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Hedayat, Sadeq - The Mongol's Shadow

Hedayat, Sadeq - The Mongol's Shadow

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Published by: penguin79 on Jan 31, 2010
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02/17/2014

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THE
MONGOL'S
SHADOW
"0
undefiled
Zoroastrian!KnoUJ
that
al
th("
end0/
atllOtUand
Y"(lff
the
worsterashall
begin;
that
hundreds,
thousands,
tenrhollSandsof
devilstt;/thdisheveledhair,born
0/
therace
of
Evil,
fllall
overrun
the
'Mlionojiranfrom
theEu,t.
TIII:Y
willburnanddestmy
all:
l(w,.',
possession,manliness,generosity,faith,rrlithfulncH,happiness,rau,
cC?mforf,
mirth:
they
(villviolateal!
the
works
d o / 1 . ~
intilename
v!
Ahuni
M,nda
and
put
<In
end
/0
tile
A f a ~ d
..
an
religrorl
(lndtfle
,ii/jill!
of
(in:.
Then
they
u:ill
rule
with
oppression
and
fierceness."
Bllhml1,1
Yasht,22-24.
Pouring
withsweat
Shahrokh
wurkedhis
way
through
Inc
s ~ m l c d
tangle
of
ancienttrees.
His
dishevelledhair
hung
downtohisshculdersinmats.
His
largetroubledeyes
had
theglowof
the
sick.Hishroad
pale
foreheadwasdisfiguredwithscratches.
He
heldhislefthand
In
front
of
hisrightupper
arm
protectively,
so
that
nothingcouldtouch
it.
He
hJd
lost
a
IDt
Df
blDod.
His
clDtheswereintalters:lnd
hi,
tet:t
were
cakedin
mud.
When
he
cdughtSightofthestream,hisface
ch.1,1ged.
He:
walkedsDftly
and
cautiDuslytotheoaktree
and
sat
down
onitsrootwhichjuttedupfromthe
ground.
The
tree
trunk
wasbulky
and
hollowinside.
He
lookedabout
him:
it
seemed
as
though
hewasthefirstone
to
haveever
been
t l L e r t ~ .
The
place
....
':lS
so
thicklyovergrowll,thewaythere
h:td
been
so
circuitous.'md
full
ofsnarls
that
noone,noanimal
even,could
haw,possibly
made
itbelore
him.
Was
he
ill
Ihc
mddle
ofthe
jU:1glc
orclose
to
a
vilbge?
W;lS
it
norning
stilloralmostdusk?
He
wasn'tsureuf
allY
thing,exceptthatit
wasn't
nightandhe
iadn't
founda,heltervet.
He
thought:
'theplacewasbothominous
and
pleasant.
There
\V<JS
yellowish-greenmoss
on
thetreetnitlksabouthim.
The
leaves
on
the
sround
haddecomposed
and
become:
partoftheblackearth.:lnd
under
them,
thmugh
them,were
bbdes
of
g r ~ s s
pushing
UpW;lr<;!.
The
smell
%
 
