Page:The works of the late Edgar Allan Poe volumes 1-2.djvu/168

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
141
THE THOUSAND-AND-SECOND TALE.

"'Some hundred miles farther on brought us to a climate where the atmosphere was so dense as to sustain iron or steel, just as our own does feathers.'"[1]

"Fiddle de dee," said the king.

"'Proceeding still in the same direction, we presently arrived at the most magnificent region in the whole world. Through it there meandered a glorious river for several thousands of miles. This river was of unspeakable depth, and of a transparency richer than that of amber. It was from three to six miles in width; and its banks, which arose on either side to twelve hundred feet in perpendicular height, were crowned with ever-blossoming trees, and perpetual sweet-scented flowers, that made the whole territory one gorgeous garden; but the name of this luxuriant land was the kingdom of Horror, and to enter it was inevitable death.'"

"Humph!" said the king.

"'We left this kingdom in great haste, and, after some days, came to another, where we were astonished to perceive myriads of monstrous animals with horns resembling scythes upon their heads. These hideous beasts dig for themselves vast caverns in the soil, of a funnel shape, and line the sides of them with rocks, so disposed one upon the other that they fall instantly, when trodden upon by other animals, thus precipitating them into the monsters' dens, where their blood is immediately sucked, and their carcasses afterwards hurled contemptuously out to an immense distance from "the caverns of death.'"[2]

"Pooh!" said the king.

"'Continuing our progress, we perceived a district abounding with vegetables that grew not upon any soil, but in the air.[3]

    which sank, and the trees remained green for several months under the water."—Murray, p. 221.

  1. The hardest steel ever manufactured may, under the action of a blow-pipe, be reduced to an impalpable powder, which will float readily in the atmospheric air.
  2. The region of the Niger. See Simmond's "Colonial Magazine.
  3. The Myrmeleon—lion-ant. The term "monster' is equally applicable to small abnormal things and to great, while such epithets as "vast" are merely comparative. The cavern of the myrmeleon is vast in comparison with the hole of the common red ant. A grain of silex is, also a "rock."