Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Women's Genre Fiction Project

Panola, an electronic edition

by Sarah A. Dorsey [Dorsey, Sarah A. (Sarah Anne), 1829-1879.]

date: 1877
source publisher: T. B. Peterson & Brothers
collection: Genre Fiction

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"THERE lived in the rich garden land of the world, which lies at the foot of the Himalayas, a great king, the first of all mankind, the wisest and the noblest. This great king was named Arya, and he had many sons and daughters, until the land of Paradise became too short and too narrow for them all to dwell in. So he called them one by one to his presence, and he gave them gifts and he sent them away to seek other lands and new Paradises; and they went forth weeping, bearing costly gifts of gold and pearl and silken garments fine as the woven wind; and they found new homes, some near by, some farther off from their father's house; and at last all were sent away but the youngest and the eldest born, who was to be king after his father. And finally, the youngest was to go, and his father gave him snow-white horses, and a golden circlet for his head, and bands of gold upon his arms, and he also gave to him, besides the garments of silk, other wrappings of wool and fur; for Odin, that was his name, had to go far, far away beyond the homes of his elder brothers, who had built up royal cities in all the lands they had taken possession of. That was all King Arya, had | | 163 to give to Odin, his youngest son, besides the strong bow and arrow, and the battle-axe of stone, which Arya had used to slay tigers and elephants with. Years and years now passed away. Arya was gathered to his fathers, and his eldest son reigned in his stead. Ages fled. The family of the great king still lived in the garden land of the Himalayas. They lived as they had ever lived, keeping up all the old traditions of the father land, and the Paradise grew poor and barren from the over-populousness, and the growth of rusty superstitions which overspread the minds of its inhabitants. Occasionally they would hear of, or hold intercourse with, their relatives who had settled in the gardens of Persia and Assyria and Egypt, and even still further in Greece and Rome. They never forgot their kinship. Indeed, it told itself in the likeness of the peoples, in their habits, language, religions. There were wonderful dramas enacted in this great family of the descendants of King Arya. But they never heard of the fate of the youngest born, the beloved Odin. He was supposed to be lost and entombed among the polar snows and ice. Ages passed, and still the family of the elder brother Hindus lived, half-sleeping, in their hot old ancestral home, when suddenly there came a lightning flash which circled round the earth."

"Telegraph," whispered Victor to Natika. Docteur Canonge smiled and nodded his head.

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"A lightning flash which startled them from their slumber. It brought greetings from the sons of Odin to their brethren. They had wrestled with nature in their cold northern home until they had won priceless gifts and secrets from her, and they came now, bearing all these precious gifts of science and art, of wisdom and skill, back to clasp the hands of their brothers, and thus to close the great golden circle of humanity, the glorious bond of family life amongst the children of the great King Arya. And they also brought back fully developed and much changed the traditions of their early faith. They gave into the hands of their brethren, instead of this book--"

Docteur Canonge took up his book and smoothed it gently with one hand while he spoke: "They gave to them--descendants of this book--they gave them the Zenda Vista, and the Koran, and the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Greek and Syriac Testament, and all the civilizations and all the knowledge that had grown out of all these, and instead of the circlet of gold the children of Odin wore--"

"Silk and beaver hats!" said Victor.

"Bonnets and plumes!" said Natika.

"Casques of mail and war feathers!" said Mark.

"No," said Docteur Canonge. "Ye Indians of America were not Aryans--not 'war feathers,' but 'casques of mail.' Yes, perhaps!

"And they walked on the sea with white-winged | | 165 ships, and carried thunder and lightning in their pockets, (pistols, you know), and ran express trains with smoking, chained, and fettered dragons," said Victor, laughing.

"Grandpapa, that is a lovely narrative," exclaimed Natika, throwing her arms about the old man's neck and kissing him. "And I shall always ever hereafter respect the old family Bible, the Bhagavat Gita."

Docteur Canonge pressed Natika to his bosom, and went off with his book held aloft in triumph above his bald head. Mark called after him timidly. Mark disliked so much to shake his grandfather's confidence in himself But he summoned up courage to say now what he had been thinking. "Grandpapa, did you make allowance for 'personal equation' in seeing that transit?"

Docteur Canonge stopped short, put down his book, smiled in a curious, puzzled, half-ashamed way. Then he pulled out his snuffbox, took a pinch out of it, and said slowly and half-reluctantly:

"No, I don't--believe I did!"

Mark looked down at his own figures on the paper,--"Would not it be better to--"

"Yes," interrupted the docteur, "of course it will be better; perhaps Moedler is not so far wrong as five seconds after all."

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