Charles Frederick Holder.

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people and sent to the king's palace
to be sacrificed. After being sent
there the youth was never heard of
again, and the king ruled apparently
as before, the one called for sacrifice
being really the king. In my youth
the masked king came to me and told
me I was chosen to be offered as a
sacrifice. I did not fear, for the sac-
rificed ones have high places in the
land of endless life. Feasts were
given, many prayers were said, and
then I went to the palace of the king;
this same palace where I now hold
speech with you. The king instructed
me much in the wisdom of our nation.
and then he threw off the white mask
and showed me he was a- man. He
told me that his time to die had come,
he told me the secret of the kingship,
and appointed me to be king when he
was dead. He made a white mask to
cover my face, he taught me how to
embalm the dead, which is done with
a mineral liquid that is found in one
of these caverns, he showed me the
cavern where I should take him when
his life was gone, and then he sent me
among the people to see if I could pass
as king. I went forth among the
people and they fell down and wor-
shipped me and called me king. For I
was of the size of the old king, and my
voice was like his. Then the old king
showed me the place where the sa<
snake is kept, and then he laid him-
self down and died, and I was the
masked king of the people of Ulo.
That was seventy years in the past,
and the people know not that I have
not lived forever. Now my time has
come to die, and I have been meditat-
ing upon which youth of the people I
shall call to be king after me. But
instead of having to choose a man to
be king, a man has been sent to me
from the sun. I have been a holy man
and a wise prophet to my people, and
in reward for my wisdom you have
been sent to me, that after me you may



422



IN THE CAVERNS .OF ULO.



become the sacred king of Ulo. Hail,
sacred king of the land of Ulo ! '

4 ' I found that the old king was
honest in the belief that he was a di-
vine instrument, and as I am a true
Catholic, I wanted sorely to try to win
him to the true faith. But he was an
old man, the hand of death was falling
upon him, and I resolved to let him
die in the happiness of his own faith.

"For many days the old king in-
structed me in the mysteries and rites
of the Ulo worship, for the Ulo ruler
was as much priest as king. He in-
structed me in the history of his peo-
ple, he taught me the art of embalm-
ing, he told me how to choose my suc-
cessor when my days were done, and
he told me of the blood mark that
should go upon the arm of every Ulo.
He then examined my own arm, and
when he found the mark upon it he
had no further doubt that I had been
sent to him as a miracle. Then he
placed a mask upon me and took me
to see the sacred snake, telling me
that only masked men should stand in
the snake's presence.

"The snake was kept in a large
cavern, one-half of which was a large
pool of salt water that had evidently
been carried in jars from the sea, and
the other half of which was floored
with solid rock. The snake was an
immense thing, as spotted as a leop-
ard, its length thirty feet, and its body
was as thick as the body of a man. It
seemed to be a sea snake, and I no-
ticed that it stayed much of the time
in the pool of sea water. Horny sub-
stances, denoting extreme age, were
about the snake's eyes, and it seemed
to move about but very little, although
I have seen it when it was as agile as
any snake could be. The old king called
the snake and it went to him and
wound itself around his body. The
sight sent chills over me, but the
snake seemed to love the man, and did
not hurt him. The old king took me
to the snake's cavern many times, I
being masked each time, and in time
the snake would come to me when
called the same as it would to the old



king. But I always feared that snake,
and would fear it if I should see it now,
although it once saved my life. The
king instructed me in the snake wor-
ship, but I need not tell you of that,
as my tale is long enough without
speaking of all the strange things I
learned in the land of Ulo.

1 ' When I had learned all that the
old king had to tell, he bade me don
a robe like his and go forth, masked,
among the people, in order that I
might learn as much of them as I could
before he died. He gave me many di-
rections, and it was almost impossible
that I should let the people learn the
secret, or discover that I was not the
king who had ruled over them so long.
I passed through the stone door in the
wall of the cavern, passed through a
number of smaller caverns, and then I
went down a stone stairway into the
valley. I had not seen the light of the
sun for many long days, and my blood
ran fast as I saw the blue arch of the
beautiful sky once more. The valley
seemed to have been hidden from the
world by nature. It was about one
mile wide and about six miles long,
and at the farther end was a narrow
pass or canon that opened into the Val-
ley of the Beasts, a place where I
never went. As I went down the cliffs
I saw the homes of the Ulos that had
been cut out of the solid rock of the
cliffs. I saw men and women work-
ing in the fields, and as I drew near
them, walking slowly as the king had
told me to do, they ceased from their
labors and raised their arms- in salute
to me.

