The Gods of Pegana

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The Gods of Pegana Page 1

by Lord Dunsany

  Produced by Beginners Projects, Anne Reshnyk and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team






  Of Skarl the Drummer

  Of the Making of the Worlds

  Of the Game of the Gods

  The Chaunt of the Gods

  The Sayings of Kib

  Concerning Sish

  The Sayings of Slid

  The Deeds of Mung

  The Chaunt

  The Sayings of Limpang-Tung

  Of Yoharneth-Lahai

  Of Roon, the God of Going, and the Thousand Home Gods

  The Revolt of the Home Gods

  Of Dorozhand

  The Eye in the Waste

  Of the Thing That Is Neither God Nor Beast

  Yonath the Prophet

  Yug the Prophet

  Alhireth-Hotep The Prophet

  Kabok The Prophet

  Of the Calamity That Befel Yun-Hara by the Sea, and of theBuilding of the Tower of the Ending of Days

  Of How the Gods Whelmed Sidith

  Of How Imbaun Became High Prophet in Aradec of allthe Gods Save One

  Of How Imbaun Met Zodrak


  The Sayings of Imbaun

  Of How Imbaun Spake of Death to the King

  Of Ood

  The River

  The Bird of Doom and THE END


  In the mists before THE BEGINNING, Fate and Chance cast lots todecide whose the Game should be; and he that won strode throughthe mists to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI and said: "Now make gods for Me, forI have won the cast and the Game is to be Mine." Who it was thatwon the cast, and whether it was Fate or whether Chance that wentthrough the mists before THE BEGINNING to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI--_noneknoweth._


  Before there stood gods upon Olympus, or ever Allah was Allah, hadwrought and rested MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.

  There are in Pegana Mung and Sish and Kib, and the maker of allsmall gods, who is MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. Moreover, we have a faith inRoon and Slid.

  And it has been said of old that all things that have been werewrought by the small gods, excepting only MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, whomade the gods and hath thereafter rested.

  And none may pray to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI but only the gods whom hehath made.

  But at the Last will MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI forget to rest, and willmake again new gods and other worlds, and will destroy the godswhom he hath made.

  And the gods and the worlds shall depart, and there shall be onlyMANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.


  When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI had made the gods and Skarl, Skarl made adrum, and began to beat upon it that he might drum for ever. Thenbecause he was weary after the making of the gods, and because ofthe drumming of Skarl, did MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI grow drowsy and fallasleep.

  And there fell a hush upon the gods when they saw that MANA rested,and there was silence on Pegana save for the drumming of Skarl.Skarl sitteth upon the mist before the feet of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI,above the gods of Pegana, and there he beateth his drum. Some saythat the Worlds and the Suns are but the echoes of the drumming ofSkarl, and others say that they be dreams that arise in the mindof MANA because of the drumming of Skarl, as one may dream whoserest is troubled by sound of song, but none knoweth, for who hathheard the voice of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, or who hath seen his drummer?

  Whether the season be winter or whether it be summer, whether itbe morning among the worlds or whether it be night, Skarl stillbeateth his drum, for the purposes of the gods are not yet fulfilled.Sometimes the arm of Skarl grows weary; but still he beateth hisdrum, that the gods may do the work of the gods, and the worlds goon, for if he cease for an instant then MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI will startawake, and there will be worlds nor gods no more.

  But, when at the last the arm of Skarl shall cease to beat his drum,silence shall startle Pegana like thunder in a cave, and MANA-YOOD-SUSHAIshall cease to rest.

  Then shall Skarl put his drum upon his back and walk forth into thevoid beyond the worlds, because it is THE END, and the work of Skarlis over.

  There may arise some other god whom Skarl may serve, or it may bethat he shall perish; but to Skarl it shall matter not, for he shallhave done the work of Skarl.


  When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI had made the gods there were only the gods,and They sat in the middle of Time, for there was as much Timebefore them as behind them, which having no end had neither abeginning.

  And Pegana was without heat or light or sound, save for thedrumming of Skarl; moreover Pegana was The Middle of All, forthere was below Pegana what there was above it, and there laybefore it that which lay beyond.

  Then said the gods, making the signs of the gods and speaking withTheir hands lest the silence of Pegana should blush; then said thegods to one another, speaking with Their hands; "Let Us makeworlds to amuse Ourselves while MANA rests. Let Us make worlds andLife and Death, and colours in the sky; only let Us not break thesilence upon Pegana."

  Then raising Their hands, each god according to his sign, Theymade the worlds and the suns, and put a light in the houses of thesky.

  Then said the gods: "Let Us make one to seek, to seek and never tofind out concerning the wherefore of the making of the gods."

  And They made by the lifting of Their hands, each god according tohis sign, the Bright One with the flaring tail to seek from theend of the Worlds to the end of them again, to return again aftera hundred years.

  Man, when thou seest the comet, know that another seeketh besidesthee nor ever findeth out.

  Then said the gods, still speaking with Their hands: "Let there benow a Watcher to regard."

