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gone to bed, Mowyie came, and had a long talk with Mr. Freeman about palm oil, cotton planting, &c., and made particular inquiries as to the time before palm and cotton trees would become productive. This looks well, for it shows that the subject is being well considered by the king.
Saturday, April 3.-Our friend, the bugle, woke us up at four o'clock, and at “fowl's speak," as our interpreters call cock-crow, we were well clear of the town, on our way to Abomey. The path, broad and well kept, runs through a tolerably open country, that has very much the appearance of a neglected park. At about a mile from Caume, the hammock was lowered to the ground, as a hint that I was to get out. I complied, not knowing what might be the reason for such a proceeding, and found that it was for the purpose of paying due respect to a triumphal and fetish kind of business, under which I had to walk. Several dragon trees were planted in a line on each side of the path, the interstices between the trunks of the trees being filled with a framework of bamboo, and a long bamboo pole, ornamented with palm-leaves, that hung suspended from it, and fluttered in the breeze with a very pleasing effect, was stretched across the road ; the whole reminding one a good deal of the arches with 66 Welcome, V. and A.” on them, that are raised in England in doing honour to the queen's visits.
Having learned the secret, I would not pay any more respect to two or three other arches on the road, as it is a good deal of bother getting in and out of a hammock; the re-arrangement of the pillows, and the settling oneself comfortably, being an affair of some little time.
The eight miles of road between Caume and Abomey, being frequently travelled over by the king, is kept in excellent order, and on both sides of the path are numerous small fetish houses, within enclosures of dragon trees, and occasionally a tree, being fetish, is enclosed in the same honourable manner. Midway between the towns, is one of the king's houses, in which he generally passes a few hours when en route.
The morning was deliciously fresh, the road crowded with travellers, and the hammock-men stepped gaily on, so that we soon arrived within a couple of yards of Abomey, where a man, with a chamberlain's stick, was awaiting to receive us and conduct us to our quarters. He told us we must get out of our hammocks for a short time, and we passed on foot through two or three hundred fetish houses, each containing a whitewashed image, rudely modelled into a faint resemblance of the human form divine, and then over a rough wooden causeway, constructed across a kind of moat, into the town, through a gateway- for here we first saw any thing like a walled town. The wall was built of mud, without any pretensions to battlements, towers, or fortifications of any kind, and the moat was almost filled
with trees. At a short distance from the common gateway through which we were admitted, I noticed another, which I was told was especially reserved for the king.
As soon as we had entered the town, we got into our hammocks, and were carried about a hundred yards or so, to a house built expressly for the accommodation of Europeans, and found it to be a little better than any we had yet met with. " It was partly whitewashed, and the thatch did not descend so low as to oblige us to almost go on all-fours, when going in or out of our rooms.
(To be concluded next number.)
THE SPELL-BOUND CAVERN.
A LEGEND OF PERSIA.
BY THE HONOURABLE CHARLES STUART SAVILE.
In the month of October, 1838, I proceeded on a hunting, shooting, and hawking excursion, in the environs of Tabriz, the capital of Azerbijan, in Persia. A young mirza accompanied me, from whom, a year previously, I had commenced taking lessons in the Persian language. He was a most entertaining companion ; and although not more than two-and-twenty years
in his brain a greater number of legends and tales than in that of any professional story-teller in the province. He was no bigot, and was possessed of as few scruples with regard to holding intercourse with Christians, as was possible with one of his country and religion, making every allowance for the effects of education and early prejudices.
One morning, at dawn of day, we left a small village where we had passed the night, and just as the sun rose, we entered upon a rocky plain at the foot of some very lofty mountains. This spot abounded in partridges, and we had been most successful in taking a quantity of these birds with our hawks, when our dogs started a hare : away we bounded in pursuit ; but the rugged and ascending nature of the ground soon caused us to lose sight of our prey, and having given up the chase, we were riding close to some rocks, seeking for a convenient spot whereupon to breakfast, when one of the dogs, which was about a hundred yards in advance, having entered a large dark cavern, we heard him give a yelp of agony; I was about to gallop up to see what had happened to the animal, when my companion, the mirza, stopped me.
“ There is no use going to the dog's assistance,” he cried, “the animal is dead before this. I was not aware that we were so near that cavern, the air of which proves instantly mortal to all of living kind. Take care not to enter it, or you are a dead man."
Notwithstanding these observations, I hastened towards the cave ; but when within a few yards of it I saw my dog lying dead within, at the same time the air that proceeded from the cavern's mouth was so mephitic, that I was forced to beat a retreat at once. As soon as the vexation occasioned by the loss of an animal I highly prized was somewhat calmed, I asked the mirza what he knew concerning the deadly place, and by what name it was known in the country.
