free ebooks

Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

You say your king is greater than the Ruski king


Mahommed

Azin had well-cut features and bore himself like a man of superior birth, but he was very bitter in his speech against fate and things in general. It was, nevertheless, wonderful how a man, living in a small village secluded from everybody and everywhere, had heard of flying machines, of submarine boats, of balloons that _ferenghis_ made. His ideas of them were rather amusing, but he was very intelligent and quick at grasping how they worked when I explained to him. Surgery interested him intensely, and after that politics. The Ruski and Inglis he was sure would have a great deal of trouble over Sistan. He could not quite make up his mind as to which was the bigger nation. When he heard Ruski's accounts of themselves he certainly thought the Ruski were the greater people, but when he listened to the Inglis and what they could do he really believed they must be stronger.

"Who do you think is the most powerful?" he inquired of me.

"Of course, the Inglis, without doubt."

"Then do you think that your king will grant me a pension, so that I can live in luxury and without working to the end of my days?"

"The king does not usually grant pensions to lazy people. Pensions are granted to people who have done work for the country."

"Well then, you see," exclaimed Mahommed Azin, in thorough unreasonable Persian fashion,

"you say your king is greater than the Ruski king, and he would not grant me a pension, I the last of the Kayanis!" He was sure the Ruski potentate would at once if he knew!

I left Husena at 9.30 a.m. on January 11th, striking south for Warmal. There were a good many wretched villages in succession half a mile or so apart from one another, such as Dubna, Hasan-Jafa, Luftulla and Husena Baba. The ground was covered with white salt which resembled snow.

Husena Baba was quite a large and important village. The inhabitants came out in great force to greet us. Although wood was extremely scarce at this village, nearly all the houses had flat roofs supported on rough rafters. Matting on a layer of reeds prevented the upper coating of mud from falling through. I came across several horses laden with bundles of long reeds which they dragged behind them, and which they had carried, probably from the Naizar, where they were plentiful.

We had altered our course from south to east, and here I parted with useful Gul Khan and the escort, who had to return to the Consulate. I mounted my riding camel and started off, this time south-east, on my way to Warmal.

Again we saw thousands of sheep grazing on the flat desert of dried mud and salt cracked in innumerable places by the sun. Here and there a close examination showed tiny tufts of dried grass, some two inches in circumference, and not more than half an inch tall, and at an average distance of about ten feet from one another. It was astounding to me that so many animals could find sufficient nourishment for subsistence on so scanty a diet, but although not very fat the sheep seemed to be in pretty good condition.

To the west we had a high ridge of mountains--the Patang Kuh--and between these mountains and our track in the distance an extensive marsh could be distinguished, with high reeds in profusion near its humid banks.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us