a sea lion and he forgot the
fish and lay down and tried to swim by wriggling his feet in the water
as though they were a tail. The hardships, the privations, the terrors,
and for the past few weeks the lack of proper nourishment had reduced
Erich Obergatz to little more than a gibbering idiot.
A water snake swam out upon the surface of the lake and the man pursued
it, crawling upon his hands and knees. The snake swam toward the shore
just within the mouth of the river where tall reeds grew thickly and
Obergatz followed, making grunting noises like a pig. He lost the snake
within the reeds but he came upon something else--a canoe hidden there
close to the bank. He examined it with cackling laughter. There were
two paddles within it which he took and threw out into the current of
the river. He watched them for a while and then he sat down beside the
canoe and commenced to splash his hands up and down upon the water. He
liked to hear the noise and see the little splashes of spray. He rubbed
his left forearm with his right palm and the dirt came off and left a
white spot that drew his attention. He rubbed again upon the now
thoroughly soaked blood and grime that covered his body. He was not
attempting to wash himself; he was merely amused by the strange
results. "I am turning white," he cried. His glance wandered from his
body now that the grime and blood were all removed and caught again the
white city shimmering beneath the hot sun.
"A-lur--City of Light!" he shrieked and that reminded him again of
Tu-lur and by the same process of associated ideas that had before
suggested it, he recalled that the Waz-ho-don had thought him
"I am Jad-ben-Otho!" he screamed and then his eyes fell again upon the
canoe. A new idea came and persisted. He looked down at himself,
examining his body, and seeing the filthy loin cloth, now water soaked
and more bedraggled than before, he tore it from him and flung it into
the lake. "Gods do not wear dirty rags," he said aloud. "They do not
wear anything but wreaths and garlands of flowers and I am a god--I am
Jad-ben-Otho--and I go in state to my sacred city of A-lur."
He ran his fingers through his matted hair and beard. The water had
softened the burrs but had not removed them. The man shook his head.
His hair and beard failed to harmonize with his other godly attributes.
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