"'See, the king comes,' said one
man to another; ' the king, who has
come down into the valley but once
since the feast of the harvest of
maize.'

" ' It may be that he comes to choose
a youth to be sacrificed,' answered an
old man. ' It is seventy years since a
sacrifice has been given, and I doubt
not the gods hunger.'

" My voice was much like that of
the old king, and I had schooled my-
self in imitating him, but my knees



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.



423



trembled when I first spoke to the
people.

"'My children,' said I, 'I have
not come to choose a sacrifice. The
gods of our people are well content;
our people are wise and worshipful,
and it may please our gods that no hu-
man life will ever again be offered as
a sacrifice.'

• ' The people did not answer, but
they gazed at me curiously, and I
thought I saw a scowl upon the face of
the old man who had spoken. He was
a barbarian in his worship, and the
thought of human sacrifice was dear to
his heart.

4 ' I walked entirely through the val-
ley of Ulo, drinking in every new
scene, but seeming to notice nothing.
When I was returning to the palace in
the caverns I met a party of young
girls going home from the fields where
they had been at work.

1 ■ The girls were young, ranging in
age from twelve to sixteen years, but
they would have seemed much older
to any one who lived in a land where
women do not develop so rapidly as
in that warm clime. They had soft
black eyes and raven black hair, and
were dressed in kirtles and skirts
made of cotton cloth. Upon their
heads they bore pottery jars filled with
water that they were carrying home
from a spring in the mountain side.

" My attention was immediately at-
tracted to one of the girls on account
of her wonderful beauty. Her features
were as finely chiseled as the features
of the most patrician queen, her form
had the perfect proportions of a statue,
her black eyes were as soft as the eyes
of a dove, and her wealth of raven
black hair fell in silken masses to her
knees. She was not brown, as many
Indians are, but was red, as are many
of the women of the Pueblo tribes.
As soon as I saw her my heart went
out to her in love, and I determined
to win her if such a thing might be.
I did not stop to consider that the laws
forbade the masked king to look in
love upon any woman, nor to think of
the danger and trouble I might bring



upon the maid and myself if I sought
to win her. The maidens tripped
merrily along, and I heard the beau-
tiful one called by the name Lo-
Zeenah. That name in the Ulo
speech, means Beautiful Star. The
maidens saw me, bowed in worship,
and I passed on my way to the caverns.

"That same day the old king died.
I bathed him in the petrifying fluid,
and placed him in the cave of death.
Then I was alone in the cavern palace ;
alone, with no living thing to beat
me company, no book to read, no
work to do.

" The next day, after I had walked
in the valley, there came to the outer
rooms of my palace a deputation of
the old men of the tribe, asking that I
sit in judgment upon a charge pre-
ferred by the war chief against the
maid Lo-Zeenah. The Ulos had not
been in war for centuries, but they
held the tribal formation of the olden
time, and the war chief was one of the
great men of the nation. The present
war chief had craved Lo-Zeenah in
marriage ; her father and mother had
given consent, but Lo-Zeenah her-
self had persistently refused. The
refusal was a breach of law ; Lo-
Zeenah could be punished even unto
the taking of her life, and in anger
the war chief had brought a trial
before the king. If the chief had
known that under the austere robes
of that masked king there beat -a
young heart on fire with love for the
beautiful Lo-Zeenah, I think he would
not have begun the trial.

"I consented to sit in judgment
upon the cause of the chief and the
maid, and they, and nearly all the
people of the tribe, came before me
just outside the hall of my palace.
The angry chief came with a dark
brow, intent upon revenge for the
slight put upon him; the people came
with sorrow written on their faces, for
they all loved the Beautiful Star, and
the maiden herself came with a gentle
presence that won all hearts to her.
But the laws of the Ulo were deemed
inexorable, and all expected that the



424



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.



king would decree that she should
wed the chief or lose her life for dis-
obedience. I knew there was danger
for even the king to go contrary to the
laws, but I would have died before
inflicting either punishment upon the
beautiful girl that stood before me.
The case was stated to me while I sat
like a carven statue upon my stone
throne of judgment. When all had
spoken, I said :

