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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the soul itself through the wrappings of mor-
tality, and see that it is beautiful, so long as
it is free from sin."

But where is the Glendoveer ?

He is gone in search of Seeva's throne, to
tell before the very seat of supreme power his
tale of wrong. How shall he find it ? Do
not the wise men say that when Brahma and
Veshnoo contended for the pre-eminence, Seeva
ended their strife, standing before them in his
might like a mighty column of which they
could not see the height or depth ; that for
a thousand years Veshnoo explored the depth,
and Brahma for as long sought to reach the
height, and neither found an end ; and that,
trembling and adoring, the rivals owned their
lord ? How shall the Glendoveer accomplish
that which Brahma and Veshnoo failed to do ?
How shall he pass the seven worlds that, each
with its own ocean, compass the mighty throne ?.



THE REFUGE. 295



How shall he pierce the golden firmament that
closes all within itself? Yet, he has done it;
faith has given him power ; space and time are
as nothing to him. He journeys on till Seeva's
seat appears, till he comes to Mount Calasay.

Seven ladders of silver stood around the
mountain. So high they were that no one
could see their top, and that worlds would
decay with age before any one could climb from
ring to ring ; but the Glendoveer, his wings
nerved with the strong power of faith, has
climbed the highest, and reached the plain, the
sanctuary above.

Then he lifted up his voice and spoke.

" There is oppression in the world below ;
earth groans beneath the yoke, and asks whether
the avenger's e)re is blinded that it cannot see.
Holy One, awake! for mercy's sake put on thy
terror, and, in justice to mankind, strike the
blow ! "

As he prayed thus, he felt his faith grow
stronger and stronger in his heart. Then he
spoke again

"Let me not seek in vain, great Seeva!
Thou art not here for how should this con-



296 THE STORY OF KEHAMA.

tain thee ? Thou art not here for how could
I endure thy presence ? But thou art every-
where, and they who seek shall find."

When he had finished his prayer he sprang
up, and struck the great silver bell which hung
self-suspended above the plain. It gave forth
in answer a deep melodious sound, and in a
moment Mount Calasay and the table and the
bell itself vanished away like a dream. But
as he fell through space, the Glendoveer heard
a voice from within, which said

" Go, ye who suffer, go to the throne of
Yamen ; he hath a remedy for every sorrow ;
all that is wrong he setteth right."

Returning to earth, the Glendoveer found
Ladurlad and Kailyal where the great Rajah
had left them.

Stretching out her hand to warn him against
nearer approach, the maiden said : " Strange
things have befallen us, dear Ereenia, since
you left us. The Almighty Man has sued for
peace. It is written on my forehead, he says,
that he and I, alone of all mortals, must drink
the Amreeta cup of immortality. And so he
would have had me share his throne in the



THE REFUGE. 297



paradise of Swerga. I need not tell you my
answer. You see here in this leprosy his re-
venge.' 1

The Glendoveer answered : " Be sure, dear
maiden dearer now than ever be sure that
he has not read the book of fate aright. Did
he say the Amreeta cup? So far, doubtless,
he has been able to discover the secret of the
future ; for fate reveals some things, and some
she hides. To Yamen we must go ; this is
Seeva's own decree. It is he, the righteous
power of death, who will redress our wrongs ;
and it is Yamen who keeps the Amreeta cup."

So the Glendoveer and Ladurlad and Kailyal
went, obedient to Seeva's command, along the
dreary road which leads to the dwelling of
Yamen. Many days they journeyed, till they
came to where the outer ocean encompasses
the earth. Not like other seas was this ocean,
rather like an abyss on whose brink they stood ;
for it was hidden in a darkness which the sun
could not pierce, and in which neither moon
nor stars were to be seen.

In a creek of this strange sea there lay at
anchor a ship as strange, to convey these pil-



298 THE STORY OF KEHAMA.

grims across the deep. Its sides were leaky,
and let in the waves ; its mast was broken, and
its one sail tattered. But it was useless to
delay upon the shore. And, indeed, there
sounded through the darkness an awful voice,
bidding them embark. So, with a prayer for
protection, they. took their seats. Self-hoisted,
the sail spread itself to the wind ; hands that
they could not see loosed the cable, and so they
started on their voyage, leaving the day behind
them.

The ship sped swift as an arrow across the
sea ; and as it sped Ladurlad felt the curse
leave his heart and his brain, and Kailyal was
free again of the hideous defilement of the
leprosy. " The Almighty Man has no dominion
here," she cried.

Reaching the other shore, they found the
gulf which was the road to the dwelling of
Yamen. Round its brink stood the souls of
the dead ; and ever and anon the Genii who
are the ministers of the god rose out of the
darkness, and catching those souls whose hour
was come that they should be judged, plunged
with them into the deep.



THE REFUGE. 299



" Those Genii," said the Glendoveer to La-
durlad, " wonder to see us here ; but they come
for the dead and not for us. Fear them not.
A little while you must be left alone, while I
bear your daughter down to Yamen's seat."

