PART 1,2 , 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 910,11,12131415


"Well?" asked the black guru, his face close to Chamba's.

Chamba could barely see him, spots of light wavering checkerboard patterns interfered with a clear view of the magician.

"W-what?" he managed to ask in return.

Sri Khatvanga smiled. "What are you learning? The time to learn ... is here!"

"PAIN," said Chamba, realizing that the animal was no longer upon him. But he did not know where it was.

"Perhaps," sneered Sri Khatvanga. "But KNOWLEDGE! What have you learned?"

"GURU-JI, it is PAIN!"

"Chamba!"the darkening face scowled. "Get hold of your mind! Do not waste it!"

"Waste Pain?"

"Not the Pain! The Moment! The 'intensity..." growled the magician. Chamba did not answer, moaning. He could not move his arms.

"Search this moment!" snapped Sri Khatvanga, "and tell me ... try!"

"I will," answered Chamba, bleeding, "try..."

The black guru looked pleased, but this look faded when his student stammered out further, " make it go away!"

"You fool!"

Chamba suddenly had a clear view of his teacher. He was shocked by in inhuman expression on his face, eyeballs completely ringed, sunken in a face like a bearded skull.

"Pity..." he said, but he knew there was none there. "Help me make it fade ... faster!"

"Don't let it fade!" the magician commanded.

"I... I ... must" Chamba said, closing his eyes and beginning to recite.


"Stopthat!" said the black guru. "Stop that!"

"AH-H-H!" smiled Chamba with his eyes closed. "Better.. much ... better... 11

"You fool! That will not help!" And the magician looked at the black dog nearby. The yellow eyes blinked and the beast leaped at the prone Chamba.


"GURU-JI!" he screamed. "Help me! Help...

Sri Khatvanga smiled and stroked his beard.

"This time," he said softly, "Pay attention! Learn... and tell me. Do not waste it!"


He had been dancing for hours. It was endless. Circles within circles.


It was getting darker.


and darker.

He looked from face to face, skull to skull, for help, but there was none.


It was getting harder to see them, but with his eyes stinging from perspiration and his muscles pleading for
rest, he was just as glad not to see them. Was there less flesh? Were they all glistening bones now? He could not tell. He did not care. All he knew was that he could not stop. He wanted to...!

"I WANT," he thought, "to stop!"

The other dancer pushed him on ... but he knew that it was to exhaust him. For once he stopped, he knew he would be helpless. He would fall and the others ... the smiling observers would crowd in and-and ... What? He did not know.

"Dance! Dance-Cee!"

"Death," he thought, breathless. "Worse ... than Death!"

Smiling teeth.



"Dance! Dance-CEE!" they rattled and grimaced. They clicked and laughed.

He felt, "I'm ... I'm falling!"

"It's ... too ... late ... NOW!"


"Well?" asked the black guru.

Chamba merely screamed beneath the teeth of the dog. The pool of blood began to spread.

"Attention!" said Sri Khatvanga. "PAY ATTENTION..."

"I AM," moaned Chamba, "PAYING ... PAYING!"

The magician scowled. "Not enough! Not enough!"

"H-HELP..." said the bloody man, "!"

"FIRST," he said, "give me a truth...."

"Suffering!" screamed Chamba. "EVERYTHING IS..."

"Fool!" shouted the black guru, and nodded at the beast. It turned its yellow eyes upon Chamba's other leg. It attacked his upper thigh.

SNAP SNAP CRACK CA-RACK! "Try again," he was instructed in a whisper. It could not be heard over the terrible screams.


He stumbled in the dance in the darkness. He now could see nothing at all. He only sensed the skeletal figures from their sounds or stench. They touched him rarely. But he knew that once he fell, his life would fall away from him forever.

"What" he thought. "What am I going to do?"
He tottered and fell to his knees. The impact hurt

That caused him to rise just as he felt boney fingers touching. They moved back, leaving a mist of foulness, some of it flaking onto his arms.



He tottered again. "IT'S too late," he thought, "THIS time..."

And he fell to his knees. His right arm tried to push himself up, but he could not move.

"THIS-S-S time," they rasped into his ears.

And immediately the invisible bones were pinching and pulling on his flesh.

"AH .... H..H..H!" he cried.

"SUFF..." Chamba cried, "...ER-RING! 'EVERYTHING IS...."


The magician spoke to the black beast.

"FINISH it. Kill him! He is useless to me

"AH ... H ... H ... H!" he cried.


