by Ruth J. Burroughs

Snow White decided she would have to go live with the Neanderthals. That was after her step mom, the Queen, had hired someone to try to kill her. At the time, Snow White thought she was going to meet her father to help scrape and cut the meat off a bison and make a nice coat out of the skin. When they came to the glade, the thug could not make himself kill the pretty young girl and let her go, telling her what her stepmother had intended for her.

She found the small cave of the Neanderthals and took a liking to the seven Neanderthal children: Sleepy, Happy, Stumpy, Loopy, Toothy, Knock and Queasy and she spent a lot of time babysitting them. Once she understood their language and listened to their stories she learned their sisters, Funny, Sappy, Mopey , Stupey, Coy, Smarty and Coughy had all been taken by predators the previous year, because the children hadn’t quite got the idea of how to yell when a predator approached. Snow White decided she would teach the boys.

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But in the big cave Snow White’s step mom, looked into a special bowl of water that reflected her great beauty and it often spoke to her telling her that she was the fairest one of them all. Of course there weren’t many humans on the planet to compete against. Now, expecting that her henchman had taken care of Snow White, she waited for it to tell her again how she was the most beautiful in all the land. When the bowl said that Snow White was the fairest one of all, she threw the bowl with all her strength against the floor, smashing it to pieces.

Disguised as an old lady, with fruits to sell, the queen thought she’d go pay Snow White a visit and placed a toxic poison in the apple tart, she hoped would kill the young woman.

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Snow White was having a heck of a time trying to get the kids to alert the clan. So often they just stood there quietly until the saber tooth lion or wolf was nearly on top of them. If the clan happened to be watching they’d holler and run with their cudgels and spears and bashed the crap out of the beast, trying not to hit the kid. Then, the moms would come out with their stone Levalloisian carving knives and scrape off the meat and take the fur for the bedding and cook the meat in the indoor fire. But for now Neanderthals were out hunting Mammoth while Snow White stayed at home alone.

She was surprised to see someone coming up the path, carrying a covered basket. Most of the leaves on the trees had blown off and the old woman wore a fur cape with a hood. In her basket were some nicely baked apple tarts. Snow White bought several. She would keep them for herself, since the Neanderthals didn’t eat much in the way of fruit or vegetables, not like homo sapiens sapiens.

When the old lady departed, Snow White bit into the tart and fell fast asleep. By the time the Neanderthals returned the old lady queen was well gone. When they couldn’t wake Snow White up, they put her on a rock bed and went about the business of making Mammoth oil for their torches and cooking grease.

Many weeks passed and the Queen was delighted for whenever she asked the new magic bowl who was the fairest, it always replied that she was.

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Another group of Neanderthals from the other side of the mountain brought gifts of weapons, furs and meat to Snow White’s adopted clan. Their children played around the sleeping Snow White while the adults tried to make marriage arrangements, since most were reaching mating age at nine or ten. A handsome young Neanderthal prince noticed Snow White lying on the rock bed and kissed her. When he did, a piece of apple tart fell out of her mouth and she woke up. Everyone in the small Mammoth cave rejoiced, Happy, Sleepy, Stumpy, Loopy, Toothy, Knock and Queasy, their parents, their aunts and uncles and their cousins.

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The queen was beside herself with fury. She couldn’t believe the new bowl said Snow White, again. Quickly, she disguised herself as an old woman and climbed up the mountain to the small cave. Dressed in her fur cape and hood she made her way up the mountain path.

Jumping up and down in a very excited manner, Happy pointed at the old lady coming up the path. He grunted and grunted, trying to say something. Finally he yelled, HYENA. Snow White, still too groggy to tell them it wasn’t a hyena, but in fact, her step mother, the queen, come bearing poison fruits, again.

Happy yelled hyena again and again and the men came out with their cudgels and beat the old lady to death. The women came out with their Levalloisian carving knives and chopped up what they thought was a hyena meat and threw it in the camp’s fire, saving the fur skin. Snow White coughed. She was so proud, she said,

“Happy hollered hyena.”

After that day, it became a late fall tradition in the Neanderthal family to celebrate giving gifts of food, dressing up in strange costumes and playing tricks on people who didn’t give out food. We now say Happy Halloween. But in the prehistoric times they said, Happy Hollered Hyena.

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