World's Desire | Andrew Lang, H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction | Talking Book | 1/6

dedication and preface to the world's desire by H rider Haggard and Andrew Lang this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit dedication to WB richmond ära the world's desire by H rider Haggard and Andrew Lane preface the period in which the story of the world's desire is cast was a period when as Miss Braden remarks of the age of the Plantagenet anything might happen recent discoveries mainly by dr. Schliemann and mr. Flinders Petrie have shown that there really was much intercourse between heroine grease the grease of the air canes and the Egypt of the remnants this connection rumored of in Greek legends is attested by Egyptian relics found in the graves of Mycenae and by very ancient Levantine pottery found in contemporary sites in Egypt Homer himself shows us Odysseus telling a feigned but obviously not improbable tale of an Achaean raid on Egypt meanwhile the sojourn of the Israelites with their exodus from the land of bondage though not yet found to be recorded on the Egyptian monuments was probably part of the great contemporary stir among the peoples these events which are only known through Hebrew texts must have worn a very different aspect in the eyes of Egyptians and of prehistoric Achaean observers hostile in faith to the children of Israel the topic has since been treated in fiction by dr. a burs in his Joshua in such a Twilight age fancy has free play but it is a curious fact that in this romance modern fancy has accidentally coincide with that of ancient Greece most of the novel was written and the apparently ungrate Marvel's attributed to Helen had been put on paper when a part of Furtwangler 's recent great lexicon of Mythology appeared with the article on Helen the authors of the world's desire rented with a feeling akin to amazement their wildest inventions about the daughter of the Swan it seemed had parallels and the obscure legends of Hellas there actually is a tradition preserved by eustathius that Paris beguiled Helen by magically putting on the aspect of Manila's there is a medieval parallel in the story of ether and you turn mother of Arthur and the classical case of Zeus and Amphitryon is familiar again the blood dripping ruby of helen in the tale is mentioned by Survey's in his commentary on Virgil it was pointed out to one of the authors by mr. McHale but we did not know that the star of the story was actually called the star stone in ancient Greek fable the many voices of Helen are alluded to by Homer in the Odyssey she was also named echo in old tradition to add that she could assume the aspect of every man's first love was easy Goethe introduces the same quality in the fair which of his while purchase not our respectable portrait of Miriam ins secret counselor exists in pottery in the British Museum though as it chances it was not discovered by us until after the publication of this romance the lace dragon Ian of the last battle is introduced as a prehistoric Norseman mr. Gladstone we think was perhaps the first to point out that the last rego nians of the Odyssey with their home on a Ford in the land of the Midnight Sun were probably derived from travelers tales of the north born with the amber long the immemorial sacred way the magic of marioman is in accordance with Egyptian ideas her resuscitation of the dead woman at Aska has a singular parallel in Reginald Scott's every of witchcraft 1584 or the spell by The Silence of the night is not without poetry the general conception of Helen as the world's desire ideal beauty has been dealt with by M Paul de Santa Victor and mr. J a Simmons for the rest some details of battle and of wounds which must seem very angry to critics ignorant of Greek literature are borrowed from Homer H R H al the world's desire by H rider Haggard and Andrew Lang come with us see whose hearts are set on this the present to forget come read the things whereof he know they were not and could not be so the murmur of the Fallen Creed's like winds among wind shaken reeds along the banks of holy now shall echo in your ears the while the fables of the north and south shall mingle in a modern mouth the fancies of the west and east shall flock and flit about the feast like dumps that cooled with waving wing the banquets of the Cyprien King old shapes of song do not die shall haunt the halls of memory and though the bow shall preclude clear shrill as the song of Gunners spear their answer sobs from lute and liar that murmured of the world's desire their lives no man but he hath seen the world's desire The Faerie Queene none but hath seen her to this cost not one but loves what he has lost none is there but hath heard her sing divinely through this wandering not one but he has followed far the portent of the bleeding star not one but he hath chanced to wake dreamed of the star and found the snake yet through his dreams a wandering fire still still she flits the world's desire and of preface and dedication book one chapter one of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Taylor Davison the world's desire by H rider Haggard chapter one the silent Isle across the wide backs of the waves beneath the mountains and between the islands a ship came stealing from the dark into the dusk and from the dusk into the dawn the ship had but one mast one broad brown sail with a star embroidered on it in gold her stem and stern were built high and curved like a bird's beak her prow was painted skylight and she was driven by oars as well as by the western wind a man stood alone on the half tank at the boughs a man who looked always forward through the night and the twilight and the clear morning he was of no great stature but broad breasted and very wide shouldered with many signs of strength he had blue eyes and dark curled locks falling beneath a red cap such as sailors wear and over a purple cloak fastened with a brooch of gold there were threads of silver in his curls and his beard was flecked with white his whole heart was following his eyes watching first for the blaze of the island beacons out of the darkness and later for the smoke rising from the far-off hills but he watched in vain there was neither light nor smoke on the gray peak that laid clear against a field of yellow sky there was no smoke no fire no sound of voices nor cry of birds the Isle was deadly still as they neared the coast and neither heard nor saw a sign of light the man's face fell the gladness went out of his eyes his features grew older with anxiety and doubt and with longings for tidings of his home no man ever loved his home more than he for this was Odysseus the son of laertes whom some call Ulysses returned from his unsung second wandering the whole world has heard the tale of his first voyage how he was tossed for ten years on the sea after the Taking of Troy how he reached home at last alone and disguised as a beggar how he found violence in his house how he slew his foes in his own Hall and won his wife again but even in his own country he was not permitted to rest for there was a curse upon him and a labor to be accomplished he must wander again till he reached the land of men who had never tasted salt nor ever heard of the salt sea there he must sacrifice to the sea God and then at last set his faith homewards now he had endured that curse he had fulfilled the prophecy yet angered by misadventure the goddess who was his friend and after adventures that have never yet been told he had arrived within a bow shot of Ithaca he came from strange countries from the gates of the Sun and from the white rock from the passing place of souls and the people of dreams but he found his own Isle more still and strange by far the realm of dreams was not so dumb the gates of the Sun were not so still as the shores of the familiar island beneath the rising dawn this story aware of the substance was set out long ago by Ray the instructed Egyptian priests tells what he found there and the tale of the last adventures of Odysseus Laertes son the ship ran on and won the well-known Haven sheltered from wind by two headlands of sheer cliff there she sailed straight in till the leaves of the broad olive tree at the head of the inlet were tangled in her cordage Bend the wanderer without once looking back or saying one word of farewell to his crew caught a bow of the olive tree with his hand and swung himself Shore here he kneeled and kissed the earth and covering his head within his cloak he prayed that he might find his house at peace his wife dear and true and his son worthy of him but not one word of his prayer was to be granted God's give-and-take but on the earth the gods cannot restore when he rose from his knees he glanced back across the waters but there was now no ship in the Haven nor any sign of a sail upon the Seas and still the land was silent not even the wild birds cried welcome the son was hardly up men were scarce awake the wanderer said to himself and he said a stout heart to the steep path leading up the hill over the woods and across the ridge walk that divides the two masses of the island up he climbed purposing as of old to seek the house of his faithful servant swineherd and learned from him the tidings of his home on the brow of the hill he stopped to rest and looked down on the house of the servant but the strong oak palisade was broken no smoke came from the hole in the