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Chapter XXVIII

1. THE Goddess Arieune slackened the speed of her arrow-ship to suit that of Hoab's vessel; so, onward together they sped in a direct line, propelled as a rocket is propelled, by constant emissions from the hulk; the which expenditure is manufactured by the crew and commanders, skilled in wielding Jehovih's elements. For as mortals find means to traverse the ocean and to raise a balloon, so do the Gods and spirits build and propel mightier vessels through the firmament, betwixt the stars and over and under and beyond the sun.

2. And when the ethereans, highest raised in the most subtle spheres, send their ships coursing downward in the denser strata of a corporeal world, their ready workmen take in ballast, and turn the fans, and reverse the whirling screws to match the space and course of travel; for which purpose men learn the trade, having rank p. 250a and grade according to proficiency. Many of them serving a thousand years' apprenticeship, becoming so skilled in wielding the elements, and in the knowledge of the decrees of density, that thousands of millions of miles of roadways in heaven are as a well-learned book to them.

3. And, thus conversant with Jehovih's wide domains, they are eagerly sought after, especially in emergent cases, or on journeys of millions of years; for so well they know the requirements, the places of delight, the dangers of vortices and of eddies and whirlpools, that when a God saith: Take me hither, or yonder, they know the nearest way and the power required.

4. For, as Jehovih hath made icebergs on the corporeal ocean, dangerous to ships; and heavy currents of trade winds, and currents in the oceans, so are there in the etherean firmament currents and densities which the well-skilled God can take advantage of, be it a slow trip of pleasure, or a swift one on urgent business to suffering angels or mortals.

5. And, be it God or Goddess, dispatched by a higher Council, to a distant place suddenly, he, or she, must be already acquainted with navigators sufficiently to know who to choose; and, likewise, understand the matter well enough to lend a helping hand if required. For oft the navigators have not swift messengers to pilot them; and yet a short journey of fifty thousand miles may require as much skill as a million, especially in descending to a corporeal world.

6. Hoab knew, and he managed well. Following close on the arrow's trail till they neared the ruined plateau, and then, amidst the broken currents, Arieune dropped alongside, perceiving Hoab's less wieldy vessel, and made fast. She said to Hoab:

7. Behold, we are near the place. Then Hoab asked: How foundest thou a knot in such a wasted country? Arieune answered him:

8. When Jehovih created women, He gave to her two chief attributes, curiosity and solicitude for others. So, passing here, surveying the place where the first heavenly kingdom was, I remembered it had been said that Aph left some island places where once a colony in heaven had been built, and I halted to examine it. A moan and terrible sound greeted me! I heard the Osivi knots, as I had oft heard others before.

9. We landed and made fast, and presently went about searching, led p. 251a by the sad, sad noise. Then we came to the great mound, the knot, a thousand million drujas bound in a heap! Wailing, muffled, moaning as if all the heap of them were in the throes of death, but could not die!

10. Being myself powerless to overcome such fearful odds, I took the bearing of the regions where I should find the nearest God; and so, having measured the knot, I set sail as thou hast heard.

11. Hoab said: Every day I behold Thy wisdom, O Jehovih! In a new light Thy wondrous judgment riseth up before me. Who but Thee, O Father, had seen the fruitage of Curiosity made perfect in Thy daughters? From the little bud seen in mortal form, to the overscanning of Thy heavens by such Goddesses!

12. As thus Hoab discoursed, they arrived at a suitable landing-place, where they made their vessels fast, and then hurried to the knot. Without much ado, Hoab walled the knot around with low fire, leaving a gateway to the east, where he placed a thousand sentinels. One million of this army he stationed outside of and beyond the walls, and these were divided into groups of selectors, guardsmen, physicians, nurses and bearers, and manufacturers of fire and water. The selectors were provided with rods of fire and water, and the guardsmen with shields and blinds.

13. Then Hoab stationed another million betwixt the knot and the gateway, and these were stationed in four rows, each two rows facing, and but two paces apart; so that betwixt the rows it was like a walled alleyway. And the other three millions Hoab caused to surround the knot on every side. Each and every one of these was provided with a fire lamp, which they held in the right hand. And when all things were thus in readiness, Hoab commanded the attack to begin. And at once the attackers thrust their fire lamps in the face of of the druj nearest by, and, seizing them with the other hand, pulled them away. The druj do not all relinquish their grip in the knot at the sight of the lamp, but often require to be nearly burned and stifled with the light before they release their hold. Neither cometh this grip of evil, but of fear.

14. The knot is nothing more nor less than a mass of millions and millions of spirits becoming panic-stricken and falling upon their chief, or leader, who becometh powerless in their grip, and is quickly rolled up in the midst of the knot.

p. 252a

15. And when the deliverers thus begin at the exterior of the knot, peeling off the crazed and moaning spirits, they hurl them backward, where they are caught by the seconds, who, in turn, hurl them into the alleyways, where they are again thrust forward till past the gate in the wall of fire. From the time, therefore, that the druj receiveth the thrust of the fire lamp in his face, he is not suffered to linger, but is whirled suddenly from one to another, so quickly he cannot fasten to any person or thing. For were they to fasten on even the deliverers, first one and then another, soon a second knot would result. Because of which, to untie a know of a thousand million crazed angels is not only a dangerous proceeding, but a feat of unusual grandeur to be undertaken by five million ethereans.