in
the,llrwasthatof
mu\ty
cdhn;
It
came
from
Ihehrowll·(oIOleod
leavES,
underwhich
therewerehnrues.ofinsects,black'lnubl<lwnbeetlc\,
;lnc!
over
them
largeflies
with
longlegs,slenderwaists
and
transparentwings,circlinginthesunlight.
The
poolatthebottom
of
the
streamwasfull
of
blackslime
and
decJyingJe:lves.Every
so
often
tiny
bubble.,
surbccd
to
Ihetop
;lTld
hurst;
butthe
stream
itself-a
narrol\'linethat((lurseditswayover)lehblcs-w;Js
sparkling
and
c1e<1r.
Shdhrokhleanedforward
<1nd
dipped
hiS
ldt
hand
intothestrC:lm.Thecoolnessshotthro\lbhhisskin,rclle\'lllg
him
fora
moment
from
the
pain
in
hisbody.
for
fivedaysheh:lJbeenlost,
wanderingthrough
the
m;lZeoftheHer:iz[Jijungle,
nursing
:l
wounded
Jrm
andgoing
nowhere
in
particular.
\VJS
hetrying
to
stay
in
hiding
or
getto
:l.
viJiage?Village,wh:ll
\'ilbge:Did
the
Mongolsleave
anythingstanding
behllld
them?
Hewo.likethousandsofothers,hadbeenforcedintothe)ur:gle,
and
thertllfchadwashedits
hands
of
h\)11.
He
hadlived
up
tillthentoget
his
o\\'n
hack-;lnd
now
th;lt
W;15
Gone.
\Vhat
more
wasthere
to
say?Perhapsoutside
the
junglesome
df
thoseyellowbast:lrdswere
snIl
lookingforhim.
:\nyway,
wlJ.\ldliTercncedidit
make
whetherhejivedor
not-or
whether
hiScarC;lSS
W<1S
covered
with
flies,
or
aJeopardsniffedhimovrr,orthe;\Ilts
dug
theirway
through
his
hem?
\Vas
he
madeofanybellermdTth;lnGolsh:id?Whatdifference
did
it
makeiftheycut
h1m
topieces?
Much
better
to
f.lIl
mlotheh;lnds
(If
thcMongols.
Much
better
to
starethosefilthy
anirn:-d,
\11
theface
ag<1in.
The\'
j ~ a d
plunderedhiscountry.
They
hadbllcuhi;hetrothed.
How
CDuld
hefreehimself
from
those
horrors'
The
c r ~ ·
of
his
betrothed
hell1g
q;rhbed
W;lS
stillinhisears.
\\'hen
hegottherehestoppCt!
LI1
thedoorway,saw
Golsh:-Ll.l
strlpped,lying
11<1kn1.
the
Mongol
(Oil
((Ip
ot
hcr,
thrashing
Oll!
herJrms
andlegs,stretchin(.:
oUt
herthinmmcles.screaming:
"Shahrokh!
Shahrokh!Wherearc
you)Get
him
oJ1
me!"
The
Mongol's
shnted
eyeswereglistening.
HIS
facewascrooked;lndAushtd.
His
noselooked
as
thoughit
h;lc!)JW1
thnened
bya
hammer.
His
brdidcd
hair
swayedover
the
backofhishe;ld,lIkethewilofJcow.Wh:Hahideous
laugh
hehad!
He
pulledouthisswordand
rm)l<:'cl
forw;lfdlikeam;ldman.
Then
someone,hecouldn'tlell
who-whether
it
W;lS
the
Mongol'sfriendor
his
brother;they
both
lookecl
;llikc-grabbed
his
hands
frombehindandbeforehecouldtake;lJlothersteptied
himup
with
arope
and
shoH:cl
aclothintohismollth.
Then
the
onewiththe
g h ~ s d y
bugh
and
f1ushtd
~ p p e ; H J n C e
threw
Ihetwistedbody
of
Golsh;ld
on
therug,
drew
outhissword
and
pushed
itinlo
her
eyes.God,
whJt
;1
fearfulcryshe
leI
out!
The
roomtrcmblecl.
He
w,mhed
himcutoff
her
ears
and
nose.
97
 