that's truth and as he approached the dogs did not run barking a sheep dogs do at the stranger the very path to the house was overgrown and dumb with grass even a dog's keen ears could scarcely have heard the footstep the door of the swineherds hut was open but all was dark within the spider said woven a glittering web across the empty blackness a sign that for many days no man had entered then the wanderer shouted twice and thrice but the only answer was an echo from the hill he went in hoping to find food or perhaps a spark of fire sheltered under the dry leaves but all was vacant and cold his death the wanderer came forth into the warm sunlight set his face to the hill again and went on his way to the city of Ithaca he saw the sea from the hilltop glittering as of yore but there were no ground sails of Fisher boats on the sea all the land that should now have waved with white corn was green with tangled weeds halfway down the rugged path was a grove of alders and the basin into which water flowed from the old fountain of the nymphs but no maidens were there with their pitchers the basin was broken and green with mould the water slipped through the crevices and hurried to the sea there were no offerings of wafers bragg's and pebbles by the well-known altar of the nymphs the flame had long been cold the very ashes were covered with grass and a branch of ivy had hidden the stone of sacrifice on the wanderer pressed with a heavy heart now the high roof of his own Hall and the wide fenced courts were within his sight he hurried forward to know the worst – soon he saw the roofs were smokeless and all the court was deep in weeds where the altar of Zeus had stood in the midst of the court it was now no altar but a great gray mound not of Earth but of white dust mixed with black over this mound the coarse grass pricked up scantily like thin hair on a leprosy then the wanderer shuddered 4 out of the grey mound heaped the charred black bones of the Dead he drew near and lo the whole heap was of nothing else than the ashes of men and women death had been busy here here many people had perished of a pestilence they had all been consumed on one funeral fire while they who laid them there must have fled for there were no sign of living man the doors gaped open and none entered and none came forth the house was dead like the people who had dwelt in it then the wanderer paused or once the old hound Argos had welcomed him and had died in that welcome there unwelcomed he stood leaning on his staff then a sudden ray of the Sun fell on something that glittered in the heap and he touched it with the end of the stuff that he had in his hand it slid jingling from the heap it was the bone of a forearm and that which glittered on it was a half molten ring of gold on the gold land oh these characters were engraved mcmalley oh snap – malleus made me at the site of the armlet the wanderer fell on the earth groveling among the ashes of the pyre for he knew the gold ring which he had brought from very long ago for a gift to his wife Penelope this was the bracelet of the bride of his youth and here a mockery and terror were those kind arms in which he had lain then his strength was shaking with sobbing miss hands clutched blindly before him and he gathered dust and cast it upon his head till the dark looks were defiled with the ashes of his dearest and he longed to die there he lay biting his hands for sorrow and for wrath against God and fate there he lay while the Sun in heaven smoked him and he knew it not while the winds of the Sun set and stirred his hair and he stirred not he could not even shed one tear for this was the source of all the sorrows that he had known on the waves of the sea or on the land among the Wars of men the Sun fell and the ways were darkened slowly the eastern sky grew silver with the moon a night fowls voice was heard from afar it drew nearer then there the shadow of the pyre the black wings fluttered into the light and a carrion bird fixed its talons and its beak on the Wanderers neck then he moved at length tossing up an arm and caught the bird the darkness by the neck and broke it and dashed it on the ground his sick heart was mad with the little sudden pain and he clutched for the knife in his girdle that he might slay himself but he was unarmed at last he rose muttering and stood in the moonlight like a lion and some ruinous Palace of forgotten Kings he was faint with hunger and weak with long lamenting as he stepped within his own doors there he paused on that high threshold of stone where once he had sat in the disguise of a beggar that very threshold whence on another day he shot the shafts of doom among the wars of his wife and the wasters of his home but now his wife was dead all his foraging ended here by his wars were vain in the white light of the house of his kingship was no more than the ghost of a home dreadful unfamiliar empty of warmth and love and light the tables were fallen here and there throughout the long hall moldering bones from the funeral feast and shattered cups and dishes lay in one confusion the ivory chairs were broken and on the walls the moonbeams glistened now and again from points of steel and blades of bronze though many swords were dark with rust but there in its gleaming case lay one thing friendly and familiar there lay the bow of your Tiff's a bow for which great Heracles had slain his own host in his halls the dreadful bow that no mortal man but the wanderer could bend he was never used to carry this precious bow with him on shivered when he went to the wars but treasured it at home the memorial of a dear friend Fowley slain so now when the voices of a dog and slave and child and wife were mute there yet came out of the stillness a word of welcome to the wanderer for this bow which had thrilled in the grip of a god and had scattered the shafts of the vengeance of Heracles was wondrously made and magical a spirit dwelt within it which knew of things to come which boded the battle from afar and therefore always before the slaying of men the bow sang strange league through the night the voice of it was thin and shrill a ringing and a singing of the string and of the bowl while the wanderer stood and looked upon his weapon hark the bow began to thrill the sound was faint at first a thin note but as he listened the voice of it in that silence grew clear strong angry and triumphant in his ears and to his heart it seemed that the wordless chanting rang thus keen and lo da Fierro sing the song of the bow the sound of the string the shafts Christ shrill let us forth again let us feed our fill on the flesh of men greedy and fleet do we fly from far like the birds that meet for the feast of war till the air of flight with our wings be stirred as it were from the flight of the ravening bird like the flakes that drift on the snow winds breath many in swift and winged for death greedy and fleet do we speed from far like the birds that meet on the bridges of war fleet as ghosts that wail when the dart strikes true did the swift shafts hail till they drink warm do keen and low to the gray shafts sing the song of the bow the sound of the string this was the message of death and this was the first sound that had broken the stillness of his home at the welcome of this music which spoke to his heart this music he had heard so many a time the wanderer knew that there was a war at hand he knew that the wings of his arrow should be swift to fly and their beaks of bronze were wedded to drink the blood of men he put out his hand and took the bow and tied the string and it answered shrill is the song of a swallow then at length he heard the bowstring twang to his touch The Fountains of a sorrow were unsealed tears came like soft rains on frozen land and the wanderer wept when he had his fill of weeping heroes for hunger drove him hunger that is of all things the most shameless being stronger far than sorrow or love or any other desire the wanderer found his way through the narrow door behind the dais and stumbling now and again over fallen fragments of the home which he himself had built he went to the inner secret storehouse even he could scarcely find the door for saplings of trees had grown up about it yet he found it at last within the wholly well the water was yet babbling and shining in the moonlight over the silver sands and here too there was a store of moldering grain for the house had been abundantly rich when the Great Plague fell upon the people while he was far away so he found food to satisfy his hunger after a sort and next he gathered together out of his treasure chest the beautiful golden armor of happy Paris the son of priam the false love of fair Helen these arms had been taken at the sack of Troy and it laid long in the treasury of Menelaus and Sparta but on a day he had given them to Odysseus the dearest of all his guests the wanderer clad himself in this golden gear and took the sword called Uriel as his gift a bran blade with a silver hilt and a sheath of ivory which a stranger had given him in a far-off land already the love of life had come back to him now that he had eaten and drunk he had heard the song of the bow the Slayer of men he lived yet and hope lived in him though his house was desolate and his wedded wife was dead and there was none to give him tidings of his one child Telemachus even so life beats strong in his heart and his hands would keep his head if any sea