The Gods of Pegana
Lord Dunsany [Edward J. M. D. Plunkett]
Produced by Beginners Projects, Anne Reshnyk
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE GODS OF PEGANA
Of Skarl the Drummer
Of the Making of the Worlds
Of the Game of the Gods
The Chaunt of the Gods
The Sayings of Kib
The Sayings of Slid
The Deeds of Mung
The Sayings of Limpang-Tung
Of Roon, the God of Going, and the Thousand Home Gods
The Revolt of the Home Gods
The Eye in the Waste
Of the Thing That Is Neither God Nor Beast
Yonath the Prophet
Yug the Prophet
Alhireth-Hotep The Prophet
Kabok The Prophet
Of the Calamity That Befel Yun-Hara by the Sea, and of the
Building of the Tower of the Ending of Days
Of How the Gods Whelmed Sidith
Of How Imbaun Became High Prophet in Aradec of all
the Gods Save One
Of How Imbaun Met Zodrak
The Sayings of Imbaun
Of How Imbaun Spake of Death to the King
The Bird of Doom and THE END
In the mists before THE BEGINNING, Fate and Chance cast lots to
decide whose the Game should be; and he that won strode through
the mists to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI and said: "Now make gods for Me, for
I have won the cast and the Game is to be Mine." Who it was that
won the cast, and whether it was Fate or whether Chance that went
through the mists before THE BEGINNING to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI--_none
Before there stood gods upon Olympus, or ever Allah was Allah, had
wrought and rested MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
There are in Pegana Mung and Sish and Kib, and the maker of all
small gods, who is MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. Moreover, we have a faith in
Roon and Slid.
And it has been said of old that all things that have been were
wrought by the small gods, excepting only MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, who
made the gods and hath thereafter rested.
And none may pray to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI but only the gods whom he
But at the Last will MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI forget to rest, and will
make again new gods and other worlds, and will destroy the gods
whom he hath made.
And the gods and the worlds shall depart, and there shall be only
OF SKARL THE DRUMMER
When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI had made the gods and Skarl, Skarl made a
drum, and began to beat upon it that he might drum for ever. Then
because he was weary after the making of the gods, and because of
the drumming of Skarl, did MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI grow drowsy and fall
And there fell a hush upon the gods when they saw that MANA rested,
and there was silence on Pegana save for the drumming of Skarl.
Skarl sitteth upon the mist before the feet of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI,
above the gods of Pegana, and there he beateth his drum. Some say
that the Worlds and the Suns are but the echoes of the drumming of
Skarl, and others say that they be dreams that arise in the mind
of MANA because of the drumming of Skarl, as one may dream whose
rest is troubled by sound of song, but none knoweth, for who hath
heard the voice of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, or who hath seen his drummer?
Whether the season be winter or whether it be summer, whether it
be morning among the worlds or whether it be night, Skarl still
beateth his drum, for the purposes of the gods are not yet fulfilled.
Sometimes the arm of Skarl grows weary; but still he beateth his
drum, that the gods may do the work of the gods, and the worlds go
on, for if he cease for an instant then MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI will start
awake, and there will be worlds nor gods no more.
But, when at the last the arm of Skarl shall cease to beat his drum,
silence shall startle Pegana like thunder in a cave, and MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
shall cease to rest.
Then shall Skarl put his drum upon his back and walk forth into the
void beyond the worlds, because it is THE END, and the work of Skarl
There may arise some other god whom Skarl may serve, or it may be
that he shall perish; but to Skarl it shall matter not, for he shall
have done the work of Skarl.
OF THE MAKING OF THE WORLDS
When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI had made the gods there were only the gods,
and They sat in the middle of Time, for there was as much Time
before them as behind them, which having no end had neither a
And Pegana was without heat or light or sound, save for the
drumming of Skarl; moreover Pegana was The Middle of All, for
there was below Pegana what there was above it, and there lay
before it that which lay beyond.
Then said the gods, making the signs of the gods and speaking with
Their hands lest the silence of Pegana should blush; then said the
gods to one another, speaking with Their hands; "Let Us make
worlds to amuse Ourselves while MANA rests. Let Us make worlds and
Life and Death, and colours in the sky; only let Us not break the
silence upon Pegana."
Then raising Their hands, each god according to his sign, They
made the worlds and the suns, and put a light in the houses of the
Then said the gods: "Let Us make one to seek, to seek and never to
find out concerning the wherefore of the making of the gods."
And They made by the lifting of Their hands, each god according to
his sign, the Bright One with the flaring tail to seek from the
end of the Worlds to the end of them again, to return again after
a hundred years.
Man, when thou seest the comet, know that another seeketh besides
thee nor ever findeth out.
Then said the gods, still speaking with Their hands: "Let there be
now a Watcher to regard."
And They made the Moon, with his face wrinkled with many mountains
and worn with a thousand valleys, to regard with pale eyes the
games of the small gods, and to watch throughout the resting time
of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI; to watch, to regard all things, and be
Then said the gods: "Let Us make one to rest. One not to move
among the moving. One not to seek like the comet, nor to go round
like the worlds; to rest while MANA rests."
And They made the Star of the Abiding and set it in the North.
Man, when thou seest the Star of the Abiding to the North, know
that one resteth as doth MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, and know that somewhere
among the Worlds is rest.
Lastly the gods said: "We have made worlds and suns, and one to
seek and another to regard, let Us now make one to wonder."
And They made Earth to wonder, each god by the uplifting of his
hand according to his sign.
And Earth was.
OF THE GAME OF THE GODS
A million years passed over the first game of the gods. And
MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI still rested, still in the middle of Time, and
the gods still played with Worlds. The Moon regarded, and the
Bright One sought, and returned again to his seeking.
Then Kib grew weary of the first game of the gods, and raised his
hand in Pegana, making the sign of Kib, and Earth became covered
with beasts for Kib to play with.
And Kib played with beasts.
But the other gods said one to another, speaking with their hands:
"What is it that Kib has done?"
And They said to Kib: "What are these things that move upon The
Earth yet move not in circles like the Worlds, that regard like
the Moon and yet they do not shine?"
And Kib said: "This is Life."
But the gods said one to another: "If Kib has thus made beasts he
will in time make Men, and will endanger the Secret of the gods."
And Mung was jealous of the work of Kib, and sent down Death among
the beasts, but could not stamp them out.
A million years passed over the second game of the gods, and still
it was the Middle of Time.
And Kib grew weary of the second game, and raised his hand in the
Middle of All, making the sign of Kib, and made Men: out of beasts
he made them, and Earth was covered with Men.
Then the gods feared greatly for the Secret of the gods, and set a
veil between Man and his ignorance that he might not understand.
And Mung was busy among Men.
But when the other gods saw Kib playing his new game They came and
played it too. And this They will play until MANA arises to rebuke
Them, saying: "What do ye playing with Worlds and Suns and Men and
Life and Death?" And They shall be ashamed of Their playing in the
hour of the laughter of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
It was Kib who first broke the Silence of Pegana, by speaking with
his mouth like a man.
And all the other gods were angry with Kib that he had spoken with
And there was no longer silence in Pegana or the Worlds.
THE CHAUNT OF THE GODS
There came the voice of the gods singing the chaunt of the gods,
singing: "We are the gods; We are the little games of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
that he hath played and hath forgotten.
"MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI hath made us, and We made the Worlds and the
"And We play with the Worlds and the Sun and Life and Death until
MANA arises to rebuke us, saying: 'What do ye playing with Worlds
"It is a very serious thing that there be Worlds and Suns, and yet
most withering is the laughter of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
"And when he arises from resting at the Last, and laughs at us for
playing with Worlds and Suns, We will hastily put them behind us,
and there shall be Worlds no more."
THE SAYINGS OF KIB
(Sender of Life in all the Worlds)
Kib said: "I am Kib. I am none other than Kib."
Kib is Kib. Kib is he and no other. Believe! Kib said: "When
Time was early, when Time was very early indeed--there was only
MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI was before the beginning of the
gods, and shall be after their going."
And Kib said: "After the going of the gods there will be no small
worlds nor big."
Kib said: "It will be lonely for MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI."
Because this is written, believe! For is it not written, or are
you greater than Kib? Kib is Kib.
(The Destroyer of Hours)
Time is the hound of Sish.
At Sish's bidding do the hours run before him as he goeth upon
Never hath Sish stepped backward nor ever hath he tarried; never
hath he relented to the things that once he knew nor turned to
Before Sish is Kib, and behind him goeth Mung.
Very pleasant are all things before the face of Sish, but behind
him they are withered and old.
And Sish goeth ceaselessly upon his way.
Once the gods walked upon Earth as men walk and spake with their
mouths like Men. That was in Wornath-Mavai. They walk not now.
And Wornath-Mavai was a garden fairer than all the gardens upon
Kib was propitious, and Mung raised not his hand against it,
neither did Sish assail it with his hours.
Wornath-Mavai lieth in a valley and looketh towards the south, and
on the slopes of it Sish rested among the flowers when Sish was
Thence Sish went forth into the world to destroy its cities, and
to provoke his hours to assail all things, and to batter against
them with the rust and with the dust.
