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RELIGIOUS AND LITERARY MAGAZINE.
THE KINGDOM OF ARARAT.
BY DUNCAN M'GREGOR.
hills in Armenia, lies the village bald-pated monks from the neighboring of Etschmiadzin, with its convent. At convent; the lady of the house and her a little distance the convent lo ks like sister, lazily seated on a divan apart, the whole place, for its low but massive and dressed in the full-flowing robes, the walls and rambling rooms throw the jewelry and trinkets prized by the Arpoorer huts of the villagers quite into menian belle. Their dark dresses were the shade. This small town is situated relieved by the brilliant embroidery of in the very heart of a land full of vene- the cushions against which they leaned; rable romance- -the kingdom of Ararat, the floating black tresses of each were the second cradle of the race. In what- bound with a silken circlet, decorated ever glorious and blooming garden spot with coins, and by each fair lady's side our first parents lived their days of un- stood—a long-stemmed pipe! sullied purity, and afterwards wept their Our talk was of Ararat. repenting tears, the chill regions of Ar- “Was it by any means certain," quesmenia, where winter has a half-yearly tioned one of our travelling companions, domination, received the children of Noah "that the mountains of Ararat,' where when the ark rested.
the ark rested, as saith the Scripture, are In Etschmiadzin was living in 185–, a the same as these tremendous peaks overcertain cosmopolite trader, who might looking Araxes? In olden time Ararat have belonged to any nationality, so fa- meant a territory; it may miliar was he with the tongue and custom hills far lower than this hoary king of of each. This man had built for himself mountains, who frowns upon us from the a house near the convent, making it distance, looking so near, and yet being something more comfortable than the in truth so far away.” ordinary Armenian dwellings; he had One of our monks here shook his also taken to himself an Armenian beauty head, in melancholy reproof of such profor a wife. In his home were we seated fane doubts. “Peace, my son," he said, on a September night. At this part of this mountain, once called Taneez, is the year it freezes keenly in Etschmia- the very spot where the ship which cardzin, and we were all gathered around ried Noah rested. It cannot be otherthe fire-a motley group. The trader, a | wise, for we have in our own convent a
have had many
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by ALFRED MARTIEX, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
plank from that very ark, brought from Now the other monk took up the tale. the crest of Ararat by a most pious and "A most notable abbot, living among us, devoted brother, upon whose soul be also ascended the mountain. A band of
angels fanned off the snows, and exhib“Indeed," cried the doubter, “per. ited to him the ark entire, so that he haps you can show us the plank and tell even thrust his arm into the hole where us how it was obtained.”
the devil went out." “The blessed wood you can see to- “And how was that?" asked the morrow at our convent, and as for the trader. way it came into our keeping, the story “When Noah was fairly shut in the is brief. There was once a holy man ark, he looked about upon all the living of our order, the thought of whose life creatures with him, and extending his was to ascend Ararat. One day he set hands said, ' Benedicite!' The devil had out, staff in hand, and climbed the third entered the ark in the shape of a hepart of the mountain. Being exhausted, goat. When Noah said 'Benedicite,' the he ate some bread and fell asleep. When father of lies was so alarmed that he he awoke, lo, he was lying at the gate of leaped through the side of the ark, about the convent. He then fasted and wept, ten feet up, and vanished, leaving a making all his prayer that he might reach broken place." the summit. At last he had a vision, “ Ararat as a kingdom,” said our host, granting him this desire. He again set " is mentioned as the refuge of the sons out, and seeming upborne by invisible of Sennacherib, after they had murdered hands, he reached the topmost height, their father in the house of his god in where he found the fragments of the ark Nineveh. Jeremiah also calls it to come lying under the snow. Laying a plank with other kingdoms to the overthrow of on his shoulder, he descended without Babylon." difficulty."