"'People of Ulo, the laws of our
nation were named by the fathers of
long ago. They are just laws, and
they cannot be evaded or revoked.
You all know that in this case the
maid should wed our war chief, or that
her life should be taken in punish-
ment. Even I, your undying king,
could not change this law unless
Those Above should bid me. I am
not sure of their will, though, for in
a dream it has lately been revealed to
me that the people of Ulo shall again
become a great people of whom every
man shall be called chief. They shall
again become the rulers over many
peoples, and in that dream it was
shown to me that a woman of the Ulo
shall be chosen by Those Above to be
the mother of another king, a king
who shall take part of the tribe and
go forth in strange places to extend
the sway of our nation. Those Above
have promised to send me an image of
this woman who shall be chosen to
become the mother of a king, and
until that image comes I shall pass no
judgment upon any woman in the
land of Ulo. Therefore, this cause
shall be held in abeyance, waiting the
pleasure of Those Above, whose
chosen people the Ulos are. Those
Above have said that the image shall
be wafted down from the mouth of
the entrance to my palace, and shall
fall in the valley. Go, then ; set men
to watch in the valley for the image,
and when it has fallen, then will I
decide. Until then it is my will that
the maid Lo-Zeenah abide in the inner
rooms of my palace.'

1 ' The people w r ere greatly excited
when I had thus spoken, and all the



old men and the chiefs murmured be-
cause I had decreed that the maid
should remain in my palace. It was
against the sacred laws for any woman
to be alone with the king, and an old
priest, the father of Lo-Zeenah, rose
in his place and said his daughter
should not go. He said he was a true
son of Ulo, a wise, a just and a holy
man, in whose eyes rebellion against
the king was a wicked thing, but he
loved the laws and the wisdom of his
fathers even more than he loved the
king, and he said he would lose his life
in battle with me before the sanctity
of the religion should be profaned.

"Much excitement was caused by
the speech of the old priest, and the
people began taking sides, some with
me, some with the old man. The war
chief, who desired to wed Lo-Zeenah,
was a fierce man with a dark face,
and he rose in his place and openly ac-
cused me, the king, of being guilty of
sin in desiring to have a woman in my
palace. I was afraid a rebellion would
take place, but I made no sigh of fear.
I rose in my place, stretched out my
hand, commanded silence, and said :

"'Oh thou fools, thou fools who
dare question the wisdom of your holy
king ! Know you not that I can stretch
forth my hand and cause you all to
die?'

"The women and some of the men
cowered in their seats, but the war
chief and the old priest laughed and
said that although I was the king
they knew I could not kill. Again I
rose in my seat. 'Go forth,' said I,
1 and bring to me a fawn. And while
the hunters are gone for the fawn let
no man speak nor leave his seat.'

" I knew I was in danger, but I felt
so sure of success that I could have
sung a song while waiting for the
hunters to bring the fawn. The hunt-
ers soon returned with the fawn, and
I commanded them to leave it at a
certain spot about a hundred paces from
me. Then rising in my seat I pointed
my revolver at it, said ' Die !', fired,
and the fawn rolled over dead.

11 It was a simple thing, of course,



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.



425



to you and me who have known fire-
arms all our lives, but to those simple
Indians who had been immured for
centuries in a lost mountain valley, it
was nothing else than a miracle, and
the people covered their faces in fear
of me who could bring death by
stretching forth my hand. They saw
the fire leap from the revolver's mouth,
and they believed that I could have
killed them all with a wave of my
hand. I noticed that while the war



tred for the king. From now to the
end of your life you shall carry the
mark of the avenging fire of my wrath,
and if ever again you shall show ha-
tred for me, the fire that now enters
your hand shall enter your heart, and
you shall die and be accursed ! Hold
up your right hand !'

