The Baldwin Library
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II I II I II I I
THE WORLD WONDERFUL
4IJ LONDON l'
DAVID NUTT 270 STRAND.
LONDON & EDINBURGH
SFEW words are perhaps needed to
preface these stories of the "World
Wonderful." That world, save in form
only, is not my own, except in so far as the
common property of mankind can be said
to belong to each individual. The legends here made
use of are culled from the pages of those fine old Greek
and Latin writers who spiced their grave geographies
and histories with such enticing marvels. To Hero-
dotus, Strabo, Mela, Procopius, and, above all, to the
Younger Pliny I am indebted for the quaint fancies I
have here woven into four coherent tales of fairy travel.
I trust there may be some who will think that I have
done a not altogether idle work in recapturing the
World Wonderful from musty books rarely opened save
by scholars and planting upon it the conquering flag of
Of the Four Brothers, Knights of Sicily.
OF THE WHITE KNIGHT
He who Adventured to the .North.
CHAPTER I.-Of the starting of Gonsalvus, the White Knight, for the
World's End at the North; how he landed at a seaport town of
Scythia; of an adventure which he had with the Neuri Scythians,
who were driven forth from their territories by a vast army of
serpents; and of the White Knight's peril with those serpents
CHAPTER II.-How, being healed of his wounds, the White Knight
came to the land of the One-eyed Scythians called Arimasps; and
how he agreed to go to war with the Arimasps against the Grifons
CHAPTER III.-How the White Knight slew a Grifon singly before
the Arimasp host; and of the battle afterwards; and how it went
CHAPTER IV.-How the White Knight crossed the Hills of the North
Winds Pp. 33-40
CHAPTER V.-Of the White Knight's peril in traversing the Featherland
CHAPTER VI.-How the White Knight came to Hyperborea, the
World's End at the North; and how he was received by the
Hyperboreans; of his marriage with the King's daughter; and his
return oversea Pp. 45-5z
OF THE RED KNIGHT,
He who Adventured to the South.
CHAPTER I.-Of the starting of Marcellus, the Red Knight, for the
World's End at the South, and how he landed at a bay under the
Mountain Atlas, and talked with the Faun-fairies; how he climbed
that Mountain, and won to its other side Pp. 55-61
CHAPTER II.-Of the Dragons of Mount Atlas that slay elephants;
and of the adventure of Marcellus with them Pp. 62-65
CHAPTER III.-Of the Desert of Ethiopia; and how, crossing it, the
Red Knight chanced upon the Catoblebe, whose glance is death, and
overcame it; and how, afterwards, he met the Cockatrice, and
destroyed that peril also; and how he came to the Black River
CHAPTER IV.-Of strange people living in Ethiopia; the Syrbots, who
sleep always; the Wild Eaters; and the People who have a Dog
for King Pp. 74-80
CHAPTER V.-Of the Table of the Sun among the Long-lived
Ethiopians; of Gold-land, guarded by monstrous Ants; and of the
Red Knights profitable peril with them Pp. 81-88
Con ten ts
CHAPTER VI.-Of the Fiery Mountain of Salamanders; and of the
World's End at the South; and how, having gained it, the Red
Knight turned homewards, and came to the River Nilus, and so to
the City of the Sun, in Egypt; and how he was wedded to the
King of Egypt's daughter, and came home with her to Sicily
OF THE YELLOW KNIGHT,
He who Adventured to the East.
CHAPTER I.-Of the starting of Auriol, the Yellow Knight, for the
World's End at the East; and of his journey along the western
side of Araby ; how, coming to an Arabian port, he took ship for
Ind; and how, the ship being sunk by a Physeter, he alone of all
the company escaped alive. Pp. xo11-o8
CHAPTER II.-Of the Yellow Knight's landing on the coast of Ind, and
of his peril with the Leucocrote, a beast that counterfeiteth the
voice of man Pp. 9og-113
CHAPTER III.-Of the war of the Pygmies with the Cranes; how
Auriol helped the Pygmy army ; and how the war went
CHAPTER IV.-Of many strange Indian people; and, especially, of the
One-legged Men Pp. 123-129
CHAPTER V.-Of the Dog-headed men who live by hunting; and how
Auriol helped them to overcome an Unicorn; and how he crossed a
great river by means of a serpent; and, later, delivered the Prince
of the Gangaridsfrom the fury of an Eale Pp. 130-139
CHAPTER VI.-Of the land of the Gangarids, the uttermost part of Ind,
and of the World's End at the East; how the Gangarid people
were plagued terribly by a Manticora; how the Yellow Knight
conquered that beast, and received the King's daughter in marriage;
and how he went in a ship to Egypt; and how he met with
Marcellus p. 140-15
OF THE KNIGHT AZURE,
He who Adventured to the West.
CHAPTER I.-Of the starting of Hesper, the Knight Azure, for the
World's End at the West; how he came to the Fountain of the
Garamants; and how he was assailed by the Fish-eaters
CHAPTER II.-Of the Island of the Gorgons, and the adventure that
the Knight Azure had there Pp. 162-169
CHAPTER III.-Of certain of the Happy Islands, so-called; of Ombrion,
ever rainy ; of two islands called funonia; and what happened at
Capraria, the Island of Lizards Pp. 170-175
CHAPTER IV.-Of the Snowy Island, Nivaria; and of the Sea of
Mists, wherein is the Island Canaria, dwelt in by dogs only
CHAPTER V.-How the Knight Azure came to the Island wherein is
the Garden of Golden Apples; how he slew the Dragon that
watched the apples, and thereby set free a fair damsel
CHAPTER VI.-Of the way homeward, and how, against their will,
they came to Thule, the Last Land and the World's End at the
West; how the Knight Azure met with Gonsalvus, the White
Knight,'and of their safe voyage Pp. 191-196
Of the Four Brothers, Knights of Sicily.
Gonsalvus cuts his way through the Snakes
Gonsalvus sliding down the Ice-slope
Marcellus leaves Home
Marcellus and the Syrbots
Marcellus climbs the Mountain of Fire
The Physeter destroys Auriol's Fessel.
Auriol encounters the Leucocrote.
Auriol and the Princess
The Attack of the Fish-eaters
The Pursuit of the Gorgons
Toface age 16
Of the Four Brothers, Knights of Sicily
Of the Four Brothers, Knights of Sicily
HERE was once in the eastern part of
the Island of Sicily, which lies between
Italy and Africa, a castle. It stood upon
a point which ran far out into the blue
waters of the Ionian Sea. It was all
built of molten brass; in the centre of it was a tilting-
yard with high walls; at each corner, North, South, East,
and West, stood a high brazen tower. Upon the top of
each tower waved a flag: the flag that waved upon the
tower that looked towards the North was white; the flag
upon the Southern tower was red; upon the Eastern
tower flaunted a flag that was yellow; a blue flag streamed
from the tower to the West.
This castle was called "The Castle of the Four
Knights," for it belonged to four brothers, all knights of
Sicily. The eldest was called Gonsalvus, but the people
of Sicily knew him as the White Knight, for he went all
in white armour, carrying a plain white shield, and riding
4 The World Wonderful
upon a white horse. It was he who lived in the Northern
tower. The next in age was called Marcellus, and nick-
named the Red Knight, from his scarlet armour and
shield, and the bright bay horse which he rode. He
lived in the Southern tower. In the East tower lived the
one called Auriol, known from the colour of his armour
as the Yellow Knight; and the horse he rode was of the
colour of cream. Last of all, and youngest, was Hesper,
the Knight Azure, whose armour was always a bright
blue, who rode upon a horse of the colour called blue
roan, and who lived in the tower to the West.
Behind the point of land on which stood their castle,
the country was their own for miles. In the low ground,
close to the sea-shore, were corn-fields; whilst upon the
hillsides were orchards of pear and apple, and groves of
orange-trees and lemon-trees, and, higher still upon the
hills, woods of grey-green olive-trees. They had many
servants, too, to gather in their harvests, and to accom-
pany them when they rode a-hawking, or went to
tournaments and banquets, or sailed out into the blue
bay to fish for tunnies. At times they held feasts in
their own castle, and the other knights of Sicily would
come from their castles for many miles around to visit
All this (it must be remembered) was in the old days
of Sicily, so long ago that there were still fairies in the
greener, mossier, woods where people seldom went, and
just after the times when there were dragons and giants.
There were men still alive then who could remember how
the last giant had been killed, and the last dragon driven
out of the country into Africa. In those days there were
still plenty of dragons in Africa, and even giants, and
many other wonderful and terrible things besides.
But none of the four brothers had ever been out of
Sicily. All that they knew of the far-off parts of the earth
had been told them by the minstrels and travellers who
would come now and again to the castle, and, sitting (if it
were summer) in the tilting-yard or (if it were winter) in
the banqueting-hall, tell of what they had seen in the
strange countries they had visited. Men came who had
been in Africa, and, beyond, into Ethiopia. Others had
been in Araby, and Ind, and others, again, had gone in
ships into the Western Sea, and had even seen some of
the Happy Islands, lying in the far distance like pale
violet lilies against the golden sunset at the world's end.
Others passed through who had travelled to the North,
and had seen the one-eyed people of Scythia who fought
with griffons in the country of the Hills of the North
Winds. All these would come, and tell their stories, and
go again. When they had gone, the four brothers would
sit and talk together upon all these wonderful things.
So it happened at last that there came upon each of
them a great restless longing to go out into the wide world,
and see its wonders. They forgot Sicily for thinking of the
white North with its gold and its griffons, and what lay
beyond the North Winds the country where no one went;
and the South, with its wild beasts and dragons and its
strange elvish people; and the East, the land where
the trees were scented, and gold and jewels were common
as dust and dew at home; and the Western Waters
6 The World Wonderful
with their islands, where everything strange and beautiful
was, magic islands at which the merchant's ship seldom
touched. But none of them told their desire to the
others, until at last, weary of idle longing, Gonsalvus
rose up suddenly from his bench in the hall, and told the
others that he had great news for them. When they
gathered round, he said that he had made up his mind to
go upon a great journey, to the very End of the World.
There was silence for a little time, and then Marcellus
said that he too would wish to go. This made Auriol
bold to say that he also would be glad to travel out of
Sicily; and Hesper agreed.
Then there was much talk, and they retold to each
other all the stories of the minstrels and travellers. And
then came more talk of who should go, and which way
should be taken, whether towards the frosty North, or hot
Ethiopia, or eastward to Araby and Ind, or westward
over the sea to the Happy Islands.
At last they agreed upon a plan. For Gonsalvus
asked the others whether they would not wish to travel
out each one in the direction to which his own tower
faced. For there are four of us," he said, "and four
quarters of the earth." This pleased them all. So it
was settled that Gonsalvus should journey to the End of
the World at the North, and Marcellus to its boundary
upon the South, whilst Auriol and Hesper should travel
to East and West so long as they found land or water
to go upon. When each had reached the World's End,
he was to turn back, so that, if their journeys went
fortunately, they should all meet again in Sicily.
17ew170 ~BO~l s to~
The Road Northward
SOT many days went by before there came
into the bay a ship sailing to the sea-
coast of Scythia. Now all the unknown
Countries at the North were known roughly
by the name of Scythia, for as far as
traders and travellers ever went the people that
they met would call themselves Scythians. Even
the Arimasps, the one-eyed people, styled themselves so.
And beyond the Arimasps no one ever went; for, first
of all, Griffons lived there, so fierce that no one could
hope, save by wonderful good luck, to pass through the
places which they guarded, and still live. And, beyond
Griffonland, the Hills of the North Winds rose up, very
high and steep, and the winds rushed over, and through,
and across them, so that it would be very hard ever to
reach the country that lay beyond, and which men said
was called Featherland, because the air there was filled
with floating feathers. (There were some, it must be
Io The World Wonderful
told, who denied this about the feathers, and declared
that what were thought to be feathers were really flakes
of snow always drifting and falling.) Then, if a man
could pass safe through the Featherland, it was said that
he would come to the land of the Happy Hyperboreans,
who lived so far north that they were beyond the winds
and the cold, and on whom the sun never set. But of
these Hyperboreans no one knew anything, except by
hearsay, and from a poet called Pindar, who had told
how they lived feasting joyously, with song and dance,
and music of the lyre and pipe, and with never any war
or sickness or disease among them. This was the
World's End at the North; so at least the captain of the
ship told Gonsalvus.
