Адаптированная книга на английском языке «2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke». Аудиокнига на английском.
Very little rain had fallen for a long time, for at least ten million years. Here, in the place that one day would be called Africa, the man-apes of the grasslands were fighting a battle to stay alive, and they were not winning.
About fifty of them lived in caves on the side of a small dry valley. There was a stream running down the middle. If the weather was very hot, its water dried up and the man-apes were thirsty.
When the first light of morning came into the cave, Moon-Watcher saw that his father had died in the night. He did not know that the Old One was his father, because he did not know what a father was. But he felt a little anxious as he dragged the dead body out of the cave. Outside, he did something that no other animal in the world could do — he stood up.
Moon-Watcher was bigger than the others in his group. He was nearly a meter and a half high, though very thin because of the constant hunger. His hairy body was half-way between ape and man. But his head looked quite human. His forehead was low, but there were signs of intelligence in his eyes.
As he walked down the slope, the rest of the group saw him and began to come out of their caves. They moved towards the stream for their morning drink. Moon-Watcher walked on until he found a small bush. He left the body there, knowing that animals would do the rest. He never thought of his father again.
His two females, the adults from the other cave, and most of the young ones were looking for berries among the small trees further up the valley. Only the babies and the very old were left in the caves. If there was any extra food at the end of the day, they might be fed. If not, they would stay hungry.
Moon-Watcher climbed the slope to join the group. After some time he found honey in a dead tree. This did not happen very often, and the group was happy. Of course, they also collected a number of bee stings, but they hardly noticed these. Now, although Moon-Watcher was still hungry, he was not actually weak with hunger. He could not expect more than that.
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