The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children, Book Six
Jean M. Auel
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In this, the extraordinary conclusion of the ice-age epic series, Earth’s Children®, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte to a spiritual leader and begins arduous training tasks.
Whatever obstacles she faces, Ayla finds inventive ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life, searching for wild edibles to make meals and experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandonii must take while honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And there are the Sacred Caves that Ayla’s mentor takes her to see. They are filled with remarkable paintings of mammoths, lions, and bears, and their mystical aura at times overwhelms Ayla.
But all the time Ayla has spent in training rituals has caused Jondalar to drift away from her. The rituals themselves bring her close to death, but through them Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change her world.
Sixth in the acclaimed Earth’s Children® series
their obligation. It was their home to use, but not to abuse. For the Children of Earth the Mother provided, The Gifts to survive, and then She decided, To give them the Gift of Pleasure and sharing, That honors the Mother with the joy of their pairing. The Gifts are well earned, when honor’s returned. The Mother was pleased with the pair She created, She taught them to love and to care when they mated. She made them desire to join with each other, The Gift of their Pleasures came
to the Ninth Cave, though later he moved to the Fifth Cave, and obviously became an acolyte from that group. The Zelandoni of the Fifth Cave had several acolytes, and though Madroman may have been among the oldest of his acolytes, he was not the one ranked as first. But Jondalar was surprised to discover that he had been accepted into the zelandonia at all. In his youth, when Jondalar had become enamored of the First, then an acolyte named Zolena, another young man, called Ladroman, had wanted
for their own things, and left the bundles on the ledge in front of the living section, then led the horses pulling the nearly empty pole-drags past the part of the shelter where most of the people lived. They lived at the the other end of the inhabited area, although the overhanging stone protected a much larger section, which was only used occasionally, except for the places they had made for the horses. As they walked along the front of the huge abri, they couldn’t help but notice some newly
making, and was curious herself to see how it would work. Jondalar had devised a halter for Whinney similar to the one he used for Racer, though Ayla seldom used it herself. She usually rode bareback with only a leather riding blanket, directing the animal with her position and the pressure of her legs, but for special circumstances, especially when other people were involved, it gave her an added measure of control. While Ayla put the halter on the mare, making sure Whinney was calm, Jondalar
words. What is your explanation?” The Zelandoni hesitated, paused. “I would have to think about it. It needs time for thought, for study.” “You can think about it for a day, or a year, or as many years as you can number; it will not change the interpretation. Ayla was given a Gift with her calling. She was chosen to bring this new Gift of the Knowledge of Life from the Mother,” the One Who Was First said. There was another buzz of commotion. “But gifts are always exchanged. No one receives a