Now all these things had been told to the sea-captain
by the Outer Scythians with whom he trafficked, ex-
changing the silks and spices of Ind and Ethiopia for the
gold and emeralds and thick furs of the North. It was
to a little sea-port town that his ship sailed yearly, and in
it lived the civilised maritime Scythians. But their
riches came from the far North country of the Arimasps,
to the edge of which parties of Scythian merchants went
every year across a desert which lay between the
Arimasps and the sea-a twenty days' journey. There
was a little hill at the desert end, just where the fertile
country of Arimaspia touched the horrible waste of
stones and sand and snakes, and there the Arimasps
would meet the merchants, and the bargaining went
on until the merchants had bought all the furs which the
Arimasps had stored up during the winter, and all the
Of the White Knight I
emeralds and gold which they had by their skill and
cunning filched at great peril from the Griffons. Many
Arimasps who went into the land of the Griffons did not
come back. For though the gold was easy to gain, for
it lay in all the sandy places, mixed with the sand, and
the emeralds still easier, for they lay among the grasses,
open to all to gather, the green stones flashing up from
the green grass, yet the Griffons, creatures which were
half-bird and half-beast, having the bodies of lions and
the heads and wings of eagles, were so watchful and swift
and fierce that they tore into pieces numbers of the
people who ventured into the parts where they lived.
But this did not daunt Gonsalvus, for he trusted in the
swiftness of his horse, the strength of his armour, and
the sharpness of his sword to help him against the
Griffons. All he asked was a sea-passage to the coast of
Scythia, and after that he felt in his heart that he could
help himself. So he settled with the merchant-captain
that he should take him in his ship to the edge of Outer
Scythia, and land him there. For this he was to give
the captain a purse of gold.
Marcellus and Auriol and Hesper came down to the
edge of the bay to see their eldest brother start. The
horse was put on board, and so was the armour.
Gonsalvus shook hands with his three brothers, and they
wished him a fortunate journey and a safe return, and he
on his part wished them a like happy end to their
adventurings. Then the sail was hoisted, and the steers-
man went to the helm. A south wind was blowing, and
it filled out the sail bravely, driving the ship before it.
12 The World Wonderful
They were many nights and days upon the sea, and
strange things they saw upon the way, for they passed
under the islands called Egglands, where there were
such multitudes of sea-fowl that the men who lived there
sustained themselves altogether upon eggs. And the
White Knight saw also the Phanesians, and touched at
This was a thing to make a man marvel
their island. These Phanesians were certainly among
the strangest of men, for they had feet like those of
horses, and, besides this, their ears were the greatest
part of them, for they hung down on either side of the
men till they touched the ground, giving the appearance
of wings. With ears so great, there was never any need
for the Phanesians to dress themselves in clothes, as
most men do, for their ears served all the purposes of
Of the TWhite Knight 13
clothes, both for night and for day. With their ears
they wrapped themselves up as though with cloaks. So,
wrapped round with their own ears, they used to go
about, showing only their legs naked. This was a thing
to make a man marvel, and the White Knight wondered
much at it.
In the end, they came to a little town, and here the
ship-merchant landed his store of goods. And the Outer
Scythians came and trafficked, offering the gold and jewels
and furs which they had got from the Arimasps.
Here Gonsalvus landed, bidding farewell to the
captain; and here he made inquiries of the people as to
how he should travel to reach the World's End at the
But all they could tell him was of the track which went
across the desert. Of what lay beyond they knew
nothing but the things they heard from the Arimasps;
and these things he had been already told by the
merchant-captain. So, at the end of all his questioning,
Gonsalvus found that there was but one thing he could
do, and that was to ride out boldly along the track which
the merchants followed when they went to traffic with
the Arimasps. And as for what lay beyond-that was a
thing he would surely find out in its own time.
Therefore he rode out, the next morning, from the
town, his white horse prancing bravely (for it was glad
to be upon hard ground again, after tossing wretchedly
for so long in the hold of the ship). His white armour
gleamed in the sunshine, and his white plume floated out
gaily behind his helmet. The people upon the walls of
14 The World Wonderful
the Scythian town watched him go-watched him until
he grew to be a shining spot upon the edge of the
horizon, and then vanished from their sight.
A faint line ran across the desert. It had been made
by the hoofs of the horses and mules of the Scythian
merchants who went to the little hill to meet the'
Arimasps. Gonsalvus knew that he could do nothing
better than follow along this path; for to right and left
of him all was bare desert. There were no trees to
gladden the eye where it rested, and but little grass, and
such as there was-but a weak blade here and there-
was scorched and pale. As for the rest of the country,
it was all of loose sand and scattered stones, with here
and there a dry and withered shrub. Now and then he
would pass what seemed to be a lake of water glinting in
the sun, and once he turned aside from the track to drink
from it, for he was thirsty. But when he reached it, he
found only a dry bed of salt, the remains of what had
once been a lake of salt water.
He saw no wild creatures, and seldom a bird, unless it
were a cruel-looking vulture. For vultures hung poised
above the desert, watching with keen eyes in case any
traveller or his horse should faint with thirst and heat,
and stumble, and lie down, and die. So they waited
like black specks in the blue sky, in hope that some such
mischance might befall Gonsalvus. But they waited in
vain, for the White Knight had been told by the
Scythian traders where to look for the scanty pools upon
the road from which travellers might get a little water,
and thus each day he got enough to drink, and for food
Of the White Knight 15
he had a bag of millet meal. So days and nights passed.
Often he rode by moonlight, and in the great heat of the
day lay as near as he could to some gaunt shrub, keeping
within its shadow.
Upon the fifth day out he met with an adventure.
There was a black spot moving in the far distance,
and upon this his eyes had been gazing for some time,
Then, as it grew nearer, and he also approached, he saw
that it was made of men with their flocks and household
goods travelling. Then, as they came nearer still, he
saw that they were men wearing the Scythian dress of
rough untanned hide, ceasing at the knee, and with arm-
holes that the arms might come through bare.
Still they came on. Then he saw that their faces
were white with fear, and that they cast haggard looks
over their shoulders, and that they urged each other on
with cries which came hoarsely from between their dry,
pale, lips. When they saw Gonsalvus, they did not
stop, but cried, gasping:
"Flee, Sir Knight, flee, for there is still a little time."
"And wherefore should I flee, and from what?"
Then one of them said:
"We are of the Neuri Scythians, desert-dwellers with
our flocks and herds, and a very evil thing has come
upon us, a host of serpents, and they have already
driven us from our fertile pastures, and now they press
hard upon our heels, and if any man falls behind they
bite him, and he dies."
Gonsalvus replied: "I am journeying to the World's
16 The World Wonderful
End at the North, and I have sworn that nothing
shall turn me back. Of the many dangers this surely is
one of the least. I will stand and meet these serpents,
trusting in the swiftness of my horse, and in the sharp
edge of my sword."
But the Neuri Scythians answered nothing, for they
wished to spend no time in talk, or, indeed, in anything
but a flight as swift as might be. They pressed on and
on, and at last Gonsalvus saw them like a spot again
upon the flat edge of the desert.
All this time he heard and saw nothing of pursuing
serpents. He wondered, indeed, whether the Neuri
Scythians had not been deceived by some strange panic
and delusion. But at last he saw the ears of his horse
prick forward, and felt a shiver run along its skin, and
marked that a clamminess broke out all over it. Then
it swerved upon one side, and stood stiff, with eyes
outstanding: and the foam gathered around its bit, and
And then Gonsalvus heard such a hiss as the sea
makes when it draws its waves backwards off some
pebbly beach, or as the wind makes upon a March day
in the tops of fir trees upon some lonely moor.
Surely his horse would have broken away madly had.
he not pulled at its bridle hard with both hands.
For all of a sudden the ground before him seemed to
bristle with the leaping heads and the quivering tongues
of a great army of serpents. On they came-line after
line of writhing bodies, black but banded with golden-
yellow bands. And the hiss ran from head to head
GONSALVUS CUTS HIS WAY THROUGH THE SNAKES
Of the White Knight 17
and grew louder and louder as the unbroken line
Gonsalvus patted his horse softly upon its broad white
neck, and it grew quiet under his hand. Then he drew
from its sheath the keen two-edged sword, and waited.
Presently, the snakes reared up half their lithe bodies,
like to a bed of black, barred, reeds, and every broad
head was thrust forward, and every tongue flickered
venomously. The air also grew acrid with their bitter,
poisonous, breath, so that Gonsalvus felt himself sicken,
and hastily drew down the visor of his helmet, whilst the
horse hung its head and trembled.
Then with a swift dart the line came on.
But the White Knight swung his sword, and, as its
keen edge moved among the moving mass of snakes,
lopped heads fell like leaves when a great wind comes
in November. Some of the snakes writhed in their
death-struggles-cut in twain; some turned on one side
to escape; others, more daring, leaped towards Gon-
salvus and his horse. Again the Knight shot forward
his blade, and sliced and slashed and chopped among
the serpent host. So deftly did he manage his sword
that but three came within his guard, and of these a
quick stroke from the white horse's hoof crushed the
head of one. And one struck against the White
Knight's armour, and broke its poisoned fangs. But
the 'third, unperceived, bit through the armour's joint,
and Gonsalvus felt the pain of the poisoned wound, and
felt, too, the subtle venom creep along the channels of
his blood. Then he struck his horse with the spur, and
18 The World Wonderful
it went trampling among the wounded and unwounded
serpents. Some struck their fangs deep into the white
steed's flanks. In a moment he had passed through
them, and rode on with swimming brain and burning
blood towards a patch of greener grass than he had yet
seen, where a little spring made all around it a green
garden in the midst of the barren sand.
The One-eyed People called Arimasps
HEN, as Gonsalvus came near to the
green watered patch, a small reddish-
coloured deer sprang away before him
Sand broke out over the desert. But the
White Knight hardly saw it, for the
poison of the serpents was in all his veins, and his
head swam, and his limbs began to. tremble.
Then he looked at the horse, to see whether it too
was dying from the serpents' bites, and he saw that
it was plucking with its mouth among the herbs upon
which the deer had been feeding, and was eating
ravenously. ,And, as it ate, the purple marks which the
snakes' fangs had made in its skin grew paler and paler,
and its eyes, which had been dull, grew bright. Soon
it finished eating, and, after drinking at the stream, it
neighed, and thrust its warm muzzle against Gonsalvus'
But it seemed to Gonsalvus as though his last day had
20 The World Wonderful
come, and that he must die. For his blood burned, and
all his veins throbbed, and his heart seemed to tear at its
strings. He looked out over the desert, and felt sad to
think that all his travellings were over, and that he
should never see the End of the World at the North, and
never see Sicily again, and the brothers whom he loved
so, Marcellus and Hesper and Auriol. When he thought
of this, tears came into his eyes, and he turned his face
towards the ground.
Then he felt something cool against his hand, and
It was a broad green leaf, and when he looked at it,
he saw that it was of the same kind that the deer had
eaten, and his horse too. Then the horse looked at
him and neighed, and as Gonsalvus looked back, he saw
that the horse was quite cured of its bites. Then a
sudden thought came to him, that this herb had healed
the horse-and perhaps, too, had healed the deer-of
serpents' poison. So he crammed it into his mouth,
eating and swallowing quickly, for he felt very near
death. And as he ate, his eyes grew clearer, and his
blood cooler; and his limbs ceased to tremble. Then
he felt his health come back to him, and he knew that
he was cured.
And it was indeed the leaf that had cured him, for the
leaf was the herb worm-wort, which is a strong cure for
the bites of all serpents.