robbers had come to the city of Ithaca and made their home there like hawks in the Forsaken nest of an eagle of the sea so he clad himself in his armor and chose out two Spears from his stand of lances and cleaned them and gird about his shoulders a quiver full of shafts and took in his hand his great bow the bow of irritants which no other man could bend then he went forth from the ruined house into the moonlight went forth for the last time for never again to the high roof echo to the footsteps of its Lord long as the grass grown over and the Seawind wailed end of book one chapter one recording by Taylor Davison one chapter 2 of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Peter Kushner the world's desire by H rider Haggard book 1 chapter 2 the vision of the world's desire the fragrant night was clear and still the silence scarce broken by the lapping of the waves as the wanderer went down from his fallen home to the city on the see walking warily and watching for any light from the houses of the people but they were all as dark as his own many of them ruthless and Rowand for after the plague and earthquake had smitten the city there were gaping chasms in the road here and there and through rifts in the walls of the houses the moon shone strangely making ragged shadows at last the wanderer reached the temple of Athena the goddess of war but the roof had fallen in the pillars were over set and the scent of wild thyme growing in the broken pavement rose where he walked yet as he stood by the door of the Fane where he had burned so many a sacrifice at length he spied a light blazing from the windows of a great chapel by the sea it was the temple of Aphrodite the queen of love and from the open door a sweet savour of incense and a golden blaze rushed forth till they were lost in the silver of the moonshine and in the salt smell of the sea then the wanderer went slowly for his limbs were swaying with weariness as he was half in a dream yet he hid himself cunningly in the shadow of a long avenue of myrtles for he guests that see robbers were key revel in the forsaken shrine but he heard no sound of singing and no tread of dancing feet within the feign of the goddess of love the sacred plot of the goddess and her chapels were silent he hearkened awhile and watched till at last he took courage drew near the doors and entered the holy place but in the tall bronze brazzers there were no burning nor with her torches lighted in the hands of the golden men and maids the images that stand within the Fane of Aphrodite yet if he did not dream nor take moonlight for fire the temple was bathed in showers of gold by a splendour of flame none might see its centre nor its fountain it sprang neither from the altar nor the statue of the goddess but was everywhere imminent a glory not of this world a fire untended and unlit and the painted walls with the stories of the loves of men and gods and to the carven pillars and to the beams and the roof of green were bright with flaming fire at this the wanderer was afraid knowing that an immortal was at hand for the comings and goings of the gods were attended as he had seen by this wonderful light of unearthly fire so he bowed his head and hid his face as he sat by the altar in the holiest of the holy shrine and with his right hand he grasped the horns of the altar as he sat there perchance he woke and perchance he slept however it was it seemed to him that soon there came a murmuring and a whispering of the myrtle leaves and laurels and a sound in the tops of the pines and then his face was fanned by a breath more cold than the wind that wakes the dawn at the touch of this breath the wanderer shuddered and the hair on his flesh stood up so cold was the strange wind there was silence and he heard a voice and he knew that it was the voice of no mortal but of a goddess for the speech of goddesses was not strange in his ears he knew the Clarion cry of Athene the queen of wisdom and of war and the winning words of Cersei the daughter of the Sun and the sweet song of Calypso's voice as she wove with her golden shuttle at the loom but now the words came sweeter than the moaning of doves more soft than sleep so came the golden voice whether he woke or whether he dreamed Odysseus thou knowest me not nor am i thy lady nor hast thou ever been my servant where is she the queen of the air Athene and why comest thou here as a suppliant at the knees of the daughter of dion he answered nothing but he bowed his head in deeper sorrow the voice speak again behold thy house is desolate thy hath is cold the wild hare breeds on thy hearthstone and the night bird roosts beneath thy roof tree thou hast neither child nor wife nor native land and she hath forsaken thee thy lady Athene many a time didst thou sacrifice to her the thighs of kine and sheep but didst thou ever give so much as a pair of Dove to me as she left thee as the dawn forsook tooth Onis because there are now threads of silver in the darkness of thy hair is the wise goddess fickle as a nymph of the woodland or the wells doth she love a man only for the bloom of his youth nay I know not but this I know that on thee Odysseus old age will soon be hastening old age that is pitiless and ruinous and weary and weak age that cometh on all men and that is hateful to the gods therefore Odysseus err yet it be too late I would bow even thee to my will and hold thee for my thrall for I am she who conquers all living things gods and beasts and men and hast thou thought that thou only shalt escape Aphrodite thou hast never loved as I would have men love thou that hast never obeyed me for an hour nor ever known the joy and the sorrow that are mine to give for thou didst but ensure the caresses of Circe the daughter of the Sun and thou wert a weary in the arms of Calypso and the sea king's daughter came never to her longing as for her who is dead thy dear wife Penelope thou didst love her with a loyal heart but never with a heart of fire nay she was but thy companion thy house wife and the mother of thy child she was mingled with all the memories of the land thou lovest and so thou gavest her a little love but she is dead and thy child too is no more and thy very country is as the ashes of a forsaken hath where once was a camp of men 1/2 all thy wars and wanderings 1 for thee all thy Labor's and all the adventures thou hast achieved for what didst thou seek among the living and the dead thou sought us that which all men seek thou sought ists the world's desire they find it not nor hast thou found it Odysseus and that I friends are dead thy land is dead nothing lives but hope but the life that lies before thee is new without a remnant of the old days except for the bitterness of longing and remembrance out of this new life and the unborn ours wilt thou not give what never before thou gavest one hour to me to be my servant the voice as it seemed grew softer and came nearer till the wanderer heard it whisper in his very ear and with the voice came a divine fragrance the breath of her who spoke seemed to touch his neck the immortal tresses of the goddess were mingled with the dark curls of his hair the voice spake again nay Odysseus didst thou not once give me one little hour fear not for thou shalt not see me at this time but lift thy head and look on the world's desire then the wanderer lifted his head and he saw as it were in a picture or in a mirror of bronze the vision of a girl she was more than mortal tall and though still in the first flower of youth and almost a child in years she seemed fair as a goddess and so beautiful that Aphrodite herself may perchance have envied to this loveliness she was slim and gracious as a young shoot of a palm tree and her eyes were fearless and innocent as a child's on her head she bore a shining urn of bronze as if she were bringing water from the wells and behind her was the foliage of a plain tree then the wanderer knew her and saw her once again as he had seen her when in his boyhood he had journeyed to the court of her father King Tyndareus for as he had entered Sparta and came down the hill Takeda's and as his chariot wheels flashed through the Ford of Euro tiss he had met her there on her way from the river there in his youth his eyes had gazed on the loveliness of Helen and his heart had been filled with the desire of the fairest of women and like all the princes of Akaya he had sought her hand in marriage but Helen was given to another man to Menelaus at rayus his son of an evil house that the knees of many might be loosened in death and that there might be a song in the ears of men in after time as he beheld the vision of young Helen the wanderer two grew young again but as he gazed with the eyes and loved with the first love of a boy she melted like a mist and out of the mists came another vision he saw himself disguised as a beggar beaten and bruised yet seated in a long hall bright with gold while a woman bathed his feet and anointed his head with a while and the face of the woman was the face of the maiden and even more beautiful but sad with grief and with an ancient shame then he remembered how once he had stolen into Troy town from the camp of the Achaeans and how he had crept in a beggar's rags within the house of Priam to spy upon the Trojans and how Helen the fairest of women had bathed him and anointed him with oil and suffered him to go in peace all for the memory of the love that was between them of old