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Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. [1882], at

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p. 368


1. For all divisions of the translations into sentences or sections the translator is responsible, as such divisions are rarely made in the manuscripts.

2-6. (The same as on page 2.)

7. The manuscripts mentioned are:--

B29 (written A.D. 1679), a Persian Rivâyat, No. 29 in the University Library at Bombay.

BK, J, K35, M10 (as described on page 278).

L4 (written about A.D. 1324), a Vendidâd with Pahlavi, in the India Office Library in London.

M7 (written A.D. 1809), miscellaneous Parsi-Persian writings, No. 7 of the Haug Collection in the State Library at Munich.

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THE Avesta informs us that Keresâspa was a son of Thrita the Sâman, and the brother of Urvâkhshaya 1. From the name of his father's family he is sometimes called Sâma Keresâspa 2, but his more usual title is Naremanau or Nairimanau, 'the manly-minded 3.' He is described as 'a youthful hero, wearing side-locks and carrying a club 4,' to whom the witch Knãthaiti 5 attached herself; she whom Zaratûst promised to destroy by means of the apostle Saoshyãs, who is to be born hereafter 6. And his body is watched over by 99,999 guardian spirits 7.

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Of his exploits we are told that he 'slew the serpent Srvara, which devoured horses and men, which was poisonous and yellow, over which yellow poison flowed a hand's-breadth high. On which Keresâspa cooked a beverage in a caldron at the midday hour, and the serpent being scorched, hissed, sprang forth, away from the caldron, and upset the boiling water; Keresâsp, the manly-minded, fled aside frightened 1.' We are further told that he slew the golden-heeled Gandarewa 2; that he smote Hitâspa in revenge for the murder of his brother, Urvâkhshaya 3; that he smote the Hunus who are the nine highwaymen, and those descended from Nivika and Dâstayâni 4; also Vareshava the Dânayan, Pitaona with the many witches, Arezô-shamana, and Snâvidhaka 5; and that he withstood many smiters or murderers 6.

The details of these exploits, still extant in the Avesta, are very scanty; but some of them appear to have been more fully described in a legend about the soul of Keresâspa which formerly constituted the fourteenth fargard of the Sûdkar Nask, the contents of which are thus summarized in the ninth book of the Dînkard:--

'The fourteenth fargard, Ad-fravakhshî 7, is about

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[paragraph continues] Aûharmazd's showing the terrible state of the soul of Keresâsp 1 to Zaratûst; the dismay of Zaratûst owing to that terrible state; the sorrowful speaking of Keresâsp as regards the slaying of multitudes, for which mankind extol him, whereby abstentions from sin occurred; and the recognition of him by the creator, Aûharmazd, as extinguishing his fire. The supplication of Keresâsp for the best existence from Aûharmazd for those exploits when the serpent (gaz) Srôbar 2 was slain by him, and the violence of that adversary; when Gandarep 3 with the golden heels was smitten by him, and the marvellousness of that fiend; when the Hunus of Veskŏ 4, who are

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descendants of Nîvîk and Dâstânîk 1, were slain by him, and the grievous harm and disaster owing to them; and when the mighty wind 2 was appeased by him, and brought back from damaging the world to benefiting the creatures; and for that which happens when, owing to confinement 3, Dahâk becomes eager, rushes on for the destruction of the world, and attempts the annihilation of the creatures; and his being roused to smite him and to tame that powerful fiend for the creatures of the world. The opposition of fire to Keresâsp, through his causing distress to it and keeping away from it, which were owing to his seeking hell; the supplication of Zaratûst to the fire to have compassion upon him, which was owing to his sin; the compliance of the fire with that request; and the departure of the soul of Keresâsp to the ever-stationary existence 4. Perfect is the excellence of righteousness 5.'

