FRANCE LONG AGO
HE beautiful stretch of land bounded by the Rhine, the
Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees, and the
Atlantic Ocean was once a wild extent of forests and
swamps, inhabited by men of a strange race.
These first settlers were so rough and uncivilized that
they dwelt in caves, or in round huts which they built
from leafy branches. They gathered nuts, berries, and
 other fruits wherever they grew, and with sharp stones
or shells they dug up roots which they ate raw. They
made stone arrowheads and spearheads, which they used
in hunting all kinds of animals, such as the mammoth,
the cave bear, and especially a species of wild or
which no longer exists.
The woods were full of game in those early days, and
the rivers and streams were alive with fish, which the
people caught and ate raw, or dried for future use. The
dress of these savages was made of the skins of the
animals they had slain, pinned together with big
thorns, skewers of hard wood, or sharp fishbones.
What became of the cave men, no one knows. Later
settlers were dark-haired Iberians and fair-haired
Celts, who knew how to plant, keep cattle, cook their
food, and make pottery. They were divided into many
great families, or tribes, each of which formed a
little nation by itself. As each tribe wished to have
the best fishing and hunting grounds, and the best
pastures, all its members were ready to fight any one
else so as to win and keep them.
These early peoples had a religion of their own, and
believed in life after death. Therefore they buried
their dead in caves or rough stone tombs, placing
beside them the weapons, ornaments, and clothing which
they thought the dead would need in their new life.
They also left in the tombs supplies of food in earthen
vessels, so that the dead might have provisions enough
for their journey to a better world, and be able to
begin their new lives there comfortably. Of course most
of the bodies thus buried fell in time into dust; but a
few were laid in such dry
 caves or tombs that their
remains were found hundreds of years later, still well
Human skeletons, bones of animals and fishes, stone
weapons, bone combs, earthen vessels, ornaments, and
even shreds of garments have been discovered in such
places, and are now carefully treasured in museums.
Thus people of the present day can see for themselves
what tools, weapons, and household articles these
savages used, and can imagine how they lived long years