Then Gonsalvus drank from the spring, and got again
into his horse's saddle. He looked back over the desert,
but the snakes were all gone, and so were the Neuri
Of the White Knight 21
Scythians whom they were pursuing. Then he
remembered that he must go on through toils and
dangers to the World's End. So he ate some of his
millet meal, and gave some also to the horse, and rode
on upon the track.
And the days and nights passed-days of weary riding
in the sun or of weary resting under the shifting shadow
of some small, thin, grey, bush, and nights of riding in the
moonlight or of sleeping in some dark shadow under a
great rock, until it came to the twentieth day from his
setting out from the sea-port town of the Outer
It was near the evening of the twentieth day when he
saw far off the little hill where the merchants went to
barter with the Arimasps. There the track altogether
ended. But what made him glad was to see no more
desert, but a fair, fertile, land, green with grass, and
bright with many-coloured flowers, and having great
trees which stretched out cool leafy boughs. Seeing
them, Gonsalvus knew, from what the merchants had
told him, that he had come to the border of the country
of the One-eyed People called Arimasps.
So he rode his horse to the grass, and, hock-deep in
grass and flowers, the horse galloped gladly across the
plain. In the distance he saw tents, and out of the top
of the tents curled blue smoke; for these were the tents
of the Arimasps, and the Arimasp wives were busy
cooking the evening meal. As the White Knight came
at a gallop along the plain, he saw the flaps of the tents
flung open, and people began to come out, crawling upon
22 The World Wfonderful
their hands and knees. Some carried bows, and some
short spears, and they were dressed like the other
Scythians whom Gonsalvus had already seen. But what
was strange and new about them was they had but one
eye each, and that was in the middle of the forehead.
The eye of most of them was blue or grey, though here
and there was one who had a dark or a hazel eye.
When Gonsalvus saw them, he leaped from his horse,
and, plucking grass, held it high above his head, for a
sign that he came as a friend, and did not wish to fight,
but wished for a friend's welcome. When the Arimasps
saw him do this, they let drop their bows and spears.
They marvelled, too, at Gonsalvus, for they had never
seen before so tall a knight, so nobly clad in white
armour, riding upon so strong a horse. So they called
him into the chief's tent, and there Gonsalvus found
himself seated face to face with the lord of all the
Arimasps. He was tall, and his one eye was blue as a
violet, and his long hair, which had once been golden,
now hung down snow-white, for he was an old man.
And the King of the Arimasps said:
"Welcome, Sir Knight. Of all the men from outer
lands who have journeyed here to Ariniaspia, surely you
are the greatest. No one before has come to us riding
upon so goodly a steed, or clad in such shining armour,
or flaunting such a noble plume, or swinging at his side
so good a sword, gold-embossed. Tell me your name,
and what brings you to our land."
Then Gonsalvus replied, Lord King of the Arimasps,
I am called Gonsalvus, and I am a Knight of Sicily, and
Of the White Knight 23
one out of four brothers, all Knights. And we have
agreed to go upon journeys each to the World's End, one
to the South, and one to the East, and one to the West,
and I myself to the North. And it is for this that I am
come to your country of Arimaspia."
The King said: "Very far from here is the World's
End. For beyond my country is the land of the gold-
guarding Griffons, who tear travellers into pieces, and
beyond the Griffons lie the Hills of the North Winds, so
high and so raging with fierce winds that one may hardly
cross them, even if, by great good luck, he escape with
his life from the Griffons. And beyond these Hills is
Featherland, so bitter cold that travellers must die there
-none cross alive."
"And beyond that," said Gonsalvus, "what?"
They say that beyond the Featherland lies the country
of the Happy Hyperboreans, but of this no one is sure."
It is to the Happy Hyperboreans that my journey
lies," said Gonsalvus.
"But to come there you must pass through the
country of the Griffons who slay men, and then across
the Hills which no one crosses, and lastly across the
white land where men die of cold."
And Gonsalvus replied, "This I know, and am not
Then the King said, if we had in Arimaspia such
Knights as you! Ay, with but a few such, we would
drive the Griffons across the Hills of the North Winds
to perish wretchedly in Featherland, and all their gold
and emeralds would be ours!"
24 The World Wonderful
"For my part," said Gonsalvus, I would be willing
to help in such an adventure."
When the Arimasp King heard this, he gave a great
shout, and the smaller chiefs came crowding into the tent.
The King told them that Gonsalvus, the White Knight,
would help in a war against the Griffons. And heralds
were sent out everywhere, and there was joy through all
Arimaspia, and every spear was polished anew, and
every bow had a fresh string put to it.
It was decided that in three days the King would lead
the Arimasps to Griffonland to fight the Griffons for
their gold and emeralds, and that Gonsalvus was to help
with his armour and his stout sword, receiving for reward
many emeralds and a guide to show the pass over the
Hills of the North Winds.
The War of the Arimasps with
HE next three days were days of great
feasting and preparation. But at last
they were over, and on the morning of
S0 the fourth day the King of Arimaspia
mustered all his warriors upon the
plain. There they stood six score of one-eyed
Arimasps-all armed with bows and spears and swords,
ready to march against the Griffons. The King re-
viewed them, and Gonsalvus, in his white armour, upon
his white horse, reviewed them, too.
Then they were ready to start.
It was a long journey to the land of the Griffons, for
these lived in the extreme north of Arimaspia, in the
deserted parts near to the Hills of the Winds. For
days and days the Arimasp army marched across green
plains, bright with flowers and studded with tall trees,
and watered with clear running streams. Every night
they encamped by one of these streams, and lit fires, and,
26 The World Wonderful
after every man had eaten of the food which he carried
in a wallet upon his back, they all wrapped themselves
in cloaks, and slept until the dawn. At last, after many
days, they saw a line of snowy peaks stretching all along
the horizon. These peaks were half-way up in the sky,
and so faintly were they outlined against the blue that
Gonsalvus thought them at first to be clouds. But the
King of the Arimasps told him that they were the far-off
summits of the Hills of the North Winds.
Even then they were not close to Griffonland. Two
long day-journeys had yet to be done. But near the
end of the second day the ground began to be sandy,
with only patches of grass here and there. If one dug
in it with the point of a spear, turning the sand over
and over, he could see that it glittered with small gold
specks. In the sand, too, were strange footprints, as
though huge birds had been walking about, spreading
out their long talons. The Arimasps pointed these out
to one another. They were made by Griffons, as they
wandered about, guarding the sand of gold.
That night they encamped in the sandy place, keeping
up a strict watch, and each man sleeping lightly with his
weapons close to his hand, for fear of the Griffons.
And, all the next day, they sifted sand in sieves, gather-
ing the dust of gold into bags. Sentinels were posted
all around wherever there was a little hillock or
hummock of rising sand, so that no Griffon might come
down upon them unawares. The day after that they
moved on boldly into the very haunts of the man-
Of the White Knight 27
Every one of the Arimasps was all agog to spy these
terrible and ravenous creatures in time to be ready for
their attack. For Griffons did not wait to be assailed,
but made the first assault themselves, half rushing, half
flying, at any man they saw, and striving to rend him in
pieces. The King, too, had promised a reward to the
man who first saw a Griffon. So all eyes were search-
ing the desert as the Arimasps marched on.
At last one of the men in the front rank held up
his spear high; and the whole Arimasp army halted.
Then he pointed out what he had seen-a small dark
speck far out on the desert-and the Arimasps showed
it to one another. Gonsalvus saw it, too. It came
nearer and nearer, and Gonsalvus saw that it was a
Griffon, though but one only. When he was certain
that no more were following behind it, he asked the
King of the Arimasps whether he might ride out in
front of the line and meet it in single combat.
The King warned him, saying how fierce a Griffon
was, and how strong, and how it would tear with its
beak and rend with its claws, at the same time that its
great wings, lashing all around it, struck upon an enemy
as hard as flails. But Gonsalvus said that he trusted in
the strength of his armour against the Griffon's beak
and claws,, and in the swift turning of his horse to escape
the blows of its wings. Only he would wish to have
given him a stout spear of ash, with a sharp head of
steel or bronze, so that he might thrust at the Griffon
as it came on, and, by good hap, wound it from a little
distance away before he fought with it at close quarters
28 The World Wonderful
with his sword. The King ordered that he should have
his choice of any spear he liked which was in the
Arimasp army, and Gonsalvus took one from an
Arimasp near to him-a long and heavy beam, well
balanced and sharp-pointed. With this he waited for
the Griffon's assault.
Nor had he long to wait-only long enough, indeed,
to poise the spear properly. Then, with a cry which
was half a roar and half a shriek, the tawny Griffon
came charging down right in the face of the Arimasp
army. For these creatures were naturally without any
fear of men. On it came, its head, with the great
mouth agape, poised forward, and its eagle-wings flap-
ping as it half flew, half ran, along the sand. Its talons,
too, were all whirling as they clutched out, ready to claw
ravenously. Most men would have turned to escape,
had they found such an enemy before them.
But Gonsalvus was braver. He touched his horse's
rein as the Griffon came on, and the steed swerved a
little to one side, so that the Knight could thrust his
lance sideways at the Griffon's neck. And the point
went in, and for the moment the creature was pinned
down to the sand helpless; and all the Arimasps shouted
for joy. But the next moment it tugged and writhed at
the lance, and, twisting round, struck at it with the great
stretch of one of its wings. Sturdy as the spear-shaft was,
it broke at this, and the splinters went flying abroad.
So Gonsalvus flung away the half of the spear which
was left in his hand, and, drawing back a little, snatched
his sword, and rode down upon the Griffon.
Of the White Knight 29
Then there was a mighty whirl of talons and wings.
A great fore-claw struck Gonsalvus upon the knee, but
his good armour saved him. Then, as the other paw
came rattling upon his shield, the White Knight struck
with his sword at the Griffon's neck, and the red blood
came spouting out. The Griffon grovelled in the sand,
stunned and sick. Then, as for just a moment one of
its wings flapped over and left the side bare, Gonsalvus
thrust his sword deep in behind the shoulder, and, with
a moaning shriek, the Griffon rolled over on the sand,
How gladly all the Arimasps pressed around the
White Knight! The Griffon lay harmless now-for the
sword had gone to its heart and Gonsalvus had leisure
to look at the marvellous beast. It was larger rather
than a full-grown lion of Barbary, such as were some-
times captured in Africa and brought to Sicily, and was
of the same tawny-yellow in colour. But its wings were
black, and far larger than even the king-eagle's. Its
head was like an eagle's, with a most cruel beak, and its
paws ended in long curved claws. Also it had a tail,
tufted at the end, like the tail of a lion.
While they were looking at it, one of the Arimasps,
more thoughtful than the rest, lifted up the great paws,
and searched between the five claws and in the crevices
of the balls of the feet. In the first foot he found
nothing, but from the second he took two small emeralds
which had been caught up by the hairy pads of the
Griffon, as it strode along the gem-strewn land. The
two hind-feet also had small jewels sticking to them;
30 The World Wonderful
three there were upon the one, and two upon the other.
These, by the King's order, he gave to Gonsalvus, not
as any part of his share of the booty which they hoped
to take from the Griffons, but as small things to keep in
memory of his great fight and conquest of the Griffon.
Gonsalvus thanked him, and put them carefully in his
pouch. Then they went on, all of them, leaving the dead
Griffon in the sand.
All the day long, they saw no other Griffon, but
marched wearily over mile upon mile of sand, in which
there was but little gold, for, being the nearest to
Arimaspia, daring men came perpetually by stealth to
sift it, hoping to get away with the gold before the
Griffons, either by sight or smell, came to know about
the thing. When night came, all the men lay down,
keeping a good watch, and rose up again safe in the
morning. They knew from the knowledge gained in
their raids upon the Griffons that they were now near to
the grassier parts of Griffonland, where streams made
the grass green all around, and the green emeralds lay
sprinkled over the green grass.