“ It is called the “Spell-Bound Cavern, ,'" answered the mirza, “and could I overcome, though but for a few hours, the power of the evil spirit that hath the keeping of it, I should be richer than was the glorious Suleyman, surnamed - the Wise.'
“How so ?" was my very natural question.
“Because I could then enter within the cavern and penetrate to its inmost recesses, where lies, under a potent spell, a quantity of jewels and gold, sufficient to buy the whole of Farsistan, ay, and Frangistan to boot.
“How did the treasure get there, my friend?" I inquired, somewhat
sarcastically ; " surely whoever hid it might have chosen a more useful mode of laying out his funds."
“Hush !” cried the mirza, somewhat solemnly; "did you but know the history thereof, you would no longer marvel.”
“ Barakillah !” (bravo) I exclaimed ; “there is a tale belonging to that gloomy-looking hole: let us have it by all means, while we are breakfasting by the side of the stream which flows through that patch of green grass. I trust it will somewhat repay me for the loss of my poor dog
“ Several thousand years ago," began the mirza, as soon as we were seated upon the spot I had pointed out, “this was a very
different country to what it is now; at least they say so: these naked and sultry plains were then covered with laughing forests, where the bulbul sang all the livelong day. A mighty king reigned over the land, from the lofty Ararat to the Gulf of Ormus, so famous for its pearls : Azerbijan, Irak, Kermanshah, Mazanderan, and Fars, acknowledged him as their ruler, together with many other fertile provinces.”
“ You mean," I interrupted, 66 that this illustrious monarch was Shah of Persia ?”
“ Yes,” returned the mirza, “but Shah of Persia, when the kingdom was in all its grandeur : long, long before the hateful Muscovite and barbarous Tartar had encroached upon its boundaries; but, to proceed, the king was not twenty years of age when he began to reign; but, although so young, he was a' Lokman in wisdom, an Iskunder in the arts of war, and a Rustum in prowess and in beauty of person. Although formed to inspire love in woman's breast, he had never himself felt that passion : his harem, it is true, was filled with the most beauteous maidens that Circassia and Georgia could send forth, but the young prince had never for an instant felt his heart warmed by their charns. The interior of a Persian's harem is and ever was sacred, and its mysteries should never be bruited abroad, but women's tongues will wag, and, somehow or other, the coldness of the shah towards the female sex became known. Great was the consternation thereat throughout the kingdom, for Khodabundah Shah was the last of his race, and it was feared that were he to die issueless, a bloody civil war would ensue among the chief khans of the country to obtain the vacant throne. Astrologers consulted the stars, but those twinkling prophets, though their answers to other questions were as clear as the rippling stream which flows at our feet, gave forth no explanation upon this topic, and all that could be conjectured by the wisest of the wise men, was, that a terrible danger menaced the person of their sovereign, but when and where the catastrophe was to occur could not be made out. No outward sign of anxiety was shown in the presence of the monarch, for no one dared to be the harbinger of evil tidings, or to inform him of the threatening aspect of the heavenly bodies.
“One day as the shah was hunting upon this plain, the dogs started a magnificent leopard, whose speed was so great, that after a chase of several hours, the animal had beaten off all his pursuers save one magnificent hound and the King Khodabundah, whose steed, a native of Nejd, was unequalled in speed and endurance. The horses of all the royal followers had long since given in from fatigue, and the shah alone followed the chase. On they went, through thicket and furze, over stream and streamlet, over rock and precipice, till they arrived at this
very spot, when the leopard turned at bay, but just as the hound came up, it lay down overcome with fatigue, and yelped its last. The shah now rode
up at full speed ; O does not Nejd send forth most noble steeds! the two-for I must name the horse with his rider-the two approached within a short distance, when Khodabundah, taking aim, hurled his jereed at the leopard ; through the air flew the missile, so strongly was it thrown, you might have heard its twang at a fursuk's distance, plump upon
the flank of the beast it struck-the shah never missed his aim when, O wonderful! though its point was as sharp as hornet's sting, the weapon bounded off, and the leopard remained unhurt. The king, undaunted, drew his scimitar (from Damascus came the blade), and coming up to the beast, aimed a tremendous blow at its head. I have already told you that the strength of the king was that of a Rustum, the blow would have cut through a mountain, but it harmed not the leopard, while the scimitar flew into a thousand pieces. Khodabundah possessed a dauntless heart, any one else would have melted like snow from fright, for he must have known, from what had just occurred, that the leopard could not be mortal. He felt, however, no fear, but casting himself from off his horse, he attacked the leopard with his dagger, and struck a blow at its heart. The dagger, though it came from Khorasan, snapped asunder. Khodabundah was now without a weapon, but undauntedly rushing upon the wild beast, he locked his arms around its neck and strove to throttle it. A struggle ensued, but it lasted for a moment only, for the shah, although strong as Rustum, found himself almost instantly lying on his back and the leopard standing over him. The eyes of the brute gleamed with supernatural fire, but to the surprise of the prostrate monarch, it sprang not at his throat, and then, O wondrous! a change came over it; by degrees it took the likeness of a human form, but, Afakerillah ! Such a human form, Azaib! (wonderful); it resembled a being of this world, and yet how different, for it was a ghoule; yes, the Shah of Persia was in the grasp of a ghoule.