The moon appeared. it shone immediately upon a spot in front of him. It glistened like a small star imbedded in stone, a piece of mica. His entire attention was given to it as the pinchers began to tear at him.

"AH..." he said. "REVERSED! AH equals HA!"

And the spot shone brighter and brighter. It blazed so greatly that the moonlight was absorbed into its light. It flared up so quickly that it was like a bolt of lightning. But it did not fade.

The skeletal hands freed him.

"Dorje?" he asked. "Is this..." Then with strength coming to him as quickly as the light had come, he staggered to his feet.

"HA-A-A...!" He lifted his face to the moon and the bones around him clacked and clicked.

"I ... have," he said, as if to himself, "found another syllable ... !"

Again, "HA-A-A-A-a-a..." he called to the moon, after which he laughed.

"HAIHAI Hahahah!"

But the living bones also laughed.

"CLICK! CLICK! Cl-cl-click!" and started to crowd in on him again.

"Not enough.!-....!" one laughed. "Not enough!"

They drew closer.


Meba appeared. She was immediately in front of him, glistening as if covered with shining dust. His entire attention was given to her even in the midst of pain and the presence of death. "AH..." he said. "REVERSED! AH equals HAI"

And Meba shone brighter and brighter. She blazed so greatly that she became diffused and merged in with. the walls, the floor and the ceiling. She vanished physically completely. It was like a bolt of lightning which had come and lingered, not leaving.

"Vajra? Is this... ?" Chamba asked.

Then with strength coming to him as quickly as the light had come, he staggered to his feet.

"HA-A-A....He lifted his face, looking at Sri Khatvanga.

The black guru was astounded. Chamba's wounds were gone. The beast whimpered and crawled behind the magician.

"HA-A-A-A-a-a..." Charba called to the light-saturated walls, after which he laughed.

"HA! HA! Hahahah! "

The black magician also laughed and whispered, "Very good! Very good, Chamba. Now tell me..."

The other blinked at him confusedly.

"Very good?"

"Of course," the other lied. "It is just as I planned..."

"But ... pain... "

"Gone," said the black guru. "Are they not gone?"

"Yes-s-s," the puzzled Chanba answered.

"See? Only an illusion...MY illusion for YOU! Now tell me ... What did you learn?"

"Oh?" he asked, looking at his hands, moving his arm without any pain.

The older man spoke. "It was merely, HA HA hahahah, MY trick to help you!"

"HELP me?" asked Chamba, aghast.

"Yes-s-s-s,"said Sri Khatvanga.

"NOW speak! Tell me ... !""

"Yes, Guru-ji, whispered the young man. He saw the blood still on the floor. He saw the light in the walls.

"But Meba... ?"

"She is gone," answered the magician, averting his eyes, "on an errand. All also about her was my doing... an illusion...a dream ... I did everything...

"Pain and the end of pain?"

"Yes, " smiled the magician. "The illusion of pain and the illusion of the end of pain..."

"You are," said Chamba, "a VERY great magician!"

... perhaps," smiled the black guru, in mock-humility. "Now tell me..."

"But why?"

"To VERIFY what you have learned," snarled the black guru, dark eyes flashing.

"Yes, MAHA-GURU-JI," said Chamba.

Sri Khatvanga smiled in relief at this reply.

The dog shivered in fear of the light in the ceiling.


In the blazing light, brighter than the moonlight, Chamba shouted at the skeletons, "Halt! Your power is limited by me now!"

They waved their hands and clicked their teeth. Some ran fingers up and down the rib cages of those nearest them. It made a rattling din.

CLACK Clack! clack-ca-lack!

CLICK! CLICK! Cl-cl-lick!

He even heard some flute-like notes sounding. But they moved no closer.

Was he safe or not?

A single form stepped forward, with hairs still affixed to a boney chin, an elder amongst the dead.

"Yes-s-s," it said. "You-u-u are r-r-riqht-ti"

Chamba smiled.

"But-t-t!" the broken-toothed mouth continued, "you-u-u are also wrong-g-g!"

He snapped back in return, feeling that it was a game of bluff, "Get out of my way ... I am leaving this village!"

"No ... NO!" cried the skeletons.

"NO," said the elder, stroking his wispy beard. "You cannot-not..."

"Why not?"

"It-t-t," grimaced the skull-mask, "is night. If you leave at-t-t night, it-t-t will-1-1 always-ways be night! You will never es-s-s-scapel"

Chamba felt that, uncomfortably, the elder was telling the truth. "You cannot harm me!" he insisted.