And Time, which is the hound of Sish, devoured all things; and
Sish sent up the ivy and fostered weeds, and dust fell from the
hand of Sish and covered stately things. Only the valley where
Sish rested when he and Time were young did Sish not provoke his
hours to assail.
There he restrained his old hound Time, and at its borders Mung
withheld his footsteps.
Wornath-Mavai still lieth looking towards the south, a garden
among gardens, and still the flowers grow about its slopes as they
grew when the gods were young; and even the butterflies live in
Wornath-Mavai still. For the minds of the gods relent towards
their earliest memories, who relent not otherwise at all.
Wornath-Mavai still lieth looking towards the south; but if thou
shouldst ever find it thou art then more fortunate than the gods,
because they walk not in Wornath-Mavai now.
Once did the prophet think that he discerned it in the distance
beyond mountains, a garden exceeding fair with flowers; but Sish
arose, and pointed with his hand, and set his hound to pursue him,
who hath followed ever since.
Time is the hound of the gods; but it hath been said of old that
he will one day turn upon his masters, and seek to slay the gods,
excepting only MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, whose dreams are the gods
themselves--dreamed long ago.
THE SAYINGS OF SLID
(Whose Soul is by the Sea)
Slid said: "Let no man pray to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, for who shall
trouble MANA with mortal woes or irk him with the sorrows of all
the houses of Earth?
"Nor let any sacrifice to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, for what glory shall
he find in sacrifices or altars who hath made the gods themselves?
"Pray to the small gods, who are the gods of Doing; but MANA is
the god of Having Done--the god of Having Done and of the Resting.
"Pray to the small gods and hope that they may hear thee. Yet what
mercy should the small gods have, who themselves made Death and
Pain; or shall they restrain their old hound Time for thee?
"Slid is but a small god. Yet Slid is Slid--it is written and hath
"Pray, thou, therefore, to Slid, and forget not Slid, and it may
be that Slid will not forget to send thee Death when most thou
And the People of Earth said: "There is a melody upon the Earth as
though ten thousand streams all sang together for their homes that
they had forsaken in the hills."
And Slid said: "I am the Lord of gliding waters and of foaming
waters and of still. I am the Lord of all the waters in the world
and all that long streams garner in the hills; but the soul of
Slid is in the Sea. Thither goes all that glides upon Earth, and
the end of all the rivers is the Sea."
And Slid said: "The hand of Slid hath toyed with cataracts, and
down the valleys have trod the feet of Slid, and out of the lakes
of the plains regard the eyes of Slid; but the soul of Slid is in
Much homage hath Slid among the cities of men and pleasant are the
woodland paths and the paths of the plains, and pleasant the high
valleys where he danceth in the hills; but Slid would be fettered
neither by banks nor boundaries--so the soul of Slid is in the
For there may Slid repose beneath the sun and smile at the gods
above him with all the smiles of Slid, and be a happier god than
Those who sway the Worlds, whose work is Life and Death.
There may he sit and smile, or creep among the ships, or moan and
sigh round islands in his great content--the miser lord of wealth
in gems and pearls beyond the telling of all fables.
Or there may he, when Slid would fain exult, throw up his great
arms, or toss with many a fathom of wandering hair the mighty head
of Slid, and cry aloud tumultuous dirges of shipwreck, and feel
through all his being the crashing might of Slid, and sway the
sea. Then doth the Sea, like venturous legions on the eve of war
that exult to acclaim their chief, gather its force together from
under all the winds and roar and follow and sing and crash
together to vanquish all things--and all at the bidding of Slid,
whose soul is in the sea.
There is ease in the soul of Slid and there be calms upon the sea;
also, there be storms upon the sea and troubles in the soul of
Slid, for the gods have many moods. And Slid is in many places,
for he sitteth in high Pegana. Also along the valleys walketh
Slid, wherever water moveth or lieth still; but the voice and the
cry of Slid are from the sea. And to whoever that cry hath ever
come he must needs follow and follow, leaving all stable things;
only to be always with Slid in all the moods of Slid, to find no
rest until he reaches the sea.
With the cry of Slid before them and the hills of their home behind
have gone a hundred thousand to the sea, over whose bones doth Slid
lament with the voice of a god lamenting for his people. Even the
streams from the inner lands have heard Slid's far-off cry, and all
together have forsaken lawns and trees to follow where Slid is
gathering up his own, to rejoice where Slid rejoices, singing the
chaunt of Slid, even as will at the Last gather all the Lives of
the People about the feet of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
THE DEEDS OF MUNG
(Lord of all Deaths between Pegana and the Rim)
Once, as Mung went his way athwart the Earth and up and down its
cities and across its plains, Mung came upon a man who was afraid
when Mung said: "I am Mung!"
And Mung said: "Were the forty million years before thy coming
intolerable to thee?"
And Mung said: "Not less tolerable to thee shall be the forty
million years to come!"
Then Mung made against him the sign of Mung and the Life of the
Man was fettered no longer with hands and feet.
At the end of the flight of the arrow there is Mung, and in the
houses and the cities of Men. Mung walketh in all places at all
times. But mostly he loves to walk in the dark and still, along
the river mists when the wind hath sank, a little before night
meeteth with the morning upon the highway between Pegana and
Sometimes Mung entereth the poor man's cottage; Mung also boweth
very low before The King. Then do the Lives of the poor man and of
The King go forth among the Worlds.
And Mung said: "Many turnings hath the road that Kib hath given
every man to tread upon the earth. Behind one of these turnings
One day as a man trod upon the road that Kib had given him to
tread he came suddenly upon Mung. And when Mung said: "I am Mung!"
the man cried out: "Alas, that I took this road, for had I gone by
any other way then had I not met with Mung."
And Mung said: "Had it been possible for thee to go by any other
way then had the Scheme of Things been otherwise and the gods had
been other gods. When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI forgets to rest and makes
again new gods it may be that They will send thee again into the
Worlds; and then thou mayest choose some other way, and not meet
Then Mung made the sign of Mung. And the Life of that man went
forth with yesterday's regrets and all old sorrows and forgotten
things--whither Mung knoweth.
And Mung went onward with his work to sunder Life from flesh, and
Mung came upon a man who became stricken with sorrow when he saw
the shadow of Mung. But Mung said: "When at the sign of Mung thy
Life shall float away there will also disappear thy sorrow at
forsaking it." But the man cried out: "O Mung! tarry for a little,
and make not the sign of Mung against me now, for I have a family
upon the earth with whom sorrow will remain, though mine should
disappear because of the sign of Mung."
And Mung said: "With the gods it is always Now. And before Sish
hath banished many of the years the sorrows of thy family for thee
shall go the way of thine." And the man beheld Mung making the
sign of Mung before his eyes, which beheld things no more.
THE CHAUNT OF THE PRIESTS
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
The chaunt of the priests of Mung.
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
All day long to Mung cry out the Priests of Mung, and, yet Mung
harkeneth not. What, then, shall avail the prayers of All the
Rather bring gifts to the Priests, gifts to the Priests of Mung.
So shall they cry louder unto Mung than ever was their wont.
And it may be that Mung shall hear.
Not any longer than shall fall the Shadow of Mung athwart the
hopes of the People.
Not any longer then shall the Tread of Mung darken the dreams of
Not any longer shall the lives of the People be loosened because
Bring ye gifts to the Priests, gifts to the Priests of Mung.
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
The chaunt of the Priests of Mung.
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
THE SAYINGS OF LIMPANG-TUNG
(The God of Mirth and of Melodious Minstrels)
And Limpang-Tung said: "The ways of the gods are strange. The
flower groweth up and the flower fadeth away. This may be very
clever of the gods. Man groweth from his infancy, and in a while
he dieth. This may be very clever too.
"But the gods play with a strange scheme.
"I will send jests into the world and a little mirth. And while
Death seems to thee as far away as the purple rim of hills; or
sorrow as far off as rain in the blue days of summer, then pray to
Limpang-Tung. But when thou growest old, or ere thou diest, pray
not of Limpang-Tung, for thou becomest part of a scheme that he
doth not understand.
"Go out into the starry night, and Limpang-Tung will dance with
thee who danced since the gods were young, the god of mirth and of
melodious minstrels. Or offer up a jest to Limpang-Tung; only pray
not in thy sorrow to Limpang-Tung, for he saith of sorrow: 'It may
be very clever of the gods,' but he doth not understand."
And Limpang-Tung said: "I am lesser than the gods; pray,
therefore, to the small gods and not to Limpang-Tung.
"Natheless between Pegana and the Earth flutter ten thousand
thousand prayers that beat their wings against the face of Death,
and never for one of them hath the hand of the Striker been
stayed, nor yet have tarried the feet of the Relentless One.
"Utter thy prayer! It may accomplish where failed ten thousand
"Limpang-Tung is lesser than the gods, and doth not understand."
And Limpang-Tung said: "Lest men grow weary down on the great
Worlds through gazing always at a changeless sky, I will paint my
pictures in the sky. And I will paint them twice in every day for
so long as days shall be. Once as the day ariseth out of the homes
of dawn will I paint the Blue, that men may see and rejoice; and
ere day falleth under into the night will I paint upon the Blue
again, lest men be sad.
