The SUN KING
By GASTON DERREAUX
The people of Par'si'ya forgot their God, and
worshipped only murder, and sin. But then the
virgin Too-che gave birth to a male child....
When the soldiers of the city Oas saw that their
King had not the backbone to enforce his own decree
when it hurt himself, they one and all took
up stones, and they stoned King So-qi to death.
Before the flood, even before
Egypt's greatness, the world was
divided into three main countries,
named Jaffeth, Shem and
Arabin'ya. There were other less populated
lands and places; Uropa in the
west, Heleste in the north, and the two
great lands of the far west, called North
and South Guatama.
Now, at the juncture of the borders
of the three greatest countries, lay a
mighty city, named Oas. It was the
capital city of the Arabin'yan nation
Its Temple of Skulls was the greatest
known to any traveler, but the temples
built to the god, Mazda, and his son,
Ihua'Mazda, were empty and unadorned—the
people had forgotten God.
So-qi, King of Oas, sent out his
armies throughout Jaffeth (China),
conquering and slaying, bringing back
ever more skulls for the Golgotha temples,
more gold and more slaves for the
enriching of King So-qi. His harem
was the greatest of buildings of the
mighty city, and his wives beyond
man's ability to count.
Too-che was one of the finest ornaments
of the city of Oas. Too-che
was slim, her breasts were two mounds
of magic, her eyes were pools of mystic
green depths, her legs were subtle, sinuous
But Too-che was a virgin, and in all
that city of a million sinful souls, she
alone held aloof from the sins of the
Which was very strange, for Too-che
became big with child, though she had
not been with a man!
Which came to the ears of So-qi,
upon his great black throne supported
on a tower of human skulls, in his palace
of Gran, across from the great
Golgotha, which was built entirely of
human skulls—the skulls of people conquered
by the armies of Par'si'ya, over
which the city of Oas reigned.
So-qi shook his big belly under the
lion's skin, let slip his serpent skin
headdress, and let the battle axe that
was his symbol of office drop from his
hand as he shook with mirth at the
great and thumping lie told by Too-che.
"I suppose her child was fathered by
Mazda, peering into her womb with his
All-light," laughed So-qi, for in Oas it
was not the fashion to worship the God
Mazda anymore. The great skull temples
had their priests and their sacrifices,
but no more did people bow down
in the temples of Mazda, or have anything
but ridicule for those few who did
still worship in the old way.
His serpent skin headdress and battle
axe scepter, too, were relics from the
past. Just as the belief in Mazda. But
more potent relics, by far. With them
he was the Sun King, Lord of Battles,
Master of Life and Death, Creator of
the Universe, Lord of Souls, Maker of
the Law, etc. Without them he was
just old So-qi, getting fatter and more
stupid every day.
"Bring this harlot before me, to see
if she can produce a miracle to prove
her child is not a common one. If she
cannot, she will be stoned to death at
once, do you hear! I have no time to
be bothered with the lies of every sinning
woman who seeks to hide her bastard's
Asha, the philosopher who had told
his king of the birth of the child,
nodded his head sadly and left the presence.
Why did kings have to get so
blown up as to be inhuman? He sympathized
with the girl and her predicament.
If it had been his to say, he
would have had the child proclaimed
divine a thousand times in preference
to shedding one drop of her blood. But
then, he had seen Too-che sauntering
home from the well, with her water jar
on her head, and her hips the focal point
of all eyes in the street. Asha smiled,
and took his grey-headed, bent, unnoticed
figure down the back streets to the
house of Too-che.
As he went, he pondered gloomily on
the fate of this great city under the
heartless and ignorant So-qi. Surely
something dreadful would happen to
Par'si'ya, lying as it did at the juncture
of the lands of the three mightiest kingdoms
of the world. Jaffeth (China),
Shem (Africa) and Arabin'ya. Any one
of them could crush them, did they get
themselves organized for it. And So-qi
preyed upon them all ruthlessly, knowing
they could never stop warring interiorly
long enough to attack him.
Old Asha thought of the future,
which his star studies were supposed to
give him power to foretell, and of the
great flood that was to come and wipe
out all the old boundaries and nations.
He thought of the peculiar grey-blue
sky, which the Wise men had taught
him bore up within its whirling self vast
oceans of water, waiting for the time to
drop the whirling water-shell upon them
all. He thought of Uropa, the great
land in the west, and all her peoples. He
thought of Heleste, that mighty and
gracious land in the North, and all her
beautiful and strong and courageous
people. And he thought of the two
great lands of the far west, called North
and South Guatama. And he was sad,
for they were all to die in the great
deluge to come! But the time was not
Sadly he pushed among the stalwart
copper-colored men of Oas, gazing a
little wistfully at the women's proud
breasts and the strong young thews of
their lovers beside them. If only he
were young again.... Asha sighed,
and knocked upon the low, rude door
of the house of Too-che.