Although the Sûdkar Nask has long been lost, the legend contained in this fourteenth fargard still survives in its Pahlavi form, though probably somewhat abridged, and a Persian paraphrase of this Pahlavi version is also to be found in the Persian

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[paragraph continues] Rivâyats 1. The Pahlavi legend is included among a series of quotations, regarding the importance of fire, contained in a Pahlavi Rivâyat preceding the Dâdistân-î Dînîk in some manuscripts 2; and its close correspondence with the' above summary of the fourteenth fargard of the Sûdkar Nask will be seen from the following translation of it:--

. . . . 'And it is declared that fire is so precious that Aûharmazd spoke unto Zaratûst thus: "Of whose soul is it that the actions' 3, position, consciousness, and guardian spirit seem best when thou shalt behold it?"

'And Zaratûst spoke thus: "Of him who is Keresâsp."

'Aûharmazd summoned the soul of Keresâsp, and the soul of Keresâsp saw 4 Zaratûst and, on account of the misery which it had seen in hell, it spoke unto him thus: "I have been a priest of Kâpûl 5, which should be a power in support of me; and for the sake of begging life I have ever travelled through the world, and the world would have become hideous in my eyes, the world which should have feared my splendour 6."

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'And Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Stand off, thou soul of Keresâsp! for thou shouldst be hideous in my eyes, because the fire, which is my son 1, was extinguished by thee, and no care of it was provided by thee."

And the soul of Keresâsp spoke thus: "Forgive me, O Aûharmazd! and grant me the best existence! grant me the supreme heaven! The serpent (azŏ) Srôvbar 2 is slain outright, which was swallowing horses and swallowing men, and its teeth were as long as my arm, its ear was as large as fourteen blankets (namadŏ), its eye was as large as a wheel, and its horn was as much as Dahâk 3 in height. And I was running as much as half a day on its back, till its head was smitten by me at the neck with a club made for my hand, and it was slain outright by me 4. And if that serpent had not been slain by me, all thy creatures would have been completely annihilated by it, and thou wouldst never have known a remedy for Aharman."

'Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Stand off! for the fire, which is my son, was extinguished by thee."

'Keresâsp spoke thus: "Grant me, O Aûharmazd! that best existence, the supreme heaven! for by me Gandarep 5 was slain outright, by whom twelve

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districts were devoured at once. When I looked among the teeth of Gandarep, dead men 1 were sticking among his teeth; and my beard was seized by him, and I dragged him out of the sea 2; nine days and nights the conflict was maintained by us in the sea, and then I became more powerful than Gandarep. The sole of Gandarep's foot was also seized by me, and the skin was flayed off up to his head, and with it the hands and feet of Gandarep were bound; he was also dragged by me out to the shore of the sea, and was delivered by. me over to Âkhrûtrag 3; and he slaughtered and ate my fifteen horses. I also fell down in a dense thicket (aîsakŏ), and Gandarep carried off my friend Âkhrûtrag, and she who was my wife was carried off by him 4, and my father and nurse (dâyakŏ) were carried off by him. And I took under my protection (dinhârîgînîdŏ) and raised all the people of our pleasant place, and every single step I sprang forward a thousand steps, and fire fell into everything which was struck by my foot as it sprang forward 5; I went out to the sea, and they were brought back by me,

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and Gandarep was taken and slain by me 1. And if he had not been slain by me, Aharman would have become predominant over thy creatures."

'Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Stand off! for thou art hideous in my eyes, because the fire, which is my son, was extinguished by thee."

'Keresâsp spoke thus: "Grant me, O Aûharmazd! heaven or the supreme heaven! for I have slain the highwaymen 2 who were so big in body that, when they were walking, people considered in this way, that 'below them are the stars and moon, and below them moves the sun at dawn, and the water of the sea reaches up to their knees.' And I reached up to their legs, and they were smitten on the legs by me; they fell, and the hills on the earth were shattered by them 3. And if those fallen 4 highwaymen had not been slain by me, Aharman would have become predominant over thy creatures."

'Aûharmazd. spoke thus: "Stand off! for thou shouldst be hideous in my eyes, because the fire, which is my son, was extinguished by thee."