"T-t-truel" answered the boney white man. "But you also-o-o can not-not-not... leave!"


Then a silence fell.

The light of the lightning began to fade What remained in the courtyard was the brilliant moonlight. But this was dull in comparison, and its source was setting.

He stood watching them move their eyes quietly, wag their tongues without words. Occasionally, one would "CLICK!" behind him, and he would wheel about to check their distance. But it remained the same.

Silence from the once-noisy group was even more horrible than their raspy voices. "What will happen when the moon sets?" he wondered. "Will daylight eventually come?"

"Daylight-t-t-t will not-not ... come," said the elder.


"HA HA HAhahah!" laughed the others.


Meba never returned.

A routine did begin again in the shop. Patients came for herbs and medicines. Lovers came for charms and countercharms. Hysterical people came for amulets to wear or for written formulas to swallow. Chamba and Sri Khatvanga managed to continue with such everyday activities while they pursued their own studies.

The dog acted like a dog.

Only occasionally Chamba thought of Meba.

"Which of my memories are of real events?" he wondered, "and which are dreams? Did she ever come down from the mountain tomb with me ... or did I lose her there ... in the snow?"


Years went by.


It seemed that years went by, but the moon did not set and the sun did not rise.



"We cannot continue like this forever!" shouted Chamba at the patient skeletons.

"OH-OH? NO-NO?" said the elder, scratching his cheekbone, knocking off bits of flesh.

"NO!" he answered irritably.

"Then-n-n," the other shifted from foot to foot, "how are we-e-e to settle it-t-t?"

Chamba glanced about. His eyes settled on the targets, the bulls-eyes. "Those!" he said, without realizing what he was saying.

"A CON-test!" laughed the elder and turned to the mass of skeletons. "He ... WISHES-S-S to play-y-ay"

Suddenly he felt cold. What had he done?

"We can not-not harm-m-m you-u-u!" said the elder.

"But-t-t you-u-u can not-not leave either!"

He almost spoke, but refrained.

"An archery-y-y CON-contest!" shrieked the others,

settle it-t-t!"

"How?" Chanba questioned.

"You-u-u and I! The one who-o-o gets-s-s the most-t-t

"Hits?" he finished.

"Yes-s-s! Do you agree-e-e?"

"Yes!" he snapped.

And the skeletons were jubilant.


CLICK! CLICK! Cl-cl-lick"

"But wait" he began.

"Too lateWe play-ay!" said the elder.

"Okay! Buthow many shotsarrows?"

"ONE," began the skeleton, "ZERO, ZERO," he continued,

"One thousand and eight!" he gasped. "I can't

"We shall see-see!" laughed the elder. "HAI HA!



"Or you FORFEIT-T!"

"Allright," Chamba said. "Get me a bow."

One was thrust at him. He took it and examined it for

a moment. "Very flimsy," he said.

The elder clacked his teeth. "Good enough"

Chamba frowned. "Have I been tricked?" The arrow was not straight, and its feathers were bent and twisted.

An avenue was cleared through the living bones, and the circle was placed at its end. Although the target was set fairly close, he was anxious about the distance.

"You-u-u take three-ee," said the elder, "and I will-1-1 take three-ee..."

Chamba saw how little muscle the man had. He felt reassured. He glanced at the target, set the arrow, and pulled back. It gave too easily, so when he let the arrow fly, it had no energy. It fell short.



The elder stroked his beard, nodded, and shot his three arrows quickly.


They whistled a sharp note.

And hit dead center, each time.

"AH-H-H!" laughed his opponent.

"CRACK! CRACK CRA-CA-RACK!" went the crowd



So they continued amidst the silences and enthusiasms of the crowd. And the pattern continued.



"Ha! HA! Hahahah!"



"Maha-GURU-JI?" asked Chamba.

"Yes?" answered the magician.

"My broken bones...were all illusions?"

"Yes-s-s," sneered the black guru. "I told you that ...

"But then..."

"What?" impatiently.

"But then why," continued the other, "do I have scars all over my arms and legs?"

Flesh wrinkled around the whirlpool of hair. "Nothing.. he said. "They..."

"Golden scars," Chamba continued, "little..."

"... are Nothing," said Sri Khatvanga emphatically.

"...golden scars, like lines, broken and unbroken."

"Nothing," repeated the teacher. "Nothing!"


Chamba could feel the scars moving, changing. "But Guru-ji says they are nothing.



Nothing.Nothing. Nothing.

