Saturday, October 16, 2004 +

The Singing Sands

From Josephine Tey, The Singing Sands, 1952:

It was talking about Wabar.

Wabar, it seemed, was the Atlantis of Arabia. The fabled city of Ad ibn Kin'ad. Somewhere in the time between legend and history it had been destroyed by fire for its sins. For it had been rich and sinful beyond the power of words to express. Its palaces had housed the most beautiful concubines and its stables the most perfect horses in the world, the one no less finely decked than the other. It stood in country so fertile that one had only to reach out a hand to pluck the fruits of the soil. There was infinite leisure to sin old sins and devise new ones. So destruction had come on the city. It had come in a night, with cleansing fire. And now Wabar, the fabled city, was a cluster of ruins guarded by the shifting sands, by cliffs of stone that forever changed place and form; and inhabited by a monkey race and by evil jinns. No one could approach the place because the jinns blew dust-storms in the faces of those who sought it.

That was Wabar.