So each man especially looked to his weapons, for the
King passed word among them that upon this day they
would certainly come upon great numbers of the dreadful
fowls, the Griffons. Yet hope was. high in all their
hearts now that they had Gonsalvus to fight with
them, and the adventure had begun so well with his
slaying of the first seen. Each whispered to the man
next to him of the great store of emeralds they were
Of the White Knight 31
At midday they came to rising ground, whence they
could look over a grassy plain in the midst of which a
small river ran sparkling like a silver riband. Upon
the plain were yellow shapes, like cattle of a small size
feeding. All knew that these were Griffons, and that
the land they guarded was the best place for abundance
of emeralds in the whole of Griffonland.
As soon as the Arimasps saw the Griffons, they too,
the wary beast-birds, spied the Arimasps, and they
began to crowd together, flapping their wings, and
ramping over the ground with outspread claws. The
heart of every Arimasp throbbed as he got ready for
battle, for Griffons knew no fear, and, indeed, so many
men had they torn and eaten, that they had no caution
either, only a fierce longing for the fight, to tear, and
rend, and devour. Swifter than leopards they ran up
the hillside, burning to utterly destroy the Arimasps.
But as they came, a shower of winged arrows met them,
and here and there a Griffon fell dead, pierced in a vital
place, or, turning, writhed in the grass, trying to pluck
out the arrow with its beak. But most of them reached
the summit of the hill, and then a deadly battle began,
deadly for the Griffons, and deadly for the Arimasps.
Here an Arimasp was piercing a Griffon with his spear,
or cleaving its head with a sword. There an Arimasp
lay helpless while a Griffon slew him with his beak.
And the battle swung to and fro, as first the Arimasps
drove back the Griffons, and then in turn the Griffons
pressed the Arimasps until they were almost upon the
point of fleeing. In the midst of it all, Gonsalvus thrust
32 The World Wonderful
with a new lance, and when this was broken, slashed and
slew with his sword.
But the Arimasps were far more in number than the
Griffons, and though many men were killed, yet all the
more the others pressed forward, battling with their
ancient enemies. Soon the Griffons, still fighting, grew
fewer and fewer, and the ground all about was dotted
with their yellow bodies, whilst of those that remained,
many showed deep wounds and gashes. Yet they would
never try to escape, as they well might have done. But
they fought on against this multitude of Arimasps, and
first one Griffon and then another sank down full of
spears and never rose again, until after a terrible hour of
fighting, the last Griffon, sorely wounded, turned to bay,
and the Arimasps came all around it in a ring, and slew
it with their lances.
Then a great shout of joy rose up from all of them,
even from those who were wounded, for never before
Gonsalvus came and put such heart into them had they
won so great a victory over the Griffons.
Yet they had paid very dearly for it, for of the six
score who set out from Arimaspia, more than two score
lay slain by the Griffons.
The Hills of the North Winds
SHEN it was certain that all the Griffons
were dead, and that no more were coming
to the attack, the army of the Arimasps
camped upon the Plain of Emeralds.
o First of all, the hurts of the wounded
were tended; then, after they had been all seen to,
began a great search for emeralds, all the unhurt
Arimasps spreading in long line across the plain,
peering eagerly among the green herbs and grasses
at their feet for the green glittering stones. Each one
carried a bag in which to place the jewels as soon as
they were found. Most of them were well used to this
hunting of emeralds, and the finding and picking went
on merrily, though the Arimasps cast quick furtive
glances all around them, for fear lest they should be
surprised by other Griffons who might scent far off the
death of their comrn les or the presence of strangers in
34 The World Wonderful
At last all the bags were filled with the precious booty,
and the Arimasps gathered round their King, and the
stones were piled up in a heap upon the ground. Never
before was seen so noble a pile of flashing gems, for this
was the first time that the Arimasps had ever beaten the
fierce Griffons in pitched battle. Before this, they could
only take such stones or jewels as might be picked by
stealth by a few men who searched for them in fear and
perpetual dread of the Griffons. But this time so rich
was the harvest that during the whole year that was
coming no more lives of Arimasps would need to be
risked in the dangerous work. In this one day enough
had been taken to satisfy all the merchants who would
come to barter their goods for gold and jewels.
Then the King ordered that all should return at once
to Arimaspia with their spoils and their wounded. For
if the other Griffons heard of the deaths of their kin, and
banded together to destroy the Arimasp army, hardly a
man could hope to escape. But, first of all before they
started, he called Gonsalvus to him, and thanked him for
the way in which he had plied spear and sword in the
battle. Also he gave him a great bag full of emeralds,
enough to keep him rich all the days of his life if he
could carry them back safe to Sicily, and also, according
to his promise, he gave him a guide who knew the road
which, skirting Griffonland, ran to the only place at
which a man could ever hope to scale the snowy barrier
of the Hills of the North Winds.
So Gonsalvus bade the King and many of the chiefs
farewell, and watched the army of the Arimasps file off
Of the White Knight 35
homeward. He watched them until his guide pulled at
his horse's reins, warning him that the Hills of the North
Winds were a long way away, and that at any moment
Griffons might come over the plain and attack them.
So Gonsalvus turned, and he and the guide set their
faces towards the north-east, to where the long line of
snowy summits shut off the habitable world from the places
where no one ever went.
On and on they journeyed, and by night were far from
the haunts of the Griffons, upon a dull plain where there
was but little grass and no emeralds, nor dust of gold,
but only bare baked clay with thorns and thistles
growing. Here they lay down for the night and slept,
travelling on upon the next day until, drawing nearer
and nearer to the Hills, they could see how sharply the
rugged peaks went up, and how terribly boulder was
piled upon boulder, making such a wall as giants could
hardly climb. And all along the range of Hills the wild
winds shrieked and whirled, and driven snow and sand
went before them in clouds of white and dark.
And still they went on and on, and came to the edge
of the whirling clouds of sand and snow, and, high up
above them stood the iron peaks, some soaring smooth
and sharp like the heads of monstrous spears, and some
broader, but terrible with snow and hanging ice.
There the guide told Gonsalvus that he might go no
further, for these Hills of the North Winds were the end
of the mortal world. What lay beyond he knew not-
no man knew. All he knew was that there was a rugged
pass between two great pyramids of black rock-a giant
36 The World Wonderful
ladder of tumbled stones and hollows full of green ice.
This he himself had seen once from far off upon a day
when the winds had spent themselves for a little while,
and lay at rest in their caves, not whirling the sand and
snow any more, and all the air was calm. And he
showed Gonsalvus the way, and warned him how he
would have to climb, creeping painfully from rock to
rock in the short spells between one fearsome blast and
the next. And he said that if once this great ladder of
rock and ice were scaled, the climber would come to a
long ridge of black stones and snow, from which the guide
thought he might at least see whether there was any way
leading into Featherland.
So here the White Knight prepared for his journey.
First of all, he took the bag of emeralds, and placed it
for greater safety within his armour at his breast. His
shield, too, he took off, for he well guessed that it would
only be with clambering and crawling on hands and
knees that he could ever win to the far side of this
strong wall of Hills. He thrust his spear into the earth
with all his might, and hung the shield upon it as a
trophy that he was the first knight who had come thus
far to the North. And there the shield hung and rattled
against the shaft with every gust that blew. Then he
kissed his white horse upon the muzzle and gave it to
the Arimasp to lead, telling him to take it to the King,
and to beg the King to send it to the sea-shore by the
merchants who came to barter, that they might put it
upon some ship that sailed. to Eastern Sicily. For only
by doing this could he ever hope to see that good steed
Of the White Knight 37
again, for he dared not take it into the rugged Hills, or
beyond them to icy Featherland.
All this the Arimasp swore to do faithfully. Then
Gonsalvus shook him by the hands, and the Arimasp
turned-leading the horse, who looked back whinnying-
GONSALVUS PARTS WITH HIS HORSE
and went slowly along the bare plain. Gonsalvus watched
him grow smaller and smaller with distance. Then, all
alone in this wild desert of wind and hill, he walked
slowly upon his own road.
As he went, the winds struck him so that he staggered
under their force, and the cold blasts of snow chilled him,
and the whistling clouds of sand filled his hair and eyes,
38 The Wjorld Wonderful
and cut his cheeks as with a whip. But he crept on,
though half-blinded, and soon found shelter behind great
rocks where the force of the winds was stayed a little,
and he could walk without bending. But all around him
the gale shrieked and clamoured like a pack of wolves
which have brought a deer to bay, and the whole whirl-
ing hillside seemed to shout mockery at him.
Yet he made his heart hard to climb, and crept up to
the first black ledge of rock, hanging to every out-
standing knob of it, until the fury of the winds had gone
by. Then, in the short space between that gust and the
next, he crept a little further, till he reached a sharp
ridge of stone, and along this he crept hastily, fearful lest
the next moment of tempest might hurl him down to be
dashed to death. At the far end of this knife-edge of
stone was a great wall of icy snow, as slippery as a road
when frost has followed rain in winter-time, but yet not
so hard but that, by striking with his steel-shod feet, he
might cut small footholds in it. Here he hung like a
bat whilst the wind went past him, and, in the calm
that followed, clambered painfully up the snow-slope
until he reached its top. And here he lay panting, and
drank a little water that lay in a hollow of the frozen
But he was far yet from the higher ridge whence, it
was told, a man might see over into the Featherland.
Between it and him was a great chasm in the rock-a
black abyss full of seething clouds of mist-and beyond it
there reared a rugged rocky cliff. But it seemed to
Gonsalvus that the gulf was not impossible to leap,
Of the 9White Knight 39
though at its other side the foothold of smooth stone was
slippery with the wet. For a time he measured it with
his eye, and remeasured it, and glanced everywhere, too,
for an easier place with less stretch of chasm to be
cleared, and a less hazardous landing-place upon the
other side. But he saw none. The rift seemed every-
where of equal width, and Gonsalvus made up his mind
to risk all on the endeavour.
First, he had to fling from him his sword. Across the
chasm he flung it, and it pitched safe upon the further
side, its hilt catching in a little cleft of rock. Then, with
sore misgivings (for he knew not what dreadful monsters
might be between him and the world's end at the North),
he stripped off his armour. The breastplate he threw
after the sword, but it struck upon a boulder and sprang
off, and, turning over and over, went rattling down into
the abyss, lost to him for ever. Then he flung away by
turns all the rest of his armour. Only he kept his
helmet (for it was not heavy, and he dreaded to throw
away his last protection), and also his belt, and in the
belt he hid the bag of emeralds.
Then he went back a little way-as far as the width
of the snow on which he stood allowed-and ran to the
edge and leaped out with all his strength.
For a moment, as he hung in the mid-air, he felt his
heart become like water for the thought that he had
failed in the leap and would topple backwards into the
black destruction of the gulf. Then he felt his feet
strike firm stone, and he flung himself forward, and
clutched the rock, and embraced it with his arms, and
40 The World Wonderful
gripped it with his hands, and there he hung whilst the
shrieking winds passed over him.
When he could rise, he found his sword, and
wrenched it free from the cleft in which it had stuck,
and regirt it to his belt, and felt for the bag of gems,
that it had not been lost in his leap, and found to his
great joy that it was safe. And then he took hold with
both hands of the lowest spur of the rock, and lifted
himself, and clutched it with his feet, whilst with his
hands he grasped a higher crevice, and lifted himself
again. This he did in haste, for he knew not when the
next blinding storm would be upon him. Up and up he
went, and the way grew easier, and, the light clearer,
and the air calmer. Then with one last great struggle
he raised himself by main strength up the last and
topmost rock, and there lay in calm air upon a huge flat
boulder, above all the furious winds, and looking from a
serene sky on to the lands beyond.
00 o LL the land was white as far as he could
see, though that was not far, for the
falling, drifting, clouds of white shrouded
Everything as with a veil. This was the
snow which some hasty travellers, who
had only seen Featherland for a moment from some
hill, had reported to be feathers. Down and down it
drifted out of a grey sky, and there was no sound to
be heard either in the air or on the earth.
It was through this terrible place that Gonsalvus had
to travel, if he ever hoped to come to the land of the
Happy Hyperboreans beyond.
But, first of all, he must descend the steep north side
of the Hills of the Winds, which sheered down in slopes
of frozen snow to the great white plain of Featherland.