"The chief held up his hand, and
all the time his face was ashen with
the fear of the supernatural punish-
ment I took aim with the revolver,







HIGH ROCK WALLS ROSE U



WATER'S EDGE" —



chief trembled like the others, his face
was yet black with hatred, and I com-
manded him to stand before me.
Slowly he took his place before my
stone throne, and I said :

"'You, oh war chief, have har-
bored hatred of your king in your
heart. It would be just if I should
kill you as I have killed the fawn, but
I am a merciful king, and your pun-
ishment shall be tempered with mercy.
Instead of killing you I will place
upon you an everlasting mark that
shall w r arn others never to harbor ha-
Vol. IV— 28



fired, and the bullet sped through his
hand, leaving a hole in the palm. The
people hid their faces in fear. Never
before had their king shown his wrath
in such a terrible way. But when they
began to fear me they began to hate
me, and I had sown the seeds for the
ending of the reign of the masked king
of Ulo. Again I spoke to the people
and said :

" ' Now, oh people of Ulo, return
to your homes and your fields. Hunt
in the Valley of the Beasts, say your
prayers to the sun, but never again



4.26



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.






1



)




A



m






wmmmm



THE OPENING IN THE CLIFFS.



say one word in opposition to your
sacred king. And remember that I
have willed that L,o-Zeenah, the maid,
remains with me.'

The people rose, when I had con-
cluded, and bowing low before me left
my presence in fear and trembling. Lo-
Zeenah remained behind, gazing at
me with her star-bright eyes. When



the people were all gone she came
before me.

"'Oh, king,' said she, ' you are
merciful. The people reviled you and
you did not kill them. You are mer-
ciful and just, and I, your daughter,
revere you more than ever.'

" I took the maid with me, went
through the stone door to my private



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.



4*7



place, and talked much with her, not
telling her that I was not really the
Ulo king. She was a beautiful
creature as she stood before me, and it
was hard for me not to tell her of my
love for her. Her mantle only half
concealed the fair proportions of the
wearer, her hair was loosed and fell
in flowing profusion to her knees, and
she was the most beautiful woman
I had ever seen. I found her to be a
maid of wondrous purity of mind.
All her life had been passed in the
narrow valley of Ulo, but she was as
wise as many people who have roamed
to the ends of the earth. I asked her
why she had not loved the war chief,
and she answered that he was a man
who was no better than the brutes
who roamed in the Valley of Beasts.

' ' With my photographic camera I
made a picture of the girl and showed
it to her.

"'Oh king,' said she, 'and am I
then the one chosen to be the mother
of a king? I, Lo-Zeenah, a simple
maid of my people ! Do you think
that I may be good enough and pure
enough so that this great thing can
be? And may I go forth with the
new tribe, go forth over the cliffs and
the mountains and see the breadth
of the beautiful land that was made
by the great gods of Shi-pa-pu ? Oh
king, often have I sat in the valley
and watched the birds fly over the
cliffs, and I have longed to be free
like them to roam at will over the
beautiful earth. For the earth must
be beautiful, as it was made by the
gods. Never has my heart turned in
love to a man as have the hearts of
the other maids of our people, and
sometimes I have feared that my long-
ing for beauty and for a wider life
might keep me from loving any man
of Ulo, and I might go childless and
loveless down to my grave.'

' ' Such was the speech of Lo-Zeenah.
Do you wonder that I loved her more
as I knew her more ?

' 'At sundown I took the picture I
had made and walked to the precipice
that was at the end of my palace.



Looking down into the valley through
a hole in the rock I saw old men sit-
ting in waiting for the image I had
promised them. Standing back so
they could not see me I threw the
picture, and I looked through the
hole in the stones to see it fall. The
old men saw it as soon as it fell, and
picking it up gazed upon it in wonder.
Then they raised their voices and
cried out :

" ' Oh, people of Ulo, the words of
the prophecy have been fulfilled !
The sacred image has conic from the
gods, and Lo-Zeenah, the Beautiful
Star of our nation, is chosen to be the
mother of the unborn king! Oh,
people of Ulo, Lo-Zeenah is the chow D
one ! '

" Then the people took up the cry .
and as the sun went down I could
hear them chanting, ' Lo-Zeenah is
chosen ! Lo-Zeenah, the beautiful,
is the chosen one of Those Above ! ' '
And then I went back to my palace in
the caverns to talk with Lo-Zeenah.

"I was but a youth, then, Seflor.
The hot blood of my young years was
coursing in my veins, and it was hard
for me not to clasp that fair girl in
my arms and tell her all the tale of
my love for her. But I feared the
result, and I treated her as an old man
might treat a little child. In time
she and I came to know each other
well. I told her that the religion of
the Ulo was about to change, told her
by degrees of the one true faith, and
in time we came to know each other
so well that I told her the blessed
story of the Great Redeemer of the
world, and I baptised her as a follower
of the Nazarene. Then I removed
the white mask from my face and
stood before her as my true self. She
gazed upon me first in fear, then in
wonder, and then the soft light of
love came into her beautiful eyes. I
told her the true tale of how I came
there. I told her all the story of my
life. I showed her the hall where the
dead kings lay. I explained to her
the mystery of the revolver and of the
picture and then I said :



428



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.