66 Ha! ha! cried the evil genius, ' I have you now, poor mortal, you who call yourself the king of kings, I have you, and will pick out your brains at mine ease.'
“At these words he grasped the throat of Khodabundah ; but to the astonishment of the latter, he felt no pain, and in another instant he was free, and the ghoule was kneeling upon the ground.
“ . Most potent monarch !' he said, 'I am your slave, I have no power over such an one as you.'
• • What meanest thou ? dirtiest of muds!' returned the shah, springing to his feet; "answer, as thou hopest for mercy from me.'
“I mean,' replied the ghoule, that I wished to take your life, O Khodabundah! but a ghoule has no power to harm a monarch, who, though arrived at manhood, is still a maiden king ; and most illustrious of shahs, I am forced to own that I am your slave. What would you of
"By the strength of Zaul and Rustum,' cried Khodabundah, who had preserved his calmness during even the most dangerous moment of the contest, this chase has wearied me, and I would fain refresh myself and my noble horse yonder, that hath borne me so bravely throughout the day; here, take Kiorooglee's bridle, and lead him to thine abode, which
must be near at hand, or else thou wouldst never have dared to turn at bay ; for a ghoule (and thou art one of that accursed race) becomes really powerful only, when within a jereed's cast of his residence.
« * You are right, noble Khodabundah,' replied the evil genius ; 'yonder cavern is
habitation.' “ That very cave,” observed the mirza, “where the hound was just now suffocated.”
“ The ghoule did not live in a very wholesome atmosphere,” was my remark.
“ The atmosphere of the cavern was innoxious then,” responded my companion ; " and to it the ghoule led the horse, while the shah followed. Having passed through the outer cavern, the opening of which is alone visible to us, they came to an iron-door, which the ghoule pushed open, and a most magnificent sight presented itself to the eyes of the royal visitor. The chamber they entered consisted of a long gallery, the walls of which were of gold, while the dome was of glittering silver; the whole was lighted up by lamps set in jewels. The shah and his conductor passed along this corridor till they came to a golden door, which opening at their approach, they entered a spacious circular vestibule, the walls and ceiling of which were similar to those of the gallery. In addition to the door by which they had entered, the vestibule had three other doors, one of which opened upon the ghoule's clapping his hands, and several monstrous looking shapes, scarcely resembling human beings, appeared, and taking hold of the bridle of Kiorooglee, they led him away to from whence they had come.
“ • Whither are those monsters conducting my horse!' exclaimed Khodabundah ; “I would not have any harm happen to that animal, than which I possess not a nobler in my
stables. “. Rest assured, most glorious of kings,' said the ghoule, “that no mother ever nursed her child more gently, than will those mehters (grooms) tend your steed. Before proceeding further you can judge for yourself, look at the stable prepared for him.'
Upon this invitation being given, the shah followed the horse into a stable, the mangers of which were of porphyry and the pavement of jasper. After the animal had been admirably groomed, a bed of lavender and rose-leaves were spread out for him, and the racks being wellfilled with provender, Kiorooglee seemed as unfatigued and full of spirit as previous to his starting for the chase.
"You are a good master,' said the ghoule, as his royal guest and himself left the stable. · Before thinking of your own wants, you have seen your horse attended to, but follow me now to my chief apartment ; I question whether the most magnificent of your palaces can compete with it.'
“ With these words he led Khodabundah to the vestibule, and having again clapped his hands together, another door sprang open, when such a dazzling scene presented itself to the eyes of the shah, that, although accustomed to splendour, he could not refrain from giving vent to an exclamation of surprise. The walls and ceiling of the room they entered were composed entirely of precious stones, which glittered in the light afforded by a hundred lamps full of perfumed oil. The floor was spread with nummuds of a quality hitherto unknown to Khodabundah, and