Hit! Hit! Hit!

"HA! HAI Hahahah!"


Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Dead Center! Dead Center! Dead Center!


"What is it now?" Chamba asked.

"CLICK! CLICK! Cl-cl-licki" the crowd chuckled.

The moonlight was fading. It was getting darker again, very fast.

"HAI HA! Hahahah!"

"Half way ... way!"

"What is it?" he insisted.

"Five hundred-d-d!" for me-e-e!" the elder rasped."Five hundred-dd

"Five hundred," Chamba said, "misses... for me!"

He felt very weary, his arms heavy, his eyes leaden.

"You sur-r-r-render?" laughed the other.

At these words the crowd almost moved in. He was startled by their motion and felt a surge of energy. 'IN-NO!

We'll continue!"

"Yes-s-s!" the old eyes rolled in the sockets.

An arrow was put into position. It flew.


Followed by two more misses.

"HAI HAI Hahahah!"

The skeleton shot.

Three arrows flew, and three thudded on target.

Dead Center.

"Nothing to five hundred and three!" he thought, looking at thealmost-invisible crowd of skeletons.

"Your-r-r turn-n-n," he was told.

He fitted the arrow to the string and looked for the target. But the moon was gone. He was standing in a courtyard of darkness, outlined dimly by a sky full of stars.

But hecould see no target any longer.



On his flesh, in his muscles, Chanba could feel the golden lines glow and move.

In his bones, he could feel them multiply and shift.

Why did he think of them as male and female? Hot and cold? Sky and earth?

They shifted and coalesced, shimmering, radiating a light throughout his entire body.












The moon did not shine in the courtyard. The sun was absent there as well. But in his body, the sun rose and the moon rose. The sun rose and rose again. The moon rose and the sun rose.

Golden lines blazed and shifted.

He lifted the invisible bow with the set arrow and opening his eyes widely to the inky darkness, smiled happily.

He let the arrow fly!


"Chamba," said the black magician
"Yes, Guru-ji?" he answered.

"You must find a woman," glared the dark face.

"Oh?" asked his pupil. "For what purpose?"

"To have sexual relations with her!" snapped the other.

Chamba's forehead became wrinkled. "GURU-JI? You wish me to love a woman?"

"NO!" snapped the black guru. "I wish you to have sexual relations with her!"

"Oh," said Chamba.

"It is a different matter altogether!" continued the magician. "Go at once!"

... uh ... but... " stammered the other.

"I will give you further instructions," the magician said.

Before or ... uh ... after I have sexual relations?" asked Chamba.

"Before ... BEFORE!" snarled the teacher. "Must I spell out everything?"

"Bring her here?" asked Chamba.

"Yes-s-s," whispered Sri Khatvanga, looking at the floor.

"I go," said Chamba.

The black dog opened its yellow eyes and looked at the magician. He said to it, "Soon. Very soon. Be patient!


He smiled in the darkness and let another arrow fly. He twisted his body clockwise a few degrees and shot an arrow into the darkness in that direction. He twisted again, laughing, and aimed carefully at the invisible world. He let that arrow fly also.

Again and again he twisted and shot.

There were thuds in the blackness and the clattering of bones scrambling.


"Stop!" rasped the voice of the elder. "You are using-g-g too many arrows-s-s!"

"Be still, you corpse!" he snapped at the blackness, and the nearby stench. "You cannot talk like that to a living man!"

CLICK! CLICK! Cl-cl-licki

Twist, turn! Let the arrow fly!

THUD! At 90 degrees!

THUD! At 60 degrees!


At ten degrees!

Now the clattering arose into a din, as if to drown out his thoughts. It was joined by shrieking and wailing.


"Here is another!" he cried into the blackness.

Thud! Thud!

The noise screeched to a high pitch and suddenly dipped, descending into silence. The clicking stopped as well.

Perspiring from the effort, he tried to see, but his vision was obscured by an enclosing greyness. It was as if it were a thick grey fog.

He squinted and scratched his ear. "Anyone here?" he smiled. He heard a click, strung his bow quickly and let an arrow fly. A scream.

THUD! And silence.

In that quiet which descended he wondered for the first time, "Where did all the arrows come from?"

He could not answer and smilingly shrugged his shoulders. He felt ripples on his back, as if his scars were moving.

All about him, the fog grew brighter until it was blazing with sunshine. Looking up, he saw an amazingly blue sky.