'Keresâsp spoke thus: "Grant me, O Aûharmazd! heaven or the supreme heaven! When the wind was weakened (rakhtŏ) and paralysed by me, the

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demons deceived the wind, and they spoke unto the wind thus: 'He is more resisting thee than all the creatures and creation, and thou shouldst think of him thus, that "there is no one walks upon this earth more resistant of me than Keresâsp;" he despises demons and men, and thee, too, who shouldst be the wind, even thee he despises.' And the wind, when those words were heard by it, came on so strongly that every tree and shrub which was in its path was uprooted, and the whole earth which was in its path was reduced to powder (payangânŏîaîtŏ kardŏ), and darkness arose. And when it came to me, who am Keresâsp, it was not possible for it to lift my foot from the ground; and I arose and sallied forth (barâ yehabûnd) upon the earth, and I stood upon it, with both feet on an equality (mirîh), until a rampart (pûstŏ) of it was completed, so that I might go again below the earth; that which Aûharmazd ordered thus: 'Should I appoint a keeper of the earth and sky, they would not forsake me 1.' And if that thing had not been done by me, Aharman would have become predominant over thy creatures."

'Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Stand off! for thou shouldst be hideous in my eyes, because the fire, which is my son, was smitten by thee."

Keresâsp spoke thus: "Grant me, O Aûharmazd! heaven or the supreme heaven! for it is thus

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declared by revelation, that, when Dahâk has escaped from confinement 1, no one is able to seek any other remedy against him but me; on that account grant me heaven or the supreme heaven! And if it be not possible to grant me heaven or the supreme heaven, give me again the strength and success which were mine during life! for when thou shalt give me again so much strength and success as were mine when I was produced alive, I will slay Aharman with the demons, I will eradicate darkness from hell, I will complete the beautiful light, and within its sole existence (tang-aê) 2 you shall sit and move 3."

'Aûharmazd spoke thus: "This I will not give thee, thou soul of Keresâsp! because men shall commit sin; and until men commit no more sin, it is not possible to make thee alive again, and thou wouldst also not be able to make other men alive again, for they produce the resurrection thus, when all men become quite innocent. When men shall die, and their souls are wicked, all comfort shall forsake them, and all the misery and discomfort occasioned by them shall remain."

'When Keresâsp and his exploits were spoken of in this manner, the angels of the spiritual and the angels of the worldly existences wept aloud, and

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[paragraph continues] Zaratûst the Spîtamân wept aloud 1 and spoke thus: "Though there should be no deceiver, I would be the deceiver in thy eyes 2, O Aûharmazd! as regards the soul of Keresâsp; for when Keresâsp should not have existed as a bodily and living existence, there would have been no remnant of anything whatever, or of creature of thine, in the world 3."

'When Zaratûst had become silent therewith, the angel of fire 4 stood upon his feet 5, and the sinfulness of Keresâsp unto himself was fully mentioned by him, and he spoke thus: "I shall not let him into heaven."

'And the angel of fire, having spoken thus many

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words, desisted; and the angel Gôs-aûrvan 1 stood upon her feet, and spoke thus: "I shall not let him into hell, for the benefit produced by him for me was manifold,"

'Gôs-aûrvan, having spoken thus many words, desisted 2; and Zaratûst stood upon his feet, and homage was offered by him unto the fire, and he spoke thus: "I shall provide care for thee, and shall speak of thy exploits in the world, and I shall speak to Vistâsp 3 and Gâmâsp 4 thus 'Observe fully that a place is made for the fire as it were at once!' when Keresâsp has engaged in renunciation of sin, and you shall forgive him 5."'

The Pahlavi legend breaks off at this point, leaving

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the reader to infer that Zaratûst's request was granted. It is succeeded, however, by the following further remarks about Keresâsp, which are evidently connected with the same legend:--

'Zaratûst enquired of Aûharmazd thus 1: "Whose is the first dead body thou shalt unite (varâzês)?"

'And Aûharmazd spoke thus 1: "His who is Keresâsp 2."

'And it seemed grievous to Zaratûst, and he spoke unto Aûharmazd thus: "When the business of Keresâsp was the slaughter of men, why is his the first dead body thou wilt prepare?"

'Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Let it not seem grievous to thee, O Zaratûst! for if Keresâsp had not existed, and thus much work had not been done by him, which has been stated, there would have been no remains of thee, nor of any creature of mine."'

Besides the Persian paraphrase of this legend, in prose, the Persian Rivâyats contain another version in metre, which consists of 173 couplets 3. The exploits of Keresâsp are also mentioned in the Mainyô-i Khard (XXV II, 49-53) as follows:--

'And from Sâm the advantage was this, that by him the serpent Sruvar, the wolf Kapôd which they also call Pehan 4, the water-demon Gandarfi, the bird Kamak 5, and the bewildering 6 demon were slain.

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[paragraph continues] And also many other great actions, that were more valuable, he performed; and he kept back much disturbance from the world, of which, if one of those special disturbances had remained behind, it would not have been possible to effect the resurrection and the future existence.'


369:1 See Yas. IX, 30, 31.

369:2 See Fravardîn Yt. 61, 136. Hence he is often called Sâm in Pahlavi works (see Bd. XXIX, 7, 9, Byt. III, 60, 61); and, in a passage interpolated in some manuscripts of the Shâhnâmah, we are informed that Garsâsp was son of Atrat, son of Sam, which is evidently a reminiscence of Keresâsp being. a son of Thrita the Sâman (see also Bd. XXXI, 26, 27).

369:3 See Âbân Yt. 37, Râm Yt. 27, Zamyâd Yt. 38, 40, 44. Hence we have Sâm, son of Narîmân, as the grandfather of Rustam in the Shâhnâmah.

369:4 See Yas. IX, 33. M. de Harlez converts the side-locks into some weapon called gaêsus, but this word still survives in Pers. gês or gêsû, 'ringlet, side-lock.'

369:5 See Vend. I, 36. Or it may be 'the witch whom one destroys, or to whom one prays,' if we translate the name.

369:6 See Vend. XIX, 18.

369:7 See Fravardîn Yt. 61. For the reason of this watchfulness, see Dd. XVII, 6 n.

370:1 See Yas. IX, 34--39, Zamyâd Yt. 40 (translated in Haug's Essays, pp. 78, 179).

370:2 See Âbân Yt. 38, Zamyâd Yt. 41. A monster in the wide-shored ocean, who is also mentioned in Râm Yt. 28.

370:3 See Râm Yt. 28, Zamyâd Yt. 41.

370:4 See Zamyâd Yt. 41. For 'Hunus' some read 'sons:

370:5 See Zamyâd Yt. 41-44.

370:6 See Fravardîn Yt. 136.

370:7 The name of Yas. XLIV, being the first two words, ad fravakhshyâ, of that chapter of the Gâthas. In the detailed account of the contents of each fargard of the first three Nasks, given in the ninth book of the Dînkard, each fargard is distinguished p. 371 by the name of some section of the Gâthas. The names thus employed are composed of the first one, two, or three words of the Yathâ-ahû-vairyô, the Ashem-vohû, the YêNhê-hâtãm, Yas. XXVIII-XXXIV, the Yasna haptanghâiti, Yas. XLII-L, LII, LIII, which supply the twenty-two names required. When the Nask contains twenty-three fargards, as in the case of the Varstmânsar, the first fargard remains unnamed. Whether these words were used merely as names, or whether their insertion implies that the fargards of these Nasks used to be recited (somewhat like those of the Vendidâd) alternately with the sections of the Gâthas, can hardly be determined from our present information. It may be noted that the three Nasks (Sûdkar, Varstmânsar, and Bakô), whose contents are thus detailed in the Dînkard, all belong to the so-called gâsânîk or Gâtha class of Nasks; but whether that term implies that they were metrical, or merely that they were connected in some way with the Gâthas, is also uncertain.

371:1 Written Kerêsâspô, or Gerêsâspô, throughout the Pahlavi text of this paragraph.

371:2 The Srvara of Yas. IX, 34, Zamyâd Yt. 40.

