Issue 54, Summer 1972
1. Dawn in a forest. Pale light in the sky. Woods indistinct. Rustling of leaves, sound of soft, wooden whistles. On a sort of bluff or ledge of stone elevated above the rest there is seen a cloud of smoke drifting up into the sky or trees. The camera reveals the source of smoke—a small fire, banked with damp leaves. It holds on this. Suddenly more leaves are scattered on the fire from beyond the range of the camera, and then several pairs of naked feet are seen. They are caked and painted with a mixture of mud and ash. The feet do a little shuffling step at the edge of the fire—up and down, up and down. The camera pulls back and we see there are more than a dozen men and women, daubed all over with the mud and ash. They wear masks. They lean over the fire inhaling the smoke, which has a narcotic effect. These “mud people” communicate with each other by means of little wooden whistles. They make a soft, tooting kind of tone.
2. Slightly later. The mudmen move along a trail in the forest. They lead one of their members towards a clearing. His wrists are tied with vines and his mask has markings on it to set him apart. The mudmen signal with their whistles and answering whistles from the woods indicate someone is coming to meet them. The mudmen become excited and all start whistling as three or four more come out of the brush. The most important of these is a woman—the Priestess—her mask is painted with designs. She seems to be in command and is deferred to by the others; yet when she comes up to them, a curious thing happens: she turns her back and leans over in a waiting, expectant position. The mudman whose wrists have been tied is led over to the woman. He seizes her and the others in the group close in around them. They have been blowing their whistles up to this point. Now they stop. They continue their shuffling dance step in silence.