A young man in a cave-dwelling, Stone Age culture learns that there's more to leadership than brute strength. For most of his 13 summers, Seth has been happy; though his leg is crippled, his father Magli has trained him to think, to be Teller-of-Stories, and someday to be headman of the Lion People. When Magli is deposed, Seth must endure the taunts of Nar, son of the new leader, Grunn. It's a time of new things: Seth discovers whistling and half-tames a wild dog; his friend Esu invents a crutch. Meanwhile, travelers bring stories of towns beyond the mountains; under Magli's tutelage, the Lion People were beginning to emerge from their hunting culture, but Grunn wants to go back to nomadic ways. At last, his hostility forces Seth to leave. He happens on peaceful goatherders who invite him to settle his tribe nearby. Dazzled by their town, bows, and art, Seth moves on reluctantly; then a sense of responsibility draws him back to the place of the Lion People, where--without fighting--he persuades them all, even Grunn, to follow him. Pryor makes no special effort to be realistic, but she does hold interest by embellishing her story with such excitements as charging animals, natural disasters, and hair's-breadth escapes, and provides a theme that more reflective readers will readily absorb.