The smile of the beautiful Too-che
made him welcome, very proud to
have the wise man from the court inquire
after her child.
"He worries me, wise Asha," said
Too-che, moving slim and supple as a
panther to sit protectively beside the
little cradle of bent ash bows lashed together
with strips of hide. "He talks
like a man grown, and him not yet
"Hmmm." Old Asha looked down
upon the over-large infant solemnly
looking back at him. He nearly fainted
when the tiny red lips opened, and a
strange, small voice, cultured and adult,
"I am not the child you see, but your
God, Mazda, speaking through the
Asha pondered for only a moment,
then turned in anger upon the woman,
"I pitied you, harlot, because the
King has ordered your death if you did
not produce a miracle. But I did not
think you would hide a man behind the
child's cradle to befool me, old Asha!
What do you take me for?"
Too-che broke into tears, bending her
graceful neck and sobbing to hear that
the king had decreed death for her. But
the peculiar voice came again from the
"Take me in your arms, Asha."
Feeling very foolish, but unable to
refuse for some mysterious reason,
Asha bent and picked up the child.
"O man, temper thy judgment with
patience and wisdom."
Asha knew now that it was the child's
voice truly, and at last asked:
"Why do you come in such a weak
and helpless guise, O Lord Mazda? I
had hoped to see a God appear in
"Nevertheless, through this helpless
child in your arms, this city shall be
overthrown, yourself made King of
Kings, and I shall deliver all the slaves
and strike off all the bonds from the
old time. Mazda will have this city for
his own, or it will be destroyed forever."
Now Asha was filled with wonder,
and asked the babe of many abstruse
things, receiving answers beyond his
understanding. So, at last convinced,
he put the babe down, turned to Too-che.
"Listen, maiden who in my eyes is
without fault. I cannot go to my King
and tell him one word of what this child
has revealed, for I would only die with
both of you as a liar and worse. You
must take this child and hide him away
from the eyes and the ears of the men
of this city. You in your innocence do
not understand the ways of kings and
courts and warriors and such things.
Flee, for if you are here tomorrow, you
will die and your child will die with
Asha took himself out, then, and
made his way sadly along the crowded
streets to his home. There he packed
up a few belongings and left to go into
hiding himself; for he knew better than
to try to tell So-qi any such cock-and-bull
story. Yet if he went at all to
So-qi, he had to tell something, and
either way someone would be doomed,
if not himself.
Too-che took up the babe and fled
through the city by night to the home
of one Chojon, a maker of songs. This
man had long made love to her with his
poetry and his voice from afar, and she
knew he would hide her and protect her.
Her heart was in her throat, because
she wondered if he would believe in her
virtue now that she had a child, or in
her love for him when he felt that
another had given her child when he
had been denied the privilege.
Slender and dark-eyed and handsome
he stood in his doorway, looking
upon this girl who had come to him
with her babe in her arms. A babe by
another! His heart was hurt, tears
came unbidden to his eyes as he turned
and allowed her to enter. For a long
time he could not speak, the shame and
the hurt and pride and the strange new
sudden emotions in him not suffering
him to talk. At last he said:
"Too-che, I love you and I cannot
deny you anything. If you put this
shame upon me, I will bear it as my
own. Consider this your home, and me
as your slave. If I did not love you, I
would not bear this, but I do."
Too-che saw the conflicting emotions
upon his face, how his dark red lips
struggled to remain firm, how his thin,
wide nostrils trembled, how his eyes
were wet with unshed tears, how his
shoulders bowed as with a sudden burden.
"Oh my dear Chojon, I have no other
friend to whom I can turn—and that I
thought of you, who has only loved me
from afar with your eyes and your soft,
sad songs, should tell you that I bring
you no shame or insult. This is not the
child of another man, for I have been
with no man, ever. This is a child of
the legends, a son of a God in the skies,
our God, Mazda. He is a miracle, as
hard for me to believe as for you, but
it is true."
Too-che could not stand the unbelieving
eyes of Chojon, who thought
that Too-che lied, and looked down at
the sleeping babe in her arms, saying
with a pitiful voice ...
"Please, little stranger who talks like
a wise man, wake and tell my Chojon
that you are not the son of a man, but
the son of one whom no maid could resist
or run away from, ever. Tell him,
And Mazda heard Too-che imploring
speech of her child and made it to speak
with his own voice.
"Chojon, what my mother says is
true. I am the child of the All-light,
endowed with powers beyond ordinary
men to accomplish my Lord's mysterious
purposes here on earth. Do not
hold my mother the less for my birth."