"It is a little," said Limpang-Tung, "it is a little even for a
god to give some pleasure to men upon the Worlds."
And Limpang-Tung hath sworn that the pictures that he paints shall
never be the same for so long as the days shall be, and this he
hath sworn by the oath of the gods of Pegana that the gods may
never break, laying his hand upon the shoulder of each of the gods
and swearing by the light behind Their eyes.
Limpang-Tung hath lured a melody out of the stream and stolen its
anthem from the forest; for him the wind hath cried in lonely places
and the ocean sung its dirges. There is music for Limpang-Tung in
the sounds of the moving of grass and in the voices of the people
that lament or in the cry of them that rejoice.
In an inner mountain land where none hath come he hath carved his
organ pipes out of the mountains, and there when the winds, his
servants, come in from all the world he maketh the melody of
Limpang-Tung. But the song, arising at night, goeth forth like a
river, winding through all the world, and here and there amid the
peoples of earth one heareth, and straightaway all that hath voice
to sing crieth aloud in music to his soul.
Or sometimes walking through the dusk with steps unheard by men,
in a form unseen by the people, Limpang-Tung goeth abroad, and,
standing behind the minstrels in cities of song, waveth his hands
above them to and fro, and the minstrels bend to their work, and
the voice of the music ariseth; and mirth and melody abound in
that city of song, and no one seeth Limpang-Tung as he standeth
behind the minstrels.
But through the mists towards morning, in the dark when the
minstrels sleep and mirth and melody have sunk to rest, Limpang-Tung
goeth back again to his mountain land.
(The God of Little Dreams and Fancies)
Yaoharneth-Lahai is the god of little dreams and fancies.
All night he sendeth little dreams out of Pegana to please the
people of Earth.
He sendeth little dreams to the poor man and to The King.
He is so busy to send his dreams to all before the night be ended
that oft he forgetteth which be the poor man and which be The
To whom Yoharneth-Lahai cometh not with little dreams and sleep he
must endure all night the laughter of the gods, with highest
mockery, in Pegana.
All night long Yoharneth-Lahai giveth peace to cities until the
dawn hour and the departing of Yoharneth-Lahai, when it is time
for the gods to play with men again.
Whether the dreams and the fancies of Yoharneth-Lahai be false and
the Things that are done in the Day be real, or the Things that
are done in the Day be false and the dreams and the fancies of
Yoharneth-Lahai be true, none knoweth saving only MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI,
who hath not spoken.
OF ROON, THE GOD OF GOING, AND THE THOUSAND HOME GODS
Roon said: "There be gods of moving and gods of standing still,
but I am the god of Going."
It is because of Roon that the worlds are never still, for the
moons and the worlds and the comet are stirred by the spirit of
Roon, which saith: "Go! Go! Go!"
Roon met the Worlds all in the morning of Things, before there was
light upon Pegana, and Roon danced before them in the Void, since
when they are never still, Roon sendeth all streams to the Sea,
and all the rivers to the soul of Slid.
Roon maketh the sign of Roon before the waters, and lo! they have
left the hills; and Roon hath spoken in the ear of the North Wind
that he may be still no more.
The footfall of Roon hath been heard at evening outside the houses
of men, and thenceforth comfort and abiding know them no more.
Before them stretcheth travel over all the lands, long miles, and
never resting between their homes and their graves--and all at the
bidding of Roon.
The Mountains have set no limit against Roon nor all the seas a
Whither Roon hath desired there must Roon's people go, and the
worlds and their streams and the winds.
I heard the whisper of Roon at evening, saying: "There are islands
of spices to the South," and the voice of Roon saying: "Go."
And Roon said: "There are a thousand home gods, the little gods
that sit before the hearth and mind the fire--there is one Roon."
Roon saith in a whisper, in a whisper when none heareth, when the
sun is low: "What doeth MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI?" Roon is no god that
thou mayest worship by thy hearth, nor will he be benignant to thy
Offer to Roon thy toiling and thy speed, whose incense is the
smoke of the camp fire to the South, whose song is the sound of
going, whose temples stand beyond the farthest hills in his lands
behind the East.
Yarinareth, Yarinareth, Yarinareth, which signifieth Beyond--these
words be carved in letters of gold upon the arch of the great portal
of the Temple of Roon that men have builded looking towards the East
upon the Sea, where Roon is carved as a giant trumpeter, with his
trumpet pointing towards the East beyond the Seas.
Whoso heareth his voice, the voice of Roon at evening, he at once
forsaketh the home gods that sit beside the hearth. These be the
gods of the hearth: Pitsu, who stroketh the cat; Hobith who calms
the dog; and Habaniah, the lord of glowing embers; and little
Zumbiboo, the lord of dust; and old Gribaun, who sits in the heart
of the fire to turn the wood to ash--all these be home gods, and
live not in Pegana and be lesser than Roon.
There is also Kilooloogung, the lord of arising smoke, who taketh
the smoke from the hearth and sendeth it to the sky, who is
pleased if it reacheth Pegana, so that the gods of Pegana,
speaking to the gods, say: "There is Kilooloogung doing the work
on earth of Kilooloogung."
All these are gods so small that they be lesser than men, but
pleasant gods to have beside the hearth; and often men have prayed
to Kilooloogung, saying: "Thou whose smoke ascendeth to Pegana
send up with it our prayers, that the gods may hear." And
Kilooloogung, who is pleased that men should pray, stretches
himself up all grey and lean, with his arms above his head, and
sendeth his servant the smoke to seek Pegana, that the gods of
Pegana may know that the people pray.
And Jabim is the Lord of broken things, who sitteth behind the
house to lament the things that are cast away. And there he
sitteth lamenting the broken things until the worlds be ended, or
until someone cometh to mend the broken things. Or sometimes he
sitteth by the river's edge to lament the forgotten things that
drift upon it.
A kindly god is Jabim, whose heart is sore if anything be lost.
There is also Triboogie, the Lord of Dusk, whose children are the
shadows, who sitteth in a corner far off from Habaniah and
speaketh to none. But after Habaniah hath gone to sleep and old
Gribaun hath blinked a hundred times, until he forgetteth which be
wood or ash, then doth Triboogie send his children to run about
the room and dance upon the walls, but never disturb the silence.
But when there is light again upon the worlds, and dawn comes
dancing down the highway from Pegana, then does Triboogie retire
into his corner, with his children all around him, as though they
had never danced about the room. And the slaves of Habaniah and
old Gribaun come and awake them from their sleep upon the hearth,
and Pitsu strokes the cat, and Hobith calms the dog, and
Kilooloogung stretches aloft his arms towards Pegana, and
Triboogie is very still, and his children asleep.
And when it is dark, all in the hour of Triboogie, Hish creepeth
from the forest, the Lord of Silence, whose children are the bats,
that have broken the command of their father, but in a voice that
is ever so low. Hish husheth the mouse and all the whispers in the
night; he maketh all noises still. Only the cricket rebelleth. But
Hish hath set against him such a spell that after he hath cried a
thousand times his voice may be heard no more but becometh part of
And when he hath slain all sounds Hish boweth low to the ground;
then cometh into the house, with never a sound of feet, the god
But away in the forest whence Hish hath come Wohoon, the Lord of
Noises in the Night, awaketh in his lair and creepeth round the
forest to see whether it be true that Hish hath gone.
Then in some glade Wohoon lifts up his voice and cries aloud, that
all the night may hear, that it is he, Wohoon, who is abroad in
all the forest. And the wolf and the fox and the owl, and the
great beasts and the small, lift up their voices to acclaim
Wohoon. And there arise the sounds of voices and the stirring of
THE REVOLT OF THE HOME GODS
There be three broad rivers of the plain, born before memory or
fable, whose mothers are three grey peaks and whose father was the
storm. There names be Eimes, Zaenes, and Segastrion.
And Eimes is the joy of lowing herds; and Zaenes hath bowed his
neck to the yoke of man, and carries the timber from the forest
far up below the mountain; and Segastrion sings old songs to
shepherd boys, singing of his childhood in a lone ravine and of
how he once sprang down the mountain sides and far away into the
plain to see the world, and of how one day at last he will find
the sea. These be the rivers of the plain, wherein the plain
rejoices. But old men tell, whose fathers heard it from the
ancients, how once the lords of the three rivers of the plain
rebelled against the law of the Worlds, and passed beyond their
boundaries, and joined together and whelmed cities and slew men,
saying: "We now play the game of the gods and slay men for our
pleasure, and we be greater than the gods of Pegana."
And all the plain was flooded to the hills.
And Eimes, Zaenes, and Segastrion sat upon the mountains, and
spread their hands over their rivers that rebelled by their
But the prayer of men going upward found Pegana, and cried in the
ear of the gods: "There be three home gods who slay us for their
pleasure, and say that they be mightier than Pegana's gods, and
play Their game with men."
Then were all the gods of Pegana very wroth; but They could not
whelm the lords of the three rivers, because being home gods,
though small, they were immortal.
And still the home gods spread their hands across their rivers,
with their fingers wide apart, and the waters rose and rose, and
the voice of their torrent grew louder, crying: "Are we not Eimes,
Zaenes, and Segastrion?"
