Monday, July 10, 2017

Kolbrin - Book of the Sons of Fire Chpt 6 - Tale of Hiram


This is a well told tale that is of a young man seeking his fortune in Egypt and his trials and tribulations.  As suggested, many aspects do lead to profitable contemplation and that is its proclaimed purpose for inclusion.

Folk live humbly around about the rare palaces of the wealthy and human nature plays itself out.  Yet we see no mention of  Gods generally except in passing at bast.  They are not part of the narrative unlike what we find elsewhere.

Some of this is almost modern that way.



Thute, the son of Pelath, a freeman of Elanmora in the land of the Hethim, wrote these things in the harvest years of his life, when his heart was filled with wisdom and understanding. He who reads them with the eyes alone will derive little benefit, but he who receives them with an enlightened and uplifted heart will find a response within the depths of his own spirit.

While Hiram Uribas, son of Hashem, was still a beardless youth taking his pleasure among the riches and splendour of his father's house, a wise man came from a faraway land. He came, not as a great man riding with  a rich caravan but weary-footed, begging water and food. These were not denied him and while he sat in the shade, slaking his thirst and satisfying his hunger, Hiram, the youth, came up to him with courteous greetings. 

The wise man was pleased and poured out words like jewels, so that the young man became filled with the desire for wisdom and Truth, swearing that from that day forward he would devote his life to the search for them.

After the departure of the wise man, Hiram became restless under his father's roof and it was not long before he set off with a bundle of food and skin of water for Uraslim. Arriving there he slept in the house of Gabel, a  servant at the temple of the Winged God of Fire, and from thence he journeyed towards Bethshemis, which lies  past Tirgalud, on the road to Egypt. Hiram was a young man of his people, tall of stature, with a darting bright- eyed glance. His long, band-bound hair hung low on bis shoulders and his stride was wide and firm. 

He came upon Bethshemis close to nightfall, when it was not good to enter the city, and therefore as darkness closed about him he prepared to lay himself down beneath the wall of a vineyard. This was owned by a wealthy  widow who, seeing the young man preparing for the night, sent men out to bring him into her guest house. The widow was neither old nor unbeautiful and when she saw the comeliness of the young man her heart was gladdened and she bade him welcome. Hiram did not depart with the light of the morning and it came to pass that the widow offered him a high place on her estates. Hiram accepted, for he was young and pleased with the honour, but in the course of time the widow had become enamoured with him and sought to make him her husband. Hiram sought a way of release from this, for he had already heard tales of the woman's many lovers.

The widow said to Hiram, "Be my husband, for the one I had has died and left no heir. Let us enjoy the fruits of your manhood, for I desire the seed of your body, so that I may have a splendid son. I will give you robes of blue and red and they will be laced with chains of gold. You shall ride in a high chariot wheeled with brass and poled with copper. Many servants will attend you and wise men brought from East and West will fill your heart with wisdom. You shall lack nothing that satisfies your desires."

Hiram was not at ease with himself, for he was young and lacked the wisdom to deal with the situation. He answered the widow hastily in these words, "You are a woman of beauty and this alone makes you a desirable  treasure to men, but how would it fare with me in marriage? It is said that you have had many lovers and they find you as a smouldering fire in a cold room, a door restraining neither wind nor sand, a roof that falls in upon the sleeper beneath it, a boat that drowns the boatman, the crust over a quicksand, water that does not slake the thirst and food that sits heavily on the stomach. Which man did you ever love with constancy, so that he walked in the joy of contentment? Which man could ever call you his?"

The words from his mouth stung the widow like hornets and she flew into a rage after the manner of women. 

 She called upon her servants and they beat Hiram with sticks and drove him off her estate. With a little more wisdom in his heart, he continued on his way into Egypt and after many days he arrived at the city of On.

 Hiram dwelt among the Southern Men [ Nubians ]on the outskirts of the city, for many had been captured during the wars and made slaves. When lustfully aroused the bodies of these men exude a sweet odour like honey, which no man can detect and it makes all women succumb to them. This is the manner in which the nation of Egypt sacrificed its purity. In the days when Hiram came to Egypt the Pharaoh Athmos ruled.

In those days Egypt was at war with the Abramites, for their great red-headed king had committed adultery with the wife of a prince of Paran. The remorseful king reaped as he had sown, for his favourite daughter was ravished by her own brother and his wives were humiliated and ravished before the eyes of all men. Because of the war, there was much coming and going of strangers in the city of On and Hiram went unnoticed.

Hiram dwelt long in Egypt and absorbed its wisdom, but the thing which delighted his heart the most was the tale of its long-hidden treasures. He learnt about the nest-burning bird whose wondrous many-hued egg granted  men the gift of eternal life. He heard about the serpent pearls and the bright jewels which glowed with the light of the sun even on the darkest night. All these things he desired to possess for himself. 

The nesting place of the nest-buming bird was among the Mothbenim, eastward of Egypt, but among the treasures of Egj^t was one of its eggs. The egg, the pearls and the jewels were safeguarded in a dark cave upon an island called Inmishpet, which was set in the middle of a lake called Sidana. In the waters of the lake were fearsome water monsters, part beast, part fish. On the shores of the lake dwelt the shapeshifting priests, guardians of the treasures.

