Alfred John Church.

Stories of the magicians; Thalaba and the magicians of the Domdaniel, Rustem and the genii, Kehama and his sorceries online

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7





/V,









Thalaba and Oneiza.



STORIES

OF



THE MAGICIANS

THALABA and the MAGICIANS of the DOMDANIEL

RUSTEM and the GENII
K EH AM A and his Sorceries



REV. ALFRED J. CHURCH, M.A.

Professor of Latin in University College, London
Author of tl Stories from Homer "



With Sixteen Illustrations



LONDON

SEELEY & CO., 46, 47 & 48, ESSEX STREET, STRAND
(LATE OF 54, FLEET STREET)

1887

All rights reserved



EDUC.-
PSYCH.
LIBRARY



GIFT



.1



PSYCH.
LIBkAWT



CHAP.
I.



IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.



CONTENTS

THE STORY OF THALABA.

I'AGE

THE MEETING OF THE MAGICIANS I

ASWAD 8

HOW ABDALDAR THE MAGICIAN SOUGHT FOR

THALABA iS

HOW THALABA WENT ON HIS ERRAND ... 2J

HOW THALABA FARED ON HIS JOURNEY ... 36

WHAT THALABA SAW AT BABYLON ... 45

THE PARADISE OF SIN 54

HOW ONEIZA WAS SAVED AND LOST ... 64

THE DELIVERANCE OF THALABA 71

THE MAGIC THREAD 78

LEILA 90

THE SLEDGE AND THE BOAT 99

THE DQOM f ... ... ... 108



731



iv CONTENTS.



THE STORY OF RUSTEM.

CHAP. PAGE

I. OF ZAL, THE FATHER OF RUSTEM 119

II. THE FIRST EXPLOITS OF RUSTEM 133

III. RUSTEM AND HIS HORSE RAKSH 139

IV. RUSTEM FIGHTS WITH AFRASIAB 146

V. HOW KING KAOUS MARCHED AGAINST THE

LAND OF THE GENII 155

VI. THE SEVEN ADVENTURES OF RUSTEM ... 165
VII. THE SEVEN ADVENTURES OF RUSTEM (con-
tinued} 176

VIII. SOHRAB 193

IX. SOHRAB (continued) 204

X. SOHRAB (continued) 213

XI. SOHRAB (continued) 225

XII. THE LAST VICTORY OF RUSTEM 233

XIII. THE DEATH OF RUSTEM 249

THE STORY OF KEHAMA.

I. THE CURSE 259

II. THE GLENDOVEER 265

III. LADURLAD 275

IV. THE ANCIENT TOMBS 281

V. THE REFUGE 293

VI. THE DOOM 303



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

THALABA AND ONEIZA Frontispiece

DANCING GIRLS 60

THE SIMORG IOO

AFREETS 112

MONSTERS 166

RUSTEM SLAYING A DRAGON 170

RUSTEM SLAYING THE WHITE GENIUS 180

THE DEATH OF A SIMORG 234

THE CHASE 252

THE DEATH OF RUSTEM 254

KAILYAL 266

GLENDOVEERS 268

THE OVERTHROW OF RAVANEN 272

KEHAMA 276

KEHAMA'S ARCHERS SHOOTING AT LADURLAD ... 278
CAMDEO... 280



PREFACE.

SOUTHEY'S Oriental Romances, Thalaba the
Destroyer and The Cicrse of Kehama, are,
I suppose, almost wholly unknown to the
younger generation of readers. It must be
confessed that they are not commended by
their metrical form ; but they display great
power of imagination, and convey an admirable
moral. I have tried to tell these two stones in
prose.

I have added the Story of Rustem, greatly
condensed, from Firdausi's Shah-Nameh, or
Book of the Kings. I have availed myself of
M. Jules Mohl's translation from the Persian,
a popular edition of which, in seven octavo
volumes, was published under the care of
Madame Mohl in the years 1876-8. It was
necessary to take some liberties with the story,
for the chief of which I may plead the authority






viii PREFACE.



of Mr. Matthew Arnold, who, in his beautiful
poem of " Sohrab and Rustem," represents the
father as believing that the child born to him
by his Tartar wife is a girl. In Firdausi's
poem he knows that he has a son, but cannot
believe that so young a child can be his
stalwart antagonist.