Then Mung went down into a waste of Afrik, and came upon the
drought Umbool as he sat in the desert upon iron rocks, clawing
with miserly grasp at the bones of men and breathing hot.
And Mung stood before him as his dry sides heaved, and ever as
they sank his hot breath blasted dry sticks and bones.
Then Mung said: "Friend of Mung! Go, thou and grin before the
faces of Eimes, Zaenes, and Segastrion till they see whether it be
wise to rebel against the gods of Pegana."
And Umbool answered: "I am the beast of Mung."
And Umbool came and crouched upon a hill upon the other side of
the waters and grinned across them at the rebellious home gods.
And whenever Eimes, Zaenes, and Segastrion stretched out their
hands over their rivers they saw before their faces the grinning
of Umbool; and because the grinning was like death in a hot and
hideous land therefore they turned away and spread their hands no
more over their rivers, and the waters sank and sank.
But when Umbool had grinned for thirty days the waters fell back
into the river beds and the lords of the rivers slunk away back
again to their homes: still Umbool sat and grinned.
Then Eimes sought to hide himself in a great pool beneath a rock,
and Zaenes crept into the middle of a wood, and Segastrion lay and
panted on the sand--still Umbool sat and grinned.
And Eimes grew lean, and was forgotten, so that the men of the
plain would say: "Here once was Eimes"; and Zaenes scarce had
strength to lead his river to the sea; and as Segastrion lay and
panted a man stepped over his stream, and Segastrion said: "It is
the foot of a man that has passed across my neck, and I have sought
to be greater than the gods of Pegana."
Then said the gods of Pegana: "It is enough. We are the gods of
Pegana, and none are equal."
Then Mung sent Umbool back to his waste in Afrik to breathe again
upon the rocks, and parch the desert, and to sear the memory of
Afrik into the brains of all who ever bring their bones away.
And Eimes, Zaenes, and Segastrion sang again, and walked once more
in their accustomed haunts, and played the game of Life and Death
with fishes and frogs, but never essayed to play it any more with
men, as do the gods of Pegana.
(Whose Eyes Regard The End)
Sitting above the lives of the people, and looking, doth Dorozhand
see that which is to be.
The god of Destiny is Dorozhand. Upon whom have looked the eyes of
Dorozhand he goeth forward to an end that naught may stay; he
becometh the arrow from the bow of Dorozhand hurled forward at a
mark he may not see--to the goal of Dorozhand. Beyond the thinking
of men, beyond the sight of all the other gods, regard the eyes of
He hath chosen his slaves. And them doth the destiny god drive
onward where he will, who, knowing not whither nor even knowing
why, feel only his scourge behind them or hear his cry before.
There is something that Dorozhand would fain achieve, and,
therefore, hath he set the people striving, with none to cease or
rest in all the worlds. But the gods of Pegana, speaking to the
gods, say: "What is it that Dorozhand would fain achieve?"
It hath been written and said that not only the destinies of men
are the care of Dorozhand but that even the gods of Pegana be not
unconcerned by his will.
All the gods of Pegana have felt a fear, for they have seen a look
in the eyes of Dorozhand that regardeth beyond the gods.
The reason and purpose of the Worlds is that there should be Life
upon the Worlds, and Life is the instrument of Dorozhand wherewith
he would achieve his end.
Therefore the Worlds go on, and the rivers run to the sea, and Life
ariseth and flieth even in all the Worlds, and the gods of Pegana
do the work of the gods--and all for Dorozhand. But when the end of
Dorozhand hath been achieved there will be need no longer of Life upon
the Worlds, nor any more a game for the small gods to play. Then will
Kib tiptoe gently across Pegana to the resting-place in Highest Pegana
of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, and touching reverently his hand, the hand that
wrought the gods, say: "MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, thou hast rested long."
And MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI shall say: "Not so; for I have rested for but
fifty aeons of the gods, each of them scarce more than ten million
mortal years of the Worlds that ye have made."
And then shall the gods be afraid when they find that MANA knoweth
that they have made Worlds while he rested. And they shall answer:
"Nay; but the Worlds came all of themselves."
Then MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, as one who would have done with an irksome
matter, will lightly wave his hand--the hand that wrought the
gods--and there shall be gods no more.
When there shall be three moons towards the north above the Star
of the Abiding, three moons that neither wax nor wane but regard
towards the North.
Or when the comet ceaseth from his seeking and stands still, not any
longer moving among the Worlds but tarrying as one who rests after
the end of search, then shall arise from resting, because it is THE
END, the Greater One, who rested of old time, even MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
Then shall the Times that were be Times no more; and it may be
that the old, dead days shall return from beyond the Rim, and we
who have wept for them shall see those days again, as one who,
returning from long travel to his home, comes suddenly on dear,
For none shall know of MANA who hath rested for so long, whether
he be a harsh or merciful god. It may be that he shall have mercy,
and that these things shall be.
THE EYE IN THE WASTE
There lie seven deserts beyond Bodrahan, which is the city of the
caravans' end. None goeth beyond. In the first desert lie the
tracks of mighty travellers outward from Bodrahan, and some
returning. And in the second lie only outward tracks, and none
The third is a desert untrodden by the feet of men.
The fourth is the desert of sand, and the fifth is the desert of
dust, and the sixth is the desert of stones, and the seventh is
the Desert of Deserts.
In the midst of the last of the deserts that lie beyond Bodrahan,
in the centre of the Desert of Deserts, standeth the image that
hath been hewn of old out of the living hill whose name is
Ranorada--the eye in the waste.
About the base of Ranorada is carved in mystic letters that are
vaster than the beds of streams these words:
To the god who knows.
Now, beyond the second desert are no tracks, and there is no water
in all the seven deserts that lie beyond Bodrahan. Therefore came
no man thither to hew that statue from the living hills, and
Ranorada was wrought by the hands of gods. Men tell in Bodrahan,
where the caravans end and all the drivers of the camels rest, how
once the gods hewed Ranorada from the living hill, hammering all
night long beyond the deserts. Moreover, they say that Ranorada is
carved in the likeness of the god Hoodrazai, who hath found the
secret of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, and knoweth the wherefore of the making
of the gods.
They say that Hoodrazai stands all alone in Pegana and speaks to
none because he knows what is hidden from the gods.
Therefore the gods have made his image in a lonely land as one who
thinks and is silent--the eye in the waste.
They say that Hoodrazai had heard the murmers of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
as he muttered to himself, and gleaned the meaning, and knew; and
that he was the god of mirth and of abundant joy, but became from
the moment of his knowing a mirthless god, even as his image,
which regards the deserts beyond the track of man.
But the camel drivers, as they sit and listen to the tales of the
old men in the market-place of Bodrahan, at evening, while the
camels rest, say:
"If Hoodrazai is so very wise and yet is sad, let us drink wine,
and banish wisdom to the wastes that lie beyond Bodrahan."
Therefore is there feasting and laughter all night long in the
city where the caravans end.
All this the camel drivers tell when the caravans come in from
Bodrahan; but who shall credit tales that camel drivers have heard
from aged men in so remote a city?
OF THE THING THAT IS NEITHER GOD NOR BEAST
Seeing that wisdom is not in cities nor happiness in wisdom, and
because Yadin the prophet was doomed by the gods ere he was born
to go in search of wisdom, he followed the caravans to Bodrahan.
There in the evening, where the camels rest, when the wind of the
day ebbs out into the desert sighing amid the palms its last
farewells and leaving the caravans still, he sent his prayer with
the wind to drift into the desert calling to Hoodrazai.
And down the wind his prayer went calling: "Why do the gods
endure, and play their game with men? Why doth not Skarl forsake
his drumming, and MANA cease to rest?" and the echo of seven
deserts answered: "Who knows? Who knows?"
But out in the waste, beyond the seven deserts where Ranorada
looms enormous in the dusk, at evening his prayer was heard; and
from the rim of the waste whither had gone his prayer, came three
flamingoes flying, and their voices said: "Going South, Going
South" at every stroke of their wings.
But as they passed by the prophet they seemed so cool and free and
the desert so blinding and hot that he stretched up his arms
towards them. Then it seemed happy to fly and pleasant to follow
behind great white wings, and he was with the three flamingoes up
in the cool above the desert, and their voices cried before him:
"Going South, Going South," and the desert below him mumbled: "Who
knows? Who knows?"
Sometimes the earth stretched up towards them with peaks of
mountains, sometimes it fell away in steep ravines, blue rivers
sang to them as they passed above them, or very faintly came the
song of breezes in lone orchards, and far away the sea sang mighty
dirges of old forsaken isles. But it seemed that in all the world
there was nothing only to be going South.
It seemed that somewhere the South was calling to her own, and
that they were going South.
But when the prophet saw that they had passed above the edge of
Earth, and that far away to the North of them lay the Moon, he
perceived that he was following no mortal birds but some strange
messengers of Hoodrazai whose nest had lain in one of Pegana's
vales below the mountains whereon sit the gods.
Still they went South, passing by all the Worlds and leaving them
to the North, till only Araxes, Zadres, and Hyraglion lay still to
the South of them, where great Ingazi seemed only a point of
light, and Yo and Mindo could be seen no more.
Still they went South till they passed below the South and came to
the Rim of the Worlds.