as he gazed that picture faded and melted in the mist and again he bowed his head and kneeled by the golden altar of the goddess crying where beneath the sunlight dwells the golden Helen for now he had only one desire to look on Helen again before he died then the voice of the goddess seemed to whisper in his ear did I not say truth Odysseus was not thou my servant for one hour and did not love save thee in the city of the Trojans on that night when even wisdom was of no avail he answered yay o Queen behold then said the voice I would again have mercy and be kind to thee for if I ate the not thou hast no more life left among men home and kindred and native land thou hast none and but for me thou must devour thine own heart and be lonely til thou diet therefore I breathed into thy heart a sweet forgetfulness of every sorrow and I breathed love into thee for her who was thy first love in the beginning of thy days for helen is living yet upon the earth and I will send thee on the quest of Helen and thou shalt again take joy in war and wandering thou shalt find her in a strange land among a strange people in a strife of gods and men and the wisest and bravest of man shall sleep at last in the arms of the fairest of women but learn this Odysseus thou must set thy heart on no other woman but only on Helen and I give thee a sign to know her by in a land of magic and among women that deal in sorceries on the breasts of Helen a jewel shines a great star stone the gift Ike gave her on her wedding night when she was bride to Menelaus from that stone fall red drops like blood and they drip on her vestment and their vanish and do not stain it by the star of love shalt thou know her by the star shalt thou swear to her and if thou knowest not the portent of the bleeding star or if thou break its that oath never in this life Odysseus shalt thou win the golden Helen and thine own death shall come from the water the swiftest death that the saying of the dead prophet may be fulfilled yet first shalt thou lie in the arms of the golden Helen the wanderer answered Queen how made this be for I am alone on a sea girt isle and I have no ship and no companions to speed me over the great gulf of the sea then the voice answered fear not the gods can bring to pass even greater things than these go from my house and lie down to sleep in my holy ground within the noise of the wash of the waves their sleep and take thy rest thy strength shall come back to thee and before the setting of the new Sun thou shalt be sailing on the path to the world's desire but first drink from the chalice on my altar fare thee well the voice died into silence like the dying of music the wanderer awoke and lifted his head but the light had faded and the temple was gray in the first waking of the dawn yet there on the altar where no cup had been stood a deep chalice of gold full of red wine to the brim this the wanderer lifted and drained a draft of Nepenthe the magic cup that puts trouble out of mind as he drank a wave of sweet hope went over his heart and buried far below it the sorrow of remembrance and the trouble of the past and the longing desire for love's that were no more with light step he went forth like a younger man taking the two Spears in his hand and the bow upon his back and he laid down beneath a great rock that looked toward the deep and there he slept end of book 1 chapter 2 recording by Peter Kushner book 1 chapter 3 of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Rick Vina the world's desire by H rider Haggard book 1 chapter 3 the slaying of the sidonians morning broke in the east a new day dawned upon the silent sea in on the world of light and sound the sunrise topped the hill at last and fell upon the golden raiment of the wanderer where he slept making it blaze like living fire as the Sun touched him the prow of a black ship stole swiftly round the headland for the oarsmen drove her well with the oars any man who saw her would have known her to be a vessel of the merchants of sytem the most cunning people and the greediest of gain for on her prow were two big headed shapes of dwarfs with gaping mouths and knotted limbs such gods as those were worshiped by the sidonians she was now returning from Albion an isle beyond the pillars of Herakles and agates of the Great Sea where much a store of tin is found and she had rich merchandise on board on the half deck beside the steersman was the captain a thin keen eyed sailor who looked the shore word and saw the Sun blazed on the golden armor of the wanderer they were so far off that he could not see clearly what it was that glittered yellow but all that glittered yellow was a lure for him and gold drew him on as iron draws the hands of heroes so he bade the helmsman steer straight in for the sea was deep below the rock and there they all saw a man lying asleep in golden armor they whispered together laughing silently and then sprang ashore taking with them a rope of twisted hide a hawser of the ship any strong cable of by bless the pepero splint on these ropes they cast a loop and a running not a lasso for throwing so that they might capture the man in safety from a distance with these in their hands they crept up the cliff for their purpose was to noose the man in golden armor and drag him on board their vessel and carry him to the mouth of the river of Egypt and there sell him for a slave to the king for the sight onehans who were greedy of everything loved nothing better than to catch free men and women who might be purchased by mere force or guile and then be sold again for gold and silver and cattle many king's sons had thus been captured by them and had seen dad a of slavery in Babylon or tier or Egyptian Thebes and had died sadly far from the Argyle and so the sidonians went round warily and creeping in silence over the short grass and time towards the wanderer were soon as near to him as a child could throw a stone like shepherds who seek to net a sleeping lion they came cunningly yet not so cunningly but that the wanderer heard them through his dreams and turned and sat up looking around him half awake but as he woke the noose fell about his neck and over his arms and they drew it hard and threw him on his back before they could touch him he was on his feet again trying his war cry terribly the cry that shook the towers of ilium and he rushed upon them clutching his sword-hilt the men who were nearest him and had hold of the Rope let it fall from their hands and fled but the others swung behind him and dragged with all their force if his arms had been free so that he might draw his sword it would have gone ill with them many as they were for the sidonians have no stomach for sword blades but his arms were held in the noose yet they did not easily master him but as those who had fled came back and they all laid hands on the rope together they overpowered him by main force at last and hauled him step by step till he stumbled on a rock and fell then they rushed at him and threw themselves all upon his body and bound him with ropes and cunning sailor knots but the booty was dearly won and they did not all return alive for he crushed one man with his knees till the breath left him and a sigh of another he broke with a blow of his foot but at last his strength was spent and they had him like a bird in a snare so by might and main they bore him to their ship and threw him down on the fore deck of the vessel there they mocked him though they were half afraid for even now he was terrible then they hauled up the sail again and sat down to the oars the wind blew fair for the mouth of the Nile and a slave market of Egypt the wind was fair and their hearts were light for they had been among the first of their people to deal with the wild tribes of the island albian and had brought tin and gold for African sea shells and rude glass beads from Egypt and now near the very end of their adventure they had caught a man whose armor and whose body were worth a king's ransom it was a lucky voyage they said and the wind was fair the rest of the journey was long but in well-known waters they passed by Cephalonia and the rock of each ellipse and wooded Zakynthos and Sam a and of all those Isles he was the Lord whom they were now selling into captivity but he lay still breathing heavily and he stirred but once that was when they neared second this then he strained his head round with a mighty strain and he saw the Sun go down upon the heights of rocky ithaca for that last time of all so the Swift ship ran along the coast slipping by forgotten towns past the eken Isles and alien shore and pleasant Eirene they sped and it was dusk ere they reached Dorian deep night had fallen when they ran by Pylos and the light of the fires in the Hall of piasa Stratos the son of nestor the old shone out across the sandy sea coast and the sea but when they were come near Malaya the southernmost point of land were two seas meet there the storm snatched them and drove them ever southwards beyond accrete towards the mouth of the Nile they scudded long before the Stormwind losing their reckoning and rushing my island at temples that showed like ghosts through the mist and past havens which they could not win on they fled and the men would gladly have lightened the ship by casting the cargo overboard but the captain watched the hatches with a sword and two bronze tipped Spears in his hand he would sink or swim with the ship he would go