The illustrations are taken from Persian
and Indian MSS. in the British Museum.

HADLEY GREEN,

Sept. 21, 1886.



THE STORY OF THALABA.

CHAPTER I.

THE MEETING OF THE MAGICIANS.

MANY years ago there was in Arabia a great
Society of very powerful magicians. These by
diligent practice of their art had learnt such
spells that they could do almost what they
would, even to making the sun dark at noon-
day. There was no end to the wickedness
that they did, and the whole country groaned
from the tyranny which they exercised upon
it. These magicians had their chief meeting-
place in a great cave under the sea, which was
called the Domdaniel cavern ; and here, when
this story begins, they were assembled to de-
liberate about a very grave matter. It had
been revealed to them by their art that a child
had been born in Arabia who should destroy



THE STORY OF THALABA.



them and their dwelling, unless indeed they
could first kill him. Further, they had learnt
that this child was the son of a certain
Hodeirah, an Arab chief who lived in the
desert. Knowing this, the heads of the
Society assembled together, and drew lots
who should go to kill Hodeirah and his wife
and children. He had eight children, and as
the magicians did not know who among the
eight should be the Destroyer, it was needful
that all should be slain. One of the Society,
whose name was Okba, drew the lot, and went
immediately to do his errand, and the others
waited till he should return ; and as he could
transport himself by his art in a moment of
time whithersoever he would, they had no need
to wait long.

There were three that sat together in the
cavern ; that is to say, three of greater note
than the rest, namely, Khawla, the witch, and
Lobaba, and Abdaldar. Before these three
burned ten flames, that sprang up from the
rocky floor of the cavern, and burned without
fuel.. One flame was the life of Hodeirah, and
one the life of Zeinab his wife, and there was a



THE MEETING OF THE MAGICIANS.



flame for the life of each of his eight children.
" Burn flames," cried Abdaldar, " burn while
the race of Hobdeirah lives." As they looked
the flames began to grow dim and to waver.
" Curse on him ! " cried Khawla the witch, "curse
on Okba's hasty hand ! The fool has failed ;
eight only are gone out."

So saying, she turned to inquire of the
Teraph, or oracle, which the magicians had set
up in their cave. This oracle was the head
of a child, fixed on a plate of gold, and on the
plate was written the name of an evil spirit.
Only the eyes had life, and the mouth could
speak. " Tell me," she said, " is the fire gone
out that threatens the race of the magicians ? "

The head answered, " The fire yet lives."

At that moment came Okba, bearing in his
hand a dagger dripping with blood. " See the
flames, Okba," said Khawla the witch. " See
how they burn ; and you know that while they
burn, we are in danger. Did your heart fail
you ? Could you not see ? A curse on your
weakness."

" Khawla," said Okba, " you should have
known me better. Eight times I struck, and



THE STORY OF THALABA.



I struck home ; there needed no second blow.
But when I would have struck the ninth time,
there came a cloud about me, and my eyes
could see nothing. I struck through the cloud
with my dagger, and the dagger was driven
back upon myself, and I heard a voice that
said, ' Cease, son of Perdition. Thou canst
not change what is written in the book of
fate.' "

Then Khawla turned again to the oracle.
" Tell me," she said, " where our enemy is
hidden."

The dead lips answered, " I behold the sea,
and I behold the land, but the boy is neither
on the sea nor on the land."

Lobaba said, " A power that is mightier than
we are protects him ; but see ! one of the Fires
burns dim ! see, it quivers ! it goes out ! "

As he spoke, the ninth fire went out ; and
only the tenth was left, a pale blue flame that
seemed to tremble on the floor, as if the dark-
ness would have swallowed it up. But while
the magicians looked it grew and grew and
spread over all the space where the ten had
been. And from thence it extended itself



THE MEETING OF THE MAGICIANS. 5

over the whole cave, so that the eyes of the
Teraph, which before had shone so brightly,
were dim in comparison with it ; and the faces
of the magicians were ghastly pale as they
looked at it.

