How The Gods Avenged Meoul Ki Ning
by Lord Dunsany
Meoul Ki Ning was on his way with a lily from the lotus ponds of Esh
to offer it to the Goddess of Abundance in her temple Aoul Keroon. And
on the road from the pond to the little hill and the temple Aoul
Keroon, Ap Ariph, his enemy, shot him with an arrow from a bow that he
had made out of bamboo, and took his pretty lily up the hill and
offered it to the Goddess of Abundance in her temple Aoul Keroon. And
the Goddess was pleased with the gift, as all women are, and sent
pleasant dreams to Ap Ariph for seven nights straight from the moon.
And on the seventh night the gods held conclave together, on the
cloudy peaks they held it, above Narn, Ktoon, and Pti. So high their
peak arises that no man heard their voices. They spake on that cloudy
mountain (not the highest hamlet heard them). "What doth the Goddess
of Abundance," (but naming her Lling, as they name her), "what doth
she sending sweet dreams for seven nights to Ap Ariph?"
And the gods sent for their seer who is all eyes and feet, running to
and fro on the Earth, observing the ways of men, seeing even their
littlest doings, never deeming a doing too little, but knowing the web
of the gods is woven of littlest things. He it is that sees the cat
in the garden of parakeets, the thief in the upper chamber, the sin of
the child with the honey, the women talking indoors and the small
hut's innermost things. Standing before the gods he told them the
case of Ap Ariph and the wrongs of Meoul Ki Ning and the rape of the
lotus lily; he told of the cutting and making of Ap Ariph's bamboo
bow, of the shooting of Meoul Ki Ning, and of how the arrow hit him,
and the smile on the face of Lling when she came by the lotus bloom.
And the gods were wroth with Ap Ariph and swore to avenge Ki Ning.
And the ancient one of the gods, he that is older than Earth, called
up the thunder at once, and raised his arms and cried out on the gods'
high windy mountain, and prophesied on those rocks with runes that
were older than speech, and sang in his wrath old songs that he had
learned in storm from the sea, when only that peak of the gods in the
whole of the earth was dry; and he swore that Ap Ariph should die that
night, and the thunder raged about him, and the tears of Lling were
The lightning stroke of the gods leaping earthward seeking Ap Ariph
passed near to his house but missed him. A certain vagabond was down
from the hills, singing songs in the street near by the house of Ap
Ariph, songs of a former folk that dwelt once, they say, in those
valleys, and begging for rice and curds; it was him the lightning hit.
And the gods were satisfied, and their wrath abated, and their thunder
rolled away and the great black clouds dissolved, and the ancient one
of the gods went back to his age-old sleep, and morning came, and the
birds and the light shone on the mountain, and the peak stood clear to
see, the serene home of the gods.