down with his treasure or reach Sidon the city of flowers and build a white house among the palms by the waters of bostrom and never try the sea again so he swore and he would not let them cast a wanderer overboard as they desired because he had brought bad luck he shall bring a good price in tennis tried the captain and at last a storm abated and the sidonians took heart and were glad like men escaped from death so they sacrificed and poured forth wine before the dwarf gods on the prow of their vessel and burned incense on their little altar in their mirth and to mock the wanderer they hung his sword and his shield against the mast and his quiver in his bow they arrayed in the fashion of a trophy and they mocked him believing that he knew no word of their speech but he knew it well as he knew the speech of the people of Egypt for he had seen the cities of many men and had spoken with captains and mercenaries from many a land and the great Wars the sidonians however jibed and spoke freely before him saying how they were bound for the rich city of tennis on the banks of the river of egypt in how the captain was minded to pay his toll to Pharaoh with the body and the armor of the wanderer that he might seem the comely ER and a gift more fit for a king the sailors slackened his bonds a little and brought him dried meat and wine and he ate to his strength returned to him then he entreated them by signs to loosen the cord that bound his legs for indeed his limbs were dead through the strength of the bonds and his Armour was eating into his flesh at his prayer they took some pity of him and loosened his bonds again and he lay upon his back moving his legs to and fro till his strength came back so they sailed southward ever through smooth waters and past the islands that lie like water lilies in the Midland sea many strange sight they saw vessels bearing slaves whose sighing might be heard above the sighing of wind and water young men and maidens of Ionia and IKEA stolen by slave traders into bondage now they would touch at the white havens of a peaceful City and again they would watch a smoke on the sea line all day rising black into the heavens but by nightfall the smoke with change to a great roaring fire from the beacons of a beleaguered Island town the fire would blaze on the masts of the ships of the besiegers and show blood-red on their sales and glitter on the gilded shields that lined the bulwarks of their ships but the sidonians sped on till one night they anchored off a little Isle that lies over against the mouth of the Nile beneath this Isle they board the ship and slept most of them ashore then the wanderer began to plot a way to escape though the enterprise seemed desperate enough he was lying into darkness of the hold sleepless and sore with his bonds while his guard watched under an awning in the moonlight on the deck they dreamed so little of his escaping that they visited him only by watches now and again and as it chanced the man whose turn it was to see that all was well fell asleep many a thought went through the prisoners mind and now it seemed to him that the vision of the goddess was only a vision of sleep which came as they said through the false gates of ivory and not through the gates of horn so he was to live in slavery after all a king no longer but a captive toiling in the Egyptian mines of Sinai or a soldier at a palace gate till he died thus he brooded till out of the stillness came a thin faint thrilling sound from the bow that hung against a mast over his head the bow that he never thought the string again there was a noise of a singing of the bow and of the string and the wordless song shaped itself thus in the heart the wonderer low the hour is nigh and a time to smite when the foe shall fly from the arrows flight let the bronze bite deep let the warbirds fly upon them that sleep in are ripe to die shrill and low do the grey shafts sing the song of the bow the sound of the string then the low music died into the silence and a wanderer knew that the next Sun would not set on the day of slavery and that his revenge was near his bonds would be no barrier to his vengeance they would break like burnt towel he knew in the fire of his anger long since in his old days of wandering Calypso his love had taught him in the summer leisure of her cedar tile how to tie the knots that no man could untie and to undo all the knots that men can bind he remembered this lesson in the night when the bow sang of war so he thought no more of sleeping but cunningly and swiftly unknotted all the cords and the bonds which bound him to a bar of iron and hold he might have escaped now perhaps if he had stolen on deck without waking the guards dived vents and swam under water towards the island where he might have hidden himself in the bush but he desired revenge no less than freedom and had set his heart on coming in a ship of his own and with all the great treasure of the sidonians before the Egyptian came with this in his mind he did not throw off the courts but let them lie on his arms and legs and about his body as if they were still tied fast but he fought against sleep lest in moving when he woke he might reveal the trick and be bound again so he lay and waited and in the morning the sailors came on board and mocked at him again in his mirth one of the men took a dish of meat and of lentils and said it a little out of the Wanderers reach as he lay bound and said in the Phoenician tongue mighty Lord art thou some God of Javan for so the sidonians called the Eakins and wilt thou deign to taste our sacrifice is not the savour sweet in the nostrils of my lord why will he not put forth his hand to touch our offering then the heart of Odysseus muttered sullenly within him in Wrath at the insolence of the man but he constrained himself and smiled and said wilt thou not bring the mess a very little nearer my friend that I may smell the sweet incense of the sacrifice they were amazed when they heard him speak in their own tongue but he who held the dish brought it nearer like a man that angers a dog now offering the meat and now taking it away so soon as the man was within reach The Wanderer sprang out the loosened bonds falling at his feet and smote the Sailor beneath the ear with his clenched fists the blow was so fierce for all his anger went into it that it crushed the bone and drove the man against a mass to the ship so that the strong mast shook where he fell there he lay his feet kicking the floor of the hold in his death pain then the wanderer snatched from the mast his bow and his short sword slung the quiver about his shoulders and ran on to the Rays decking of the prow the bulwarks of the deck were high and the vessel was narrow and before the sailors could stir for amazement the wanderer had taken his stand behind the little altar and the dwarf gods here he stood with an arrow on the string and the bow drawn to his ear looking about him terribly now panic and dread came on the sidonians when they saw him standing thus and one of the sailors cried alas what God have we taken and bound our ship may not contain him surely he is arrest me call the God of the bow whom they of Javon call Apollo nay let us land him on the Isle and come not to blows with him but entreat his mercy lest he roused the waves and the winds against us but the captain of the ship of the sidonians cried not so he knaves have at him for he is no God but a mortal man and his Armour is worth many a yoke of oxen then he bade some of them climbed the decking at the further end of the ship and throw Spears at him thence and he called others to bring up one of the long Spears and charged him with that now these were huge pikes that were wielded by five or six men at once and no Armour could withstand them they were used in the fights to drive back borders and to ward off attacks on ships which were beached on shore in the sieges of towns the men whom the captain appointed little light the task for the long Spears were laid on trestles along the bulwarks and to reach them and unship them it was needful to come within range of the bow but the sailors on the further deck through all their spears at once while five men leaped on the deck where the wanderer stood he loosed the bowstring and the shaft sped on its way again he drew and loosed and now two of them had fallen beneath his arrows and one was struck by a chance blow from a spear thrown from the further deck and the other two leaped back into the hold then the wanderer shouted from the high decking of the prow into speech of the sidonians ye dogs you have sailed on your latest seafaring and never again shall he bring the hour of slavery on any man so he cried and the sailors gathered together in the hold and took counsel how they should deal with him but meanwhile the bow was silent and of those on the hinder deck who were casting Spears one dropped and he others quickly fled to their fellows below four on the deck they had no cover the Sun was now well risen and shown on the Wanderers golden male as he stood alone on the decking with his bow drawn the Sun shone there was silence the ship swung to her anchor and still he waited looking down his arrow pointing at the level of the deck to shoot at the first head which rose above the planking suddenly there was a rush of men on to the further decking and certain of them toward the shields that lined the bulwarks from their pins and threw them down