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that thou shouldst ask me that?' I of us, my sister? Dost thou not questioned.
love us? *Men always insist on remaining “Oh, ho! What idle talk,' she ignorant,' she retorted and went on expostulated. 'If I did not love you with her story. 'I learned cooking, both — the images of herself — would serving dinner, how to dress for cook- I yet cling to this dancing dust?' ing, then how to dress for dinner after she turned to me: 'Did I not fast for cooking. The garment of the kitchen thy home-coming so that all the immay be worn only after an arduous purity of life might be cleansed and bath and the cleansing of the body. the paths of thorn turned into a river Once the cooking is done, the garment of blessing? Were she here she would of the kitchen must be put away and have fasted to purify her thoughts in the garment of the feast donned. I was order to mirror for other souls their not allowed to rest in the afternoon in own purity. “Self-cleansing cleanses the dress of the feast — Oh, there were the world,” she said once — and, a thousand little things that the thinking of her, I fasted and prayed to woman-mind picks up as a miser make myself and the world worthy of gathers his pennies: there was the thy home-coming.' evening toilet, the meditation — all We were obliged to reassure our these things was I taught as well as sister who was as conscientious in her the work of pleasing a husband. But affections as her duties. After a little now I seek only to please God,' she more talk she rose to go saying, – concluded.
'Now I must seek slumber; in old 'How much Sanskrit dost thou age two days' fasting feels like a week know, sister?' I asked.
of it. My prayers have been heard; 'A few hymns. The one I love most thou art home again and at peace with is: “Those who with steadfast love thy soul.' worship Me, seeking Me in all things, We lingered, happy in talk of our and all things in Me, shall attain the mother; and then my brother began to supreme Light.” I weary of all this; I tell me gradually the story I had waited hunger for the stealthy one — Death.' so long to hear — the story of his own
Something in her voice made my life. But not only that night, but many brother who had been silent all this others, passed beneath the stars before while ask gently, ‘Dost thou weary all of it was recounted.
THE IBEX AND THE ELEPHANT
BY DOUGLAS BURDEN
AFTER wintering in the tropics, it was a Los on the right bank of the Astor relief beyond anything that I can hope River and, after spending the night in to describe to get up into the vale of the beautiful orchard of the Lombador, Kashmir. From the heat-laden plains or headman of the village, we pushed around Delhi to Rawal Pindi, — the on a half day's march further to my jumping-off place for Kashmir, — is less nullah. than twenty-four hours by train. A Within an hour after camp had been day and a half more by motor and one pitched I found myself in something has reached the famous valley. Such a of a predicament. We were just going contrast to the dusty plains, such to 'take a little look' on the markhor scenery, such fresh color, and such air ground and therefore, without botherare too much for mere words. In no ing to put on grass shoes, we started time one is walking around with one's off following the chota-shikari, attired head literally in the clouds, and one's in the usual chaplis — hob-nailed sanspirit soaring over the great mountains dals. Presently we came to some cliffs to the Tibetan steppes.
but, since no markhor were to be seen, Shikaries and coolies were obtained Jumma Khan scrambled down. Even and at last I was slipping away on the though the cliffs were precipitous it quiet waters of the Yelum in the shad- looked easy when the Dard went down. ows of the Himalaya range. At Bandi- I therefore started to follow, but pore we outfitted. The last dusts of soon discovered that there was somecivilization were printed in the snow of thing radically wrong. The chaplis the virgin forest that surrounded the were useless so I took them off. Dak Bungalow of Tragbal, and there, Rahima, I noticed, did likewise. Then after a night's rest and a little climb I continued the descent, getting into a before dawn, I was standing on the worse and worse fix the further I went, summit of a 12,000-foot pass. Quite a until at last I found myself completely contrast it was to the heat of Delhi. stopped. This was not any fun at all. Forced marches carried us through I looked down and the view was disthe Burzil pass, fearful with its threat tinctly good -- so good, in fact, that of snow slides, majestic in the silent I had to force myself to look away and grandeur of the moonlight. The only study the cliffs at hand. safe method at this time of year was to I failed to see any feasible cracks travel by night so as to cross the pass into which I could take a step either before the sun could awaken the tre forward or back. This business of hangmendous power that lay hidden in the ing onto a rock face I cannot call exharmless-looking sheets of snow. Even- actly boring, but long before Jumma tually we descended to the village of Khan came up to my rescue I was quite
mo bad werd everye the