So speaking he took Kailyal in his arms,
and saying, " Beloved, be of good courage ;
it is I ! " plunged into the darkness of the
gulf.

Padalon, the abode of death, had eight gates,
and at each gate a heavenly guard, always at
his post. At one of these gates the Glendoveer
laid his charge, who, pale and cold with fear,
hung an almost lifeless weight about his neck.

" Who art thou," said the guardian, " son of
light, that comest at this portentous hour, when
Yamen's throne is trembling, and we can scarcely
hinder the rebel race from seizing Padalon ?
Who art thou, and why bringest thou hither
this mortal maid, fitter for the Swerga than for
this doleful scene ? "

" Lord of the gate," said the Glendoveer,
" we come in obedience to Seeva's high com-
mand. He, to whom the secrets of the future
are known, bade us come hither. We should



300 THE STORY OF K EH AM A.

find justice, he said, by Yamen's throne. And
now I leave this maiden under thy charge ;
keep her, while I mount to bring her father
down."

Then turning to Kailyal : " Be brave ; I
shall be here anon," and spreading his wings
for flight, sprang up.

For a moment the maiden stood gazing after
him, with straining eyes and outstretched arms.
She would fain have called him back ; but,
gathering up all her courage, she checked the
cry, and crossing her patient arms, sat at the
feet of the guardian of the gate, prepared to
meet what the will of the gods might bring.

The guardian's brow relaxed as he looked
upon her ; and hope, long unfelt in his heart,
revived. " Now may the blessing of the
Powers of Padalon be on thee!" he cried; "and
blessed be the hour which gave thee birth !
Thou hast brought hope, too long a stranger,
to these drear abodes ; for surely Nature can-
not have made thee to be aught but an in-
heritor of heaven."

And he looked at the maiden with a smile,
thinking that Seeva had sent her to be the



THE REFUGE. 301



messenger of hope and deliverance from
Kehama's unrighteous power.

Meanwhile the Glendoveer had returned,
bringing Ladurlad with him. And the three
stand before the gate.

" Guardian of the gate," said the Glen-
doveer, " I come, as I have said, by Seeva's
own command ; tell me the way to Yamen's
throne."

" Bring forth the chariot," said the guardian.

And the chariot was brought, self-moving,
poised upon a single wheel. And next two
mantles were brought, white and shining as
snow. In these father and child were arrayed ;
for so only could their mortal flesh and blood
endure the way.

So the three mounted the chariot, and it
rolled through the gate of Padalon, and went
on its way till it came to Yamen's palace.
The guards who kept the palace gave way
before it, till it brought them to the very
presence of the god.

On a marble sepulchre he sat, and at his
feet the righteous Baly had his judgment-seat.
Before him three human figures supported a



302 THE STORY OF KEHAMA.

golden throne, with their hands outspread, and
their shoulders bowed beneath the weight.
A vacant place was left, which a fourth bearer
was yet to fill.

Alighting from the car, the Glendoveer did
homage to the god ; then, raising his head,
said : " We come as suppliants to thy throne.
We need not tell thee the wrongs for which
we seek redress. Thou knowest them al-
ready. We come by Seeva's own command."

" It is well," said Yamen ; " the hour is near
when fate will reveal its secrets. Not lightly
did the Wisest send his suppliants hither, where
we, in doubt and fear, attend the awful issue.
Wait ye, also, in faith and patience for the End."



CHAPTER VI.

THE DOOM.

As Yamen spoke, there fell a sudden silence
throughout the doleful region of death, a
silence more awful than all the cries of lamen-
tation and despair which had been heard
before. Then through the silence there was
heard an unwonted sound, that grew deeper
as it advanced. It was the sound of Kehama's
approach, for now all the rites of sacrifice and
penance had been accomplished, and he came
in the fulness of his power to seize on the
throne of Padalon.

In all his might and majesty he came ; and,
by the attribute of deity which he had won
from heaven, he came self-multiplied, assailing
the fortress of Yamen on every side at once.
At each of the eight gates he stood at one



304 THE STORY OF KEHAMA.

and the same time, and beat down the eight
guardians under his feet, and then in his
brazen chariots of triumph drove through
each gate at the same moment. Each chariot
was drawn by a hundred aulays, creatures
bigger than the biggest elephant, ten yokes
of ten abreast. So he passed on in his
strength to the throne of Yamen himself.

Then Yamen put forth all his strength to
do battle with his enemy. A darkness, thicker
than the blackest night, concealed their strife ;
but, when it cleared away, it was seen that the
might of sacrifice had prevailed. The Rajah
was triumphant ; and absorbing again his many
shapes into one, he took his seat on the marble
sepulchre, with the conquered Yamen's neck
under his feet.

He sat silent, a smile upon his lips, dallying
with his power, as a guest at some rich banquet
sips once and again from the goblet before
he drains it. Before him stood the golden
throne. He could not choose but see it, and
seeing it could not but wonder.