There were no rocks so far as he could see, and no
chasms, but only the smooth slopes, and there was no
wind, for all the winds of the North had been left
42 The World Wonderful
behind. (He could still hear them shrieking and shout-
ing in their fury among the wild crags he had just so
painfully climbed.) But it was bitter cold. He felt his
fingers grow number and number, and the frost began to
stiffen his hair and beard.
So, knowing that to stay longer upon these icy hill-
sides would be to die, he let himself down slowly from
the rock on which he lay until his feet touched the first
long slope of snow. Then he lay back to slide, his
sword drawn in his hand ready that he might use it to
thrust into the snow, and so stop himself if he should go
too fast. Then he thrust himself forward, and shot
swiftly down the slope.
At its foot was a deep bed of snow, lying piled
between two flat masses of rock, and into this the White
Knight plunged so deeply that he was buried to the
neck. But he crept out breathless, and shook the snow
from him, and, stepping cautiously to the edge of the
rock, looked over. Still below him was the plain,
covered with deep snow, and a black wall of cliff,
without ledge or crevice, went sheer down to it. He
drew back, knowing that at this place there could be no
path to Featherland, and made his way along the edge
until he came to a place where the cliff was more
broken, so that a man might trust to let himself down
from ledge to ledge and from crevice to crevice. Here
Gonsalvus nerved his limbs for one more struggle, and
very carefully he let himself down by his hands, feeling
with his feet for any knot or crack which he might use
as a rest for foot or hand.
GONSALVUS SLIDING DOWN THE ICE-SLOPE
Of the White Knight 43
So he went down, step by step, with great care, in a
deep and dead silence, hearing no sound save a low
undertone of moaning far behind him-the rushing and
raving of the North Winds. All around him the white
flakes drifted and circled, settling down, and down, and
down, and piling themselves up upon the white ground.
Step by step at last he reached the bottom of the cliff.
The Hills of the North Winds, which cut off as with a
wall the habitable world from the waste places where no
one ever went, lay behind him. The White Knight was
Gonsalvus warmed his freezing fingers with his breath,
and stepped out upon the plain. So cold it was that the
snow formed hard as iron the instant that it fell, and he
walked upon it as though upon hard ground, without
sinking ever so little. But the snow fell upon his
clothes, and froze there, and the ice formed upon his
helmet and upon his sword and belt, and the cruel cold
made all the blood in his veins burn and tingle. For
Gonsalvus had come from the bright sunshine of his
home in Sicily to the cruelest, coldest, region of the
world-so cold that if there had been the least breath
of wind to stir the air he could not have lived for one
hour. And, as it was, he knew that he dared not stop
moving, for, if he lay down, his limbs would freeze so
that he could never rise up again. There is no sleep
in Featherland, for to sleep there would be to die. The
White Knight knew this, and knew that there could be
no rest for him so long as he stayed in this awful
44 The World Wonderful
.He went on and on, and there were no landmarks to
guide him, and nothing all around him but the bare
white plain, shut in on every side, as with a wall, with
falling snow. But he struggled forward, trying hard to
keep a straight line, for he knew how men lost in such
lonely places will go often in a great circle without
knowing it until they fall down and die of weariness.
At last after long hours he thought that the air grew
a little less cold. And then he thought that this could
only be a fancy. And on and on until his head began
to swim and grow dizzy, and his tired eyes fancied that
they saw phantoms floating in the snowy air, and his
ears fancied that they heard bells ringing and voices
calling him. Then he began to stumble with weariness,
and a great longing for rest came over him. But he
dared not rest. He went on and on as in a dream, until
suddenly he saw something that cheered his heart and
put new strength into his failing body.
The World's End at the North
0 0 ooT was only a tree-a fir-tree-very
small; and all its branches were heavily
weighed down with frozen snow. But
o the sight of it meant much to Gon-
salvus, for he knew that where trees
were must be well-nigh the end of Featherland.
So he went on more gladly, and every hour he
felt the air milder. As he went he saw other trees-
at first, firs only, and then plumy birches mingled with
the firs. Then, at last, grass in sheltered valleys:
at first peeping up timidly above the snow; and then
half clear of snow; and, still further, fresh and green,
with snow only in patches. The land, no longer flat,
rose up in little ranges and hills which he could see
quite clearly, as the snow, falling ever and ever less
thickly, turned at last to misty rain. And then he saw
a gleaming rainbow in the sky, and then the warm sun
shone, and Gonsalvus felt fresh life in him. The rain
46 The World Wonderful
ceased, and all the air was full of sunshine, and small
bright birds sang in all the bushes, and glad gay
butterflies hovered everywhere over the open cups of
golden and silver flowers.
Gonsalvus sat down upon a bank, and soon fell asleep.
When he woke up the sun was still shining. He felt
hungry, and went to the nearest bushes, which were red
with berries on which birds were feeding. Some of
these berries Gonsalvus ate, and then went on again.
And always as he went the land grew brighter, with
grasses and leaves and fruits and flowers. But he saw
no people and no animals. It was a fairyland of
coloured flowers and singing birds and bright fluttering
butterflies. It was hard to believe that so close behind
him lay the horrible Featherland he had just crossed.
Then the White Knight came to a wood. There
were tall palms in it spreading out feathery branches
and bearing clusters of golden dates. There were
orange trees with bright fruit and shimmering leaves,
and all the fruit trees that one has ever heard of grew
about, their branches touching and interlacing with each
other. And all the kinds of flowers that Gonsalvus had
ever seen were scattered in clusters, and there were
other beautiful flowers such as he had not even
imagined, some like trumpets of gold and silver and
purple, and some like bells of many colours. Some
stood up and some drooped. And the scents of all the
flowers and the scents of all the fruits blended together
into one delicious perfume, and a wind came through
the wood, tempering the perfume lest it should be too
Of the White Knight 47
strong. Through this wood went the White Knight,
and as he made a path (for it seemed as though no one
had ever been through the wood before) the flowers
bent, and the oranges and lemons and pears and apples
and apricots came rattling down with every branch he
touched. At last he saw clear daylight through the
green and golden shadows of the wood, and came out
upon a shining beach of white sand, which sloped down
to a blue sea upon which the sun made thousands of
little glittering sparkles.
Here he sat down in the sunshine, and looked over
the sea. In the distance something glimmered among
the glimmering waves, and as Gonsalvus watched it, it
drew nearer and nearer. Then he saw that it was a
boat shining with gold and having a silver sail. Still
it came nearer, and then he saw that men were in it,
steering it. It was coming straight towards the beach.
So Gonsalvus held up both his hands, and the men in
the boat waved their mantles. At last the boat ran
right up to the sand, and as the men sprang out the
White Knight could not but wonder at the beauty of
their faces, and the sunny gold of their hair, and the
grace of their bearing. They were robed in many-
coloured mantles of silk, and wore bands of flowers
round their foreheads. Gonsalvus came down to the
shore to meet them.
Then one of them went back to the boat and brought
a great beaker of carved gold full of a honey-like wine,
and handed it to Gonsalvus to drink from. When he
had finished the wine their leader asked the White
48 The Wforld Wonderful
Knight his name and history, and when he heard it he
clapped his hands, and all the others with him clapped
their hands. Then he told Gonsalvus that they were
Hyperboreans, and that beyond the blue sea lay their
home; and they called to him to enter the boat, and
come to their land and their city. And Gonsalvus
was right glad, for he knew that all his hard travels were
over, and that he had come at last in safety to the land
of joy and music and singing and dancing-Immortal
Hyperborea. So he stepped into the golden boat, and
the silver sail was lifted, and swiftly the boat turned, and
so over the sapphire sea, leaping gladly over a million
At last they saw far off a gleam of marble and silver,
where a lovely city rose out of the sea, and all around it
were hills wavy with trees. As they came nearer, the
wind blew sideways to them wafts of scent, for all the
trees were scented cedars. And they saw the white
columns and walls of the city mirrored in the blue water
like a double pearl.
Swiftly the ship ran into the harbour, where were
other boats, some golden and some of silver. And the
walls of the docks were of the whitest marble, and the
steps were of the purest silver. They fastened the
boat's head to a carved gold ring with a twisted rope of
purple silk, and then the leader of the boat's crew
stepped out and called to Gonsalvus to follow him.
They went through marble streets, and up steps of
jasper, and under groves of perfumed trees. The streets
were full of people, all dressed in robes of white or blue
Of the White Knight 49
or scarlet, and all crowned with fresh dewy roses. And
on they went until they came to the most splendid house
of all-high, and made of cedar, with doors of gold, and
a floor of polished jewels all set together so that it
looked like a many-coloured transparent carpet.
This was the palace of the Hyperborean King.
The King was within the central court, sitting upon a
throne, and all his courtiers with him. Here the captain
of the boat came, and led Gonsalvus with him.
And most marvellous to Gonsalvus was the sight of
the people who thronged the court of the King. For
none were old, and none looked sick or lame, but every
man seemed to be of the same age, and that age of not
more than twenty. For Hyperborea was the land of
everlasting youth. In that pure air no one could die, or
even feel the slightest touch of sickness. And no one
was ever sad, for there was nothing to be sad about.
There were no wars, and no diseases, and no crimes, and
every man and woman lived as sister and brother in all
kinds of delights with feasting and dancing and music.
There was no money among the Hyperboreans, for
Nature gave bountifully the substance of everything, and
men and women worked upon these materials for the
love of making beautiful things, giving them away freely
when they were made to any who wished for them.
Some cut down the perfumed trees and made boats of
them, or carved them into all kinds of beautiful things,
and some wove silks into garments, and dyed them with
many-coloured dyes, and others made wines and sweet
drinks out of honey and the scents of flowers, and others
50 The Wlorld Wonderful
grew grain and made from it all kinds of bread and
cakes. Others took gold and silver, and smelted them,
making them into such things as cups and belts and
brooches. And there was no night, but the sun shone
always, and there was no winter, and no difference of
seasons, but the sun always gave the same sweet heat
and the sea-wind blew always the same cool breeze. And
the shade-trees never lost their leaves, and the fruit trees
were never without fruit, and the birds sang all through
the year with the same sweet notes as in other lands
they have in spring. And there were always flowers,
for as soon as one was plucked, in an hour another grew
up in its place. Everything that is sweetest and best in
every best season of every part of the world lasted all
the year in Hyperborea, the country of the World's End
to the North.
Then the King greeted Gonsalvus, and gave him a
seat beside him, and one of the courtiers brought fruit
and wine of honey and gave them to him, whilst others
wove roses into garlands for his hair and neck. And the
White Knight told the story of his adventures-how he
had crossed the Desert to Arimaspia, and of the Neuri
Scythians and the serpent army, and of the war against
the Griffons, and of his terrible climb up the Hills of the
North Winds, and how he crossed Featherland. All the
Hyperboreans wondered, for none of them had ever left
their own land, save to touch sometimes at the beach by
the wood where Gonsalvus had met them. Of Feather-
land they knew only by legend. And no wonder! for their
own country was the fairest and best under the wide sky.
Of the fWhite Knight 51
But they were glad to hear from the White Knight of
his marvellous travels. When he had finished his story,
the King called for the harpers to play, and they stood
before the King's throne and played sweeter melodies
than Gonsalvus had ever before even dreamed of. Then
a great table was set, and they sat down to the feast,
eating sweet fruits and drinking honey-sweet drinks.
And singers sang in the hall before the table songs
sweeter than the songs of birds.
Then after the banquet there was the sound of lutes
and lyres, and the daughter of the King came down to
the hall with her handmaidens. Gonsalvus thought that
she was the fairest maiden in the world. Her hair was
like the gold of the sun, and her eyes were like the blue
of the sea, and she stood lissom as a palm and stately as
a cedar. And she on her side could not but admire
Gonsalvus, for he was different from all the Hyper-
boreans, and his dark hair and eyes seemed as beautiful
as they were strange to her.
