembers what he did to Aie’s robe and arranges his mother’s the same way. Remembering in the kiss, Yar kisses his mother. Both are astonished. It is not like the kiss of Aie, but it is as if God kissed them both. It is sacred. A look of joy overspreads the old woman's face and she places her arms about her son, swaying backward and forward with cries of joy.

    She places her lips on Yar’s brow. It is a sacred rite. The other females look to their children (as a rule they dragged them by their hair), but now they lift them in their arms in imitate Yar’s mother. The children are rocked to sleep for the first time, to the worldless crooning of the mothers.