Northward of the lake was a broad pastureland where the shepherd Naymin tended the temple flocks, but Naymin was old and had no son who would follow him. Therefore, he took Hiram into his household and Hiram became as a son to him, tending the sheep of the temple, and no Egyptian was with him.

One day, while the sheep still suckled their lambs, Hiram was out in the pastures, sitting near the cool waters because of the heat. As he reclined in the shade he played gay shepherd tunes on his flute and in the many times  he had been there no one had ever disturbed him. Yet not far away was the House of the Virgins of Eire, but the maidens who dwelt there rarely went abroad.

This day, however, Asu, daughter of the High Priest, walked abroad and hearing the melody of the flute drew near to listen, but Hiram did not see her because of the bush between them. The maiden sat down, taking the sandals of her feet.

Hearing a cry from one of the sheep in the distance Hiram stopped plajdng and stood up, his back towards the maiden. She, seeing him standing up, sought to creep away before he saw her, but as she did so her foot was pierced by a thorn and she let out a cry of pain. Hiram turned and seeing her distress hastened to help her. He withdrew the thorn tenderly and carried her down to the pool, so that she could bathe the foot in cool waters. 

While she did so he entertained her with sweet melodies on his flute.

The maiden fell in love with Hiram and he with her, but because she was a dedicated virgin and daughter of the High Priest neither could open the doors of their heart. The maiden spent nights weeping, for she had a love for which there was no remedy. Hiram took his flock to other pastures, but still their hearts drew them back to the place of meeting and they met again and yet again.

Now, the wife of Naymin noticed that Hiram pined as with a sickness and she spoke to him about it, and he told her of Asu, the maiden from the House of the Virgins of Eire. The wife of Naymin spoke words of consolation for this hopeless love, knowing they helped but little.

In the fullness of the year Hiram took his flock to distant pastures around the other side of the lake. While he was away the wife of Naymin took herself dovm to the place where he was wont to meet Asu, and one day Asu came. She was known to the wife of Naymin who was the gatherer of herbs for the temple. They spoke of many things, of Hiram and of the gods, of priests and their ways and of temples and those who served in them, of life and of man and of woman.

Now, when Hiram returned it was nigh the feast of sheepslaying and at this time sacrifices of lambs were made to the watermonsters in the lake. While away Hiram had thought about Asu and about the treasure of Egypt, both seemingly equally unattainable. The wife of Naymin spoke to him rarely and Hiram wondered, for this is  not the way of women.

On the eve of the feast of sheepslaying the lake boats were prepared for the annual pilgrimage to the island.

Among these was the great boat of Erab, kept in memory of the day when the Scorcher of Heaven rose with the sun, and earth was overwhelmed. From this boat the sacrificial lambs were offered to the watermonsters and on it served Asu and eight virgins. There, too, the High Priest officiated.

Hiram had conceived a plan within his mind whereby, at the risk of bis life, he might possess himself of the treasures of Egypt. This year, Naymin being now frail, he alone would be in charge of the sacrificial lambs, together with two boy priests to assist him. They came from the Temple of the Lake dedicated to the Bright Bearded One who once saved Earth from destruction through fiery hail by making a third round. 

On the night before the festival, Hiram slept with his small flock beside the boats and at first light they were put aboard. As the sun rose upon high the High Priest came with many other priests and princes, and the virgins came also. They offered sacrifices at the Temple of Departure and then set out upon the waters. In another boat were Naymin and his wife and there were other boats filled with people.

After making offerings upon the waters the boats arrived at the island and preparations were made for the Island Ceremony, which lasted throughout the night. The lambs were offered as darkness came and the waters became red with blood, and the watermonsters satiated with meat.

Now, the cave on the island was protected from men by the Spirit of Mot, who had died there in days long forgotten, and the priests guarded its entrance. But Hiram did not fear the Spirit of Mot, for it could do no harm to one who carried upon his body the same bloodscar as Mot had borne. Hiram the stranger had been so marked out from other men in his childhood.

At the sixth hour of the night three virgins entered the cave to bring forth the treasures, and with them went a priest protected by sanctification in the blood of a lamb. Five priests who were Guardians of the Treasures and never left the island also went into the cave with them, garbed in skins and masked with the heads of beasts. The treasures were brought forth and placed upon the altar against the rock wall beside the cave, so that all might behold them. Over the altar was laid a cloth of linen and gold. While the people passed before the treasures and danced and sang, priests came and went in the cave.

Before the cave and away from the road leading down to the lake, there was a pathway which went down to the Pool of Purification. Here, after the maidens had bathed, men and women came down one by one to be purified in its waters. They then went through an opening into the lake and, passing through the waters along the shore where they rose not much above the waist, ascended by steps through a small arched temple back on the road. If they were truly purified they were never touched by watermonsters.