There there is neither South nor East nor West, but only North and
Beyond; there is only North of it where lie the Worlds, and Beyond
it where lies the Silence, and the Rim is a mass of rocks that
were never used by the gods when They made the Worlds, and on it
sat Trogool. Trogool is the Thing that is neither god nor beast,
who neither howls nor breathes, only _It_ turns over the
leaves of a great book, black and white, black and white for ever
until THE END.
And all that is to be is written in the book is also all that was.
When _It_ turneth a black page it is night, and when
_It_ turneth a white page it is day.
Because it is written that there are gods--there are the gods.
Also there is writing about thee and me until the page where our
names no more are written.
Then as the prophet watched _It_, Trogool turned a page--a
black one, and night was over, and day shone on the Worlds.
Trogool is the Thing that men in many countries have called by
many names, _It_ is the Thing that sits behind the gods,
whose book is the Scheme of Things.
But when Yadin saw that old remembered days were hidden away with
the part that _It_ had turned, and knew that upon one whose
name is writ no more the last page had turned for ever a thousand
pages back. Then did he utter his prayer in the fact of Trogool
who only turns the pages and never answers prayer. He prayed in
the face of Trogool: "Only turn back thy pages to the name of one
which is writ no more, and far away upon a place named Earth shall
rise the prayers of a little people that acclaim the name of
Trogool, for there is indeed far off a place called Earth where
men shall pray to Trogool."
Then spake Trogool who turns the pages and never answers prayer,
and his voice was like the murmurs of the waste at night when
echoes have been lost: "Though the whirlwind of the South should
tug with his claws at a page that hath been turned yet shall he
not be able to ever turn it back."
Then because of words in the book that said that it should be so,
Yadin found himself lying in the desert where one gave him water,
and afterwards carried him on a camel into Bodrahan.
There some said that he had but dreamed when thirst seized him
while he wandered among the rocks in the desert. But certain aged
men of Bodrahan say that indeed there sitteth somewhere a Thing
that is called Trogool, that is neither god nor beast, that
turneth the leaves of a book, black and white, black and white,
until he come to the words: _Mai Doon Izahn_, which means The
End For Ever, and book and gods and worlds shall be no more.
YONATH THE PROPHET
Yonath was the first among prophets who uttered unto men.
These are the words of Yonath, the first among all prophets:
There be gods upon Pegana.
Upon a night I slept. And in my sleep Pegana came very near. And
Pegana was full of gods.
I saw the gods beside me as one might see wonted things.
Only I saw not MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
And in that hour, in the hour of my sleep, I knew.
And the end and the beginning of my knowing, and all of my knowing
that there was, was this--that Man Knoweth Not.
Seek thou to find at night the utter edge of the darkness, or seek
to find the birthplace of the rainbow where he leapeth upward from
the hills, only seek not concerning the wherefore of the making of
The gods have set a brightness upon the farther side of the Things
to Come that they may appear more felititous to men than the
Things that Are.
To the gods the Things to Come are but as the Things that Are, and
nothing altereth in Pegana.
The gods, although not merciful, are not ferocious gods. They are
the destroyers of the Days that Were, but they set a glory about
the Days to Be.
Man must endure the Days that Are, but the gods have left him his
ignorance as a solace.
Seek not to know. Thy seeking will weary thee, and thou wilt
return much worn, to rest at last about the place from whence thou
settest out upon thy seeking.
Seek not to know. Even I, Yonath, the oldest prophet, burdened
with the wisdom of great years, and worn with seeking, know only
that man knoweth not.
Once I set out seeking to know all things. Now I know one thing
only, and soon the Years will carry me away.
The path of my seeking, that leadeth to seeking again, must be
trodden by very many more, when Yonath is no longer even Yonath.
Set not thy foot upon that path.
Seek not to know.
These be the Words of Yonath.
YUG THE PROPHET
When the Years had carries away Yonath, and Yonath was dead,
there was no longer a prophet among men.
And still men sought to know.
Therefore they said unto Yug: "Be thou our prophet, and know all
things, and tell us concerning the wherefore of It All."
And Yug said: "I know all things." And men were pleased.
And Yug said of the Beginning that it was in Yug's own garden, and
of the End that it was in the sight of Yug.
And men forgot Yug.
One day Yug saw Mung behind the hills making the sign of Mung. And
Yug was Yug no more.
ALHIRETH-HOTEP THE PROPHET
When Yug was Yug no more men said unto Alhireth-Hotep: "Be thou
our prophet, and be as wise as Yug."
And Alhireth-Hotep said: "I am as wise as Yug." And men were very
And Alhireth-Hotep said of Life and Death: "These be the affairs
of Alhireth-Hotep." And men brought gifts to him.
One day Alhireth-Hotep wrote in a book: "Alhireth-Hotep knoweth
All Things, for he hath spoken with Mung."
And Mung stepped from behind him, making the sign of Mung, saying:
"Knowest thou All Things, then, Alhireth-Hotep?" And Alhireth-Hotep
became among the Things that Were.
KABOK THE PROPHET
When Alhireth-Hotep was among the Things that Were, and still men
sought to know, they said unto Kabok: "Be thou as wise as was
And Kabok grew wise in his own sight and in the sight of men.
And Kabok said: "Mung maketh his signs against men or withholdeth
it by the advice of Kabok."
And he said unto one: "Thou hast sinned against Kabok, therefore
will Mung make the sign of Mung against thee." And to another:
"Thou has brought Kabok gifts, therefore shall Mung forbear to
make against thee the sign of Mung."
One night as Kabok fattened upon the gifts that men had brought
him he heard the tread of Mung treading in the garden of Kabok
about his house at night.
And because the night was very still it seemed most evil to Kabok
that Mung should be treading in his garden, without the advice of
Kabok, about his house at night.
And Kabok, who knew All Things, grew afraid, for the treading was
very loud and the night still, and he knew not what lay behind the
back of Mung, which none had ever seen.
But when the morning grew to brightness, and there was light upon
the Worlds, and Mung trod no longer in the garden, Kabok forgot
his fears, and said: "Perhaps it was but a herd of cattle that
stampeded in the garden of Kabok."
And Kabok went about his business, which was that of knowing All
Things, and telling All Things unto men, and making light of Mung.
But that night Mung trod again in the garden of Kabok, about his
house at night, and stood before the window of the house like a
shadow standing erect, so that Kabok knew indeed that it was Mung.
And a great fear fell upon the throat of Kabok, so that his speech
was hoarse; and he cried out: "Thou art Mung!"
And Mung slightly inclined his head, and went on to tread in the
garden of Kabok, about his house at night.
And Kabok lay and listened with horror at his heart.
But when the second morning grew to brightness, and there was
light upon the Worlds, Mung went from treading in the garden of
Kabok; and for a little while Kabok hoped, but looked with great
dread for the coming of the third night.
And when the third night was come, and the bat had gone to his
home, and the wind had sank, the night was very still.
And Kabok lay and listened, to whom the wings of the night flew
But, ere night met the morning upon the highway between Pegana and
the Worlds, there came the tread of Mung in the garden of Kabok
towards Kabok's door.
And Kabok fled out of his house as flees a hunted beast and flung
himself before Mung.
And Mung made the sign of Mung, pointing towards THE END.
And the fears of Kabok had rest from troubling Kabok any more, for
they and he were among accomplished things.
OF THE CALAMITY THAT BEFEL YUN-ILARA BY THE SEA, AND OF THE
BUILDING OF THE TOWER OF THE ENDING OF DAYS
When Kabok and his fears had rest the people sought a prophet who
should have no fear of Mung, whose hand was against the prophets.
And at last they found Yun-Ilara, who tended sheep and had no fear
of Mung, and the people brought him to the town that he might be
And Yun-Ilara builded a tower towards the sea that looked upon the
setting of the Sun. And he called it the Tower of the Ending of
And about the ending of the day would Yun-Ilara go up to his
tower's top and look towards the setting of the Sun to cry his
curses against Mung, crying: "O Mung! whose hand is against the
Sun, whom men abhor but worship because they fear thee, here stands
and speaks a man who fears thee not. Assassin lord of murder and
dark things, abhorrent, merciless, make thou the sign of Mung
against me when thou wilt, but until silence settles upon my lips,
because of the sign of Mung, I will curse Mung to his face." And
the people in the street below would gaze up with wonder towards
Yun-Ilara, who had no fear of Mung, and brought him gifts; only in
their homes after the falling of the night would they pray again
with reverence to Mung. But Mung said: "Shall a man curse a god?"
And still Mung came not nigh to Yun-Ilara as he cried his curses
against Mung from his tower towards the sea.
And Sish throughout the Worlds hurled Time away, and slew the
Hours that had served him well, and called up more out of the
timeless waste that lieth beyond the Worlds, and drave them forth
to assail all things. And Sish cast a whiteness over the hairs of
Yun-Ilara, and ivy about his tower, and weariness over his limbs,
for Mung passed by him still.
