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my family, and take care not to disobey this prophet, who is the lord of the prophets in the state of time, as God has said unto me. Farewell.' These words strengthened the faith of the others; but when they were gone the master took the man up out of the hole, and cut off his head in right earnest. It was by such means as this that he made himself obeyed by his people."

The preceding accounts, whatever may be thought of their truth, serve to testify a general belief throughout the East of some extraordinary means being employed by the mountain chief to acquire the power which he was known to possess over the minds of his Fedavee. And, in fact, there is no great improbability in the supposition of some artifice of that nature having been occasionally employed by him; for, when we recollect that an Asiatic imagination is coarse, especially among the lower orders, and that in the East men rarely see any females but those of their own family, the chief might find no great difficulty in persuading a youth, whom he had transported in a state of stupor into an apartment filled with young girls, of his having been in the actual paradise promised to the faithful.

But, laying aside supposition, we may observe that the very power over the minds of their followers ascribed to Hassan Sabah and his successors has been actually exercised in our own days by the chief of the Wahabees. Sir John Malcolm informs us, from a Persian manuscript, that a few years ago one of that sect, who had stabbed an Arab chief near Bussora, when taken, not only refused to do anything towards saving his life, but, on the contrary, seemed anxiously to court death. He was observed to grasp something firmly in his hand, which he appeared to prize beyond life itself. On its being taken from him and exa* History of Persia, vol. i.

mined, it proved to be an order from the Wahabee chief for an emerald palace and a number of beautiful female slaves in the blissful paradise of the Prophet. This story, however, it must be confessed, appears to be little consistent with the principles of the sect of the Wahabees, and we may suspect that it has originated in some misapprehension.

The following instance of the implicit obedience of the Fedavee to the orders of Hassan Sabah is given by a respectable oriental historian*. An ambassador from the Sultan Malek Shah having come to Alamoot to demand the submission and obedience of the sheikh, Hassan received him in a hall in which he had assembled several of his followers. Making a sign to one youth, he said, "Kill thyself!" Instantly the young man's dagger was plunged into his own bosom, and he lay a corpse upon the ground. To another he said, "Fling thyself down from the wall." In an instant his shattered limbs were lying in the castle ditch. Then turning to the terrified envoy, "I have seventy thousand followers who obey me after this fashion. This be my answer to thy

master."

Very nearly the same tale is told of the Assassins of Syria by a western writerf. As Henry Count of Champagne was journeying, in the year 1194, from Palestine to Armenia‡, his road lay through the confines of the territory of the Ismaïlites. The chief sent some persons to salute him, and to beg that, on his return, he would stop at, and partake of the hospitality of his castle. The count accepted the invitation. As he returned the Dai-al-Kebir advanced to meet him, showed him every mark of honour, and led him to view his castles and fortresses. Having

*Elmacin, Historia Saracenica, 1. iii. p. 286.
Marinus Sanutus, l. iii. p. x. c. 8.

This was the Armenia in Cilicia.

passed through several, they came at length to one the towers of which rose to an exceeding height. On each tower stood two sentinels clad in white. "These," said the chief, pointing to them, "obey me far better than the subjects of you Christians obey their lords;" and at a given signal two of them flung themselves down, and were dashed to pieces. “If you wish," said he to the astonished count, "all my white ones shall do the same." The benevolent count shrank from the proposal, and candidly avowed that no Christian prince could presume to look for such obedience from his subjects. When he was departing, with many valuable presents, the chief said to him significantly, "By means of these trusty servants I get rid of the enemies of our society."

In oriental, and also in occidental history, the same anecdote is often told of different persons, a circumstance which might induce us to doubt of its truth altogether, or at least of its truth in any particular case. The present anecdote, for instance, with a slight variation in the details, is told of Aboo Taher, a celebrated leader of the Carmathites. This chief, after his expedition to Mecca, in which he had slain 30,000 of the inhabitants, filled the hallowed well Zemzem with the bodies of dead men, and carried off the sacred black stone in triumph, had the hardihood to approach Bagdad, the residence of the khalif, with only 500 horsemen. The pontiff of Islam, enraged at the insult, ordered his general Aboo Saj to take 30,000 men, and make him a prisoner. The latter, having collected his forces, sent a man off to Aboo Taher to tell him on his part that out of regard for him, who had been his old friend, he advised him, as he had so few troops with him, either to yield himself at once to the khalif or to see about making his escape. Aboo Taher asked of the envoy how many men Aboo Saj had with him. The

"He still wants

envoy replied, "Thirty thousand.” three like mine," said Aboo Taher; and calling to him three of his men, he ordered one of them to stab himself, another to throw himself into the Tigris, a third to fling himself down from a precipice. His commands were at once obeyed. Then turning to the envoy, "He who has such troops fears not the number of his enemies. I give thyself quarter; but know that I shall soon let thee see thy general Aboo Saj chained among my dogs." In fact, that very night he attacked and routed the troops of the khalif, and Aboo Saj, happening to fall into his hands, soon appeared chained among the mastiffs of the Carmathite chief*.

The preceding details on the paradise of the Sheikh-al-Jebal, and his power over the minds of his followers, will at least help to illustrate the manners and modes of thinking of the orientals. We now

resume the thread of our narrative, and proceed to narrate the deeds of the Assassins, as we shall henceforth designate them.

*D'Herbelot, titre Carmath.

CHAPTER VI.

Keäh Buzoorg Oomeid-Affairs of the Society in PersiaThey acquire the Castle of Banias, in Syria-Attempt to betray Damascus to the Crusaders-Murders committed during the reign of Keäh Buzoorg.

KEAH BUZOORG OOMEID trod faithfully in the footprints of his predecessor. He built the strong fortress of Maimoondeés, and he made the enemies of the society feel that it was still animated by the spirit of Hassan Sabah. Sultan Sanjar, who, on account of the favourable terms on which he had made peace with the Assassins, was regarded by the rigidly orthodox as a secret follower of their doctrine, declared himself once more their open enemy, and sent an army to ravage Kirdkoh. These troops were defeated by those which Keäh sent against them; but the following year Sanjar put to the sword a great number of the members of the sect. The dagger, as usual, retaliated. Mahmood, the successor of Sanjar, having first tried in vain the effect of arms, sent his grand falconer Berenkesh to Alamoot, to desire that an envoy might be sent to him to treat of peace. The Khojah (Master) Mohammed Nassihi accompanied Berenkesh back to court, and kissed the hand of the sultan, who spoke to him a few words about the peace; but as the Khojah was going out of the palace, he and his followers were fallen upon and massacred by the people.

When the sultan sent an ambassador to Alamoot to exculpate himself from the guilt of participation in this violation of the laws of nations, Keäh made

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