16. To provide against accident, Hoab appointed Athrava to take charge of the delivered after they were beyond the walls; for Athrava had been long practiced in such matters, thousands of years. So Athrava divided and arranged the drujas into groups, placing guardians with fire rods over them; and in some cases taking the groups away and walling them around with fire also.

17. Now by the time five hundred millions of the knot were released, some of the external, delivered groups, began to tie themselves into knots. And when Athrava saw this, he said unto Hoab: Behold, they are becoming too numerous for my hosts. I have not sufficient guardians. Hoab said:

18. Then will I cease awhile, and, instead of delivering, come and assist thee. Accordingly, Hoab suspended the battle for a time, and together they labored with those without, untying the small knots and arranging them in safer ways, placing a greater number of guards over them.

19. This done, the es'enaurs struck up lively music, starting dancings and marchings; for such is the routine of p. 253a the restoring process practiced by the Gods. Then come the nurses with cheerful words, with mirth and gaiety, following one diversion with another in rapid succession. But to the raving maniacs, and to the stupid, and to the helpless blind, the physicians now turn their attention.

20. Again Hoab and his army fell upon the knot, pulling the external ones away and hurling them out, but not so rapidly, having fewer deliverers, for he had bequeathed an extra million to Athrava, outside the walls. And after another three hundred millions were delivered, Hoab ceased again, and joined with Athrava to assist and divide and group them in the same way. And he bequeathed another million of his army to Athrava, and then again resumed the attack on the knot, and thus continued till he reached the core of the knot, having untied the whole thousand million drujas, gradually lessening his own army and enlarging that of Athrava.

21. And when Hoab came to the core of the knot, behold, he found Oibe, the false God, who falsely styled himself Thor, the etherean. And in the midst of the knot they had jewels of rare value and stolen crowns and stolen symbols, and rods, and holy water, and urns, and incense, and a broken Wheel of Jehovih, a broken triangle of the Gods, and, in fact, a sufficiency of things whereof one might write a book in the description. Suffice it, a false God and his kingdom had collapsed, and he fell, crushed in the glory of his throne. And there were with him seven false Lords, who were also crushed in the terrible fall.

22. Oibe and his Lords, from their confinement in the knot, were also crazed and wild with fear, screaming and crying with all their strength, even as were all the others, like drunkards long debauched, delirious and fearful of imaginary horrors, which have no existence. Or as one's hand, long compressed, becometh numb, p. 254 so that when the pressure is taken away it still seemeth not free. So would not Oibe nor his Lords believe they were free, but still cried, calling for help.

23. At this time there came from Ah'oan, God of Jaffeth, a messenger with forty companions, and with five hundred apprentices; and the messenger's name was Turbe, an atmospherean, three hundred years, grade two. Greeting from Ah'oan, in Jehovih's name! Turbe said: To whom shall I speak; to whose honor this deliverance credit, save Jehovih's? Athrava said:

24. To Hoab, a Zeredho'an disciple of Fragapatti, who is sojourning in Mouru, capital of Haraiti. And Athrava further asked Turbe his name, whence he came, and especially if he knew about this knot before, and the history of its cause? To which Turbe replied:

25. From Ah'oan this I have learned: Some four hundred years ago, one of the sub-Gods, named Oibe, because of his modesty and bird-like fleetness, was promoted by Samati, who is now commissioned master of the I'huans by Fragapatti. This, whom Hoab hath delivered, is Oibe, the one-time faithful sub-God of honorable purposes. His kingdom prospered for two hundred years, and his name and fame spread throughout all these heavens, and even down to mortals, who were inspired by his admiring spirits to make images of birds (oibe or ibis), and dedicate them to Oibe.

26. He became vain of the flattery, and, losing faith in Jehovih, finally came out in unbelief, saying there was no All Highest, save as each and every God chose to exalt himself. Within his dominions, which numbered nearly a thousand million angels, were a score or more of Lords under him; to the wisest of whom he began to preach his views, looking to personal laudation and glory.

27. In the course of a score of years, the matter culminated in Oibe and a few of his favored Lords proclaiming a new kingdom, styled, THE ALL HIGHEST KINGDOM IN THE ALL HIGHEST HEAVEN! And the title he assumed was, THOR, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF ALL LIGHT! THOR, THE ALL LIGHT PERSONATED! THOR, THE PERSONAL SON OF MI, THE VIRGIN UNIVERSE!

28. Thus Oibe cut loose from the true God and his kingdoms; and he immediately walled his kingdom around with a standing army; promoting seven of his most efficient admirers as Lords; and others as generals and captains. And at once he sat about enlarging and enriching his throne, and his capital, which he called Osivi, and known as Howts on the true charts.