  And They made the Moon, with his face wrinkled with many mountainsand worn with a thousand valleys, to regard with pale eyes thegames of the small gods, and to watch throughout the resting timeof MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI; to watch, to regard all things, and besilent.

  Then said the gods: "Let Us make one to rest. One not to moveamong the moving. One not to seek like the comet, nor to go roundlike the worlds; to rest while MANA rests."

  And They made the Star of the Abiding and set it in the North.

  Man, when thou seest the Star of the Abiding to the North, knowthat one resteth as doth MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, and know that somewhereamong the Worlds is rest.

  Lastly the gods said: "We have made worlds and suns, and one toseek and another to regard, let Us now make one to wonder."

  And They made Earth to wonder, each god by the uplifting of hishand according to his sign.

  And Earth was.


  A million years passed over the first game of the gods. AndMANA-YOOD-SUSHAI still rested, still in the middle of Time, andthe gods still played with Worlds. The Moon regarded, and theBright One sought, and returned again to his seeking.

  Then Kib grew weary of the first game of the gods, and raised hishand in Pegana, making the sign of Kib, and Earth became coveredwith beasts for Kib to play with.

  And Kib played with beasts.

  But the other gods said one to another, speaking with their hands:"What is it that Kib has done?"

  And They said to Kib: "What are these things that move upon TheEarth yet move not in circles like the Worlds, that regard likethe Moon and yet they do not shine?"

  And Kib said: "This is Life."

  But the gods said one to another: "If Kib has thus made beasts hewill in time make Men, and will endanger the Secret of the gods."

  And Mung was jealous of the work of Kib, and sent down Death amongthe beasts, but could not stamp them out.

  A million years passed over the second game of the gods, and stillit wa
s the Middle of Time.

  And Kib grew weary of the second game, and raised his hand in theMiddle of All, making the sign of Kib, and made Men: out of beastshe made them, and Earth was covered with Men.

  Then the gods feared greatly for the Secret of the gods, and set aveil between Man and his ignorance that he might not understand.And Mung was busy among Men.

  But when the other gods saw Kib playing his new game They came andplayed it too. And this They will play until MANA arises to rebukeThem, saying: "What do ye playing with Worlds and Suns and Men andLife and Death?" And They shall be ashamed of Their playing in thehour of the laughter of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.

  It was Kib who first broke the Silence of Pegana, by speaking withhis mouth like a man.

  And all the other gods were angry with Kib that he had spoken withhis mouth.

  And there was no longer silence in Pegana or the Worlds.


  There came the voice of the gods singing the chaunt of the gods,singing: "We are the gods; We are the little games of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAIthat he hath played and hath forgotten.

  "MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI hath made us, and We made the Worlds and theSuns.

  "And We play with the Worlds and the Sun and Life and Death untilMANA arises to rebuke us, saying: 'What do ye playing with Worldsand Suns?'

  "It is a very serious thing that there be Worlds and Suns, and yetmost withering is the laughter of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.

  "And when he arises from resting at the Last, and laughs at us forplaying with Worlds and Suns, We will hastily put them behind us,and there shall be Worlds no more."


  (Sender of Life in all the Worlds)

  Kib said: "I am Kib. I am none other than Kib."

  Kib is Kib. Kib is he and no other. Believe! Kib said: "WhenTime was early, when Time was very early indeed--there was onlyMANA-YOOD-SUSHAI. MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI was before the beginning of thegods, and shall be after their going."

  And Kib said: "After the going of the gods there will be no smallworlds nor big."

  Kib said: "It will be lonely for MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI."

  Because this is written, believe! For is it not written, or areyou greater than Kib? Kib is Kib.


  (The Destroyer of Hours)

  Time is the hound of Sish.

  At Sish's bidding do the hours run before him as he goeth uponhis way.

  Never hath Sish stepped backward nor ever hath he tarried; neverhath he relented to the things that once he knew nor turned tothem again.

  Before Sish is Kib, and behind him goeth Mung.

  Very pleasant are all things before the face of Sish, but behindhim they are withered and old.

  And Sish goeth ceaselessly upon his way.

  Once the gods walked upon Earth as men walk and spake with theirmouths like Men. That was in Wornath-Mavai. They walk not now.

  And Wornath-Mavai was a garden fairer than all the gardens uponEarth.

  Kib was propitious, and Mung raised not his hand against it,neither did Sish assail it with his hours.

  Wornath-Mavai lieth in a valley and looketh towards the south, andon the slopes of it Sish rested among the flowers when Sish wasyoung.

  Thence Sish went forth into the world to destroy its cities, andto provoke his hours to assail all things, and to batter againstthem with the rust and with the dust.

  And Time, which is the hound of Sish, devoured all things; andSish sent up the ivy and fostered weeds, and dust fell from thehand of Sish and covered stately things. Only the valley whereSish rested when he and Time were young did Sish not provoke hishours to assail.

  There he restrained his old hound Time, and at its borders Mungwithheld his footsteps.

  Wornath-Mavai still lieth looking towards the south, a gardenamong gardens, and still the flowers grow about its slopes as theygrew when the gods were young; and even the butterflies live inWornath-Mavai still. For the minds of the gods relent towardstheir earliest memories, who relent not otherwise at all.

