In the second part, we learn of the Lord of all Deaths, of the God of Going, and of the Thousand Home Gods.
⁓The Voice before the Void
The Gods of Pegāna
THE DEEDS OF MUNG
(Lord of all Deaths between Pegana and the Rim)
Once, as Mung went his way athwart the Earth and up and down its cities and across its plains, Mung came upon a man who was afraid when Mung said: “I am Mung!”
And Mung said: “Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee?”
And Mung said: “Not less tolerable to thee shall be the forty million years to come!”
Then Mung made against him the sign of Mung and the Life of the
Man was fettered no longer with hands and feet.
At the end of the flight of the arrow there is Mung, and in the houses and the cities of Men. Mung walketh in all places at all times. But mostly he loves to walk in the dark and still, along the river mists when the wind hath sank, a little before night meeteth with the morning upon the highway between Pegana and the Worlds.
Sometimes Mung entereth the poor man’s cottage; Mung also boweth very low before The King. Then do the Lives of the poor man and of The King go forth among the Worlds.
And Mung said: “Many turnings hath the road that Kib hath given every man to tread upon the earth. Behind one of these turnings sitteth Mung.”
One day as a man trod upon the road that Kib had given him to tread he came suddenly upon Mung. And when Mung said: “I am Mung!” the man cried out: “Alas, that I took this road, for had I gone by any other way then had I not met with Mung.”
And Mung said: “Had it been possible for thee to go by any other way then had the Scheme of Things been otherwise and the gods had been other gods. When MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI forgets to rest and makes again new gods it may be that They will send thee again into the Worlds; and then thou mayest choose some other way, and not meet with Mung.”
Then Mung made the sign of Mung. And the Life of that man went forth with yesterday’s regrets and all old sorrows and forgotten things—whither Mung knoweth.
And Mung went onward with his work to sunder Life from flesh, and Mung came upon a man who became stricken with sorrow when he saw the shadow of Mung. But Mung said: “When at the sign of Mung thy Life shall float away there will also disappear thy sorrow at forsaking it.” But the man cried out: “O Mung! tarry for a little, and make not the sign of Mung against me now, for I have a family upon the earth with whom sorrow will remain, though mine should disappear because of the sign of Mung.”
And Mung said: “With the gods it is always Now. And before Sish hath banished many of the years the sorrows of thy family for thee shall go the way of thine.” And the man beheld Mung making the sign of Mung before his eyes, which beheld things no more.
THE CHAUNT OF THE PRIESTS
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
The chaunt of the priests of Mung.
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
All day long to Mung cry out the Priests of Mung, and, yet Mung harkeneth not. What, then, shall avail the prayers of All the People?
Rather bring gifts to the Priests, gifts to the Priests of Mung.
So shall they cry louder unto Mung than ever was their wont.
And it may be that Mung shall hear.
Not any longer than shall fall the Shadow of Mung athwart the hopes of the People.
Not any longer then shall the Tread of Mung darken the dreams of the people.
Not any longer shall the lives of the People be loosened because of Mung.
Bring ye gifts to the Priests, gifts to the Priests of Mung.
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
The chaunt of the Priests of Mung.
This is the chaunt of the Priests.
THE SAYINGS OF LIMPANG-TUNG
(The God of Mirth and of Melodious Minstrels)
And Limpang-Tung said: “The ways of the gods are strange. The flower groweth up and the flower fadeth away. This may be very clever of the gods. Man groweth from his infancy, and in a while he dieth. This may be very clever too.
“But the gods play with a strange scheme.
“I will send jests into the world and a little mirth. And while Death seems to thee as far away as the purple rim of hills; or sorrow as far off as rain in the blue days of summer, then pray to Limpang-Tung. But when thou growest old, or ere thou diest, pray not of Limpang-Tung, for thou becomest part of a scheme that he doth not understand.
“Go out into the starry night, and Limpang-Tung will dance with thee who danced since the gods were young, the god of mirth and of melodious minstrels. Or offer up a jest to Limpang-Tung; only pray not in thy sorrow to Limpang-Tung, for he saith of sorrow: ‘It may be very clever of the gods,’ but he doth not understand.”