So Gonsalvus stayed many months in Hyperborea
with merriment and feasting, music, and song, and
dance. Then, at the end, when the longing came over
him to see Sicily again, the King had a ship built of
cedar, for Gonsalvus had no desire to go back through
the cruel Featherland, and over the stormy Hills, and
through the lands haunted by the Griffons, and there
was another way, known by tradition to the Hyper-
boreans, which led by the Happy Islands in the Western
Sea. But before he set out, he went to the King's
daughter, and asked her if she would dare leave the
52 The World Wonderful
happy country of Hyperborea and go back with him to
Sicily as his wife and lady. And she said she would do
so gladly, and the King gave leave. So there was a
great marriage held, with music of silver lutes, and, upon
the day after, the gilded ship of cedar with the sails of
silver silk was pushed out into the sea on its long journey
1wthe aRver 'nio
IlCq ~bo H aveqhtrcc
o the~ S our17
The Road Southward
SEXT to go was the Red Knight, Marcellus.
He had no long journey by sea, for the
coasts of Africa were only a few days'
voyage from Sicily in a good ship helped
by a fair wind. There were merchants
continually going and coming between the coasts of
Sicily and the coasts of Africa, Libya, and Egypt, from
the River Nilus even to the African Pillar of Hercules at
the edge of the Outer Sea. Marcellus had little trouble
in choosing his ship, and bargaining with the captain to
land him in some bay whence he could go southward
through Africa into Ethiopia. What spot the captain
chose mattered little to Marcellus, for all he wished was
to go to the South End of the World. So the captain
agreed to leave him with his armour and his horse, and
food enough for some days, at a small bay known to him,
where ships sometimes put in to take water from a little
stream that ran down bubbling from the snowy top of
56 The World Wonderful
the Mountain Atlas. The slopes of this mountain came
right down to the shore, the stream running to the sea
through a grassy valley, above which the great mountain
rose up, clothed with every sort of tree. For, lowest,
were such fruit trees as grew in Sicily; and above these,
oaks and ferns; and above the oaks, pines; and, top of
all, only black rocks and unmelting snow. On the further
side of this mountain (so said the merchants who had
talked with Africans and Libyans) were woods full of
wild beasts, and after the woods, a desert haunted by
the very worst kind of dragons. Through such places
had Marcellus to travel, if he would reach the World's End
at the South.
Hesper and Auriol said good-bye to him, and he went
aboard his ship. A wind blew from the north, and it
sent the ship along quickly. Soon they came into the
bay, and the ship lay there at anchor, while a boat was
put out to take Marcellus to the shore. The horse
swam behind the boat, the Red Knight, at the stern,
holding it by the bridle. In the boat was put provision
So the sailors bent to their oars, and ran up the boat
on to the beach; and Marcellus stepped out and laid his
armour on the sand, whilst his horse stood by him,
shaking its wet flanks. Then the Red Knight rewarded
the sailors; and he waved good-bye with his lance to the
ship's captain, and the captain waved back to him.
Then the sailors rowed back to the ship and went
aboard. Marcellus, watching, saw the ship turn from
-? .*-. .
IACEiU --VE HM
Of the Red Knight 57
So he came to Africa, and so was he left in a wild
land, well upon his journey to the World's End at the
It was by this time late in the afternoon, so the Red
Knight made up his mind to camp upon the beach for that
night. He found dry wood, and piled a fire, and set it
alight by rubbing together two sticks. Then he cooked
his supper at it, and took his horse down to the stream,
and gave it water, and then, as darkness came on and all
the stars crept out, he lay down to sleep wrapped in his
cloak. His horse he tied by a long rein to a stake close
by him. Then he closed his eyes and fell asleep.
But in the middle of the night he woke up with a
sudden shock, and rubbed his eyes and listened. For he
heard the sound of music-of cymbals being beaten, and
a thudding of horses' feet. And this thudding was not
that of creatures at a gallop, but as though the things
that made it were in one place, moving round and round
in a measured circle. Also, not far from him, shone the
bright light of a fire. It was not the sight of the fire
that made the Red Knight wonder, for such might well
have been a camp of shepherds or hunters; but this
strange beating of hoofs in a ring astonished him. He
rose up and went with great care along the banks that
stood above the beach. Then he dropped down cautiously
among the bushes to watch.
Then he saw that by the fire were creatures very
strange to look at, for down to the waist they were
like men, save that they had upon their heads small
horns like goats' horns, but their legs were shaggy and
58 The World Wonderful
hairy like those of monkeys, and they had hoofs like the
hoofs of horses. They danced round the fire in a ring,
hand in hand, thudding with their hoofs upon the ground
in time to a cymbal which one who sat apart from the
others upon a little mound of earth beat with his hands.
This was the dance of the Fauns, who were a kind of
fairies of that time, and lived in many places both in
Europe and in Africa, though no one ever sees them
now. But at that time all the Mountain Atlas rang at
night with the noise of their music and dancing, and
glistened with the light of their fires, as old writers bear
witness. And at these Fauns, Marcellus was now
gazing from behind his ambush of leaves.
For some time he watched them, uncertain what to do
-whether to go forward to the place where they danced
and show himself, or to creep back softly to the sea-beach
and don his armour and watch all night, with his sword
drawn in his hand in case the Fauns should try to do
him any harm. But the more he watched their merry
faces and light joyous skipping as they went round and
round in the dance, the less he felt afraid. And at last
he rose from the bush and went up to the fire.
Then the dance broke up, and all the Fauns gathered
round Marcellus to look at him. He knew for certain
now that they meant him no harm. They touched his
clothes, laughing like children who have found something
new to play with.
Seeing that he had fallen into good hands, Marcellus
sat down without fear at the fire, and the Fauns, now a
little tired with their dancing and leaping, sat down also,
Of the Red Knight 59
and poured wine into cups and drank, and gave some to
Marcellus. They asked him where he was going, and
he told them that he had made up his mind to journey to
the World's End. He asked the Fauns to tell of what
might lie on his journey when he had once crossed over
the Mountain Atlas. But the Fauns knew nothing, and
cared nothing, for they lived only to enjoy themselves
with music and dancing by night, and not one of them
had ever gone so far as to the top of the mountain, where
the pleasant trees and grasses gave place to sharp rocks
and cold snow. But they told him how lions roamed
among the forests higher up the side of Atlas, and that
he would have to be on his guard against them. They
told him, too, of elephants and dragons, for though these
creatures kept themselves chiefly to the southern side of
Atlas which looks out over the Desert, yet now and then
one would cross over in warm weather, and come down
even to the sea-beach, where they were seen by the Fauns.
So they kept talking of these things till the morning
came, and the sun rose up, warning the Fauns, who only
came out at night, that it was time for them to seek out
the cool shady places of the woods where they slept.
But what was sleeping-time for the Faun-fairies was
waking-time for Marcellus. As soon as the sun was well
up, he went back to the beach, and found his horse safe.
He did on his armour, and, mounting his horse, rode
through flowery thickets and over grassy lawns, passing
upon his way the place where the Fauns had danced;
and there was their fire still smouldering, and very plain
was the ring which their hoofs had beaten into the
60 The World Wonderful
ground. And up and up the sloping mountain-side,
through woods of fruit trees and woods of oak. He saw
deer which ran before him from the green lawns where
they were feeding and plunged into deeper covert, and
sometimes wild sheep, deer-like in shape and size, with
curving horns and long beards. But no deadly creatures
Then, having reached the limit of the oaks, he came
to pines, which thrust out hairy branches like claws. So
thick were the pines together that their shade made dark-
ness in the day. Yet, here and there in gaps between
their tops, he could see the snowy dome of the top of
Atlas, and its sight refreshed him to go on.
So he travelled till night fell, and then he took wood,
and built a fire, and lay down beside it, and tethered his
horse close to him. So weary was he that, notwithstand-
ing that he heard the roar of a lion not far off, he fell
asleep very quickly.
Yet very early he awoke, because of the cold of that
high mountain-side. There was mist all around, and the
pines dripped with moisture. Marcellus ate a little food
from his store, and, as he ate, the sun came and drove
away the mist. So he mounted again his horse, and
rode out to climb Atlas.
First he came to steep ground, covered with great
stones, and with moss and fern, and rode over this.
And then to little drifts of snow; and then to larger,
deeper ones in which his horse must wade. At last he
crossed a stony valley, and there before him rose the
great humped dome of snow.
Of the Red Knight 61
This was the very top of Atlas.
But it was a hard task to gain it. Many times had
the Red Knight to alight down and lead his horse.
But both struggled on bravely, and at last came, with
many slips and slides, to the top of Atlas. All around
lay snow: here, smooth and flat; there, driven by the
wind into ridges like to frozen waves. Looking back-
wards, Marcellus could see all the slope up which he
had come, and the valley where the Fauns had danced,
and the little bay and beach of sand, and, beyond this,
the sparkling sea, and very far away a faint blue haze
which he thought might well be his own island of Sicily.
Looking forwards, he. saw thick forests with grassy
lawns between, and beyond the forests a great tawny
plain which seemed to him to run on quite flat for ever,
and to melt into the sky, so that he could not tell where
the earth ended and the air began.
Marcellus wondered whether that would be the World's
End. But his business, he knew, was not to wonder,
but to go on. So he went down the slope of snow, with
much perilous slipping, and came at last safely to the
beginning of the fertile ground; and then over steep
slopes of moss and fern to the lawns and forests which
hung upon the side of the mountain.
The Dragons of Mount Atlas
S 0 S the Red Knight rode, he came in many
Places upon footmarks large in size as
bucklers. These were made by the
elephants that dwelt in herds upon the
southern side of Mount Atlas. Besides
these, the earth bore other marks-marks as though
some great body had been dragged along the ground.
Wherever these trails were, the bushes were broken
down or bent. These (though Marcellus did not know
it) were the trails of Dragons.
Now there were many kinds of Dragons at that time
in Africa. Some were small and harmless, but others
were so large that they could kill elephants, and, indeed,
lived largely upon their blood. Besides these, there
were other Dragons which were very venomous. There
was the Amphisbcena, which had two heads, both full of
poisonous teeth, so that it could not be approached with
safety from any side. There was also the Catoblebe,
Of the Red Knight 63
which was a small and sluggish Dragon, but very
deadly, for it killed with a glance of its eye. But most
terrible of all was the Cockatrice, which lived in the
extreme parts of the Desert. This Cockatrice was
white in colour, and on its head it had a little crest like
to a mitre. It was very small in size, but so venomous
that wherever it went all other creatures died. It had
no need to bite them, for its very breath was deadly
poison, and wherever it crept the ground grew black,
and the plants and trees were withered up.
But Marcellus as yet knew nothing of these perils, and
his heart sang with joy as he went down and down along
the green lawns and under the shady woods.
Ever and ever he went deeper into the forest. First
of all, he came by open glades lighted with the sun, and
pleasant and cheerful, and these glades were full of
harmless skipping deer, which either ran from his path
or stood on one side with heads in the air, and ears and
nostrils quivering, wondering at the Red Knight what
he might be. But, later on, he left these pleasant places
and came to thick and gloomy depths of wood. The
beasts that lived there were not kindly deer, but huge
elephants, and ravening lions, and cruel Numidian bears.
But these, though they saw Marcellus, made no trial to
attack him, perhaps because it was yet daylight, or
perhaps because of the glitter and rattle of his red
armour. Quite unharmed he passed along, nothing be-
falling him until the middle of the day.
Then he had a strange adventure.
For he heard suddenly a sound of :breaking wood, and
64 The World Wonderful
reined in his horse to listen. Then the sound seemed to
him to be made by the struggling of some great wild
beast. So, curious to prove what it might be, he lighted
down from his horse, and with the bridle made it fast to
a tree. Then he stepped quickly beneath the trees
towards the spot whence these sounds (it seemed to him)
As he drew nearer, he heard the crashing still louder
and plainer, and mixed with it were sobs and hissings.
Then-coming quite close-he saw what it was. For
two great Dragons, of the kind that have no feet, but are
formed in body like a serpent, were at war with an
elephant. One of the Dragons had coiled itself around
the great beast's forelegs so that it could not stir from
where it stood, whilst the other hung upon its throat,
biting. And the elephant strove to save itself, and could
not, neither by fending off the Dragons with its trunk, nor
by piercing them with its tusks. And it groaned horribly
and dashed its head among the trees and bushes.
