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Title: Uttara, the Legend of the Turquoise
Author: Fornaro, Carlo de
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Uttara, the Legend of the Turquoise" ***

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  UTTARA

  THE
  Legend of the Turquoise

  ILLUSTRATIONS AND TEXT BY
  CARLO DE FORNARO


  PUBLISHED BY MARCUS & CO.
  JEWELERS
  544 FIFTH AVENUE
  NEW YORK



  Copyright, 1902, by
  CARLO DE FORNARO



  _To
  Mrs. M. B. Train_


[Illustration: SURYA]



  When the Immortals created the two eyes of heaven, they placed fair
  splendor in Him.

                                                              --Rig Veda


Great commotion reigned among the Immortals, as a most unprecedented
event had convulsed and shaken the inhabitants of the city of Swarga in
the heaven of Indra.

Three of the most powerful and most beautiful of all the gods, Indra,
Surya and Soma, had fallen foolishly, hopelessly in love with a mortal
woman. She was the daughter of a Brahmin priest, a twice-born man, and
so fair was she that the King of Benares described her as a morsel fit
for the gods.

[Illustration]

The court poet had sung her beauty in a song which ran thus:

“Thou canst behold her beauty but once and nevermore, for like the
splendor of Surya it blinds thee for thy daring.

“Thus I, from the profound depth of my blindness will describe to thee
in words as poor as my fancy is rich, what I saw.

“Her countenance is pale and sad as the white lotus in full bloom when
it is kissed by the rays of the love-lorn moon.

“Her hair is black as the thoughts of Yama, and it is so delicate and
sensitive that it reflects all her moods, her most intimate thoughts,
and thou canst observe her hair if thou darest not glance at her face.
Her eyes are as deep as the Bottomless Well, and when she gazes at thee
for a while thou feelest that she could absorb thee as thou dost the
perfume of a flower. But if thou couldst only read in her eyes thou
wouldst find there the source of all the Blessings.

[Illustration]

“When her eyelids close and open slowly they seem to yawn indifference
or contempt, and the eyebrows are arches which keep the eyes from
irradiating the Universe.

“Her mouth is sometimes paler than the palest coral, at other times
darker than a bloody wound, and it is more flexible than the thoughts
of a courtier.

“When her lips smile at thee thou art certain that thou hast found a
new heaven, for she uncovers another Milky Way; but when they scorn or
show anger then hadst thou better never show thy face again, for sorrow
will eat thy soul as leprosy corrodes a body.

“Her hands are so minute and graceful that at the sight of them the
bengalies weep and pine away in envy.

“Her feet are so dainty and soft that the flowers and grass which she
treads imagine that the butterfly has just kissed them gently.

[Illustration]

“All her movements are so beautiful that they seem to be singing
to an incessant melody of rhythm, and they are so numerous in their
perfection that shouldst thou cast a statue for each gesture of hers
thou wouldst have to go to other planets for new marble or precious
metal and still thou wouldst not achieve thy task.

“This I saw and I was blinded for my daring, but nevertheless had I as
many lives as there are stars in heaven, and were each life as long as
a world-cycle, still would I gladly become blind at the beginning of
each cycle could I cast one solitary glance at her immortal beauty.”

Thus spake the Poet, and verily only the gods had dared fall in love
with Uttara. Surya, the God of the Sun, appeared in the morning in a
blaze of golden flames, and at noon his rays became so ardent that
Uttara had to run under cover to protect herself against his passion.

More than once was Indra obliged to send to his faithful cloud-gods,
the Maruts, to cover the inextinguishable radiance of the impetuous
Surya.

[Illustration]

In the evening, as if ashamed of his behavior, his face became redder
and redder, and only then could Uttara look modestly into his eye.

Soma courted her more gently but with more subtlety and his pure and
tormented features full of sighs would make Uttara sometimes grow
pensive and absorbed. When she chastely lowered her eyes he reflected
and scintillated on the silent lagoons or on the sea all his unappeased
and trembling desires. But when Soma became too insinuating the jealous
Indra called forth the Maruts and the Apas, thus forcing Soma to peep
from behind the riding Maruts agitated and disturbed.

Indra had the preponderance over his rivals because of his presence
in day time and at night time. In the morning he appeared cold and
pale with jealousy, only at evenings was he supreme, absorbing all
the splendor cast by the departing Surya. At night he reflected all
his darker moods as he felt that Soma even if a smaller was a more
dangerous rival than the blustering Surya; only when Soma was absent
did Indra dot his dark blue dress with countless scintillating gems and
over his shoulder threw his gauzy scarf, the Milky Way.

[Illustration]

Uttara, like a true woman, did not show partiality toward any of her
admirers, nor accede to their courtship and the three Immortals were as
much at sea as if they had been common, every-day mortals.

Indrani, Indra’s wife was the last to be informed of his unfaithfulness
and she decided to see for herself what the woman who dared to compete
with her in her husband’s affection, looked like.

She saw Uttara and did not wonder at Indra’s infatuation, but resolved
to end this royal game of hide and seek. Ere Uttara had had time to
breathe again she had been transformed into water in the sacrificial
cup which her father was to use the following day in performing the
sacred rites.

[Illustration]

The despair of the three love-lorn deities was indescribable and each
one of them tried his utmost to save Uttara from destruction.

Surya, violent and intense, tried with all the ardour of his torrid
rays to vaporize her and carry her up to the heavens. But all his
efforts were fruitless. Soma, heart-stricken and unnerved, could only
sing to her a forlorn and disconsolate complaint, but he also sang in
vain.

Indra attempted several stratagems with all the power of his daring
passion and finally begged Uttara to confess whom she loved, as this
confession only could save her from extinction. And Uttara spoke to him
trembling with emotion, “O Indra, I love thee only; for thou alone art
my love, my god! I do not wish to be saved and become mortal again, but
if thou lovest me deeply, absorb me, take my body, my soul, all, for I
am thine forever!”

And Indra reflected his beauty into hers, embraced her fondly,
desperately, with all his might, and so powerful and intimate was the
desire that the sacrificial water absorbed Indra’s image. When later
Uttara’s father lifted the bowl to perform the rite he found in place
of the sacrificial liquid a blue stone of the color of the sky in
springtime, vivid and flawless, the Turquoise.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.





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