  Wornath-Mavai still lieth looking towards the south; but if thoushouldst ever find it thou art then more fortunate than the gods,because they walk not in Wornath-Mavai now.

  Once did the prophet think that he discerned it in the distancebeyond mountains, a garden exceeding fair with flowers; but Sisharose, and pointed with his hand, and set his hound to pursue him,who hath followed ever since.

  Time is the hound of the gods; but it hath been said of old thathe will one day turn upon his masters, and seek to slay the gods,excepting only MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, whose dreams are the godsthemselves--dreamed long ago.


  (Whose Soul is by the Sea)

  Slid said: "Let no man pray to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, for who shalltrouble MANA with mortal woes or irk him with the sorrows of allthe houses of Earth?

  "Nor let any sacrifice to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, for what glory shallhe find in sacrifices or altars who hath made the gods themselves?

  "Pray to the small gods, who are the gods of Doing; but MANA isthe god of Having Done--the god of Having Done and of the Resting.

  "Pray to the small gods and hope that they may hear thee. Yet whatmercy should the small gods have, who themselves made Death andPain; or shall they restrain their old hound Time for thee?

  "Slid is but a small god. Yet Slid is Slid--it is written and hathbeen said.

  "Pray, thou, therefore, to Slid, and forget not Slid, and it maybe that Slid will not forget to send thee Death when most thouneedest it."

  And the People of Earth said: "There is a melody upon the Earth asthough ten thousand streams all sang together for their homes thatthey had forsaken in the hills."

  And Slid said: "I am the Lord of gliding waters and of foamingwaters and of still. I am the Lord of all the waters in the worldand all that long streams garner in the hills; but the soul ofSlid is in the Sea. Thither goes all that glides upon Earth, andthe end of all the rivers is the Sea."

  And Slid said: "The hand of Slid hath toyed with cataracts, anddown the valleys have trod the feet of Slid, and out of the lakesof the plains regard the eyes of Slid; but the soul of Slid is inthe sea."

  Much homage hath Slid among the cities of men and pleasant are thewoodland paths and the paths of the plains, and pleasant the highvalleys where he danceth in the hills; but Slid would be fetteredneither by banks nor boundaries--so the soul of Slid is in theSea.

  For there may Slid repose beneath the sun and smile at the godsabove him with all the smiles of Slid, and be a happier god thanThose who sway the Worlds, whose work is Life and Death.

  There may he sit and smile, or creep among the ships, or moan andsigh round islands in his great content--the miser lord of wealthin gems and pearls beyond the telling of all fables.

  Or there may he, when Slid would fain exult, throw up his greatarms, or toss with many a fathom of wandering hair the mighty headof Slid, and cry aloud tumultuous dirges of shipwreck, and feelthrough all his being the crashing might of Slid, and sway thesea. Then doth the Sea, like venturous legions on the eve of warthat exult to acclaim their chief, gather its force together fromunder all the winds and roar and follow and sing and crashtogether to vanquish all things--and all at the bidding of Slid,whose soul is in the sea.

  There is ease in the soul of Slid and there be calms upon the sea;also, there be storms upon the sea and troubles in the soul ofSlid, for the gods have many moods. And Slid is in many places,for he sitteth in high Pegana. Also along the valleys walkethSlid, wherever water moveth or lieth still; but the voice and thecry of Slid are from the sea. And to whoever that cry hath evercome he must needs follow and follow, leaving all stable things;only to be always with Slid in all the moods of Slid, to find norest until he reaches the sea.

  With the cry of Slid before them and the hills of their home behindhave gone a hundred thousand to the sea, over whose bones doth Slidlament with the voice of a god lamenting for his people. Even thestreams from the inner lands have heard Slid's far-off cry,
and alltogether have forsaken lawns and trees to follow where Slid isgathering up his own, to rejoice where Slid rejoices, singing thechaunt of Slid, even as will at the Last gather all the Lives ofthe People about the feet of MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI.


  (Lord of all Deaths between Pegana and the Rim)

  Once, as Mung went his way athwart the Earth and up and down itscities and across its plains, Mung came upon a man who was afraidwhen Mung said: "I am Mung!"

  And Mung said: "Were the forty million years before thy comingintolerable to thee?"

  And Mung said: "Not less tolerable to thee shall be the fortymillion years to come!"

  Then Mung made against him the sign of Mung and the Life of theMan was fettered no longer with hands and feet.

  At the end of the flight of the arrow there is Mung, and in thehouses and the cities of Men. Mung walketh in all places at alltimes. But mostly he loves to walk in the dark and still, alongthe river mists when the wind hath sank, a little before nightmeeteth with the morning upon the highway between Pegana andthe Worlds.

  Sometimes Mung entereth the poor man's cottage; Mung also bowethvery low before The King. Then do the Lives of the poor man and ofThe King go forth among the Worlds.

  And Mung said: "Many turnings hath the road that Kib hath givenevery man to tread upon the earth. Behind one of these turningssitteth Mung."


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