Then, as Marcellus stood and wondered what he should
do, whether to help the elephant, or to escape in time,
lest the fury of the Dragons should be drawn upon' him-
self, the fight came to an end. For the elephant first
swayed from side to side, and then fell over with a crash
that made the woods ring; and the Dragons had it for a
Then, suddenly, the Dragons saw Marcellus, and
looked at him with red angry eyes, swaying their cruel
heads to and fro. One of them shot out a great length
of neck, and opened a mouth full of horrid teeth, with a
Of the Red Knight 65
forked tongue flickering between the jaws. Now
Marcellus saw that he must stand his ground bravely,
for that if he turned to flee the Dragons would most
surely overtake and slay him. So he drew his sword
and held out his shield before him. Then the head of
the Dragon shot back, and again shot forward to snatch
at the Red Knight. But as the great jaws gaped upon
him, Marcellus struck his shield against the Dragon's
mouth, whilst sideways with his sword he cut under it at
the beast's scaled throat. And the Dragon, feeling the
wound, writhed furiously, and let go of the shield which
it had seized upon with its teeth. But in its cruel rage it
lashed so about it with its coils that Marcellus had to
run back into the bushes, lest he should be beaten down.
Cold blood came out in gushes from the Dragon's wound.
Then its struggles grew fainter, and at last it stretched
out its whole length, and then lay still.
So Marcellus, full of joy and courage, ran at the
second Dragon. But it fled before him, hissing, into the
thickest part of the woods, and he could not come up to
it. Going back to the elephant and finding it dead, he
stayed no longer, but mounted his horse and pressed on
through the forest. For he wished well to get out from
it and on to open ground, before the night came on him.
Often he heard the roar of lions and the growl of bears,
but none came in his way; and at last he reached the
end of the woods.
The Catoblebe and the Cockatrice
HERE in front of Marcellus was the
Desert, and it stretched away and away
as though it went on for ever. It was
0 quite flat; wherever he looked there was
not a single hill, nor even a hillock, nor
so much as a little mound of earth. The ground of the
Desert was of the colour of baked clay, and here and there
were great cracks in it, where it had split in the blaze of
the sun. The sun shone down out of a perfectly deep-
blue sky (there were no clouds in the sky), and it was so
hot and fierce that it seemed to Marcellus that he would
be burnt in his armour. There was not so much as a
bush to give shade, and no birds and no animals seemed
to live there. For this terrible Desert nourished only
the worst kinds of Dragons, the Catoblebe and the
But, however fiercely the sun shone, and whatever
Of the Red Knight 67
Dragons might be in the path, across this Desert the
Red Knight must go, for it was the way to the World's
End. So he rode on very slowly, for he dared not go
out of a foot's pace, so great was the heat; and the bay
horse hung its head and tail mournfully. But it was
now getting towards evening, and, as the sun sank lower
and lower, so it grew little by little cooler.
At last the sun set, and it became dark very quickly ;
for so it is in the south.
Marcellus had no fear of wild beasts, for there were
none in the Desert, and the Dragons did not move about
at night, but only in the extreme heat of the day. He
lay down to sleep under the stars, and his horse, glad of
the coolness, slept also, standing by his side. So the
long, silent, solemn, night of the Desert passed, and it
was day again.
Now the adventure of the Red Knight with the
Dragons which slay elephants had taught him to wateh
the ground carefully for trails.
On this day he saw no trails. At night he slept again,
he and his horse.
But on the third day, when he had lost all sight of the
Mountain Atlas, he came to a place where the sandy-red
clay had been disturbed, and got down from his horse to
look at it more closely. The longer he looked the more
certain he felt that some creature moving over the Desert
had made these trails. For there were marks as of feet,
and he even thought he could trace where the toes had
stepped. Besides this, there was a long furrow, as
though a chain had been dragged, and this Marcellus
68 The World Wonderful
took to be the marks of the animal's tail. He knew,
too, that it could only be some kind of Dragon. But he
had never heard of the Catoblebe, for those who met
that deadly creature did not come back to tell of it.
A little further on he came to a more sandy part of the
Desert, and here he saw the trails again, and much more
plainly. For there were the marks of all four feet at
once, and of the tail as well, and a round hollow in the
sand where the body of the Dragon had rested when it
lay down to bask in the sun. From these marks the
Red Knight could see that the creature could not be
very large, for from the fore-foot-marks to the hind-foot-
marks was only the length of a man's forearm. So he
thought but meanly of the beast that had made the trails
as but a poor creature of a Dragon, not knowing that it
was the Catoblebe whose glance was death.
He rode on, scarcely looking to the right or to the
left. And as he rode, suddenly he saw a man running
towards him, a little black man, one of the Troglodytes,
who lived in the Desert here and there in holes in the
ground. When the Troglodyte saw the Red Knight
come down all clad in gleaming red armour he fell upon
his face upon the sand, as though dead with fright. But
Marcellus spoke to him kindly, telling him to rise up
and not to be afraid. So the Troglodyte got up on to
his feet, and stared with all his eyes at Marcellus.
Then the Red Knight asked him from whence he
came, and what had set him running so wildly. And the
man cried, "The Catoblebe! the Catoblebe!" and
pointed at the ground where the trails went along.
Of the Red Knight 69
Then he told Marcellus of the deadly nature of the
beast, and how it had but to glance with its eye and the
man or beast on whom the glance fell died as certainly
as though he had been stricken with a sword.
But now, Sir Knight in the Red Armour," said the
man, "the Catoblebe is taking its sleep in the sun.
Yea, it is just beyond us in a hollow of the Desert. If
it wakes, certainly it will see and kill us. Let us escape,
Sir Knight, while it still sleeps."
"No," said Marcellus, "but I will take my lance and
my sword, and will creep upon it while it sleeps, and
But if it wakes !" said the Troglodyte. For even
after the lance has gone through its heart, and even after
the sword has smitten off its head, if its glance fall upon
us, we shall die."
Then a thought came to Marcellus, and he stripped
his red cloak from his shoulders, and gave it to the
Troglodyte to hold. And he said:
"Listen, for I have a plan. Let us creep both
together upon the Catoblebe while it sleeps, and you
shall take the cloak in your hands, and I will take my
lance, and I will have my sword ready loosened in its
scabbard. And we will come very silently upon the
beast from behind, and you shall fling the cloak upon
its head so that the glance of its eyes may not fall upon
us. Then, whilst it is blindfold, I will slay it with my
lance and sword."
"It is a grievous danger, O Knight," answered the
man. And yet I am ready to take the chance, for the
70 The World Wonderful
presence of the beast is a daily peril to all of us. But
strike swiftly, sir, as soon as I have flung the cloak.
And I pray you take off your shoes of steel, and walk
barefooted upon the sand, for the beast has a keen
So Marcellus undid his greaves and sollerets, and laid
down his buckler, and loosened his sword in its sheath,
and took his lance firmly in hand. And the Troglodyte
took the cloak, and held it out ready to throw. So they
came very quietly upon the Catoblebe from behind.
And it still lay sleeping.
Marcellus saw it-a Dragon of a dull hue of grey,
short, but very sturdy, with broad feet, and the body
bloated. It lay with its head towards the sun, and they
could see the wrinkles of its skin moving as it drew its
breath slowly in sleep. Then the Troglodyte looked at
the Red Knight to make sure that he was ready, and
Marcellus gripped his lance the tighter, and answered
with a nod. And the Troglodyte flung the cloak so that
for the moment it hid the Dragon's head.
Then the Catoblebe awoke and moved, but, as it
moved, the Red Knight thrust down his lance, and it
went hard through the cloak and the head of the Cato-
blebe and deep into the ground, and the Dragon
writhed horribly. But Marcellus snatched his sword
and slashed and slashed again until he had slashed the
Catoblebe into two halves, and the hinder half still
lashed its tail venomously, whilst the foremost half tried
to drag the lance out of the ground. But the Troglo-
dyte heaped sand over the Dragon's head and trod it
Of the Red Knight 7'
down with his feet, and with great care they drew out
Thus they conquered the Dragon whose glance was
Then Marcellus went back to his horse, and did on
again his greaves and sollerets. The Troglodyte
thanked him for having rid that part of the Desert
of a great curse. And the Red Knight accepted his
thanks humbly-as is the manner of a good knight-
and rode on again towards the World's End.
It were a long story to tell of how Marcellus rode ever
on and on across the Desert, and how the land was
always the same, and there was no change from dawn to
sunset and from sunset back to dawn. And all day the
sun blazed, and all night the stars shone, and day
followed day without alteration, so that the Red Knight
lost at last all count of days. Yet he rode on and on,
looking only for the World's End, and day after day it
grew more and more deadly hot, as though it were true,
as some men thought, that there was at the South a
land where no man could live because of the immeasur-
able strength of the sun, and the Red Knight was now
coming to that place.
And at last he found the land turned from red to
black, as though some hot fire had breathed across it,
scorching and blackening it. And on the black the Red
Knight could see traces in white as though some creature
had been moving there. He looked at these trails care-
fully. They were very small.
But they were the traces of the Cockatrice, than whom
72 The World WIonderful
there was no greater peril in the whole world. For
though it was so small, it was yet so venomous that the
sight and the scent of it infected the air, and no men nor
beasts nor even serpents could live where it was, nor
could even green things grow, so that it was the lord of
all the land that it could pass over. And very resolutely
it kept its territories, casting the deadly blight of its
presence upon man and beast.
It was well for Marcellus that he had heard by rumour
something of the deadly nature of the Cockatrice, for,
though the beast lived so far away from the haunts of
men, report had gone out to the world about it. He
dreaded to think that he might be himself quite near to
this creature that had blasted even the ground into
blackness with its poison. But there was no choice but
to ride on, trusting that he might quickly pass over the
place where the Cockatrice dwelt, without meeting it.
And, first of all, he did all that in him lay to guard
against the poison of the beast. For he tore off part of
the trappings of his saddle, and some he bound around
the nostrils of his horse, and some he placed against his
own mouth inside the visor of his helmet, so that the
venom of the Cockatrice might reach him less easily.
Then he set spur to his horse, and rode hard across the
blackened ground. But, as he rode, he saw before him
something white against the black, and, as it moved, he
saw that it was the Cockatrice. And the beast saw him
come, and raised itself,' ready to spit out venom against
him. But the Red Knight couched his lance, and bore
down upon the Dragon, and he felt the lance strike it,
Of the Red Knight 73
and then a deadly poisonous breath made him reel
blindly in his saddle, so that he let go his hold of the
lance and caught the bridle of his horse with both hands
and urged it on. So he passed alive from this deadly
nearness to the Cockatrice. And, as his senses came
back to him, he turned in the saddle and looked back,
and saw his lance moving as the Dragon writhed upon
the ground to which the spear had pinned it.
A great gladness came over him then, for he knew
that he had conquered the Cockatrice also.
So he rode on, and soon the Desert grew from black
to red, and then from red to yellow; then green grass
began to show in patches; lastly, he saw trees. And
coming to the trees, the Red Knight found himself upon
the bank of a great river.
The Strange People that Lived in Ethiopia
HE River was very wide and as black as
ink, and in it lay great crocodiles asleep.
But the Red Knight passed over safely,
0 choosing the place where the water was
shallowest. The noise of the river
running over the stones of the ford drowned the splash-
ing which his horse made, so that he reached the farther
bank without waking any of the crocodiles.
Thereafter his course to the World's End at the South
lay along a grassy plain. Here and there were single
trees, which spread out fan-like leaves. As Marcellus
came to the nearest tree, he saw that something lay
asleep in its shade, and that Something was long and
lithe, and he feared that it might be some fresh kind of
Dragon. So he drew his sword-his one help now that
his lance was gone, for he dared not for his life go back
to withdraw it from the Cockatrice, lest he should die of
MARCEILUS A1'D THE SYRBOTS
Of the Red Knight 75
its poison-and came riding along slowly. When he got
quite close he saw what it was.