371:3 The Gandarewa of Âbân Yt. 38, Râm Yt. 28, Zamyâd Yt. 41.

371:4 Reading Hunû Veskŏ, but it is also possible to read khûnŏ-dâkŏ, 'blood-producing,' which is fully applicable to these highway-robbers. The 'Hunus in Vaêska' are mentioned in Âbân Yt. 54, 57 as opponents of the warrior Tusa, but the Hunus in Zamyâd Yt. 41 have no country assigned to them.

372:1 The Nivika and Dâstayâni of Zamyâd Yt. 41.

372:2 The wind (vâdŏ), though an angel when moderate and useful, is supposed to become a demon in a gale or hurricane; and is mentioned as such in Vend. X, 24.

372:3 In the volcano, Mount Dimâvand (see Bd. XII, 31, XXIX, 9, Byt. III, 55-6 r). This exploit is expected to be performed hereafter.

372:4 The hamîstîkŏ ahvânŏ, intermediate between heaven and hell (see Dd. XX, 3).

372:5 The Pahlavi equivalent of the Av. ashem vohû, here translated, follows each summary of the contents of a fargard or Nask in the Dînkard, in the same way as ashem vohû follows each fargard of the Vendidâd and each section of the Gâthas in the Vendidâd sâdah or liturgy.

373:1 In B29, fols. 167-169, where it is quoted from a work called the Sad-darband-i Hûsh.

373:2 In BK and J; but in K35 this portion of the Rivâyat has been lost, with the first 71 folios of that MS.; it also appears to have been similarly lost from the older MS. belonging to Mr. Tehmuras Dinshawji Anklesaria.

373:3 J omits this word.

373:4 J omits the seeing.

373:5 Kâbul. One of the three most sacred fires, the Frôbak fire, is said to have been removed by Vistâsp from Khvârizem to Kâvulistân (see Bd. XVII, 6). The Persian version has 'would to God (kâskê) I were a priest!' and alters the rest of the sentence to correspond.

373:6 Reading rê-î li; J has 100 var, 'a hundred lakes (or ordeals or results).'

374:1 Fire is often called 'the son of Ahura-mazda' in the Avesta, as in Yas: II, 18, Vend. V, 9, &c.

374:2 The Srvara of Yas. IX, 34, Zamyâd Yt. 40. The Persian version has merely azdahâ, 'a dragon.'

374:3 Or it may be shâk, 'a bough.' The Persian version has 'eighty cubits.'

374:4 The Persian version adds 'and as I looked into its mouth, men were still hanging about its teeth;' which was evidently suggested by what is stated in the account of the next exploit.

374:5 See p. 371, note 3.

375:1 The Persian version says 'horses and asses.'

375:2 For this clause the Persian version substitutes 'the sea was up to his knee, and his head up to the sun.'

375:3 This is merely a guess. The word can also be read khârvarag, 'thorny, or a thorny brake;' but it seems to be the name of some person, being followed by the word dôstŏ, 'friend,' in the next sentence. Âkhrûra, son of Haosravangh, is mentioned in Fravardîn Yt. 137, next after Sâma Keresâspa, as 'withstanding Hashi-dava (or daêva), the wicked and covetous one destroying the world.' The Persian version omits from the dragging out of the sea in this sentence to the slaying in the next (p. 376, line 1).

375:4 BK has 'by me,' which must be a blunder.

375:5 J omits these last seven words.

376:1 The Persian version says, 'I slew him, and as he fell down many villages and places became desolate.'

376:2 The 'nine highwaymen' of Zamyâd Yt. 41. The Persian version says 'seven.' BK has 'walked,' instead of 'slain.'

376:3 Instead of this sentence the Persian version has 'through fear of them people could not go on any journey, and every one whom they might see, on the road that he went, they would instantly eat up; and in three years they reckoned three hundred thousand men they had slain and destroyed. And I fought with them and slew all the seven.'

376:4 J omits the word 'fallen.'