As the mist rose, he watched for the outlines of the courtyard and the village. None came. Only the edge of a rocky hillside slowly appeared. When the flat ground revealed itself it was empty of the expected skeletons. There were rocks and pebbles, nothing else.

The village was gone. And so were its inhabitants. No bodies and no arrows remained to mark the recent events.

However, in his hand he held a flimsy bow. It hung there temporarily in the bright morning sunshine, for a moment, then crumbled and fell to the ground. Its dust was indistinguishable from the dust of the soil.

He laughed one syllable.



Drelhu watched.


Meba watched.


Dolma watched the young man move. He walked among the food sellers in front of the temple. Various vendors offered him objects for scrutiny. She knew that he was only pretending to look at them.

"SQUASH?" asked an old woman. He shook his head.

Dolma smiled and gently bit her lower lip.

"He is coming this way," she thought, "to me ... the rest is pretense."

As he came closer, she lowered her eyes to the vegetables she had for sale.
"NAMASTE," he said loudly.

"Oh?"She looked up, blinking at the sky.

"I would like ... " he began, but her eyes caught him offguard.

"Yes?You would like ... ?" she asked.

"I would like..." he said again, very aware of her body under her clothes. But he could not continue.

"You would like...?" she mimicked the sound of his voice.

. I..." he managed this time.

"You?" she giggled, looking away, covering her mouth with her hand.

He was completely flustered by this.

"You!"he ejaculated fiercely.

She stared at him, wide-eyed, with mock-innocence.

"Me?" she asked.

"Y-yes," he ventured. "You," feeling he had started too slowly and plunged in too quickly.

"I am no vegetable!" she fluttered her eyelashes.

"Howdark are her eyes!" Chamba thought. Catching himself, he
spoke before the moment was lost.

"But you are like an apricot, a beautiful ... a flower...a...

"I am a vegetable seller," she laughed. "I am not an apricot to be taken in the bazaar, before the temple doors!"

"But..." said Chamba, feeling the situation slipping away from him. "However," Dolma said, "meet me at twilight and we will see what sort of honey we can find..."

His heart thumped and thudded in his chest and ears. He started to walk away, dazed, after saying, "Yes."

Then she called after him, " GANESHA'S shrine!"

"Yes," he mumbled again.

She giggled and watched him blend into the crowd.

"Sri Khatvanga's disciple is very young," she said to herself, "in experience..."

Then she sold her vegetables.


"Bring her here!" repeated the black magician,

"Yes, Guru-ji," answered Chamba.

It was almost twilight.

Chamba still did not know what Sri Khatvanga's instructions were going to be. He wondered to himself if Dolma would resist going to the shop. After all, many people were aware of the magician and feared him. The shop was very well-known.

Sri Khatvanga watched Chamba go. The black beast at his side spoke.

"Guru-ji, may I be first?"

The dark eyes scowled. "NO! That would be improper! I will be first."

"Yes, GURU-JI," whined the dog.


Dolma was not at the shrine. Twilight fell and Chamba stood waiting there alone. It grew darker.

Here and there, lights shone in the cracks of windows. Down the dark streets could be heard the bells being rung at temple doors.

KLING! KLING! Kling-ng-ng!

The darkness grew deeper, and still Dolma did not come. Chamba wondered, "Maybe I misunderstood. Maybe I am to meet her somewhere else ... Maybe she does not mean to come and it was just a jest ... to be rid of me ... maybe..."

And then he heard her voice.

"Chamba! Are you there?"

It came from overhead somewhere.

"Is she in the sky?" he thought to himself.

"I am here," he answered. "Where are you?"

He heard a shutter move and an arrow of light fell upon him. In a crack above him he saw the edge of a face and an eye.

"Here," she said. "I am here—Come up, quickly!"

"How?" he stammered.

And a naked arm appeared, indicating a dark doorway below-, to his right. "There! Use the staircase..."

And without thinking of Sri Khatvanga, he was through the doorway and going up the steps two at a time.


It was as if his body was a vessel with many compartments. "It's as if," he thought, "It's as if..." he said, "I was putting the syllables into compartments as I found them."

"It's as if," he thought, "they were coming out of these compartments in my body as I located them..."

"As if..." Drelhu nodded, "Yet.... "

"Yes," smiled Dorje Chamba, "as if, yet..."


Time is running out.
The sun rises.
The moon rises ...
The sun sets.
The moon


"Do not bring her here!" snapped Sri Khatvanga. Chamba looked at the floor. "But you said, Guru-ji, that I should bring her... "Correct!" snarled the magician. "But I also said not to have intercourse with her until I gave you instruc tions!"
"Ah..." said Chamba, fumbling with his hands, "that could not be helped. She... I ... in her room ...