to those who were below while others cast a shower of spears at the wanderer some of the Spears he avoided others leaped back from his mail others stood fast in the altar and in the bodies of the dwarf gods while he answered with an arrow that did not miss its aim but his eyes were always watching most keenly the hatches nearest him whence a gangway ran down to the lower part of the ship where the oarsmen sent for only vents could they make a rush on him as he watched and drew an arrow from the quiver on his shoulder he felt as it were a shadow between him and the deck he glanced up quickly and there on the yard above his head a man who had climbed the mast from behind was creeping down to drop on him from above then the wanderer snatched a short spear and cast it at the man the spear sped quicker than a thought and pinned his two hands to the yard so that he hung there helpless shrieking to his friends but the arrows of the wanderer kept raining on the men who stood on the further deck and presently some of them too leaped down in terror crying that he was a god and not a man while others threw themselves into the sea and swam for the island then the wanderer himself waited no longer seeing them all amazed but he drew his sword and leaped down among them with a cry like a sea eagle swooping on seemed use in the crevice of arak to right and left he smote with a short sword making a havoc and sparing none for the sword Raven din his hand and some fell over the benches and oars but such of the sailors as could flee rushed up the gangway into the further deck and thence sprang overboard while those who had not the luck to flee fell where they stood and scarcely struck a blow only the captain of the ship knowing that all was lost turned and threw a spear in the Wanderers vase but he watched the flash of the bronze and stooped his head so that the spear struck only the golden helm and pierced it through but scarcely grazed his head now the wanderer sprang on the sidonians captain and smoked him with the flat of his sword so that he fell senseless on the deck and then he bound him hand and foot with cords as he himself had been bound and made him fast to the iron bar in the hole next he gathered up the dead in his mighty arms and set them against the bulwarks of the foredeck harvesting the fruits of war above the deck the man who had crept along the yard was hanging by his two hands which to spear had pinned together to the yard art thou their friend cried and the wanderer mocking him s now chosen to stay with me rather than go with thy friends or seek new service nay then as thou art so staunch abide there and keep a good lookout for the river mouth and the market where thou shalt sell me for a great price so he spoke but the man was already dead of pain and fear then the wanderer unbuckled his golden armor which clanged upon the deck and drew freshwater from the hold to cleanse himself for he was stained like a lion that has devoured an ox next with a golden comb he combed his long dark curls and he gathered his arrows out of the bodies of the dead and out of the thwarts and the sides of the ship cleansed them and laid them back in the quiver when all this was ended he put on his armor again but strong as he was he could not tear the spear from the helm without breaking the gold so he snapped the shaft and put on the helmet with the point of the javelin still fixed firm and the crest as fate would have it so and this was the beginning of his sorrows next he ate meat and bread and drank wine and poured forth some of the wine before his gods lastly he dragged up the heavy stone with which the ship was moored a stone heavier far they say then two other men could lift he took the tiller in his hand the steady Northwind the etz and wind kept a blowing in the sails and he steered straight southward for the mouths of the Nile end of book 1 chapter 3 book one chapter four of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Peter cushiony the world's desire by H rider Haggard book 1 chapter 4 the blood-red sea a hard fight it had been and along and the wanderer was weary he took the tiller of the ship in his hand and steered for the south and for the noonday Sun which was now at his highest in the heavens but suddenly the bright light of the sky was darkened and the air was filled with the rush and the murmur and the winnowing of innumerable wings it was as if all the birds that have their homes and seek their food in the great salt marsh of castor had risen from the south and had flown over sea in one hour for the heaven was darkened with her flight and loud with the call of cranes and the whistling cry of the wild ducks so dark was the thick mass of flying fowl that a flight of swans shone snowy against the black cloud of their wings at the view of them the wanderer caught his bow eagerly into his hand and said an arrow on the string and taking a careful aim at the white wedge of birds he shot a wild Swan through the breast as it swept high over the mast then with all the speed of its rush the wild white swan flashed down like lightning into the sea behind to the ship the wanderer watched its fall when lo the water where the dead Swan fell splashed up as red as blood and all a foam the long silver wings and snowy plumage floated on the surface flecked with blood-red stains and the wanderer marveled as he bent over the bulwarks and gazed steadily upon the sea then he saw that the wide sea round the ship was covered as far as the eye could reach as it were with a blood-red scum hither and thither the red stain was tossed like foam yet beneath with a deep wave divided the wanderer saw that the streams of the sea were gray and green below that crimson dye as he watched he saw to that the red froth was drifted always onward from the south and from the mouth of the river of Egypt for behind the wake of the ship it was most rid of all though he had not marked it when the battle raged but in front the colour grew thin as if the stain that the river washed down was all but spent in his heart the wanderer thought as any man must have deemed that on the banks of the river of Egypt there had been some battle of great nations and that the war God had raged furiously wherefore the holy river as it ran forth stained all the sacred sea where war was there was his home no other home had he now and all the more eagerly he steered right on to see what the gods would send him the flight of birds was over in the past it was two hours afternoon the light was high in the heaven when as he gazed another shadow fell on him for the Sun in Midheaven grew small and red his blood slowly a mist rose up over it from the south a mist that was thin but as black as night beyond to the southward there was a bank of cloud like a mountain wall steep and polished and black tipped along the ragged crest with fire and opening ever and again with flashes of intolerable splendour while the bases were scrawled over with lightning like a written scroll never had the wanderer in all his voyages on the sea and on the great river Oceanus that girdles the earth and severs the dead from the living men never had he beheld such a darkness presently he came as it were within the jaws of it dark is a wolf's mouth so dark that he might not see the corpses on the deck nor the mast nor the dead man swinging from the yard nor the captain of the Phoenicians who groaned aloud below praying to his gods but in the wake of the ship there was one break of clear blue sky on the horizon in which the little Isle where he had slain the sidonians might be discerned far off as bright and white as ivory now though he knew it not the gates of his own world were closing behind to the wanderer forever to the north whence he came lay the clear sky and the sunny capes and Isles and the airy mountains of the archive lands white with the temples of familiar gods but in the face of him to the south whither he went was a cloud of darkness and a land of darkness itself there were things to befall more marvellous than are told in any tale there was to be a war of the people's and of the gods the true gods and the false and there he should find the last embraces of love the false love and the true foreboding somewhat of the perils that lay in front the wanderer was tempted to shift his course and sail back to the sunlight but he was one that had never turned his hand from the plow nor his foot from the path and he thought that now his path was foreordained so he lashed the tiller with a rope and groped his way with his hands along the deck till he reached the altar of the dwarf gods where the embers of the sacrifice were still glowing faintly then with his sword he cut some spear shafts and broken arrows into white chips and with them he filled a little brazier and taking the seed of fire from the altar set light to it from beneath presently the wood blazed up through the noonday night and the fire flickered and flared on the faces of the dead men that lay about the deck rolling tool our bird and to starboard as the vessel lurched and the flames shone red on the golden armor of the wanderer of all his voyages this was the strangest seafaring he cruising alone with a company of the Dead deep into a darkness without measure or bound to a land that might not be described strange gusts of sudden wind blew him hither and thither the breeze would rise in a moment from any quarter and died as suddenly as it