And when Sish became a god less durable to Yun-Ilara than ever
Mung hath been he ceased at last to cry from his tower's top his
curses against Mung whenever the sun went down, till there came
the day when weariness of the gift of Kib fell heavily upon
Then from the tower of the Ending of Days did Yun-Ilara cry out
thus to Mung, crying: "O Mung! O loveliest of the gods! O Mung,
most dearly to be desired! thy gift of Death is the heritage of
Man, with ease and rest and silence and returning to the Earth.
Kib giveth but toil and trouble; and Sish, he sendeth regrets with
each of his hours wherewith he assails the World. Yoharneth-Lahai
cometh nigh no more. I can no longer be glad with Limpang-Tung.
When the other gods forsake him a man hath only Mung."
But Mung said: "Shall a man curse a god?"
And every day and all night long did Yun-Ilara cry aloud: "Ah, now
for the hour of the mourning of many, and the pleasant garlands of
flowers and the tears, and the moist, dark earth. Ah, for repose
down underneath the grass, where the firm feet of the trees grip
hold upon the world, where never shall come the wind that now blows
through my bones, and the rain shall come warm and trickling, not
driven by storm, where is the easeful falling asunder of bone from
bone in the dark." Thus prayed Yun-Ilara, who had cursed in his
folly and youth, while never heeded Mung.
Still from a heap of bones that are Yun-Ilara still, lying about
the ruined base of the tower that once he builded, goes up a
shrill voice with the wind crying out for the mercy of Mung, if
any such there be.
OF HOW THE GODS WHELMED SIDITH
There was dole in the valley of Sidith. For three years there had
been pestilence, and in the last of the three a famine; moreover,
there was imminence of war.
Throughout all Sidith men died night and day, and night and day
within the Temple of All the gods save One (for none may pray to
MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI) did the priests of the gods pray hard.
For they said: "For a long while a man may hear the droning of
little insects and yet not be aware that he hath heard them, so
may the gods not hear our prayers at first until they have been
very oft repeated. But when your praying has troubled the silence
long it may be that some god as he strolls in Pegana's glades may
come on one of our lost prayers, that flutters like a butterfly
tossed in storm when all its wings are broken; then if the gods be
merciful they may ease our fears in Sidith, or else they may crush
us, being petulant gods, and so we shall see trouble in Sidith no
longer, with its pestilence and dearth and fears of war."
But in the fourth year of the pestilence and in the second year
of the famine, and while still there was imminence of war, came
all the people of Sidith to the door of the Temple of All the gods
save One, where none may enter but the priests--but only leave
gifts and go.
And there the people cried out: "O High Prophet of All the gods
save One, Priest of Kib, Priest of Sish, and Priest of Mung,
Teller of the mysteries of Dorozhand, Receiver of the gifts of the
People, and Lord of Prayer, what doest thou within the Temple of
All the gods save One?"
And Arb-Rin-Hadith, who was the High Prophet, answered: "I pray for
all the People."
But the people answered: "O High Prophet of All the gods save One,
Priest of Kib, Priest of Sish, and Priest of Mung, Teller of the
mysteries of Dorozhand, Receiver of the gifts of the People, and
Lord of Prayer, for four long years hast thou prayed with the
priests of all thine order, while we brought ye gifts and died.
Now, therefore, since They have not heard thee in four grim years,
thou must go and carry to Their faces the prayer of the people of
Sidith when They go to drive the thunder to his pasture upon the
mountain Aghrinaun, or else there shall no longer be gifts upon
thy temple door, whenever falls the dew, that thou and thine order
"Then thou shalt say before Their faces: 'O All the gods save One,
Lords of the Worlds, whose child is the eclipse, take back thy
pestilence from Sidith, for ye have played the game of the gods
too long with the people of Sidith, who would fain have done with
Then in great fear answered the High Prophet, saying: "What if the
gods be angry and whelm Sidith?" And the people answered: "Then are
we sooner done with pestilence and famine and the imminence of war."
That night the thunder howled upon Aghrinaun, which stood a peak above
all others in the land of Sidith. And the people took Arb-Rin-Hadith
from his Temple and drave him to Aghrinaun, for they said: "There walk
to-night upon the mountain All the gods save One."
And Arb-Rin-Hadith went trembling to the gods.
Next morning, white and frightened from Aghrinaun, came Arb-Rin-Hadith
back into the valley, and there spake to the people, saying: "The
faces of the gods are iron and their mouths set hard. There is no
hope from the gods."
Then said the people: "Thou shalt go to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, to whom
no man may pray: seek him upon Aghrinaun where it lifts clear into
the stillness before morning, and on its summit, where all things
seem to rest surely there rests also MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. Go to him,
and say: 'Thou hast made evil gods, and They smite Sidith.'
Perchance he hath forgotten all his gods, or hath not heard of
Sidith. Thou hast escaped the thunder of the gods, surely thou
shalt also escape the stillness of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI."
Upon a morning when the sky and lakes were clear and the world
still, and Aghrinaun was stiller than the world, Arb-Rin-Hadith
crept in fear towards the slopes of Aghrinaun because the people
All that day men saw him climbing. At night he rested near the
top. But ere the morning of the day that followed, such as rose
early saw him in the silence, a speck against the blue, stretch up
his arms upon the summit to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. Then instantly they
saw him not, nor was he ever seen of men again who had dared to
trouble the stillness of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
Such as now speak of Sidith tell of a fierce and potent tribe
that smote away a people in a valley enfeebled by pestilence,
where stood a temple to "All the gods save One" in which was no
OF HOW IMBAUN BECAME HIGH PROPHET IN ARADEC OF ALL
THE GODS SAVE ONE
Imbaun was to be made High Prophet in Aradec, of All the Gods save
From Ardra, Rhoodra, and the lands beyond came all High Prophets
of the Earth to the Temple in Aradec of All the gods save One.
And then they told Imbaun how The Secret of Things was upon the
summit of the dome of the Hall of Night, but faintly writ, and in
an unknown tongue.
Midway in the night, between the setting and the rising sun, they
led Imbaun into the Hall of Night, and said to him, chaunting
altogether: "Imbaun, Imbaun, Imbaun, look up to the roof, where is
writ The Secret of Things, but faintly, and in an unknown tongue."
And Imbaun looked up, but darkness was so deep within the Hall of
Night that Imbaun was not even the High Prophets who came from
Ardra, Rhoodra, and the lands beyond, nor saw he aught in the Hall
of Night at all.
Then called the High Prophets: "What seest thou, Imbaun?"
And Imbaun said: "I see naught."
Then called the High Prophets: "What knowest thou Imbaun?"
And Imbaun said: "I know naught."
Then spake the High Prophet of Eld of All the gods save One, who
is first on Earth of prophets: "O Imbaun! we have all looked
upwards in the Hall of Night towards the secret of Things, and
ever it was dark, and the Secret faint and in an unknown tongue.
And now thou knowest what all High Prophets know."
And Imbaun answered: "I know."
So Imbaun became High Prophet in Aradec of All the gods save One,
and prayed for all the people, who knew not that there was
darkness in the Hall of Night or that the secret was writ faint
and in an unknown tongue.
These are the words of Imbaun that he wrote in a book that all the
people might know:
"In the twentieth night of the nine hundredth moon, as night came
up the valley, I performed the mystic rites of each of the gods in
the temple as is my wont, lest any of the gods should grow angry
in the night and whelm us while we slept.
"And as I uttered the last of certain secret words I fell asleep
in the temple, for I was weary, with my head against the altar of
Dorozhand. Then in the stillness, as I slept, there entered
Dorozhand by the temple door in the guise of a man, and touched me
on the shoulder, and I awoke.
"But when I saw that his eyes shone blue and lit the whole of the
temple I knew that he was a god though he came in mortal guise.
And Dorozhand said: 'Prophet of Dorozhand, behold that the people
may know.' And he showed me the paths of Sish stretching far down
into the future time. Then he bade me arise and follow whither he
pointed, speaking no words but commanding with his eyes.
"Therefore upon the twentieth night of the nine hundredth moon I
walked with Dorozhand adown the paths of Sish into the future
"And ever beside the way did men slay men. And the sum of their
slaying was greater than the slaying of the pestilence of any of
the evils of the gods.
"And cities arose and shed their houses in dust, and ever the
desert returned again to its own, and covered over and hid the
last of all that had troubled its repose.
"And still men slew men.
"And I came at last to a time when men set their yoke no longer
upon beasts but made them beasts of iron.
"And after that did men slay men with mists.
"Then, because the slaying exceeded their desire, there came peace
upon the world that was brought by the hand of the slayer, and men
slew men no more.
"And cities multiplied, and overthrew the desert and conquered its
"And suddenly I beheld that THE END was near, for there was a
stirring above Pegana as of One who grows weary of resting, and I
saw the hound Time crouch to spring, with his eyes upon the
throats of the gods, shifting from throat to throat, and the
drumming of Skarl grew faint.
"And if a god may fear, it seemed that there was fear upon the
face of Dorozhand, and he seized me by the hand and led me back
along the paths of Time that I might not see THE END.
"Then I saw cities rise out of the dust again and fall back into
the desert whence they had arisen; and again I slept in the Temple
of All the gods save One, with my head against the altar of
"Then again the Temple was alight, but not with light from the
eyes of Dorozhand; only dawn came all blue out of the East and
shone through the arches of the Temple. Then I awoke and performed
the morning rites and mysteries of All the gods save One, lest any
of the gods be angry in the day and take away the Sun.
