The Masked Dyer, Hakim of Merv



‘From the other end of the shimmering desert they saw three approaching figures, which seemed to be of gigantic size. They were men, and  the middle one had the head of a bull. When they drew near, it was plain that this man was wearing a mask and that his companions were blind. […]

Another person had a leopard with him – a specimen, perhaps, of that sleek, bloodthirsty kind the Persians train – and it happened that the animal broke free of its bonds. Except for the masked prophet and his two acolytes, the rest of them trampled each other to escape. When they flocked back, the prophet had blinded the beast. Before its luminous dead eyes, the men worshipped Hakim and acknowledged his supernatural powers’.


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