" Who are ye," he cried, " that in such
torment bear this throne of gold ? And why



THE DOOM. 305



are ye but three ? And for whom is the fourth
place reserved ? "

The first bearer said : " I was the first of
men to heap superfluous wealth, adding store
to store which I needed not,"

The second said : "I was the first of men
to usurp power that was not mine, to set up
a throne as king and conqueror."

The third said : " I was the first of men that
imposed upon mankind a tale of falsehood in
the name of God. Here we have stood for
ages tormented, and still we are but three.
A fourth will come to share our torment, to
bear at yonder vacant corner his portion of
the burden. Thus it has been appointed ;
and he must be equal in guilt to us. Come,
Kehama, we have waited for thee too long."

And all three took up the words like a
choral song : " Kehama, Almighty Man, we
have waited for thee too long!"

A laugh of wondering pride burst from him.
He deigned to make no reply ; but, with an
altered look, he turned to Kailyal. " Maiden,"
he said, " thou seest how idle it is to seek
escape from the devices of fate. Thou hast

21



306 THE STORY OF KEHAMA.

fled to Yamen's throne, and lo ! I am here.
We two are destined to share the Amreeta
cup of immortality. Then join thy hand in
mine with a willing heart."

" It cannot be," said she. " Almighty as
thou art, still the heart and will are free."

" Once more bethink thee," said the Rajah.
" Take thy seat upon this throne, Kehama's
willing bride, and I will place all the kingdoms
of the world beneath thy father's feet. Refuse,
and he shall stand for ever its fourth supporter."

" I have spoken," said Kailyal ; and Ladurlad
caught her proudly in his arms.

" Bring forth the Amreeta cup," said Kehama
to Yamen.

" It is within the sepulchre," replied the god ;
"bid it be opened."

" Give up thy treasure," cried the Almighty'
Man to the marble sepulchre ; and at his word
it opened wide, and showed a huge skeleton
within holding the cup in its hand.

" Give me the cup," Kehama cried again ;
and, obedient to his word, the ghastly shape
arose, and gave the Amreeta into the Rajah's
hands.



THE DOOM. 307



" Drink," it said ; " for thee only and for
Kailyal, of all the children of mankind, is the
cup designed by Fate."

" This is the end," cried, with heart elate, the
Almighty Man. " Now have I triumphed over
death. Henceforth I wage war with thee,
Seeva, on equal terms, a god against a god."

And he raised to his lips the fatal bowl.

Thus far the Glendoveer had stood, still strong
in faith, even when he saw the Lord of Padalon
beaten down under the Rajah's feet. He had
hoped to see Seeva put forth his destroying
might. But now, when he saw Kehama stand
with the cup in his hand, he resolved to dare
the conflict. But, as he sprang forward, the
skeleton barred his way, and from the throne of
gold the three renewed their strain : " Kehama,
come ; we wait for thee too long."

In the madness of his wickedness, not know-
ing the mystery of the cup, that its quality is
as the lips that drink it, a blessing to the good,
a curse to the evil, Kehama drank.

Then Seeva opened on the accursed man his
eye of wrath. He shuddered, but it was too
late ; the deed was done. He is immortal now,



308 THE STORY OF K EH AM A.

and immortal he must remain. The Amreeta
runs like a stream of poison through his veins.

Then the three take up again their strain :
" Come, brother ; we have waited for thee too
long ; too long we have borne the unequal
burden. Come, brother, we are four."

Vain was his almighty power. A mightier
pain subdued it. He yielded to the bony hand
the cup, still unemptied, and took his stand at
the vacant corner. Then on the golden throne,
at last complete, Yamen took his seat.

The skeleton exclaimed : " For two only of
mankind has the Amreeta cup been reserved.
The man has drunk ; now comes the woman's
turn. Come, Kailyal, come, and receive the
doom of Heaven."

Wonder and fear and awe perplexed her
when she heard ; but hope still rose triumphant
over all. With trembling hands she took the
fated cup, and drank.

And Seeva turned upon her the eye of
mercy, and all that was earthly melted from
her, and left the pure heavenly soul.

" Go," said Yamen, " Daughter of Earth, that
art become the child of Heaven ; go, and with



THE DOOM. 309



thy heavenly lover, in the bowers of Swerga,
enjoy a happiness that shall know no end."

But Kailyal still lingered, and keeping her
human love and pity, stretched out her hands
to her father.

" Go," said Yamen again ; " thou shalt find
him above in thy mother's bower."

Thus saying, he reached out his hand and
laid it gently on Ladurlad's head. He sank to
sleep as peacefully as sinks a child > and woke
again amidst those whom he loved in the
Swerga bowers.



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Online LibraryAlfred John ChurchStories of the magicians; Thalaba and the magicians of the Domdaniel, Rustem and the genii, Kehama and his sorceries → online text (page 13 of 13)