"BAH!" said the black guru.

"She was waiting for me ... completely ... ready.....I ...uh ... "

"Spare me the stupid details!" growled Sri Khatvanga.

"But Guru-jil I'm sure I could bring her ... have her come here!" protested Chanba, hoping to placate his teacher.

"It is too late! She is useless to me ... "

"Oh," said Chamba, who saw the dog curling back a snarl to silently reveal a great fang.

"And what did you learn?" asked the black guru.

Chamba looked startled. ... know-ah... softness ... ah ... wetness, a great..." and he smiled, "...bliss

The magician stared at him. "Fool! All that is mundane! What was beyond it?"

"Beyond it? Beyond it there were no words ...

The magician squinted and sneered. "Hov little you know about ultimate wisdom!"

"I beg your forgiveness, Maha-Guru-ji," Chamba joined his palms.

The dark eyes squinted tighter and peered intently at him. "Do you really?" he asked.

"Yes, Maha-Guru-Ji," Chamba whispered.

"Then, perhaps," the magician rolled his eyes at the ceiling, "but only perhaps, you can make amends by doing something for me."

"Ah, whatever is asked of me!"

Sri Khatvanga smiled. The dog pretended to sleep, but listened carefully.

"I wish you to go the the high cliffs ...
"Yes, Guru-ji!"
"And you are to ask the elements a question for me...'

"Yes, Guru-ji."

"I will give you the exact words of that question."

"Yes, Guru-ji.!'

"Will you do that?"

"Yes, whatever you say..."

"But you must stand on the edge between life and death! "

"I will do it for you..."

"And ask the question!" Sri Khatvanga's voice rose into a rasp. Chamba was startled but said only, "Yes, Guru-ji."


"Whatever is needed," said the disciple.

The magician paused, stroked his beard, and looked at the dog's open eyes. "You must jump! if

"jump?" the startled Chamba asked. "Into the river? I will die!"

"Yes-s-s," whispered the teacher, "but you will get the answer to the question!"

All sorts of excitement stirred in his body, rushed to his face. "But if I am dead ... how can it be of use to you?
I could not tell you the answer!"

It seemed like a long silence.

The whirlpool of hairs moved. "I will bring you back to life..." he whispered.

"Oh," sighed Chamba. "Thank you..."

The other sneered.

"Do not thank me. I need that answer... It will be found in the moment of your death. I must bring you back!"

"Thank you. Thank you," Chamba said, "for this opportunity."

Sri Khatvanga looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "It is not necessary to thank me."

"It will be similar to the illusions you created of my broken arms and broken legs? The illusion of pain and the illusion of the end of pain?"

Sri Khatvanga shook his head but said, "Yes, it will be exactly like that!"

"HA! HA! Hahahah!"

Chamba did not understand what was so funny. He could have sworn that the black beast also was laughing.

"HA! HA! Hahahah!"


Chamba went to the cliffside. It was wet and cold.

Below the river leaped, causing cold drafts of wind to reach up and strike his face. the world

"Can Sri Khatvanga bring me back to life?" he wondered in a moment of doubt. However, he pulled his faculties together and nodded, smiling.

"Of course he can! He is the greatest magician in Death will only be an illusion in his hands!"

And standing on the edge, he changed prayers. First he intoned consonants, then he intoned vowels. Afterwards, he concentrated upon Sri Khatvanga's question.

"I must hold it in my mind during the moment of death."

"I must hold it...

"I must...

"I .... "


Dorje Chamba flew away. Drelhu swooped after him, but could not keep up with him.

"Be careful!" the monkey-man called after him.

Chamba laughed. "Yes, of course! I will be safe ... I am so full of alphabet soup!"

"ALPHABET S-S-SOUP?" Drelhu called.

"A joke!" laughed Chamba, vanishing over a ridge. "A joke! I am full of SYLLABLES!"

The monkey-man flew after him, wanting to say, "Do not joke! "

But the other was gone. in the confusion of clifffaces, rocks, and towering crags, he had lost sight of the flying
"Oh," he sighed, "Be careful!"


Meba watched.


Sri Khatvanga asked Dolma, "Are you ready?" She growled and snarled. "In words!" he scolded. "Talk in words!" "Yes," she said sweetly, "I am ready." "Good then, let us go!"

Go to Part 17>>>>