convinced of the fact that I did not his long beard, and shaggy underlock, care for it a bit. When at last he ar- is the much prized trophy that he is. rived I was able, by dint of using his Among Kashmir big game the markhor shoulders as a foot-step, to manœuvre ranks first, and quite rightly so. In the the descent, but it took a long time. case mentioned above I do not believe Rahima also, I am glad to say, required that the two females got our wind. It help. On looking back up to the cliffs was a good day, and in good weather, I said to him, 'Do we have to go on as a general rule, the wind blows up the this sort of ground every day?' 'No' mountain by day and down by night. he answered, 'every day little, little In bad weather the wind may blow anybad; every day not very bad.' From where and everywhere and that line of the way he said it, I was not reassured, Kipling, 'Where the baffling mountain for I have never entertained any eddies chop and change,' applies only delusion that I was a mountaineer. too well. On this sort of going I was as bad There are many stories in which some as a child learning how to walk. grand old animal, usually with a head
A few minutes later we were creeping of heads, is hunted for days or weeks or up very cautiously to look over some months or, sometimes, even for years; more cliffs. Just as I peeped over, I and the interest in the story and the heard a strange sound, and saw two value of the animal increase in direct female markhor going down the moun- ratio with the time required to bring tain. Markhor going down a mountain him to bag. For example, an English are a sight worth seeing. It seemed to sportsman a good many years ago me that they went down over the rocks located a record markhor in the Kajjust as fast as antelope run on a level nag. On a two months' leave he failed plain. I had no idea that any animal to get him though he hunted nothing could go over such frightfully steep else. The following year, on a three rough ground at such a pace without months' leave, he was no more successcoming to grief, and, had I not seen it ful. The third year, determined to get with my own eyes, I should not have that markhor, he came back on a six believed it possible.
months' leave. On the last day, when Markhor, although of the goat fam- it was due only to the persuasive ily, do not seek safety in height. On powers of his shikari that he went out the contrary they will almost always at all, he shot the markhor. It had a run down hill, unless wounded. Rah- sixty-inch head. That, where one has ima told me that quite frequently, the opportunity, is the real sport in even when shot at from below, they hunting; spying out some grand old will come right down past the hunter, wary king and going after him. Be thereby giving him a chance for a sec- it deep in the jungle or up among ond shot. Markhor are constantly on the crags, it makes no difference; the the watch, looking both up hill and prize is worth the chase. down, and the smallest falling stone Following my markhor hunt we went attracts their immediate attention. after ibex; for two weeks we had been Furthermore they have good eyesight after one strange-looking, solitary old and good noses. A markhor is by far ibex with a wild head, and my shithe most difficult animal to bag that kari had ceased to eat. (This apparI have ever hunted.
ently is a shikari superstition in It is easy to see why an old solitary Kashmir as well as in China.) 'Too male, with his grand spiral horns, many days going behind this ibex' he
d me thatess wounded. Always atliers of his shi
said. “Never before I see ibex like the rocks and before I knew it we were this.' By which he meant that ibex are in trouble, so that I soon forgot all as a general rule easy to get. It is about the beauties of Nanga. well known that in the Rocky Moun- I shall always remember that descent tains it is simply a question of climbing of two thousand feet over what seemed to get your old 'Billy. The same to to be an endless series of cliffs. Several a lesser degree is true of ibex. They times the thought flashed across my have the Billy's instinct of going up in mind that it was all up with little me, case of danger so strongly developed but always the tiffin coolie who was that if you can get above them and clambering dexterously around in bare shoot down, even though they be out of feet would come to my aid. Sometimes range, they are apt to come up to you. I did not think it possible even for the The difficulty that we had with the old tiffin coolie to effect a descent. These ibex was due both to his unusual particular ledges were all shelving at a craftiness and to the frightful ground rather steep dip. Also, the rock was that he inhabited. Abadabur Nullah friable and therefore likely to give is a markhor nullah, and markhor way at any moment, and that was the ground is almost certain to be bad worst of it. I have already stated that ground; but, whereas markhor stay I did not care at all about hanging comparatively low down, the ibex goes around the edge of cliffs and I repeat it right up among the peaks. Thus it now. At best it is not too pleasant a is pretty safe to say that when you sensation to be flattened out against a propose to hunt ibex in a markhor wall of rock and to realize that one nullah you have your work cut out little slip means that you must say for you.