It was a man asleep, but the man was like no other
men, for he was quite twelve feet long as he lay sleeping
under the shadow of the fan-like tree. Marcellus came
and bent over and looked at him. Then he was minded
to ask him the way, so he touched him gently with his.
hand, and the man turned in his sleep, and sighed. Then
the Red Knight gave him a harder push, and he moved
his hands and half opened his eyes, but quickly shut them
again and turned back to sleep. So Marcellus pushed
him hard with his steel-shod toes, and at this the man
opened his eyes wide and sat up.
"Ar 1 who may you be ?" asked the Red Knight.
I am a Syrbot," he said, and he put his fists into his
eyes, and yawned.
"And what do you do ?" asked Marcellus.
"I sleep," said the Syrbot, "all day."
"And what dost thou at night?" asked the Red
I sleep through the night also," said the Syrbot.
Then Marcellus began to grow angry.
"Yet surely you must eat ?" he said.
"Nay, sleep is food to us," replied the Syrbot.
"And walk? "
"We Syrbots do not walk. We sleep."
"Then there are others like to you ?" said Marcellus,
full of wonder.
Look around," replied the Syrbot, yawning.
And he turned over to go to sleep again.
76 The World Wonderful
"Wait," said Marcellus. "Do you know the road to
the World's End?"
But the Syrbot was asleep.
The Red Knight did not wake him, but rode on.
There was a Syrbot under every tree. Some lay at full
length, and some were sitting with their backs against the
trees, and some held their legs up in the air. All were
sleeping soundly. Marcellus had some thought of waking
another Syrbot, and asking him where the World's End
was. But he felt sure that the Syrbot would not know.
So he rode on again, and soon there were no more
trees and no more Syrbots, but only bare grassy plain.
And all was silent for a long time, and then he heard in
the distance men shouting. The shouts grew louder,
and the men came into view, and Marcellus saw that
they were chasing something yellow which ran before
them. It came nearer and nearer. Then he saw that it
was a lion.
Now the Red Knight had never before seen a lion,
except behind the iron bars of a cage, when such
creatures were brought captive out of Africa into Sicily
to be shown to the curious for money. But, after having
met with and overcome the Catoblebe and the Cockatrice,
he felt no fear of the beast, but rode at it with sword
drawn. When the lion saw him, it reared up, and
ramped upon its hind legs, and roared terribly. But
Marcellus bent over his horse's neck, and thrust with his
sword. The sword went in at the lion's neck just where
the mane ends. And the lion fell back dead with the
sword in its heart.
Of the Red Knight 77
By this time the men had come up. The Red Knight
thought that he had never seen men so savage, for their
long hair hung all tangled down their backs, and their
teeth were long and showed over their lower lips, and
their faces were very fierce and ugly. They had flint
knives and axes of stone in their hands. They scarcely
MARCELLUS ASKS THE WAY TO THE WORLD'S END
even glanced at Marcellus, but fell upon the dead lion.
They were the Wild-Eaters who lived only upon the
flesh of lions and leopards. Now they were flaying the
lion, and cutting it into joints to roast at the fire. They
offered Marcellus a sirloin of lion, but he shook his head
gravely, thanking them nevertheless. Meanwhile, the
Wild-Eaters had made a fire of wood, and collops of
78 The World Wonderful
lion's flesh were roasting over it; and a very appetising
savour went up.
Marcellus asked them the way to the World's End, and
how far off it was, but they took no heed of him, being
altogether intent upon the cooking of their meat. One
only, being less busy-for his duty was but that of
cleansing their one dish, which he did by scouring it
with grass-answered that there was no end to the world,
or that if there were the Wild-Eaters did not know it.
He himself, he said, had wandered all his life, but he had
come to no such place.
"But," he said, "if you will ride towards the south-
,east you will without doubt come upon a people who
know more of these things than we poor Wild-Eaters.
For they have a Magic Dog for King, and do all he tells
them. For by long watching and serving the Dog they
know from the manner of his barking and from his
pointing and from the wagging of his tail what he
So Marcellus thanked him, and rode on.
And very long he rode before he saw these people.
But at last, when he had well-nigh given up all hope, he
saw smoke far off, and rode towards it. And under the
*smoke were tents, and the tents were full of people. So
Marcellus rode up and greeted them.
Then they also greeted the Red Knight after the
fashion of their tribe, by putting out their tongues, and
asked him what he wished. He told them that he was
seeking for the'End of the World at the South. They
,shook their heads, saying that they did not know, but
Of the Red Knight 79
that, if the Red Knight wished it, they would lay the
matter before the Dog, whose command to them had
been. to be kind and courteous to all travellers and
strangers. And they asked Marcellus to wait awhile and
partake of food with them, and they would consult the
Dog upon the affair.
Marcellus sat down, and they gave him hot cakes from
the fire, and milk to drink. But as for the Dog, they
said that he was asleep, and that they dared not wake
him, but that the Red Knight must wait patiently until of
his own accord the Dog was ready to listen.
Marcellus waited a long time.
Then one of the men came with a glad face, saying
that the Dog had stretched himself in his sleep, and that
without doubt he would soon wake. Marcellus waited
another hour. At the end of that hour another man
came, and he said that a fly had settled upon the nose of
the Dog, and that he was now waking. At this the
subjects of the Dog fell upon their hands and knees, and
so crept humbly to a tent apart by itself, larger than all
the others, and in the centre of the camp.
But the Red Knight stood erect, his plume waving,
though he had to bow himself to enter the low door of
the tent. There he saw the Dog, very large and solemn
looking, sitting upon a cushion. When the Dog saw
Marcellus, it wagged its tail courteously, and Marcellus
bowed with a knightly grace.
And the men laid the petition of Marcellus before the
Dog, and the Dog listened with ears pricked. Then he
turned from the tent, looking back at the Red Knight,
8o The World Wlonderful
as though asking him to follow. So Marcellus left the
tent, and went with the Dog to the very edge of the
camp. There, after anxious sniffing of the air all around,
the Dog-King bent his right foreleg, and his tail stiffened,
and Marcellus saw that he was pointing towards the
So the Red Knight gladly got him to his horse, and
rode out again in search of the World's End.
Gold-Land, and the Ants that Guarded it
0 0o ND he passed through the country of the
people with long noses, and met also
with the Asaches who lived upon the
flesh of elephants, as did the Wild-Eaters
upon that of lions and leopards, and saw
also the Atthabathits, who went upon all-fours grovelling.
But after passing through the countries of all these
people he came at last to a great and terrible desert
where there was no food for him to eat.
Now Marcellus had, when travelling through Ethiopia,
where it was full of different sorts of men, forgotten
altogether to replenish his store of food. So he found
himself in a sore strait in this desert, for the sun beat
down, and he was so weak with lack of food that he
could hardly bear up against its rays. Neither was there
any water in the desert, so that he came nigh to perish-
ing with thirst. His horse, too, was in the same evil
82 hTe World Wonderful
Yet he rode on bravely, and at the end, when he felt
that he had little more life in him, he saw before him a
table ready spread and every kind of viand upon it, both
flesh and fish and fowl, and oaten and wheaten cakes,
and honey and milk and wine. And there was no one
near it. So he sat down without more ado, and fell to
upon the food, and drank the milk and wine; and he
crumbled the cakes in his hand, and, mixing them with
milk, gave them to his horse to eat. When at last his
hunger was fully satisfied, weariness overcame him, .and
he lay down upon the sand and fell into a deep sleep.
It was drawing towards evening at the time that he
lay down, and when he awoke it was the afternoon of
another day. And being hungry again, he looked round
at the table to see whether there was enough of the
viands left for a second meal. Then to his wonder he
saw that all was fresh as though nothing had been
"There have been men here while I slept," thought
the Red Knight, "and they have renewed the food,"
So he looked around in the dry sand for the marks.of
their feet, but found nothing.
Then Marcellus fell again upon the food, and ate .and
drank to the desire of his heart. But he thought:
"This night I will sit up and watch, so that if any
come I may ask them my road to the World's End.
For certainly whoever fresh spread this table is a friend
to me, or else he had surely bound me and taken me in
So Marcellus sat up and kept watch the whole night
Of the Red Knight 83
through, and he knew that no one came near the table.
Yet in the morning when the sun rose, he saw that all
things were as they had at first been, and the food that
he had eaten was marvellously renewed, and the plates
which he had soiled were bright and clean again, and
the goblet from which he had drunk was bright and dry.
And a great wonder came upon him.
Then in the morning he saw men coming, and as they.
drew near he saw that they were black and very tall,
and that they wore ornaments of brass. They came up,
and greeted him courteously, telling him that they were
the Long-lived Ethiopians, and asking him his name,
and from what country he came, and where he was
going. All this Marcellus told them. Then they sat
around the table, and ate the food and drank the milk
and wine, and pledged the Red Knight in a health, and
he pledged them in return. Then he asked them to tell
him the secret of the table, and how the foods and
drinks that he had taken had been so marvellously
renewed. But they replied that only they knew that it
was so, but how was quite hidden from the wisest of
them. For ever since there had been Long-lived Ethio-
pians in the land, there had been this table spread in the
desert for all comers, and it had never lacked replenish-
ing. They called it the Table of the Sun.
Then he asked them of the World's End at the
South, and where it might lie, and how far. And they
said that they were not sure, but that they well thought
that it could not be far from Antland, where the Ants
lived that guarded gold. All the gold that came from
84 The Irorld fonderfiul
Ethiopia (and it was much) was, so they told him, in
this land, but it was hard to come by, for the gold lay
mixed with the sand of the desert, and the desert was
full of Ants as great as mastiffs, and with claws like the
claws of lions. And the Ants scraped up the gold from
the sand, and gathered it into heaps, and then lay
hidden behind these gold-heaps, watching. And if a
man came to take the gold, they leaped out and pursued
him, running as swift as dogs, and if they overtook him
they tore and devoured him. So that seeking the gold
was perilous work.
"Nevertheless," said one of the Ethiopians. "we
contrive to take much dust of gold from them. For we
come riding upon horses, whereof we have many good
ones at stall, and some of us draw away the Ants to
pursue us, whilst others ride quickly to the gold-heaps
and fill sacks with the gold. Yet it is a great danger,
and many Ethiopians have been torn and devoured."
"I would be glad to see those Ants," said the Red
Knight, "and, if it might be, to take some of that
And one of the Long-lived Ethiopians, a chief, rose
from the table to answer.
"I should myself," he said, "be glad to go with the
stranger. And I will draw away the Ants to pursue me,
and then will he have a right good chance to take some
of their gold. And all that you can take, Sir Knight,"
he said to Marcellus, "shall be your own, for gold is free
to any one in this land, provided that he can take it from
the Ants. Nevertheless, I warn you, Sir Stranger
Of the Red Knight 85
Knight, that only by riding hard upon a good horse can
you hope to escape away with the gold."
Of all that I am not afraid," replied Marcellus.
So the Ethiopian chief bade farewell to his comrades,
and Marcellus companiesd him to the village of the
Ethiopians. In this village there was a stable, and in it
many good steeds feeding. One of these the Ethiopian
took, and saddled and bridled it. Then he set out with
Marcellus towards Ant-land. And they rode several
At the end of these days they came to the border of
the Gold Country, and there they rested themselves and
their horses. And Marcellus did off all his armour, by
the advice of the Ethiopian, so that he might ride the
more lightly, and he set the armour up on a great rock
that it might shine from far off, and so he should find it
again. Then they rode out lightly into Ant-land, looking
out on every side for the Ants, and for the gold-heaps
which they made.
Soon they came to the tracks which the Ants had
made, and then, far off, they saw the little mounds and
hillocks of dust of gold all ashine as the sun's rays
glittered on them. The Ethiopian took the sack from
before his horse's saddle, and gave it into Marcellus's
hands, and together they shook their horses' bridles, and
rode towards the nearest of the mounds.
And indeed they had not gone more than half the way
before the Ant heard the noise of their horses' hoofs,
and came out from behind its heap-a terrible thing to
see! For it was black, and clad in hard shell as in