Chojon sank slowly to his knees, realization
stealing over him as he heard
the adult words issue from the suckling
babe's mouth. The unshed tears began
to pour from his eyes in relief, for he
knew now that Too-che might not love
him yet as she would when she learned
love, but at least she had given herself
to no other mortal man. And the miracle
of the Child of a God there before
him lighted up his face as his inward
soul, so that he took up his lute and
lifted his rich, deep voice in a joyous
song—the Song of Zarathustra. For
the legend of their people had the name
of the babe-to-come as Zarathustra, and
Chojon knew that its name was thus,
Too-che dwelt for some time in the
house of Chojon, and the songs of
Chojon were circulated among all the
singers of the city, so that everyone
knew he sheltered the Child of the God,
Mazda, in his home.
The songs of Chojon came at last to
the King's ears, and as one of the songs
proclaimed Zarathustra as stronger in
one finger than all the power of So-qi,
he let out a great oath and set his soldiers
to find Too-che and the babe. But
Chojon heard of the search. He took
Too-che and her babe out of the gates
in the night and went off into the forest
and joined a band of Listians, who are
raisers of goats, and a fine, strong people.
Now when the search failed to find
the babe, So-qi proclaimed that every
male child of the City Oas would be
slain if the child was not found. And
within a week So-qi was sorry, because
his own wife gave birth to a little son
whose life was already forfeited by
royal decree unless Too-che and her
child were found. And they were not
to be found in all Par'si'ya.
Asha, the old philosopher, who had
been in hiding all this time, now came
out of his hole and went to the King to
give him counsel.
As Asha progressed through the city,
mothers with male children in their
arms on all sides were making their way
through the streets to the gates to flee
the city. For no decree of a King of
Oas may be repealed, but is law forevermore.
The King sat upon his throne of
skulls, gnawing his nails off his fingers,
for he had either to slay his own son or
say that a law once made by a king
could be un-made.
If he allowed the law to be thus
abused even by himself, such was the
nature of his people they would have
no respect for him, and might even kill
him for a fool who could not enforce
his own decrees when they hurt him a
So it was that when Asha presented
himself before the King, So-qi asked:
"What shall I do, O Asha? My son
has smiled in my face!"
Asha was prepared for this, and answered:
"Thou shalt send me and thy son and
thy daughter's son and every male infant
to the slaughter pens, and have us
all beheaded and cast into the fire!
Otherwise it will come true as the infant
Zarathustra prophesied: his hand
will smite Oas city, and it will fall as
a heap of straw."
So the king appointed a day for the
slaughter, and ninety thousand male infants
were adjudged to death.
Chojon, from the safety of the forest,
made a scornful song about the tyrant
of Oas who went to war against babes,
and it was sung everywhere in the city,
and the king could do nothing about it,
for it was cleverly worded, seeming to
approve, though in satire only.
When the day for the slaughter arrived,
there were but a thousand
appeared with their babes out of the
ninety thousand adjudged to death—all
the rest having fled to the forest as had
The King saw an excuse in this to
get out of killing his own son, and stood
pondering how to escape his own decree.
His wife, Betraj, came before
him, holding out her son, saying:
"Here, oh King, take thou thy flesh
and blood and prove the inexorable
justice of the King's decrees."
But the King said:
"Let the officers go and collect all
the others who have fled beyond the
walls, and until all are gathered here
before me, no matter how long it takes,
let the decree be suspended."
Now the God, Mazda, moved the soldiers'
minds to see that their King had
not the backbone to enforce his own
decree when it hurt himself and they,
one and all, took up stones and stoned
the King to death.
Asha, standing stripped for the
slaughter, was made King by the
clamor of the men who stoned So-qi to
A great voice came out of the sky
and announced to the people that God
had given them a new and righteous
ruler. Asha bowed his head and accepted
the task put upon him. The
people gave thanks to Mazda, the God,
and Asha proclaimed him to all the city.
Off in the forest, Too-che lifted her
eyes to those of Chojon and thanked
him for saving her son. And Chojon
touched her with his fingertips, and
kissed her on her lips, and the child
crowed lustily to see their love.
These two walked through the Forest
of the Goats, Too-che bringing beauty
like a spring breeze with her, and
Chojon singing and touching his harp
with magic fingers, so that joy and love
walked before them, announcing them
to the Listians—the people of the forest.
When Zarathustra, the infant child
the woman bore in her arms, lifted up
his piping voice and spoke to these rude
wild people, their worship sprang into
life—for surely these were Gods come
to them. And thus, all the people gave
up the worship of murder and became
This etext was produced from Amazing Stories April 1949. Extensive
research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
copyright on this publication was renewed.