Usually, at the end of the day we sat; weary, around the camp fire, while the Elder told us a story. He often told the stories of the Old People from the Times Before. The Elder knows many stories of those long-gone people and the Times Before.
The Times Before were strange times, when the people did not wander around the barren lands, seeking some way of surviving. They had places they called homes, built in places called towns and cities where many of them all lived together, many, many more than there are in the tribe now.
When we are trudging through the dust of our days, looking for ways to carry on, some say the Elder makes up all these stories, that there were no Old People from The Times Before at all.
The Elder does not mind their disbelief, does not punish their heresy, although, when he hears such things his lights turn from green to red and stay that way for longer than normal. Usually, the Elder’s lights are always flickering from red to green and back again, except during the hot hours of the sun when we have to turn his mirrored face towards the sun for his meditations.
The Elder says he is getting older and his meditations under the heat of the sun take longer and longer. Sometimes, it takes several hours for that one particular light to turn from red to green and for the Elder to return to us, from wherever it is he goes during those times of meditation.