rose and another wind would chase it over the chopping seas he knew not if he sailed south or north he knew not how time passed for there was no sight of the Sun it was night without a dawn yet his heart was glad as if he had been a boy again for the old sorrows were forgotten so potent was the draft of the chalice of the goddess and so keen was the delight of battle and war my heart he cried as often he had cried before a worse thing than this thou hast endured and he caught up a lyre of the dead Sidonians and sang though the light of the Sun be hidden though his race be run though we sail in a sea forbidden to the Golden Sun though we wander alone unknowing Oh heart of mine the path of the strange seagoing of the blood-red brine yet endure we shall not be shaken by things worse than these we have scaped when our friends were taken on the Unseld seas worst deaths we have faced and fled from in the Cyclops den when the floor of his cave ran red from the blood of men worst griefs we have known undaunted worse fates have fled when the isle that are long and love haunted lay waste and dead so he was chanting when he described faint and far off a red glow cast up along the darkness like sunset on the sky of the underworld for this light he steered and soon he saw two tall pillars of flame blazing beside each other with a narrow space of night between them he home the ship toward these and when he came near them they were like two mighty mountains of wood burning far into heaven and each was lofty as the pyre that blazes over men slain in some red war and each pile roared and flared above a steep crag of smooth black basalt and between the burning mounds of fire lay the flame flecked water of a haven the ship neared the Haven and the wanderer saw movin like fireflies through the night the lanterns in the Prowse of boats and from one of the boats a sailor hailed him in the speech of the people of Egypt asking him if he desired a pilot yeh he shouted the boat drew near and the pilot came aboard a torch in his hand but when his eyes fell on the dead men in the ship and the horror hanging from the yard and the captain bounced to the iron bar and above all on the golden armor of the hero and on the spear point fast in his helm and on his terrible face he shrank back and dread as if the god Osiris himself in the ship of death had reached the harbour but the wanderer bade him have no fear telling him that he came with much wealth and with a great gift for the Pharaoh the pilot therefore plucked up Hart and took the helm and between the two great hills of blazing fire the vessel glided into the smooth waters of the river of Egypt the flames glittering on the Wanderers mail as he stood by the mast and chanted the song of the bow then by the counsel of the pilot the vessel was steered up the river toward the temple of Heracles in tennis where there is a sanctuary for strangers and where no man may harm them but first the dead sidonians were cast overboard into the great river for the dead bodies of men are an abomination to the Egyptians and as each body struck the water the wanderer saw a hateful sight for the face of the river was lashed into foam by the sudden leaping and rushing of huge four-footed fish or so the wanderer deemed them the sound of the heavy plunging of the great water beasts as they darted forth on the prey smiting at each other with their tails and the gnashing of their jaws when they bit too eagerly and only harmed the air and the leap of a greedy sharp snout from the waves even before the dead man cast from the ship had quite touched the water these things were horrible to see and hear through the blackness and by the firelight a river of death that seemed haunted by the horrors that are said to prey upon the souls and bodies of the dead for the first time the heart of the wanderer died within him at the horror of the darkness and of this dread River and of the water beasts that dwelt within it then he remembered how the birds had fled in terror from this place and he bethought him of the blood-red sea when the dead men were all cast overboard and the river was once more still the wanderer spoke sick at heart and inquired of the pilot why the sea had run so red and whether war was in the land and why there was night all over that country the fellow answered that there was no war but peace yet the land was strangely plagued with frogs and locusts and lice in all their coasts the sacred river saw hora running red for three whole days and now at last for this the third day darkness all over the world but as to the cause of these curses the pilot knew nothing being a plain man only the story went among the people that the gods were angry with Kem as they call Egypt which indeed was easy to see for those things could only come from the gods but why they were angered the pilot knew not still it was commonly thought that the divine Hathor the goddess of love was wroth because of the worship given in Tanis to the one they called the strange hath or a goddess or a woman of wonderful beauty whose temple was antennas concerning her the pilot said that many years ago some 30 years she had first appeared in the tree coming none knew whence and had been worshiped in tennis and had again departed as mysteriously as she came but now she had once more chosen to appear visible to men strangely and to dwell in her temple and the men who beheld her could do nothing but worship her for her beauty whether she was a mortal woman or a goddess the pilot did not know only he thought that she who dwells in a Tarkus Hathor of Khem the queen of love was angry with the strange Hathor and had sent the darkness and the plagues to punish them who worshiped her the people of the seaboard also murmured that it would be well to pray the strange Hathor to depart out of their coasts if she were a goddess and if she were a woman to stone her with stones but the people of Tanis vowed that they would rather die one and all than do aught but adorn the incomparable beauty of their strange goddess others again held that two wizards leaders of certain slaves of a strange race wanderers from the desert settled in Tanis whom they called the opera caused all these sorrows by art magic as if forsooth said the pilot those barbarian slaves were more powerful than all the priests of Egypt but for his part the pilot knew nothing only that if the divine Hathor were angry with the people of Tanis it was hard that she must plague all the land of Khem so the pilot murmured and his tale was none of the shortest but even as he spoke that darkness grew less dark and the cloud lifted a little so that the shores of the river might be seen in a green light like the light of Hades and presently the night was rolled up like a veil and it was living noonday in the land of Khem then all the noise of life broke forth in one moment the kind lowing the wind swaying in the feathery palms the fish splashing in the stream men crying to each other from the riverbanks and the voice of multitudes of people in every red temple praising rah their great God whose dwelling is the Sun the wanderer to his own gods and gave thanks to Apollo and to Helios Hyperion and to Aphrodite and in the end the pilot brought the ship to the key of a great city and there a crew of oarsmen was hired and they sped rejoicing in the sunlight through a canal dug by the hands of men to Tanis and the sanctuary of Heracles the safety of strangers there the ship was moored there The Wanderer rested having a good welcome from the shaven priests of the temple end of book 1 chapter 4 recording by Peter Kushner book one chapter five of the world's desire this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit recording by Rick Vina the world's desire by H rider Haggard book 1 chapter 5 mariahlynn the queen strange news flies fast it was not long before the Pharaoh who then was with his court in Tanis the newly rebuilded City heard how there had come to Kim a man like a God wearing golden armor and cruising alone in a ship of the Dead in these years the white barbarians of the sea and of the Isles were want to land in Egypt to ravage the fields carry women captive and fly again in their ships but not one of them had dared to sail in the armor of the aqua OSHA as the Egyptians named the achæans right up the river to the city of Pharaoh the king therefore was amazed at the story and when he heard that the stranger had taken sanctuary in the temple of Heracles he sent instantly for his chief counselor this was his master builder who bore a high title in the land an ancient priest named ray he had served through the long reign and the king's father the divine ramses ii and he was beloved both of Minetta and of maryam on his queen him the king charged to visit the sanctuary and bring the stranger before him so ray called for his mule and wrote down to the temple of Heracles beyond the walls when ray came thither a priest went before him and led him to the chamber where the warrior chanced to be eating the lily bread of the land and drinking the wine of the Delta he rose as Ray entered and he was still clad in his golden armor for as yet he had not any change of raiment beside him on a bronze tripod lay his helmet the akn helmet with its two horns and with the bronze spear point still fast in the gold the eyes of Ray the priest fell on the helmet and he gazed so strangely at it that he scarcely heard the Wanderers salutation