"And I knew that because I who had been so near to it had not
beheld THE END that a man should never behold it or know the doom
of the gods. This They have hidden."
OF HOW IMBAUN MET ZODRAK
The prophet of the gods lay resting by the river to watch the
stream run by.
And as he lay he pondered on the Scheme of Things and the works of
all the gods. And it seemed to the prophet of the gods as he
watched the stream run by that the Scheme was a right scheme and
the gods benignant gods; yet there was sorrow in the Worlds. It
seemed that Kib was bountiful, that Mung calmed all who suffer,
that Sish dealt not too harshly with the hours, and that all the
gods were good; yet there was sorrow in the Worlds.
Then said the prophet of the gods as he watched the stream run by:
"There is some other god of whom naught is writ." And suddenly the
prophet was aware of an old man who bemoaned beside the river,
crying: "Alas! alas!"
His face was marked by the sign and the seal of exceeding many
years, and there was yet vigour in his frame. These be the words
of the prophet that he wrote in his book: "I said: 'Who art thou
that bemoans beside the river?' And he answered: 'I am the fool.'
I said: 'Upon thy brow are the marks of wisdom such as is stored
in books.' He said: 'I am Zodrak. Thousands of years ago I tended
sheep upon a hill that sloped towards the sea. The gods have many
moods. Thousands of years ago They were in a mirthful mood. They
said: 'Let Us call up a man before Us that We may laugh in
"'And Their eyes that looked on me saw not me alone but also saw
THE BEGINNING and THE END and all the Worlds besides. Then said
the gods, speaking as speak the gods: "Go, back to thy sheep."
"'But I, who am the fool, had heard it said on earth that whoso
seeth the gods upon Pegana becometh as the gods, if so he demand
to Their faces, who may not slay him who hath looked them in the
"'And I, the fool, said: "I have looked in the eyes of the gods,
and I demand what a man may demand of the gods when he hath seen
Them in Pegana." And the gods inclined Their heads and Hoodrazai
said: "It is the law of the gods."
"'And I, who was only a shepherd, how could I know?
"'I said: "I will make men rich." And the gods said: "What is
"'And I said: "I will send them love." And the gods said: "What is
love?" And I sent gold into the Worlds, and, alas! I sent with it
poverty and strife. And I sent love into the Worlds, and with it
"'And now I have mixed gold and love most woefully together, and I
can never remedy what I have done, for the deeds of the gods are
done, and nothing may undo them.
"'Then I said: "I will give men wisdom that they may be glad." And
those who got my wisdom found that they knew nothing, and from
having been happy became glad no more.
"'And I, who would make men happy, have made them sad, and I have
spoiled the beautiful scheme of the gods.
"'And now my hand is for ever on the handle of Their plough. I was
only a shepherd, and how should I have known?
"'Now I come to thee as thou restest by the river to ask of thee
thy forgiveness, for I would fain have the forgiveness of a man.'
"And I answered: 'O Lord of seven skies, whose children are the
storms, shall a man forgive a god?'
"He answered: 'Men have sinned not against the gods as the gods
have sinned against men since I came into Their councils.'
"And I, the prophet, answered: 'O Lord of seven skies, whose
plaything is the thunder, thou art amongst the gods, what need
hast thou for words from any man?'
"He said: 'Indeed I am amongst the gods, who speak to me as they
speak to other gods, yet is there always a smile about Their
mouths, and a look in Their eyes that saith: "Thou wert a man."'
"I said: 'O Lord of seven skies, about whose feet the Worlds are
as drifted sand, because thou biddest me, I, a man, forgive thee.'
"And he answered: 'I was but a shepherd, and I could not know.'
Then he was gone."
The prophet of the gods cried out to the gods: "O! All the gods
save One" for none may pray to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, "where shall the
life of a man abide when Mung hath made against his body the sign
of Mung?--for the people with whom ye play have sought to know."
But the gods answered, speaking through the mist:
"Though thou shouldst tell thy secrets to the beasts, even that
the beasts should understand, yet will not the gods divulge the
secret of the gods to thee, that gods and beasts and men shall be
all the same, all knowing the same things."
That night Yoharneth-Lahai same to Aradec, and said unto Imbaun:
"Wherefore wouldst thou know the secret of the gods that not the
gods may tell thee?
"When the wind blows not, where, then, is the wind?
"Or when thou art not living, where art thou?
"What should the wind care for the hours of calm or thou for
"Thy life is long, Eternity is short.
"So short that, shouldst thou die and Eternity should pass, and
after the passing of Eternity thou shouldst live again, thou
wouldst say: 'I closed mine eyes but for an instant.'
"There is an eternity behind thee as well as one before. Hast thou
bewailed the aeons that passed without thee, who art so much
afraid of the aeons that shall pass?"
Then said the prophet: "How shall I tell the people that the gods
have not spoken and their prophet doth not know? For then should I
be prophet no longer, and another would take the people's gifts
instead of me."
Then said Imbaun to the people: "The gods have spoken, saying: 'O
Imbaun, Our prophet, it is as the people believe whose wisdom hath
discovered the secret of the gods, and the people when they die
shall come to Pegana, and there live with the gods, and there have
pleasure without toil. And Pegana is a place all white with the
peaks of mountains, on each of them a god, and the people shall
lie upon the slopes of the mountains each under the god that he
hath worshipped most when his lot was in the Worlds. And there
shall music beyond thy dreaming come drifting through the scent
of all the orchards in the Worlds, with somewhere someone singing
an old song that shall be as a half-remembered thing. And there
shall be gardens that have always sunlight, and streams that are
lost in no sea beneath skies for ever blue. And there shall be no
rain nor no regrets. Only the roses that in highest Pegana have
achieved their prime shall shed their petals in showers at thy
feet, and only far away on the forgotten earth shall voices drift
up to thee that cheered thee in thy childhood about the gardens of
thy youth. And if thou sighest for any memory of earth because thou
hearest unforgotten voices, then will the gods send messengers on
wings to soothe thee in Pegana, saying to them: "There one sigheth
who hath remembered Earth." And they shall make Pegana more seductive
for thee still, and they shall take thee by the hand and whisper in
thine ear till the old voices are forgot.
"'And besides the flowers of Pegana there shall have climbed by
then until it hath reached to Pegana the rose that clambered about
the house where thou wast born. Thither shall also come the
wandering echoes of all such music as charmed thee long ago.
"'Moreover, as thou sittest on the orchard lawns that clothe
Pegana's mountains, and as thou hearkenest to melody that sways
the souls of the gods, there shall stretch away far down beneath
thee the great unhappy Earth, till gazing from rapture upon sorrows
thou shalt be glad that thou wert dead.
"'And from the three great mountains that stand aloof and over all
the others--Grimbol, Zeebol, and Trehagobol--shall blow the wind
of the morning and the wind of all the day, borne upon the wings
of all the butterflies that have died upon the Worlds, to cool the
gods and Pegana.
"'Far through Pegana a silvery fountain, lured upward by the gods
from the Central Sea, shall fling its waters aloft, and over the
highest of Pegana's peaks, above Trehagobol, shall burst into
gleaming mists, to cover Highest Pegana, and make a curtain about
the resting-place of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
"'Alone, still and remote below the base of one of the inner
mountains, lieth a great blue pool.
"'Whoever looketh down into its waters may behold all his life
that was upon the Worlds and all the deeds that he hath done.
"'None walk by the pool and none regard its depths, for all in
Pegana have suffered and all have sinned some sin, and it lieth in
"'And there is no darkness in Pegana, for when night hath conquered
the sun and stilled the Worlds and turned the white peaks of Pegana
into grey then shine the blue eyes of the gods like sunlight on the
sea, where each god sits upon his mountain.
"'And at the Last, upon some afternoon, perhaps in summer, shall the
gods say, speaking to the gods: "What is the likeness of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
and what THE END?"
"'And then shall MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI draw back with his hand the mists
that cover his resting, saying: "This is the Face of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
and this THE END."'"
Then said the people to the prophet: "Shall not black hills draw
round in some forsaken land, to make a vale-wide cauldron wherein
the molten rock shall seethe and roar, and where the crags of
mountains shall be hurled upward to the surface and bubble and go
down again, that there our enemies may boil for ever?"
And the prophet answered: "It is writ large about the bases of
Pegana's mountains, upon which sit the gods: 'Thine Enemies Are
THE SAYINGS OF IMBAUN
The Prophet of the gods said: "Yonder beside the road there
sitteth a false prophet; and to all who seek to know the hidden
days he saith: 'Upon the morrow the King shall speak to thee as
his chariot goeth by.'"
Moreover, all the people bring him gifts, and the false prophet
hath more to listen to his words than hath the Prophet of the
Then said Imbaun: "What knoweth the Prophet of the gods? I know
only that I and men know naught concerning the gods or aught
concerning men. Shall I, who am their prophet, tell the people
"For wherefore have the people chosen prophets but that they
should speak the hopes of the people, and tell the people that
their hopes be true?"
The false prophet saith: "Upon the morrow the king shall speak to
Shall not I say: "Upon The Morrow the gods shall speak with thee
as thou restest upon Pegana?"
