The Acorn-planter: A California Forest Play/Argument

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Argument[edit]

     In the morning of the world, while his tribe
     makes its camp for the night in a grove, Red
     Cloud, the first man of men, and the first man
     of the Nishinam, save in war, sings of the duty
     of life, which duty is to make life more abundant.
     The Shaman, or medicine man, sings of
     foreboding and prophecy. The War Chief, who
     commands in war, sings that war is the only
     way to life. This Red Cloud denies, affirming
     that the way of life is the way of the acorn-
     planter, and that whoso slays one man slays
     the planter of many acorns. Red Cloud wins
     the Shaman and the people to his contention.

     After the passage of thousands of years, again
     in the grove appear the Nishinam. In Red
     Cloud, the War Chief, the Shaman, and the
     Dew-Woman are repeated the eternal figures
     of the philosopher, the soldier, the priest, and
     the woman--types ever realizing themselves
     afresh in the social adventures of man. Red
     Cloud recognizes the wrecked explorers as
     planters and life-makers, and is for treating
     them with kindness. But the War Chief and
     the idea of war are dominant The Shaman
     joins with the war party, and is privy to the
     massacre of the explorers.

     A hundred years pass, when, on their seasonal
     migration, the Nishinam camp for the night in
     the grove. They still live, and the war formula
     for life seems vindicated, despite the imminence
     of the superior life-makers, the whites, who are
     flooding into California from north, south, east,
     and west--the English, the Americans, the
     Spaniards, and the Russians. The massacre by
     the white men follows, and Red Cloud, dying,
     recognizes the white men as brother acorn-planters,
     the possessors of the superior life-formula
     of which he had always been a protagonist.

     In the Epilogue, or Apotheosis, occur the
     celebration of the death of war and the triumph
     of the acorn-planters.