Khawla was the first that regained her
courage. She called up the chief of the evil
spirits that were her servants, and said, " Tell
me, Spirit, where lives the boy whose life is
in the fire that burns before us ? "

The Spirit said, " I cannot see him either on
the sea or on the earth. Ask some believing
spirit ; I cannot answer thee."

" Bring Hodeirah," said Khawla ; and, in a
moment, so mighty were her spells, the dead
man was laid at her feet, with the blood not
yet clotted on his wound, and in his hand the
sword which he had grasped in his death.

"Art thou in Paradise ?" said Khawla, "or
art thou under the throne of Allah ? Wherever
thou art, thou shalt hear my voice and obey."

And she muttered spells so terrible and so
strong that Heaven itself trembled to hear
them. And as she muttered them, the eye-
balls began to roll and the lips to quiver. She



THE STORY OF THALABA.



rejoiced to see that her spells had such power,
and cried, " Hodeirah, tell me where is thy
son?"

Hodeirah groaned and shut his eyes.
" Speak ! " cried Khawla again. " Answer me,
or thou shalt live for hundreds of years in
torture."

Hodeirah cried, " God deliver me from this
agony." " Speak !" cried Khawla again, and
snatched a viper from the ground and lashed
him with it. But in that moment Allah heard
his prayer, and Khawla had nothing but a corpse
on which to wreak her rage. Then the fire spread
from its place, and wrapped the body about with
flames, and consumed both flesh and bones.
But the sword was left. Then Khawla said,
" The boy must be slain ; but before he can
be slain, he must be found. Let us draw lots
who shall go and seek for him."

So they took the arrows of chance, and held
them loosely in their hands with their points
towards the flame. In a little time the arrow
which Abdaldar held began to point to him.
So the task fell to the lot of Abdaldar. He
was to search through every tribe that dwelt



THE MEETING OF THE MAGICIANS. 7

in Arabia ; not a solitary tent was he to leave
unvisited till the boy should be found.

But how should he know the boy ? The
way that he contrived was this. He had a
wonderful ring upon his finger, and in the
ring a stone that was more wonderful still.
It was made of dew that had been frozen
in the very beginning of the world, and had
lain with the whole weight of the Caucasus
mountains upon it till it had become as blue
as the sea. With this ring Abdaldar approached
the fire, and caused by his spells that a spark
of it should enter into the stone, for he knew
that when he should put his hand having this
ring on it upon the boy, the spark of fire would
go out of the stone. For, being a part of the
Boy's life, it would join itself at once to that to
which it belonged. So Abdaldar set about his
search.



THE STORY OF THALABA.



CHAPTER II.

ASWAD.

WHERE then was Thalaba that the Spirit could
not see him either on the land or on the sea ?
When Hodeirah and his children were slain by
Okba the Magician, Zeinab fled into the desert
with Thalaba, the one son that was left to her,
a lad of some twelve years of age. It was
night, and she wandered on, not knowing where
she was going or what she should do.

" Mother," said Thalaba, " tell me who slew
my father ? "

" I know not," answered Zeinab, " I did not
think that he had an enemy."

"Well, I will hunt him through the world.
Already I can bend my father's bow, and I shall
soon have strength to drive an arrow into his
heart."



AS WAD.



"All that is far in the future, my son ; but
now we are in the desert."

And she looked round, but could not see
even a tree ; only the dark blue sky closing
them round on every side like a great dome.
She thought to herself, " Why were we saved ?
we shall die here of hunger and thirst ; " and
she sat down and wept over the boy.