Never had a maiden been taken by the watermonsters, but on this awfiil night, while a maiden passed between pool and temple, there was a loud cry of agony quickly stifled. The island fell silent with forboding and as the night passed the name of Asu was whispered from mouth to mouth. The treasures were carried back in gloom and silence under a mantle of dread, and the head of the High Priest was bowed in sorrow and disgrace. 

When the boats departed none noticed that Hiram was missing, for his duty done he could return in any boat. 

 And none was the strange craft that clove the waters of the lake of Sidana that night. Hiram returned to the shepherd hut of Naymin and nothing was said to him, for Naymin thought he had joined with the people sorrowing in the temples, and always many remained about for several days.

When Hiram had refreshed himself he left Naymin who was weary and weighed down with age and sorrow, and prepared to return to his flocks. In his grief, because of the death of Asu, he could find solace nowhere, except perhaps in the familiar solitude among his sheep. But the wife of Naymin said, "Let me walk with you a little way, for I, too, suffer and yet must seek herbs which are needed and not easy to find." When they had gone some distance, she said, "I go this way, will you not accompany me and humour an old woman who may need your aid?"

Hiram did so, for the woman was even as his own mother, though he could not understand her strange manner. 

She brought him to a place in a hollow enclosed by thickets, and lo there was Asu. When the embraces and the greetings were over and the explanations given, the wife of Naymin said, "Here you cannot remain. There are clothes and food and no pursuers will follow the maiden, and none will query your departure. Go this night, taking thought for nothing here, for you are young, with a lifetime of joy before you, after the pangs of parting have passed."

Hiram said, "No gladness, no joy can ever surpass what I now feel, yet this thing increases a burden already upon me and is less simple than it appears. For this you must know, I have taken the treasures of Egypt and hidden them in a place where no man can find them. Who would suspect me if I went about my task without change, a shepherd with no thought beyond his sheep and flute? The cry may be raised even now, though I think another day will pass first. Then who could frace the passage of every man who has departed, even though pursuit is made in all directions? Why did you not tell me of your plot?"

The wife of Naymin said, "How could you be told of something which might not have been or which you might have befrayed by glance or bearing? We, too, thought you no more than a simple shepherd with no thought beyond flute -playing, except love. What now will you flee with the maiden and abandon the treasures? Or shall she flee alone, for she is committed to flight."

Hiram said, "I cannot abandon love for treasure, but neither can I abandon this treasure for Hf e or let it corrupt. 

Therefore, let Asu, the maiden disguise herself and together we will depart to a safe place without the treasure, none suspecting she still lives. Then in the fullness of time I will return and recover the treasure, for no man can discover its hiding place. However, I will not depart in haste but wait and bid Naymin farewell and go in the fullness of time."

Hiram left Asu and returned with the wife of Naymin. Coming in to Naymin Hiram told him he had had a vision such as no man could disregard and must go to the land of his fathers, but would return before the coming again of the season. That night a great cry went up among the temples and in the light of the morning men came and questioned Naymin and those with him, but found them simple shepherds.

Hiram departed, taking the ass of Naymin and with him went the wife of Naymin. They were joined by Asu, cloaked as a beggar girl who earned her food by ungainly dancing, whose face was unwashed and clothes unclean. They accompanied men who hunted for the stolen treasures and their possessions were open before the eyes of all men. After seven days the wife of Naymin returned.

Hiram and Asu went onwards until they came to Bethelim near Fenis. beyond the borders of Egypt, and they dwelt there among the Kerofim. In the fullness of time Hiram returned to Egypt and recovered the treasures, bringing them inside skins hidden within other skins filled with water and oil. Now, when Hiram had left Egypt and drawn nigh to Bethelim, he saw that the dwelling he had left no longer stood and the fields about it were overgrown with burning bushes. Within the burnt out ruins he found remains and bones and knew them for those of Asu and the Kerofim with whom she dwelt. He saw that they had died by the sword. 

Hiram did not linger at the place of death and thought to take himself to a place of safety, but knowing the dangers of the land he sought a place where he hid the egg of the nest-buming bird and the pearls, all except two, and most of the jewels. Having secured them in safety, he went on his way.

Hiram kept going until he came upon a small wooded place nearly two days journey away. Here, while he slept, two wild swine came and swallowed three of the jewels which he had tied in a piece of hide. Later he lost one while fording a river, and one was taken from him when he sought shelter in a temple. Two pearls and two jewels were taken from him by other priests who placed them in the treasury of their god. The remaining treasures which he had with him were lost when he was waylaid, and though his life was spared he was left bleeding and near to death. As Hiram lay by the roadside he was succoured by wandering metalworkers and brought back to health by them, for they were men of his own blood.

Hiram remained with the metalworkers for some years and learned their craft. He became skilled in the making of weapons and in their use. In the fullness of time he returned to the place where he had secreted the treasures and recovered them. He then went down to a city by the sea and took ship to a far off land. No man has seen him since, but it is said he married the daughter of a king and became a prince among foreign people.

This is the tale of Hiram. As vmtten, it was a wordy tale and well preserved but without great import. It has imaginative descriptions and indulged in valueless flights of poetic fancy. Therefore, it is rendered in outline and reduced to a few paragraphs. 

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