ZARAH THE CRUEL
“Narrower than the ear of a needle.”—Arabic Proverb.
The Holy Man, motionless, gaunt, his eyes filled with the peace of Allah, the one and only God, stood afar off, outlined against the moonlight, watching two horsemen fleeing for their lives across the desert.
Pursued by a band of Arabs which hunted them for murder done in the far, fair City of Damascus and had hunted them throughout the Peninsula, they headed for the Mountains of Death towering in the limitless sands of the burning desert and cut off from the world by the silvery belt of quicksands which surround them completely.
Uninhabited by beast or human being within the memory of man and the memory of his fathers, and his fathers’ fathers, yet did the wandering story-teller, as he flitted from town to village, from Bedouin camp to verdant oasis, make song or story of the legend which has clung to the pile of volcanic rock throughout the centuries...