“Amassis, in the fifth generation from
Japhet, our father,” said the elder monk, | dwelt on the sides of this mountain; and "came her; and established his king on its lower peak the twelve wise men dom. The top of Ararat is the centre of were keeping watch, when they saw the the world."
star in the east and went to Bethlehem.”' “ Balaam,” said the other friar, “once " And the Armenians have a name of
“When we get
Haiks, from Haig, a cotemporary of very good; but an Armenian has no
“Have you ever climbed Ararat ?" we facing the cold night. asked.
back to the convent we will let you see *Only so far as Arguri, the spot the coverings of the plank from the ark." where tradition says Noah planted his We left the trader's house. The vineyard. It must have been warmer in moonlight shone brilliantly, a hoar frost his day than in ours."
glistened on the grass and shrubs; afar The Armenian ladies had caught the the mountains climbed toward the sky, name of Ararat, and madam spoke of a succession of noble summits, Ararat something to her husband. He laughed high over all. and said, “They are speaking of the The next morning we set out for a eruption of Ararat in 1840, which oc- ride about the mountain, not expecting casioned much alarm through all this to undertake the whole ascent.
We country. Though Ararat may not be, as hired horses of some Persians, and enour friend thinks, the centre of the gaged a couple of villainous Kurds for world, it is a gigantic waymark, showing guides. The lower slopes of Ararat are the dividing of the Russian and Turkish sterile and dreary to a singular degree; empires. The mountain is their bound-coarse grasses fail to hide the volcanic ary stone."
boulders scattered in every direction. 6 Armenia is nevertheless the true But after several thousand feet of the centre of the world,” we said, " because ascent had been made the scenery changes; hence all the nations departed and di- springs of deliciously clear water are frevided; humanity flowed from it, in its quent, the herbage is varied and luxudiverse streams, as rivers flow from some riant, and in the high valley between great water-shed.”
the two summits of Ararat, one finds a “I don't wonder that they got away as delightsome little Arcadia for summer fast as possible," said the doubter; “what months. a cold place it is, winter from October Our Kurds proposed that we should until May! Ice in September! Good lunch at “the village.” For a village reason for emigration.”
we watched in vain. When at last they “But we prize our summer the more proclaimed our arrival at the desired spot, while it lasts,” said the friar, "and then and set themselves to take down the the climate is healthy. People come here hampers, we looked about for houses. as well as go away-ask our trader;” and We might have been in a small village they nodded triumphantly.
of prairie dogs, but saw no traces of more That is because of the silver, lead, human habitations; certain hummocks, iron, copper, and rock salt in which this with holes in the sides, extending into olden kingdom of Ararat abounds," we some subterranean lails, showed where suggested.
miserable members of our race had burIt is an old kingdom, indeed,” said rowed at some not distant period. Whoone of the monks; “We Armenians get ever they were, they are gone, let us our name from Aram, who lived about hope to better abodes. two thousand years before Christ. We We ate our luncheon, looking as we would have done very well if we had did so longingly toward these peaks, the been let alone; but every neighboring great twin brethren of mountains. Could nation has made us a prey. Turks, we not make the ascent? Kurds, and Persians all have ravaged Our Kurds were vehement in their our country, and murdered the inhabi- opposition to such a scheme; Kurds and tants. Left to ourselves, our agriculture, Armenians girdle these mountains with our natural resources, our religion and superstitious fears. To them the white literature would have been good enough, summits have a sacred inviolability; they are assured the attempt could never be successful; if one went up and brought dozens of planks from the ark down as a proof that he had reached the very tip-top, he would never be believed !
"Never !" cried the Kurds, "never; the great father, Noah, rules there, clad in a huge white mantle; he is as large as one hundred men; larger than the giants who dwelt in Bashan. He will slay the intruder from delay was long; the Kurds ate, and were afır; the man who tries to climb Ararat happy; as for ourselves, growing weary, will fall nine times where he only rises we left guides and baggage-mule, and once, and he will slip back three feet for rode on to the convent. The moon was every one he climbs up;" and they un- up. The low walls shone white in the easily began to make preparations for our pure light, here and there a clump of return to the village.
hardy shrubs still retained their dark As we rode back toward evening, we foliage. Once the home of a strong people came upon an encampment of Kurds who and the cradle of nations, Armenia now had killed a sheep, and were now roast- seemed desolate and depopulated, downing it for supper. We were invited to trodden by her irreverent descendants, partake of the feast, and our guides who value little her gray antiquity, and are could not resist the temptation. The careless of the legends of her joyous youth.
MOUNT AR ARAT.