29. In the course of one hundred years his kingdom became a place of two thousand million souls. His chief city, Osivi, was the richest and most gaudy city that had ever been in these heavens. The streets were paved with precious stones; the palaces for himself, his Lords, and his marshals and generals, were built of the most costly jewels with pillars, arches and chambers of the most elaborate workmanship, and of the most costly material.

30. Oibe became a tyrant; and, save his Lords and a few favored friends, none were permitted to approach the throne but by crawling on their bellies, and even under guard. Nor were they permitted to raise their eyes upon him, save at a very great distance. And all his subjects were his slaves, in fact, though under progressive discipline. These slaves were sent far away into atmospherea, or else down to the earth, to gather tribute for the glory of Thor (Oibe) and his favorites; nor did these slaves mistrust but they were working for Jehovih, believing that he lived in the capital, Osivi!

31. At first, Thor educated and otherwise improved his slaves; but, finding them less obedient in consequence of knowledge, he finally destroyed all the heavenly schools and colleges, and resolved to keep his subjects forever ignorant. Consequently, the wiser ones deserted him, save his officers, and his angels were without knowledge, knowing nothing, save that they had to work for Thor forever!

32. In addition to ignorance, Thor kept his subjects forever in fear of himself, forever threatening them with terrible punishments if they ceased to pray to him as the only personified All Light, Jehovih. And in the course of time, his people forgot all aspirations for any other heaven or any other God. Many of these were deputized to dwell with mortals as guardian spirits, persuading mortals to worship Thor and Ibis, threatening them with being turned into serpents and toads after death if they obeyed not these injunctions.

33. Thus ruled Thor, the false, for four hundred years in Osivi; neither was it possible for Samati to send an army of sufficient strength to overcome such a kingdom. But a change finally came. A light descended from the higher heavens six generations ago; and, according to the legends of p. 255 old, it was ominous that the Gods of higher worlds would intercede.

34. So, Samati, taking advantage of this, sent emissaries to Thor, otherwise Oibe, and solicited him to give over his evil ways, and re-establish Jehovih. Thor, the false, sent back word, saying: When I was a child, I was taught to fear Jehovih, and I feared Him. After long experience I have discovered there is nothing to fear in all the worlds. If there be any Jehovih, He is without form or person or sense! I fear Him not! I revere Him not! My heaven is good enough for me and my Lords. As for my subjects, let no man, nor God, nor Lord, meddle with them.

35. Samati, who was the lawful God of all these heavens and of the earth, thus perceived no way to reach Thor's slaves, for the slaves were too ignorant to desire anybody or thing save Thor. Nevertheless, he sent word the second time to Thor, this time saying: Thy kingdom is even now destitute of intelligent people sufficient to protect thee in case of panic. If a comet, or any sudden light, or the passage of an avalanza through thy dominions should take place, thou wouldst surely find thyself overthrown in a knot. Thy subjects look upon thee as the All Highest; they will surely rush upon thee.

36. Thor sent the messengers back with an insulting answer. Thus the matter stood till after Ah'oan's appointment as God of Jaffeth and her heavens, which at once cut off Thor's emissaries to mortals, and confined him within his own kingdom. At this time, Samati was commissioned to establish the word of God amongst mortals, but he communicated Thor's position to Ah'oan.

37. Ah'oan sent embassadors to Thor, the false, beseeching him in the same manner to give up his personality, and return with his kingdom to Jehovih, promising him the best of assistance. To this, Thor, the false, replied, by the messengers, saying:

38. Ah'oan, thou usurper! If thou desirest favors of me, thou shalt approach me as all Gods and angels do, by crawling on thy belly before me. Encroach thee not one jot or tittle on my Most High Kingdom, or I will banish thee back to thy miscreant regions with stripes and curses!

39. Ah'oan was surprised, but perceived that till trouble came upon Oibe nothing could be done for him. So the time came; Jehovih suffered him to go the full period of self-glory. Thus Oibe fell!

40. Turbe ceased, and Athrava said: O Jehovih, when will man cease to fall? Thou hast proclaimed Thyself in all places, high and low; Thy Gods and Lords and countless angels have proclaimed Thee! Thou alone art the pass-word to all the universe! Thy name hath a thousand exalted devices to win the souls of mortals and angels from darkness to light, and yet they turn away from Thee, Thou Creator of suns and stars and countless etherean worlds! And they set up themselves as an object of worship! O the smallness of Gods and men! O the vanity of Thy little children!

41. Thou hast said to mortals: Go not into the marshes, for there is fever; build not large cities, for there is sin; go not after lust, for there is death! But they go in headlong, and they are bruised and dead!

42. To those who are risen in heaven, Thou hast said: Remember the lessons of earth, lest ye fall! Remember the fate of self-conceit, lest ye be scourged. Remember the king and the queen of earth, how they become bound in heaven, lest ye also become bound.

43. But they will not heed; vain Self riseth up in the soul; they behold no other God but themselves in whom they acknowledge wisdom.

Next: Chapter XXIX