THE OLDEST PICTURES IN THE WORLD
I WAS listening to the teacher， but I had my pencil in my hand. There were two little
dots about an inch apart on my desk lid. Absent-mindedly I twisted my pencil point
into one dot and then into the other. The two dots became two little eyes. I drew a circle around each eye， then I joined the two circles with a half-circle that made a pair of spectacles.
The next day I made a nose and a mouth to go with the eye and spectacles.
The next day I finished the face and added ears and some hair.
The next day I added a hat.
The next day I added a body， with arms， legs， and feet.
The next day I went over the drawing again， bearing heavily on my pencil. Over and
over again I followed the lines till they became deep grooves in my desk lid.
The next day my teacher caught me and I caught it！
The next day my father got a bill for a new desk and I got- Well， never mind what I got.
“Perhaps he’s going to be an artist，” said my mother.
“Heaven forbid！” said my father. “That would cost me much more than a new desk.”
And heaven did forbid.
I know of a school that has a large wooden tablet in the hall for its pupils to draw
upon. At the top of the tablet is printed：
IF YOU JUST MUST DRAW， DON’T DRAW ON YOUR DESK，
DRAW ON THIS TABLET.
If you put a pencil in any one’s hand， he just must draw something. Whether he is
listening to a lesson or telephoning， he draws circles and faces or triangles and squares
over the pad-if there is a pad. Otherwise he draws on the desk top or the wall， for he just must draw something. Have you ever seen any telephone pad that was not scribbled
upon？ We say that’s human nature. It shows you are a human being.
Now， animals can learn to do a good many things that human beings can do， but one
thing an animal can’t learn is to draw. Dogs can learn to walk on two legs and fetch the newspaper. Bears can learn to dance. Horses can learn to count. Monkeys can learn to drink out of a cup. Parrots can learn to speak. But human beings are the only animals
that can learn to draw.
Every boy and girl who has ever lived has drawn something at some time. Haven’t
you？ You have drawn， perhaps， a horse or a house， a ship or an automobile， a dog or a cat. The dog may have looked just like a cat or a cat-erpillar， but even this is more than any animal can do.
Even wild men who lived so long ago that there were no houses. only caves， to live
in-men who were almost like wild animals， with long hair all over their bodies-could
draw. There were no paper or pencils then. Men drew pictures on the walls of their
caves. The pictures were not framed and hung on the walls. They were drawn right on
the walls of the cave and on the ceiling too.
Sometimes the pictures were just scratched or cut into the wall and sometimes they
were painted in afterward. The paints those men used were made of a colored clay
mixed with grease， usually simply red or yellow. Or perhaps the paint was just blood，
which was red at first and then turned almost black. Some of the pictures look as if they had been made with the end of a burned stick as you might make a black mark with the end of a burned match. Other pictures were cut into bone-on the horns of deer or on ivory tusks.
Now， what do you suppose these cave men drew pictures of？ Suppose I asked you to
draw a picture of anything-just anything. Try it. What you have drawn is probably one
of five things. A cat is my first guess， a sail-boat or an automobile is my second， a house is my third guess， a tree or a flower is my fourth， and a person is my fifth. Are there any other kinds？
Well， the cave men drew pictures of only one kind of thing. Not men or women or
trees or flowers or scenery. They drew chiefly pictures of animals. And what kind of
animals， do you suppose？ Dogs？ No， not dogs. Horses？ No， not horses. Lions？ No， not
lions. They were usually big animals and strange animals. But they were pretty well
drawn， so that we know what the animals looked like. Here is a picture a cave man drew
thousands of years ago.
You know it’s a picture of some animal， and it’s not a cat or a caterpillar. It is some animal of the kind they had in those days. It looks like an elephant and it was a kind of elephant-a huge elephant. But its ears were not big like our elephants’ ears and it had long hair. Elephants now have skin or hide， but hardly any hair. This animal we call a mammoth. It had long hair because the country was cold in those days and the hair kept the animal warm. And it was much， much bigger even than our elephants.
There are no mammoths alive now， but men have found their bones and they have put
these bones together to form huge skeletons. We still call any very big thing “mammoth.”
You’ve probably heard of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. It was called Mammoth， not
because mammoths lived in it， because they didn’t， but just because it is such a huge