A moment after he cried out in wonder, and
Zeinab lifted up her head, and saw before her
a great palace in the midst of a wood. The
trees were such that the very cedars of Lebanon
could not match them, and the palace more
splendid than any that had ever been built in
Egypt or Babylon or Rome. The two went
into the wood, and walked on till, under the
shade of a mimosa tree, they saw a young man
lying on a couch. He had been asleep, but
woke at the sound of their steps, and looked
with wonder at the new-comers.

" Forgive us," said Zeinab, " distress has
made me bold. Help us ; God blesses them
that help the widow and the fatherless."

"Thank God," said the young man, "that
I hear a^ain a human voice. But tell me, who



io THE STORY OF THALABA.



are you that you have found your way into this
place which no foot of man has trodden for
ages?"

" Yesterday," said Zeinab, " I was a happy
wife and mother. To-day I am a widow, and
of my children this only is left."

" Heaven has surely guided you hither,"
cried the young man, " and lifted the veil which
has hidden this place for many ages from the
eyes of men. But hear my tale."

"This is the Paradise of Irem which King
Shedad built in his pride. In the days of my
youth this was a populous land and rich. The
tribe of Ad inhabited it, and there was none
whose sons were braver or daughters more fair.
My name then was Aswad what ages have
passed since I heard it ! I was of noble birth
and rich. My father had a hundred horses in
his stables ; as for the number of his camels it
was not known. We were prosperous and
powerful, but alas ! we worshipped idols, and
we mocked the prophets of God when they
bade us turn from our evil ways and repent.

" King Shedad conceived in his heart the
desire to make a garden in the wilderness more



AS WAD. ii



beautiful than the Garden of Eden, and to build
in the middle of the Garden a palace which
should surpass all the palaces upon earth. For
this palace gold mines were exhausted, and
precious stones, diamonds, and emeralds and
rubies and sapphires were gathered from all the
world, and ebony, that strange tree which has
neither fruit nor leaves, but grows under the
earth, where it is discovered by its scent. In
the garden there were all the flowers that are
known in the world. The trees Shedad trans-
planted full grown, for he was not content to
wait. And in every walk of the garden there
were marble statues of chiefs and heroes.
Long since the statues have become mere
shapeless lumps of stone, but the trees and the
flowers remain, for the care of nature has per-
petuated them. When the palace and the
garden were finished, there came a great
drought upon the country of the children of Ad.
For three years there was no rain, till the wells
were dried up. We prayed for rain, but we
prayed to our idols ; and it was all in vain.
There was neither rain nor dew. At last the
King sent a messenger, Kail by name, to the



12 THE STORY OF THALABA.

Red Hillock at Mecca, thinking that the gods
would hear our prayers more readily from there.
And all the while the prophet Houd, who was
a messenger of the true God, continued to
warn us, crying, ' Turn, ye men of Ad, from the
wrath to come ; ' but we gave no heed to him.

" At this time it chanced that my father died,
and was buried. At his grave, after the custom
of the country, we tied a camel, and left it to
die, that when the resurrection came, he might
find it ready to mount. It was his favourite
beast, and it had carried me often when I was
a child, and one day as I passed by, it knew
me, and turned its eye upon me. Sunk it was
and dim, for the beast was nearly dead of
hunger. I could not bear to see it, and taking
my knife, I cut the rope, and let it go free,
thinking that there was no man near to see what
I did. But Houd the prophet saw me, and said,
' Blessed art thou, young man, for this good
deed. In the day of visitation, God will
remember thee.'

" And, indeed, the day of visitation was at
hand. King Shedad had now finished building
his palace. So he sent out his commands that



ASWAD. 13



all his people, men and women, young and old,
masters and slaves alike, should come and see
his palace, and keep a great feast. On the day
appointed they all came. Their tents upon the
sands of the desert were as many as the waves
of the sea. And the King went up to the top
of the highest tower of the palace that he had
built, and showed himself. When the people
saw him they shouted, ' He is a God ! He
is a God ! '

" Then in the wantonness of his heart he
commanded that the Prophet Houd should be
brought. He led the man of God through
all the courts with their columns of many-
coloured marbles, and the rooms shining with
gold and jewels. ' Hast thou ever seen such a
sight as this ? ' he said. * They say that Heaven
has made thee wiser than other men. Canst thou
then tell the value of these things ? ' Houd the
prophet answered, ' O Shedad, only in the hour
of death can a man value such things.'

