About five thousand, two hundred and forty-six years ago there lived a caveman called Ug the Thug. He lived at the top of a lonely valley, but then everywhere was lonely back then. He had a big club and furry boots and he liked running after things and frightening them best of all. Ug the Thug was nasty to everyone he met. It didn’t matter if the thing he met was big or small, he liked to give it a fright. He liked making as much noise as he could.
‘Raaar!’, ‘Aaargh!’ and ‘Graah!’ were some of his favourite sounds. At night Ug the Thug came back to his cave. He sat beside his roaring fire and ate as much meat as he could. He painted pictures of himself on the cave and he felt very pleased indeed with himself.
But no-one liked Ug the Thug. Everyone was frightened of him and stayed away from him as much as possible. No-one ever went to his cave or even passed near it. They kept themselves to themselves. Then one night as Ug the Thug sat by the fire in the cave he saw a shooting star. A great white light streaked across the sky and he gasped. It was beautiful. Ug the Thug stared at the sky and for the first time in his life he wished he had a friend so he could tell them all about what he had seen. For the first time in his life Ug the Thug felt lonely.
The following day he went outside and he didn’t roar and thump about in his boots. Instead he went down to the stream that ran through the tall grass and sat there looking sadly at his reflection in the water. It so happened that at that very moment a mouse that had been crossing the river higher up fell into the water and began squeaking and waving its paws in the air because it couldn’t swim. Ug the Thug looked down and saw the mouse. Without thinking, he reached out his hand that was as big as a brick and he lifted the mouse very gently onto the riverbank.
The mouse shook itself and rushed off into the grass, and Ug the Thug just sat there by the river with his big head in his big hands. He felt lonelier than ever. That night he didn’t eat a thing, nor did he make a fire. He just curled up in bed and lay there not able to sleep. He felt very, very lonely.
But the next morning something happened. Ug the Thug had just got up when he heard the pitter-patter of tiny paws. Someone was coming. It was the mouse. And the mouse was carrying in its paws a flower. The mouse laid the flower down at the feet of Ug and looked up at him with its big blue eyes.
Ug the Thug fell over backwards. He landed in the sand outside his cave, completely amazed. He realised the flower was a thank-you from the mouse. He had made a friend! He felt so happy he began singing. He got up and danced about the cave for joy. He felt so good he waded across
the river, still singing. He couldn’t stop smiling to everyone he met. At first people were suspicious. Was it possible Ug the Thug could really be happy and friendly? Wasn’t he always angry and loud? But in the end they began to believe it must be true, and they smiled back and shook hands with Ug and laughed with happiness too.
And after a time nobody was afraid of him anymore. He left his old, lonely cave behind and came to live with everyone else. He made lots of friends and never felt lonely again. And in the end he was given the name Ug the Hug because that was exactly what he liked doing best.
© 2015 Kenneth Steven