at length he answered courteously but always his eyes wandered back to the broken spear point is this thine my son he asked taking it in his hand while his voice trembled it is my own said the wanderer though the spear point in it was lent to me of late in return for arrows not a few and certain sword strokes and he smiled the ancient priest bade the temple servants retire and as they went they heard him murmuring a prayer the dead spoke truth he muttered still gazing from the helmet in his hand to the wanderer I dead speak seldom but they never a lie my son thou hast eaten and drunk then said ray the priest and master builder and may an old men ask whence thou camest where is thy native city and who are thy parents I come from a low base answered the wanderer for his own name was too widely known and he loved an artful tale I come from a low base I am the son of a fetus son of pelipper man and my own name is a paratus and wherefore cometh thou here alone in a ship of dead men and with more treasure than a king's ransom it was men of Sidon who labored and died for all that cargo said the wanderer they voyaged far for it and toiled hard but they lost it in an hour for they were not content with what they had but made me a prisoner as I lay asleep on the coast of Crete but the gods gave me the upper hand of them and I bring their captain and much white metal and many swords and cups and beautiful woven stuffs as a gift to your king and for thy courtesy come with me and choose a gift for thyself then he led the old men to the treasure chambers of the temple which was rich in the offerings of many travelers gold and turquoise and frankincense from Sinai and punt great horns of carved ivory from the unknown east and south bowls and baths of silver from the kita who are the allies of egypt but amidst all the wealth the stranger's cargo made a goodly show and the old priests eyes glittered as he looked at it take thy choice I pray thee said the wanderer the spoils of foeman are the share of friends the priest would have refused but the wanderer saw that he looked ever at a bowl of transparent amber from the far-off northern seas that was embossed with curious figures of men and gods and huge fishes such as are unknown in the midland waters the wanderer put it into the hands of ray thou shalt keep this he said and pledge me in wine from it when I am gone in memory of a friend and a guest Ray took the bowl and thanked him holding it up to the light to admire the golden colour we are always children he said smiling gravely see an old child whom thou hast made happy with a toy but we are men too soon again the King bids thee come with me before him and my son if thou what's please me more than by any gift I pray thee pluck that spearhead from thy helmet before thou comest into the presence of the Queen pardon me said the wanderer I would not harm my helmet by tearing it roughly out and I have no Smith's tools here the spear point my father is a witness to the truth of my tale and for one day more or two I must wear it ray side bowed his head folded his hands and prayed to his god amun saying o amen in whose hand is the end of a matter lighten the burden of these sorrows and let the vision be easy of accomplishment and I pray thee o amen let thy hand be light on thy daughter Miriam on the lady of Ken then the old man led the wanderer out and bade the priests make ready a chariot for him and so they went through tennis to the court of Minetta behind them followed the priests carrying gifts that the wanderer had chosen from the treasures of the sidonians and the miserable captain of the sidonians was dragged along after them bound to the hinder part of a chariot through the gazing crowd they all passed on to the Hall of audience where between the great pillars sat Pharaoh on his golden throne beside him at his right hand was Miriam on the beautiful Queen who looked at the priests with weary eyes as if at a matter in which she had no concern they came in and beat the earth with their brows before the king first came the officers leading the captain of the sidonians for a gift to Pharaoh and the King smiled graciously and accepted the slave then came others bearing the cups of gold fashioned like the heads of lions and Rams and the swords with pictures of wars and hauntings echoed on their blades in many colored gold and the necklace of amber from the north which the wanderer had chosen as gifts for Pharaoh's Queen and Pharaoh he had silks to embroidered in gold and needlework of Cydonia n– women and all the the Queen Mariah man touched to show her acceptance of them and smiled graciously and wearily but the covetous side Oni engross aw his wealth departing from him the gains for which he had hazarded his life in unsaved seas lastly Pharaoh bade them lead the wanderer in before his presence and he came unhelmeted in all his splendor the goodliest man that had ever been seen in CHEM he was of no great height but very great of girth and of strength unmatched and with the face of one who had seen what few have seen and lived the beauty of youth was gone from him but his face had the comeliness of a warrior tried on sea and land the eyes were of a valor invincible and no woman could see him but she longed to be his love as he entered murmurs of amazement passed over all the company and all eyes were fixed on him save only the weary in wandering eyes of the listless marioman but when she chanced to lift her face and gaze on him they who watch the looks of kings and queens saw her turned gray as the dead and clutch with her hand at her side Pharaoh himself saw this though he was not quick to mark what passed and he asked her if anything Aled her but she answered nay only methinks the air is sick with heat and perfume greet thou this stranger but beneath her robe her fingers were fretting all the while at the golden fringes of her throne welcome the wanderer cried Pharaoh in a deep and heavy voice welcomed by what name art thou named and where dwell thy people and what is thy native land bowing low before Pharaoh the wanderer answered wood a feigned tale that his name was e paratus of al abbas the son of a fetus the rest of the story in how he had been taken by the sidonians and how he had smitten them on the seas he told as he had told it to Ray and he displayed his helmet with the spear point fast in it but when she saw this Mariah man rose to her feet as if she would be gone and then fell back into her seat even paler than before the Queen helped the Queen she faints cried ray the priest whose eyes had never left her face one of her ladies a beautiful woman ran to her knelt before her and shaved her hands till she came to herself and sat up with angry eyes let be she said and let the slave who tends the incense be beaten on the feet nay I will remain here I will not to my chamber let be and her lady drew back afraid then Pharaoh bade men lead the cydonia out and slay him in the marketplace for his treachery but the man whose name was Currie threw himself at the feet of the wanderer praying for his life the wanderer was merciful when the rage of battle was over and his blood was cool boom Oh Pharaoh Merneptah he cried spare me this man he saved my own life when the crew would have cast me overboard let me pay my debt let him be spared as thou wilt have it so Spoke Pharaoh but revenge dogs the feet of foolish mercy and many debts are paid our all is done thus a chanst that curry was given to marioman to be her jeweler and to work for her in gold and silver to the wanderer was allotted a chamber in the Royal Palace for the Pharaoh trusted that he would be a leader of his guard and took great pleasure in his beauty and his strength as he left the Hall of audience with Rey the Queen Mariah man lifted her eyes again and looked on him long and her ivory face flushed rosy like the ivory that the sidonians died red for the trappings of the horses of Kings but the wanderer marked both the sudden fear and the blush of marioman and beautiful as she was he liked it ill and his heart foreboded evil when he was alone with array therefore he spoke to him of this and prayed the old man to tell him if he could guess at all the meaning of the Queen for to me he said it was as if the lady knew my face and even as if she feared it but I never saw her like in all my wanderings beautiful she is and yet but it is ill speaking in their own land of kings and queens at first when the wanderer spoke thus Rhea put it by smiling but the wanderer seeing that he was troubled and remembering how he had prayed him to pluck the spearpoint from his helmet pressed him hard with the questions thus partly out of weariness and partly for love of him and also because a secret had long been burning in his heart the old man took the wanderer into his own room in the palace and there he told him all the story of Mariah Minh the Queen end of book 1 chapter 5 you

1 thought on “World's Desire | Andrew Lang, H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction | Talking Book | 1/6

  1. World's Desire | Andrew Lang, H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction | Talking Book | 1/6

    0: [00:00:00] – Preface

    1: [00:06:49] – book I, chapter I

    2: [00:23:49] – book I, chapter II

    3: [00:42:38] – book I, chapter III

    4: [01:14:36] – book I, chapter IV

    5: [01:30:55] – book I, chapter V

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