And Limpang-Tung said: “I am lesser than the gods; pray, therefore, to the small gods and not to Limpang-Tung.
“Natheless between Pegana and the Earth flutter ten thousand thousand prayers that beat their wings against the face of Death, and never for one of them hath the hand of the Striker been stayed, nor yet have tarried the feet of the Relentless One.
“Utter thy prayer! It may accomplish where failed ten thousand thousand.
“Limpang-Tung is lesser than the gods, and doth not understand.”
And Limpang-Tung said: “Lest men grow weary down on the great Worlds through gazing always at a changeless sky, I will paint my pictures in the sky. And I will paint them twice in every day for so long as days shall be. Once as the day ariseth out of the homes of dawn will I paint the Blue, that men may see and rejoice; and ere day falleth under into the night will I paint upon the Blue again, lest men be sad.
“It is a little,” said Limpang-Tung, “it is a little even for a god to give some pleasure to men upon the Worlds.”
And Limpang-Tung hath sworn that the pictures that he paints shall never be the same for so long as the days shall be, and this he hath sworn by the oath of the gods of Pegana that the gods may never break, laying his hand upon the shoulder of each of the gods and swearing by the light behind Their eyes.
Limpang-Tung hath lured a melody out of the stream and stolen its anthem from the forest; for him the wind hath cried in lonely places and the ocean sung its dirges. There is music for Limpang-Tung in the sounds of the moving of grass and in the voices of the people that lament or in the cry of them that rejoice.
In an inner mountain land where none hath come he hath carved his organ pipes out of the mountains, and there when the winds, his servants, come in from all the world he maketh the melody of Limpang-Tung. But the song, arising at night, goeth forth like a river, winding through all the world, and here and there amid the peoples of earth one heareth, and straightaway all that hath voice to sing crieth aloud in music to his soul.
Or sometimes walking through the dusk with steps unheard by men, in a form unseen by the people, Limpang-Tung goeth abroad, and, standing behind the minstrels in cities of song, waveth his hands above them to and fro, and the minstrels bend to their work, and the voice of the music ariseth; and mirth and melody abound in that city of song, and no one seeth Limpang-Tung as he standeth behind the minstrels.
But through the mists towards morning, in the dark when the minstrels sleep and mirth and melody have sunk to rest, Limpang-Tung goeth back again to his mountain land.
(The God of Little Dreams and Fancies)
Yaoharneth-Lahai is the god of little dreams and fancies.
All night he sendeth little dreams out of Pegana to please the people of Earth.
He sendeth little dreams to the poor man and to The King.
He is so busy to send his dreams to all before the night be ended that oft he forgetteth which be the poor man and which be The King.
To whom Yoharneth-Lahai cometh not with little dreams and sleep he must endure all night the laughter of the gods, with highest mockery, in Pegana.
All night long Yoharneth-Lahai giveth peace to cities until the dawn hour and the departing of Yoharneth-Lahai, when it is time for the gods to play with men again.
Whether the dreams and the fancies of Yoharneth-Lahai be false and the Things that are done in the Day be real, or the Things that are done in the Day be false and the dreams and the fancies of Yoharneth-Lahai be true, none knoweth saving only MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, who hath not spoken.
OF ROON, THE GOD OF GOING, AND THE THOUSAND HOME GODS
Roon said: “There be gods of moving and gods of standing still, but I am the god of Going.”
It is because of Roon that the worlds are never still, for the moons and the worlds and the comet are stirred by the spirit of Roon, which saith: “Go! Go! Go!”
Roon met the Worlds all in the morning of Things, before there was light upon Pegana, and Roon danced before them in the Void, since when they are never still, Roon sendeth all streams to the Sea, and all the rivers to the soul of Slid.
Roon maketh the sign of Roon before the waters, and lo! they have left the hills; and Roon hath spoken in the ear of the North Wind that he may be still no more.
The footfall of Roon hath been heard at evening outside the houses of men, and thenceforth comfort and abiding know them no more. Before them stretcheth travel over all the lands, long miles, and never resting between their homes and their graves—and all at the bidding of Roon.
The Mountains have set no limit against Roon nor all the seas a boundary.
Whither Roon hath desired there must Roon’s people go, and the worlds and their streams and the winds.