good-bye. Nevertheless, although I Rather than go through the painful was frightened, I found that my mind account of the two weeks' chase I will was perfectly calm, and when studying simply tell of the last three days, for the ground for the next step it worked they are typical of the others. A cer- carefully and deliberately. Also I could tain evening is very memorable chiefly look down without the slightest feeling on account of Rahima's great faith in a of dizziness. But my legs behaved very benevolent God. The usual fruitless badly. Several times as I hung stretched attempts had been made throughout out along the rock face, carefully balthe day. Jumma Khan had been sent ancing on bent knees while preparing away early with orders to move camp, for the next move, my knees would so we had no local guide to take us begin to shake most horribly as if they down one of the few possible routes by had the ague. I saw that Rahima and which we could get to camp, and Rah- the tiffin coolie noticed my ailment, and ima was on this occasion, I thought, it was most embarrassing: for although a very poor substitute. Already the I realize now that I must have been virgin slopes and the forbidden pin- very frightened, yet at the time I was nacles of ever beautiful Nanga Parbat sure that I was not scared. Whenever were bathed in a flush of color by the I had a good grip with my hands I was evening sun. There she was, serene and all right. Rahima on the other hand perfect, raising her head above all had to get a sure footing before he felt worldly things. I could have sat and safe, so that in some places where I had looked at her for hours, but even now great difficulty Rahima found no the deep chasm below was growing trouble, and others which were comdarker. Rahima plunged ahead over paratively easy for me caused Rahima
considerable embarrassment. It was in the snow until I thought I should all easy for the tiffin coolie.
go distracted. The descent lasted several hours so After about an hour of this absurd that it was some time after dark when performance the ibex did not interest we came down around under a ledge of me in the least. The only things I rock into camp. Then I sat down by could think of were — how cold I was, the fire and told Rahima just what I and a couple of lines from Kipling: thought of him for bringing me down over those cliffs. 'Damn foolishness'
“Do you know the long day's patience, belly
down on frozen drift, I called it. Then I explained to him While the head of heads is feeding out of range?' that I came all the way to Astor to hunt and to have a good time and not And yet for a long time I held myself to break my neck. To which he replied in, for there was Jumma Khan lying by way of a mild compliment — meant motionless in front of me, with bare to appease — 'God always taking care feet in the snow and the goose flesh of good sahibs. Sahib not falling. I standing out all over him; and I maranswered in no unmistakable terms veled at the toughness of the man. that God had had nothing to do with At last I told my shikari what I had my not falling from the cliffs and that been wanting to tell him for a long time on no account was he to take me again and I can leave it to anyone's imaginaover such ground. Then Rahima tact- tion as to what was said. Long since fully changed the subject to the ibex have I been convinced that at least which it appeared had been seen just as far as patience is concerned man before dark. The ibex, they said, was cannot compete with a wild animal. now lying down about two thousand When we did finally get up I lost all feet above camp where he could keep dignity and reserve and began jumping a good eye on the enemy.
around and poking Jumma Khan. The Before daylight next morning we latter was fairly beside himself from crept up after the ibex, but it was all the painful wait and at each poke exwasted energy for he had slipped away, ploded as if all the pent-up forces of a and, when we got there, only his fresh volcano were inside. In this way we tracks were to be seen. These we fol- restored ourselves to normal human lowed about a mile into the snow and beings and then made our way slowly then saw him about a thousand feet back to camp. above us circling back. He saw us too The following day we got up before and turned. This time he selected a daylight again. It was always the position from which he commanded a same — this getting up before daylight wonderful view of all the ground, and — and I loathed it. Russléon, the then lay down. Any attempt at a stalk tiffin coolie, had found out that the was useless, so we sat behind some only way to wake up the sahib was to rocks and watched him. Late in the bring him a cup of tea and to sit there afternoon he got up to feed and we till he drank it. Russléon would hold made another attempt. He looked up my clothes ready for me to put on, so and caught us in the act of crossing a then I would simply have to get up and snowslide; so we just sank slowly down dress by candle light. It was awful in the snow, hoping that he would getting out of a nice warm furry sleepbegin to feed again. But he had no such ing-bag into the cold air and darkness intention and stood with his eyes glued and in a minute I would have to rush on us. So we waited and waited there to the fire. Coolies would immediately