The Guardian of the Idol (fragment). Originally an unfinished 700-word manuscript, with a synopsis. There is also a version completed by Gerald W. Page.

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The story

In this draft, Gorm is captured and bound beside the altar stone of the River People, a group distinct from his Bison People. These River People are preparing him for sacrifice, having already branded him with a symbol on his chest. Their village is situated on a peninsula by a great river, surrounded by a palisade of pointed logs. The altar, a flat rock atop a heap of stones, is in the village center, surrounded by fires.

During a ritualistic dance, Gorm seizes an opportunity to escape when a flaming brand falls near him and partially burns through his bindings. He uses the brand to fight off the villagers, snapping his bonds with his strength amplified by pain, and flees towards the palisade. As he attempts to escape, arrows are shot at him by the River People.

Comparison with the Synopsis

The draft of “The Guardian of the Idol” presents a different perspective on the story than the synopsis, focusing on a character named Gorm of the Bison People, rather than a Cro-Magnon man.

  • Protagonist: The synopsis centers on a Cro-Magnon named Gorm, while the draft features Gorm of the Bison People.
  • Captor Tribe: The River People in the draft are different from the Neolithic people in the synopsis. The River People’s description and the setting of their village vary between the two.
  • Escape and Recovery: The synopsis includes Gorm’s escape by leaping into a river and subsequent recovery in the forest, whereas the draft ends with Gorm’s initial escape attempt from the River People.
  • Objective: In the synopsis, Gorm seeks revenge by destroying the Neolithic idol, but the draft does not extend to this part of the story.
  • Overall Tone and Detail: The draft provides a more vivid and detailed description of Gorm’s capture and the ritualistic setting among the River People, focusing more on Gorm’s immediate experience and less on his broader quest.


  • Gorm: A tall, broad-shouldered man with grey eyes and tawny hair, representing the Bison People. He is the protagonist, captured and nearly sacrificed by the River People.
  • The River People: A dark-skinned, bushy-haired tribe that captures and prepares to sacrifice Gorm. They live in a village on a peninsula and practice a primitive form of worship.

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