I heard the whisper of Roon at evening, saying: “There are islands of spices to the South,” and the voice of Roon saying: “Go.”
And Roon said: “There are a thousand home gods, the little gods that sit before the hearth and mind the fire—there is one Roon.”
Roon saith in a whisper, in a whisper when none heareth, when the sun is low: “What doeth MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI?” Roon is no god that thou mayest worship by thy hearth, nor will he be benignant to thy home.
Offer to Roon thy toiling and thy speed, whose incense is the smoke of the camp fire to the South, whose song is the sound of going, whose temples stand beyond the farthest hills in his lands behind the East.
Yarinareth, Yarinareth, Yarinareth, which signifieth Beyond—these words be carved in letters of gold upon the arch of the great portal of the Temple of Roon that men have builded looking towards the East upon the Sea, where Roon is carved as a giant trumpeter, with his trumpet pointing towards the East beyond the Seas.
Whoso heareth his voice, the voice of Roon at evening, he at once forsaketh the home gods that sit beside the hearth. These be the gods of the hearth: Pitsu, who stroketh the cat; Hobith who calms the dog; and Habaniah, the lord of glowing embers; and little Zumbiboo, the lord of dust; and old Gribaun, who sits in the heart of the fire to turn the wood to ash—all these be home gods, and live not in Pegana and be lesser than Roon.
There is also Kilooloogung, the lord of arising smoke, who taketh the smoke from the hearth and sendeth it to the sky, who is pleased if it reacheth Pegana, so that the gods of Pegana, speaking to the gods, say: “There is Kilooloogung doing the work on earth of Kilooloogung.”
All these are gods so small that they be lesser than men, but pleasant gods to have beside the hearth; and often men have prayed to Kilooloogung, saying: “Thou whose smoke ascendeth to Pegana send up with it our prayers, that the gods may hear.” And Kilooloogung, who is pleased that men should pray, stretches himself up all grey and lean, with his arms above his head, and sendeth his servant the smoke to seek Pegana, that the gods of Pegana may know that the people pray.
And Jabim is the Lord of broken things, who sitteth behind the house to lament the things that are cast away. And there he sitteth lamenting the broken things until the worlds be ended, or until someone cometh to mend the broken things. Or sometimes he sitteth by the river’s edge to lament the forgotten things that drift upon it.
A kindly god is Jabim, whose heart is sore if anything be lost.
There is also Triboogie, the Lord of Dusk, whose children are the shadows, who sitteth in a corner far off from Habaniah and speaketh to none. But after Habaniah hath gone to sleep and old Gribaun hath blinked a hundred times, until he forgetteth which be wood or ash, then doth Triboogie send his children to run about the room and dance upon the walls, but never disturb the silence.
But when there is light again upon the worlds, and dawn comes dancing down the highway from Pegana, then does Triboogie retire into his corner, with his children all around him, as though they had never danced about the room. And the slaves of Habaniah and old Gribaun come and awake them from their sleep upon the hearth, and Pitsu strokes the cat, and Hobith calms the dog, and Kilooloogung stretches aloft his arms towards Pegana, and Triboogie is very still, and his children asleep.
And when it is dark, all in the hour of Triboogie, Hish creepeth from the forest, the Lord of Silence, whose children are the bats, that have broken the command of their father, but in a voice that is ever so low. Hish husheth the mouse and all the whispers in the night; he maketh all noises still. Only the cricket rebelleth. But Hish hath set against him such a spell that after he hath cried a thousand times his voice may be heard no more but becometh part of the silence.
And when he hath slain all sounds Hish boweth low to the ground; then cometh into the house, with never a sound of feet, the god Yoharneth-Lahai.
But away in the forest whence Hish hath come Wohoon, the Lord of Noises in the Night, awaketh in his lair and creepeth round the forest to see whether it be true that Hish hath gone.
Then in some glade Wohoon lifts up his voice and cries aloud, that all the night may hear, that it is he, Wohoon, who is abroad in all the forest. And the wolf and the fox and the owl, and the great beasts and the small, lift up their voices to acclaim Wohoon. And there arise the sounds of voices and the stirring of leaves.
Continued in part 3.