So shall the people be happy, and know that their hopes be true
who have believed the words that they have chosen a prophet to say.
But what shall know the Prophet of the gods, to whom none may come
to say: "Thy hopes are true," for whom none may make strange signs
before his eyes to quench his fear of death, for whom alone the
chaunt of his priests availeth naught?
The Prophet of the gods hath sold his happiness for wisdom, and
hath given his hopes for the people.
Said also Imbaun: "When thou art angry at night observe how calm
be the stars; and shall small ones rail when there is such a calm
among the great ones? Or when thou art angry by day regard the
distant hills, and see the calm that doth adorn their faces. Shalt
thou be angry while they stand so serene?
"Be not angry with men, for they are driven as thou art by
Dorozhand. Do bullocks goad one another on whom the same yoke
"And be not angry with Dorozhand, for then thou beatest thy bare
fingers against iron cliffs.
"All that is is so because it was to be. Rail not, therefore,
against what is, for it was all to be."
And Imbaun said: "The Sun ariseth and maketh a glory about all the
things that he seeth, and drop by drop he turneth the common dew
to every kind of gem. And he maketh a splendour in the hills.
"And also man is born. And there rests a glory about the gardens
of his youth. Both travel afar to do what Dorozhand would have
"Soon now the sun will set, and very softly come twinkling in the
stillness all the stars.
"Also man dieth. And quietly about his grave will all the mourners
"Will not his life arise again somewhere in all the worlds? Shall
he not again behold the gardens of his youth? Or does he set to
OF HOW IMBAUN SPAKE OF DEATH TO THE KING
There trod such pestilence in Aradec that, the King as he looked
abroad out of his palace saw men die. And when the King saw Death
he feared that one day even the King should die. Therefore he
commanded guards to bring before him the wisest prophet that
should be found in Aradec.
Then heralds came to the temple of All the gods save One, and
cried aloud, having first commanded silence, crying: "Rhazahan,
King over Aradec, Prince by right of Ildun and Ildaun, and Prince
by conquest of Pathia, Ezek, and Azhan, Lord of the Hills, to the
High Prophet of All the gods save One sends salutations."
Then they bore him before the King.
The King said unto the prophet: "O Prophet of All the gods save
One, shall I indeed die?"
And the prophet answered: "O King! thy people may not rejoice for
ever, and some day the King will die."
And the King answered: "This may be so, but certainly thou shalt
die. It may be that one day I shall die, but till then the lives
of the people are in my hands."
Then guards led the prophet away.
And there arose prophets in Aradec who spake not of death to
Men say that if thou comest to Sundari, beyond all the plains, and
shalt climb to his summit before thou art seized by the avalanche
which sitteth always on his slopes, that then there lie before thee
many peaks. And if thou shalt climb these and cross their valleys
(of which there be seven and also seven peaks) thou shalt come at
last to the land of forgotten hills, where amid many valleys and
white snow there standeth the "Great Temple of One god Only."
Therein is a dreaming prophet who doeth naught, and a drowsy
priesthood about him.
These be the priests of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
Within the temple it is forbidden to work, also it is forbidden to
pray. Night differeth not from day within its doors. They rest as
MANA rests. And the name of their prophet is Ood.
Ood is a greater prophet than any of all the prophets of Earth,
and it hath been said by some that were Ood and his priests to
pray chaunting all together and calling upon MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
that MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI would then awake, for surely he would hear
the prayers of his own prophet--then would there be Worlds no more.
There is also another way to the land of forgotten hills, which is
a smooth road and a straight, that lies through the heart of the
mountains. But for certain hidden reasons it were better for thee
to go by the peaks and snow, even though thou shouldst perish by
the way, that thou shouldst seek to come to the house of Ood by
the smooth, straight road.
There arises a river in Pegana that is neither a river of water
nor yet a river of fire, and it flows through the skies and the
Worlds to the Rim of the Worlds, a river of silence. Through all
the Worlds are sounds, the noises of moving, and the echoes of
voices and song; but upon the River is no sound ever heard, for
there all echoes die.
The River arises out of the drumming of Skarl, and flows for ever
between banks of thunder, until it comes to the waste beyond the
Worlds, behind the farthest star, down to the Sea of Silence.
I lay in the desert beyond all cities and sounds, and above me
flowed the River of Silence through the sky; and on the desert's
edge night fought against the Sun, and suddenly conquered.
Then on the River I saw the dream-built ship of the god Yoharneth-Lahai,
whose great prow lifted grey into the air above the River of Silence.
Her timbers were olden dreams dreamed long ago, and poets' fancies
made her tall, straight masts, and her rigging was wrought out of
the people's hopes.
Upon her deck were rowers with dream-made oars, and the rowers
were the people of men's fancies, and princes of old story and
people who had died, and people who had never been.
These swung forward and swung back to row Yoharneth-Lahai through
the Worlds with never a sound of rowing. For ever on every wind
float up to Pegana the hopes and the fancies of the people which
have no home in the Worlds, and there Yoharneth-Lahai weaves them
into dreams, to take them to the people again.
And every night in his dream-built ship Yoharneth-Lahai setteth
forth, with all his dreams on board, to take again their old hopes
back to the people and all forgotten fancies.
But ere the day comes back to her own again, and all the
conquering armies of the dawn hurl their red lances in the face of
the night, Yoharneth-Lahai leaves the sleeping Worlds, and rows
back up the River of Silence, that flows from Pegana into the Sea
of Silence that lies beyond the Worlds.
And the name of the River is Imrana the River of Silence. All they
that be weary of the sound of cities and very tired of clamour
creep down in the night-time to Yoharneth-Lahai's ship, and going
aboard it, among the dreams and the fancies of old times, lie down
upon the deck, and pass from sleeping to the River, while Mung,
behind them, makes the sign of Mung because they would have it so.
And, lying there upon the deck among their own remembered fancies,
and songs that were never sung, and they drift up Imrana ere the
dawn, where the sound of the cities comes not, nor the voice of
the thunder is heard, nor the midnight howl of Pain as he gnaws
at the bodies of men, and far away and forgotten bleat the small
sorrows that trouble all the Worlds.
But where the River flows through Pegana's gates, between the
great twin constellations Yum and Gothum, where Yum stands
sentinel upon the left and Gothum upon the right, there sits
Sirami, the lord of All Forgetting. And, when the ship draws near,
Sirami looketh with his sapphire eyes into the faces and beyond
them of those that were weary of cities, and as he gazes, as one
that looketh before him remembering naught, he gently waves his
hands. And amid the waving of Sirami's hands there fall from all
that behold him all their memories, save certain things that may
not be forgotten even beyond the Worlds.
It hath been said that when Skarl ceases to drum, and MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI
awakes, and the gods of Pegana know that it is THE END, that then the
gods will enter galleons of gold, and with dream-born rowers glide down
Imrana (who knows whither or why?) till they come where the River enters
the Silent Sea, and shall there be gods of nothing, where nothing is,
and never a sound shall come. And far away upon the River's banks shall
bay their old hound Time, that shall seek to rend his masters; while
MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI shall think some other plan concerning gods and worlds.
THE BIRD OF DOOM AND THE END
For at the last shall the thunder, fleeing to escape from the doom
of the gods, roar horribly among the Worlds; and Time, the hound
of the gods, shall bay hungrily at his masters because he is lean
And from the innermost of Pegana's vales shall the bird of doom,
Mosahn, whose voice is like the trumpet, soar upward with
boisterous beatings of his wings above Pegana's mountains and the
gods, and there with his trumpet voice acclaim THE END.
Then in the tumult and amid the fury of their hound the gods shall
make for the last time in Pegana the sign of all the gods, and go
with dignity and quiet down to Their galleons of gold, and sail
away down the River of Silence, not ever to return.
Then shall the River overflow its banks, and a tide come setting
in from the Silent Sea, till all the Worlds and the Skies are
drowned in silence; while MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI in the Middle of All
sits deep in thought. And the hound Time, when all the Worlds and
cities are swept away whereon he used to raven, having no more to
devour, shall suddenly die.
But there are some that hold--and this is the heresy of the
Saigoths--that when the gods go down at the last into their
galleons of gold Mung shall turn alone, and, setting his back
against Trehagobol and wielding the Sword of Severing which is
called Death, shall fight out his last fight with the hound Time,
his empty scabbard Sleep clattering loose beside him.
There under Trehagobol they shall fight alone when all the gods
And the Saigoths say that for two days and nights the hound shall
leer and snarl before the face of Mung-days and nights that shall
be lit by neither sun nor moons, for these shall go dipping down
the sky with all the Worlds as the galleons glide away, because
the gods that made them are gods no more.
And then shall the hound, springing, tear out the throat of Mung,
who, making for the last time the sign of Mung, shall bring down
Death crashing through the shoulders of the hound, and in the
blood of Time that Sword shall rust away.
Then shall MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI be all alone, with neither Death nor
Time, and never the hours singing in his ears, nor the swish of
the passing lives.
But far away from Pegana shall go the galleons of gold that bear
the gods away, upon whose faces shall be utter calm, because They
are the gods knowing that it is THE END.
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