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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

The water is then sold to the city of Kashan


It

came on to blow very hard, and with the horses collapsing on all sides and the loads getting constantly undone owing to the repeated falls of the animals, we could not cover more than one mile, or two, an hour. Caravans generally take the road over these mountains during the day, so that now the road was quite deserted and we could get no assistance from any one. The loss of one horse increased our difficulty, as it involved putting more weight on the other horses.

At 3.30 a.m. we managed to reach the caravanserai in the mountains at Gyabrabat (Gabarabat), the sight of which was enough to settle all the horses. They one and all threw themselves down on reaching the door, and it was not possible to make them stand again. To continue the journey to Kohrut (Kohrud) through the night, as I had intended, was absolutely out of the question, so we roused the keeper of the hostelry and demanded admission.

The man was extremely uncivil, as he said he had some grievance against a previous English traveller, but on being assured that I would pay with my own hands for all I got and not through servants--a rule which I always follow, and which saves much unpleasantness and unfair criticism from the natives--he provided me with all I required. First of all I fed the horses. Then Sadek cooked me a capital supper. Then I gave the horses and myself some four hours rest--that refreshed us all very much.

justify;">The caravanserai was filthy. All the small rooms and alcoves were occupied, and I preferred to sleep out in the yard, sheltered from the wind behind the huge doorway. I had with me some boxes of my own invention and manufacture, which had accompanied me on several previous journeys, and which, besides a number of other purposes, can serve as a bedstead. They came in very usefully on that particular occasion.

From Gyabrabad to Kohrut the region is supposed to be a famous haunt of robbers. Undoubtedly the country lends itself to that kind of enterprise, being mountainous and much broken up, so that the occupation can be carried on with practical impunity. The road is among rocks and boulders. Although there are no very great elevations in the mountains on either side, the scenery is picturesque, with black-looking rocky slopes, at the bottom of which a tiny and beautifully limpid stream descends towards Kashan. The track is mostly along this stream.

[Illustration: The Track along the Kohrut Dam.]

[Illustration: Between Gyabrabad and Kohrut.]

After a steep, stony incline of some length, half-way between Gyabrabad and the Kohrut pass, one comes across a high and well-made dam, the work of a speculator. In winter and during the rains the water of the stream is shut up here into a large reservoir, a high wall being built across the two mountain slopes, and forming a large lake. The water is then sold to the city of Kashan. If in due course of time the purchase-money is not forthcoming, the supply is cut off altogether by blocking up the small aperture in the dam--which lets out the tiny stream the course of which we have been following upwards.


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