" ' Lo-Zeenah, sweet one, now you
know me as I am. I am no god and
no king. I am but a wayfaring youth
whom fortune has sent to the strange
land of your people. I came here
seeking adventure ; I found you and
love, and now my future, my very life
is in your hands, for a word from you
will cause your people to fall upon me
and take my life. But I love you, Lo-
Zeenah, more than ever maid was
loved.'

"She smiled, her soft arms went
round my neck, her sweet lips pressed
mine, and I knew that Lo-Zeenah
loved me. The memory of that time
abides with me to this day as the
sweetest and best time that was ever
in my life, and it will abide with me
and cheer me even unto the time when
I shall cross the dark valley of. death.

H How we lived from then on I need
not tell you. But to me the pearly vales
of heaven could not have been a more
blissful abode than were those stone
caverns by the sea, where my loved
one dwelt with me. We were young
then, Seilor. We had never loved be-
fore. Does not that tell you all? And as
men may do in barbarian lauds, I took
her as my wife, intending to have the



sacrament performed when we were
where a priest could be found. Such
marriages are recognized by our
church.

"Lo-Zeenah listened in wonder to
the tales I told her of the places in the
world that lay outside of the lost val-
ley where her life had been lived.
She was glad when I told her I would
take her to those places, and she en-
tered into plans with me to convert
the people of Ulo to Christianity, and
then to go to Mexico together to live.
In time I told the people something of
the new creed, and, while they greatly
feared me and my mysterious power,
they were so angered that they stoned
me. I tried for many days to teach
them but their anger grew worse. In
time they tried to kill me, and I was
compelled to retreat to the inner pal-
ace and barricade the passage.

" Then the Ulos, who had a hatred
for everyone, even their king, who
tried to profane the old religion,
sought to come upon us by climbing
into the caverns. The war chief suc-
ceeded in reaching the passage that
led from the palace to the sea. He
found my fish line and tore it up, and
then he entered the palace. His leer-




IN ALL PARTS OK THE CAVKKN WERE HUMAN EK'.VRES.'



IN THE CAVERNS OF ULO.



429



ing face had no sooner come inside the
palace than a bullet entered his brain,
and he fell dead before us. Then were
we prisoners ; a savage race on one
side, a maze of winding passages on
the other. But in spite of our danger
we were happy, so great is the power
of love to lighten the dark places of
life.

1 ' One day we were planning of the
life we would lead in far away Mexico,
and wondering if we should succeed
in finding our way to the sea, when
we heard a muffled beating at one of
the inner doors of the palace. I had
heard the same sound in the old king's
lifetime, and knew it was made by the
snake, but I feared to admit it as L,o-
Zeenah might be afraid. I told her
what it was, and she said :

11 ' My loved one, is not the snake
one of God's creatures, the same as
you and I ? I would not fear anything
that God has made. The snake may
not be so beautiful as the birds or the
fawns or the flowers, but it came from
the wisdom of the great father of wis-
dom, and we should love it and not
fear it.'

1 ' I opened the stone door and ad-
mitted the snake. I was masked, and
it did not know me from the old king
who was dead. It wound its slimy
folds about me and reared its grisly
head high in the air. Then it saw
IyO-Zeenah, the first unmasked person
it had seen for long years, and a hiss
came from its mouth. It quickly un-
wound itself from me, it reared its
horny head high in the air, and before
either of us comprehended what it
might do, it struck L,o-Zeenah a
mighty blow full in the face, struck
her and bit her as it struck, and she
fell back dying from its poison ! I
clasped her in my arms — I besought
her to live for my sake — I wept tears
of the most bitter grief over her — but
she was doomed, and I could not save
her. She drew my head down to her
soft bosom ; she pressed sweet kisses
to my lips, and then she died in my
arms with a sweeter smile on her face
than I ever saw on the face of any



woman. All the time the ghastly
snake reared its ugly head high in the



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