The Gods of Pegana, by Lord Dunsany
Table of Contents
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 Chaunt of the Priests
The Sayings of Limpang-Tung
Of Roon, the God of Going
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-Ilara 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
There be islands in the Central Sea, whose waters are
bounded by no shore and where no ships come -- this is the
faith of their people.
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 knoweth.
The Gods of Pegana
by Lord Dunsany
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
And none may pray to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI but only the gods
whom he hath made.
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 MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.
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 asleep.
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
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 is over.
There 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 beginning.
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
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 sky.
Then said the gods: "Let Us make one to seek, to seek and
never to find out concerning the wherefore of the making of
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 silent.
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
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
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
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
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
arise 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
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 his mouth.
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 Suns.
"And We play with the Worlds and the Sun and Life and
Death until MANA arise to rebuke us, saying: `What do ye
playing with Worlds and Suns?'
"It is a very serious thing that there be Worlds and
Suns, and yet most withering is the laughter of
"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
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 his way.
Never hath Sish stepped backward nor ever hath he
tarried; never hath he relented to the things that once he
knew nor turned to them again.
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 Earth.
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 young.
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 been said.
"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 needest it."
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
And Slid said: "The hand of Slid hath toyed with
cataracts, adown 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 the sea."
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 Sea.
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
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 the Worlds.
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 sitteth Mung."
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 with Mung."
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 hearkeneth not. What, then, shall avail the prayers of
All the People?
Rather bring gifts to the Priests, gifts to the Priests
So shall they cry louder unto Mung than ever was their
And it may be that Mung shall hear.
Not any longer then 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 the People.
Not any longer shall the lives of the People be loosened
because of Mung.
Bring ye gifts to the Priests, gifts to the Priests of
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 to 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 ever 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 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
"Utter thy prayer! It may accomplish where failed ten
"Limpang-Tung is lesser than the gods, and doth not
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 upon
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 upon 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 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 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
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)
Yoharneth-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
is over that oft he forgetteth which be the poor man and
which be The King.
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 down to the soul of
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 boundary.
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
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 the hearth, nor will
he be benignant to thy home.
Offer to Roon thy toiling and thy speed, whose incense is
the smoke of a 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 trumpeteer, 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
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
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 sleep.
And when it is dark, all in the hour of Triboogie, Hish
creepeth forth from the forest, the Lord of Silence, whose
children are the bats, that have broke 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 the silence.
And when he hath slain all sound Hish boweth low to the
ground; then cometh into the house, with never a sound of
feet, the god Yoharneth-Lahai.
But away in the forest where 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 leaves.
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. Their names be Eimes, Zanes, and
And Eimes is the joy of lowing herds; and Zanes 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 low 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, Zanes, and Segastrion sat upon the mountains,
and spread their hands over the rivers that rebelled by
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 the
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, Zanes, 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
And Mung stood before him as his dry sides heaved, and
ever as they sank his hot breath blasted dead sticks and
Then Mung said: "Friend of Mung! go thou and grin before
the faces of Eimes, Zanes, 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
And whenever Eimes, Zanes, 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 the 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
Then Eimes sought to hide himself in a great pool beneath
a rock, and Zanes crept into the middle of a wood, and
Segastrion lay and panted on the sand -- still Umbool sat
And Eimes grew lean, and was forgotten, so that the men
of the plains would say: "Here once was Eimes"; and Zanes
scarcely 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, Zanes, 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 forth 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 Dorozhand.
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 in Pegana
speaking to the gods, say: "What is it that Dorozhand would
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 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 hath wrought the gods, say:
"MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, thou hast rested long."
And MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI shall say: "Not so, for I have
rested but fifty aeons of the gods, each of them scarce more
than ten million mortal years of the Worlds that ye have
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
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 suddenly from long travel to
his home, comes suddenly on dear, remembered things.
For none shall know of MANA who hath rested for so long,
whether he be a harsh or a 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 Bodrahahn, which is the city
of the caravans end. None goeth beyond. In the first
desert lie the tracks of mighty travellers outward from
Bodrahahn, and some returning. And in the second lie only
outward tracks, and none return.
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
Bodrahahn, 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
Bodrahahn. 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 Bodrahahn, 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
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 murmurs 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 Bodrahahn, 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 Bodrahahn." 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 Bodrahahn; 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 Bodrahahn. There in the evening, when 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 of 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
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 behind 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
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
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
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 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
breaths, 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, as also all
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
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
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 face 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 ever to turn it back."
Then because of words in the book that said it should be
so, Yadin found himself lying in the desert where one gave
him water, and afterwards carried him on a camel into
There some said that he had but dreamed when thirst had
seized him while he wandered among the rocks in the desert.
But certain aged men of Bodrahahn say that indeed there
sitteth somewhere a Thing that is called Trogool, that is
neither god nor beast, that turned 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
*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.
The gods have set a brightness upon the farther side of
the Things to Come that they may appear more felicitous 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 olden 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
Set not thy foot upon that path.
Seek not to know.
These be the Words of Yonath.
Yug the Prophet
When the Years had carried 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
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 Yonath.
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 glad.
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
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 Alhireth-Hotep."
And Kabok grew wise in his own sight and in the sight of
And Kabok said: "Mung maketh his sign 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 hast 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
And when the third night was come, and the bat had gone
to his home, and the wind had sunk, the night was very
And Kabok lay and listened, to whom the wings of night
flew very slow.
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 their prophet.
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 Days.
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, saying: "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 Mung went forth amid the
cities to glean the lives of the People.
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
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 Yun-Ilara.
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
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
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 our
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
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 prayers 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 may fatten.
"There thou shall 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 the gods.'"
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 were urgent.
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 high priest.
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 One.
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 there 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 all together: "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 saw 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,
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 know thou knowest what all High
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
"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 time.
"And ever beside the way did men slay men. And the sum
of their slaying was greater than the slaying of the
pestilence or 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 repose.
"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
"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 Dorozhand.
. . . . . . .
"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 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 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 mirthful mood. They
said: "Let Us call up a man before Us that We may laugh in
"`They took me from my sheep upon the hill that slopes
towards the sea. They carried me above the thunder. They
stood me, that was only a shepherd, before Them on Pegana,
and the gods laughed. They laughed not as men laugh,
but with solemn eyes."
"`And Their eyes that looked on me saw not me alone
but also 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 eyes.
"`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 rich?"
"`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 grief.
"`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
"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 there is 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
That night Yoharneth-Lahai came 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
"Thy life is long, Eternity is short.
"So short that, should 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.
Hadst thou bewailed the aeons that passed without thee, who
are 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
"`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 the
evening 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 upwards 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
"`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
"`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 the pool.
"`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
"`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 Forgiven.'"
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 gods."
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 this?
"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 thee.'
"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 the priests availeth
"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
"Be not angry with men, for they are driven as thou art
by Dorozhand. Do bullocks goad one another on whom the same
"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 them do.
"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 weep.
"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 end?"
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
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, 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, 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, than that thou
shouldst seek to come to the home of Ood by the smooth,
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
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
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
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
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 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, 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, 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
forgot 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, 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 with age.
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 are gone.
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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