The
bloodspurtedupinf(Jllntains,
Then
11<'
plunged
his
sword
into
herbelly.Aftcr
that
ad,Hkhazesettledoverhiseyes.
He
closedthem
tight.
lIe
heardtheMongol'shideouslaugh,themumed
mCJJas
of
Go]sh3d,
the
twitching
of
herhandsand
feet.
¥lhen
heoj'cned
his
eves
Jgain,
hesaw
the
savage-the
Mongol-with
the
drooping
mustacheandslantedeyesreelingover
her
hody.
He
w:>,
ina
SI;)te
of
ecstasy!
Th",
sight
of
blood
had
made
himdrllnk!Sh:ihrokh
tried
toshakehimself
loost",
hut
it
was
like
being
C:lUght
undersomething
too
heavytolift.
It
W;I>
getting
rbrker.
ThIcksmoke
blew
into
the
room.A
tongueoflire,like
m o l t ~ ' n
iron,k:tpt
\lP
from
thehousenext
door.
The
Mongol
~ l l 1 ( J
hiscohortplllltd
:t
sack
to
the
window;
thellhandswcrebloody
and
their
bees
glowd
in
the
light
of
Ihe
fire.
One
of
thCfll
turned
~ n d
started
movinh"
toward,
h ~ r n
with
;l
sword.\[onlyhe
Iud
been
killedrhen,
alon.!.;
with(;olsh,'iJ;butthere
wasmorc
anguish
ahe;Jdof
him_
He
h:1(l
~ 1 l 1 l
to
pollutehis
sword
IH
filthy
Mongpl
blood.Theil
there
W;)S
a
era.,ll
and
the
,Ioor
or
tlK
j!lfUH
bur'!
0j'CIl.
TheMongolwho
was
moving
l o w J n l ~
him
1;111
tothewUldow.helped
his
cohortpick
up
thesack
and
thrlHV
it
( J l J t ~ ] ( I < . : ' .
Then
he
~ : l \ " -
(heirforms,
d:Hkened
againstthelightof
t1w
Ore,
risc
l i ' ~ e
pillar<;,
t:lkr·
the
shapeofademon
and
leapdown
;)nc!
d i ' ~ p p e a r
into
die
<,ll1o!;e
Jnd
fire.
Four
mell
enteredtheroomc:lfryillg
\\·(':lPOI1,
..
\rn(IJ1,C:
them
was
,\(]lIShe,
hiscousin,
and
hi,l
oldfriend
P,JSI'\-I(Jn
who
C l l l , ~
Uf'
to
him
and
untied
his
hands.
When
he
was
free,
he
,<,tl'll'j>ed
flll
c I " l h ( ' ~
andthrewhimselfontopofGolshJ:d.She
w a ~
IJ1lJnu',u!
ll1
blood.
\V
Jr'll,tickybloodspurtedfromher
wOllnds.
Ht"f
rnanglnl
1",Jr
quin>[e'd
J l : . l l l 1 ~ t
his
own.
Now
and
then
if
[witched.
H ~
ItlrnnllJL<;
Lie
.I,,'ay.
'Thick
smoke
poured
in
through
thewindow,
fillill
i
!
the
rnc,m
with
du<;t
and
< l ~ h e s .
The
fire
wa,
'preading.
Theil
Clnle
ILl',(ltllte!
of
a
wof
c;I\·jng
infullowed
by
sere;)nh
,me!
mo,lIH.
P.\lhl"Han
g:lZ;d
.H
t h ~
body
of
C;ulsh.'id,
his
f:lct'.
Rushed
andbeadedwith
.\wut.
Then
he
ttimed
to
him
bitterlyandmutteredbetweenhis
teeth:
"You
W\Te
lwre.
r'{au:t(tually
SJW
...
!"
Colshadwas
his
sister.Suddcnlyhe
!o"bJ
d,t"I,(d,
.11
tht,,>c:h
he
had
Just
rC;l!i;>:ed
her
l o ~ s .
!
Ielowered
his
held
,1l1d
Wiped
Il:c
IWUt
elf
hi.>
forehc;ld.Itwas
there
in(hemidst
(I[
the
Ilimult,o\'\:rher
boch-,
(rut
Sh:ihrokhhadtaken
his
oath:
eit_her
to
makcthem
pay
f(,r
h<:r
de-Jlh
or
d',e
in
the
process-at
the
hand,
of
those
b,l,tJnh
who
hJd
nnlhill.l.':
III
nlind
otherthan
haehng
and
hewing,
killing
and
pillaging.FrrJI'.'thenon
he
'0ught
thcm
OUL
It
was
this(ksireforrewng<'that1l1,ri\ltd
in
hima
feeling-
forlife.
From
that
moment.
he
wanted
to
be
;l!:\'('.
I-Ie
wJnted
to
kIll
Mongols.
98

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