" But the pride of the King was not one whit
abated. ' Hast thou fault to find with the
building ? '

" The prophet said, ' The walls are weak, for



14 THE STORY OF THALABA.



Azrael, the Angel of Death can enter in. The
building is ill-secured, for the Icy Wind, which
nothing that lives can endure, can pierce it.'

" The King's face fell, and his lips were pale
with anger.

" Then he led the Prophet to the top of the
tower, and pointed to the multitude ; and when
they shouted again, ' He is a God ! He is a
God ! ' he asked, ( Say, Prophet, do they not
speak the truth ? '

" The Prophet said not a word, but when he
looked at that great multitude he wept. As he
looked there went up a great cry of joy. * The
messenger is come ! Kail has returned from
Mecca, and he brings back the boon which he
sought.' Then we went out, and looked up to
the sky, and there was a deep black cloud over
our heads. All the people looked up and blest
the coming rain. Meanwhile the messenger
told his tale to the King.

" ' I went to Mecca, and knelt at the Red
Hillock, and prayed to God for rain. And
when I had finished my prayer, I saw three
clouds in the sky. One was white like the
clouds that hang over the sky at noon ; and one



AS WAD.



was red, like the clouds that have caught the
last rays of the sun in the evening, and the
third was black and heavy with its load of rain.
As I looked, there came a voice from Heaven,
* Choose, Kail, one of these three.' So I chose
the black cloud that was heavy with rain.'

" ' You chose right,' said the King. And
all the people shouted ' Right ! ' But the
Prophet stood up and cried, ' Woe to the
children of Ad, for death is gone up into her
palaces ! ' Then he turned to the multitude
and said, l Fly from the wrath to come, ye
who would save your souls alive, for strong is
the hand that holds the bow, and His arrows
err not from their mark ! '

" Then a few faithful souls came out from
the throng and followed him. But the rest
answered him with laughter or with curses.
And when he was about to depart with the
faithful few, he looked back and his eye fell on
me. He called me by my name, ' Aswad ! '
I heard him and trembled. Again he said,
' Aswad ! ' and I had almost followed ; but I
was afraid of the laughter of my friends, and I
stayed, and the opportunity was lost.



i6 THE STORY OF THALABA.

" When the Prophet had departed the cloud
grew blacker and blacker. At length it
opened, but there was no rain there, only the
Icy Wind of Death. Thousands and tens of
thousands fell all around me, till the King and
all his people had perished ; and I was left
alone. Then there came a voice, * Aswad, in the
day of visitation God hath remembered thee ! '

" I tried to go forth from the scene of death.
The way was open and I could see no barrier,
but there was a chain round the place that I
could not pass. Twice I attempted to pass.
The third time the Voice said, ' Aswad, be
content, and bless the Lord. Repent of thy
misdeeds, and when thy soul is prepared,
breathe thy wish to die,- and Azrael shall
come."

" And here I have lived since that day, I
know not for how many ages. I have heard
no sound but of the fountain as it rises and
falls, and of the tree as it whispers in the wind.
My clothing has not grown old, and my sandal
is not worn upon my foot. But sinner that I
am, I dare not ask to die."