377:1 The Persian version has 'and as it arrived near me, it was not able to bear my foot from the spot; and I seized the spirit of the wind, and overthrew him with my own strength, until he made a promise thus: "I will go again below the earth." And I did not keep back my hand from that work less than Aûharmazd and the archangels ordered me.'

378:1 See Byt. III, 55-61. The Persian version substitutes a legend about the gigantic bird Kamak (also mentioned in Mkh. XXVII, 50) which overshadowed the earth, and kept off the rain till the rivers dried up; it also ate up men and animals as if they were grains of corn, until Keresâsp killed it by shooting it with arrows continuously for seven days and nights.

378:2 That is, when there is only light, and no darkness.

378:3 J has 'I will sit and move alone within it;' and the Persian version has 'I will sit alone in that place.'

379:1 The Persian version does not mention the angels and the weeping.

379:2 This can also be translated thus: 'Though thou shouldst be no deceiver, thou wouldst be a deceiver in my eyes;' the words hômanâye, 'would be,' and hômanês, 'thou wouldst be,' being written alike.

379:3 The Persian version of this speech is, 'O good creator! I know that hatred and anger are not in thy path, and when any one indulges in hatred of another, there is no acquiescence of thine therein, yet now I see this matter as though some one maintained hatred against another.'

379:4 The Persian version says 'the archangel Ardîbahist,' who is the protector of fire (see Sls. XV, 5, 12, 13).

379:5 The Persian version proceeds, and concludes the sentence, as follows: 'and Keresâsp groaned unto Zaratûst the Spîtamân, and Ardîbahist, the archangel, said: "'O Zaratust! thou dost not know what Keresâsp has done unto me; that in the world, formerly, my custom and habit would have been so, that, as they would place firewood under a caldron, I would send the fire, until that caldron should be boiled, and their work should be completed, and then it would have come back to its own place. As that serpent that he speaks of was slain he became hungry, and because the fire fell one moment later upon the firewood which he had placed below the caldron, he smote the fire with a club and scattered the fire, and now I will not pass the soul of Keresâsp to heaven."'

380:1 Av. geus urva, 'the soul of the ox,' that is, of the primeval ox, from which all the lower animals are supposed to have been developed. This angel, who is usually called Gôs, is said to be a female, and is the protectress of cattle (see Bd. IV, 2-5); in this capacity she is supposed to be friendly to Keresâsp, whose exploits had chiefly consisted in slaying the destroyers of animal life.

380:2 The Persian version omits these words, and the preceding paragraph, proceeding in continuation of note 5, p. 379, as follows: 'And as Ardîbahist, the archangel, spoke these words, the soul of Keresâsp wept and said: "Ardîbahist, the archangel, speaks truly; I committed sin and I repent." And he touched the skirt of Zaratûst with his hand, and said: "Of mankind no one has obtained the eminence, rank, and dignity that thou obtainedst; now, through this grandeur and glory which is thine, do thou entreat and make intercession of Ardîbahist, the archangel, for me! so that it may be that I obtain liberation from this distress and torment."'

380:3 See Dd. XXXVII, 36.

380:4 See Dd. XLIV, r6.

380:5 The Persian version continues as follows: 'And as Zaratûst the Spîtamân made intercession, Ardîbahist, the archangel, said: "Thy reputation is immense, and thy will is great." And after that he made no opposition to the soul of Keresâsp, but pardoned it for Zaratûst the Spîtamân; and the soul of Keresâsp obtained liberation from that discomfort.' This version then concludes with an admonition as to the necessity of treating fire with proper respect.

381:1 J omits the following words as far as the next 'thus.'

381:2 Referring to the revival of Keresâsp from his trance, in order to destroy Dahâk, which is expected to take place before the general resurrection (see Bd. XXIX, 8, Byt. III, 59--61).

381:3 In B29, fols. 169-171, it is quoted from 'the book of Bahirâm Fîrûz.'

381:4 Written Pêhînŏ, or Pasînŏ, in the Pahlavi text.

381:5 See p. 378, note 1.

381:6 Or 'seducing,' or 'desolating.'

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