This was the tale that Aswad told. Zeinab



ASWAD. 17



said, " You are blessed, Aswad. The Lord
who has saved you from destruction will call
you when He sees fit. But oh, that when I
wished to die Azrael might come for me !
This very hour would I go to Hodeirah and
my children ! "

As she spoke there was heard the rushing of
wings, and Azrael stood beside the three. His
face was dark and solemn, and indeed he never
smiles, but it was not stern. " Zeinab," he
said, "thy prayer is heard. As wad, thy hour
is come." When they heard him speak, they
fell upon the ground and blessed the voice.
" Me too ! me too ! " cried Thalaba, " O angel
of Death, take me too ! "

"Son of Hodeirah," said the angel, "it is
not thine hour. Thou art chosen to do the
will of Heaven, to avenge thy father's death,
and to do the mightiest work that ever was
done by man. Live and remember this :
" Destiny hath marked thee from mankind."
In a moment he was gone. And when
Thalaba looked round him, the palace and the
gardens had vanished away, and he was alone
in the desert.

3



i8 THE STORY OF THALABA.



CHAPTER III.

HOW ABDALDAR THE MAGICIAN SOUGHT FOR
THALABA.

ABDALDAR travelled over all Arabia, searching
for Thalaba. From tribe to tribe, from town
to town, even from tent to tent he passed.
When he rose in the morning the wish to find
the lad was the first that came into his mind,
and when he lay down to sleep it was the last
thing that he thought. Even in his dreams it
was with him : many times did he come upon
some lad whose look and bearing seemed to be
such as the fated youth should have ; but when
he had warily applied the ring to him, the fire
in the ring still burned, and he knew that he
had not finished his search.

At last, when the year was nearly ended, he
came to a solitary tent, the cords of which were
stretched in a grove of palms. The grove



ABDALDAR SOUGHT FOR THALABA. 19

stood in the middle of the desert, like an island
in the middle of the sea. There he saw a girl
standing under a palm, holding out her apron
and looking up to a boy who had climbed into
the tree, and was clinging with one arm to the
trunk, while with the other he pulled and
threw down clusters of dates. Abdaldar
approached the tree. He leant upon his staff,
and sweat stood upon his forehead. He
looked like a venerable old man, somewhat
wearied with his day's journey.

"Will it please you to give me some food ? "
he said.

The girl offered him dates from her lap, and
the boy ran to the tent and fetched him a
draught of water. Meanwhile the master of
the tent, Moath by name, came out and saluted
the stranger, and bade them spread a meal
for the traveller. They spread it under a
Tamarind tree, rice as white as snow, and
dates, and figs, and water from the well. The
girl also brought water in which she had
steeped the acid fruit of the Tamarind. No
one who had drunk of this would wish for wine,
so refreshing is it. She blushed for joy when



THE STORY OF THALABA.



the stranger praised it and drank again.
Meanwhile the boy had fetched a melon. He
had made a hole in the rind days before, and
had closed the wound with wax ; and now all
the pulp had been changed into a most delicious
liquid. This he offered to the guest.

Abdaldar ate and was satisfied. And as he
ate he talked of his travels, for he had seen
many countries in his life. Moath sat pleased
to listen to him ; and the girl listened as she
took away the dishes, standing with her hands
full to hear what he might next say. But none
listened so eagerly as Thalaba ; and to Thalaba
the traveller with seeming kindness chiefly
addressed his talk. With round eyes and open
mouth the boy sat, and, that he might not lose
a word of such delightful talk, came close to
the old man. And he, as if in familiar mood,
laid his hand on Thalaba's arm, and in a
moment the fire out of the ring had fled.

Abdaldar grew pale with joy, for his search
was ended. But at the very moment Moath
said, " It is the hour of prayer. Let us first
make our ablutions, and afterwards praise the
Lord."



HOW ABDALDAR SOUGHT FOR THALABA. 2;



The boy fetched water from the well ; and
they made their ablutions according to the law,
and bent their heads to the earth in prayer.

Abdaldar did not bend his head, but stood
over Thalaba with his dagger in his hand.
But before the arm which he had lifted to strike
had the power to descend, the Simoom, the
deadly wind of the desert, blew. Moath and
Thalaba and the girl, Oneiza, did not feel it,
for they were prostrate in prayer ; but it smote
Abdaldar ; and when they rose, they saw the
traveller lying dead with the dagger in his hand.

When they were about to bury the Magician,
Thalaba spied a ring upon his finger and said,


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

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