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LETTER xvi              THE PUL-I-ALI-KUH                          11

through a narrow passage, as though impatient for its
liberation from an unnatural restraint, and there is what
I hesitate to call—a bridge. At all events there is a
„ something by which men and beasts can cross the chasm—
a rude narrow cradle of heavy branches, filled with
stones, quite solid and safe, resting on projections of rock
on either side. The Karun, where this Pul-i-Ali-kuh
crosses it, is only nine feet sis inches in width. I found
the zigzag ascent on the right bank a very difficult one,
and had sundry falls.

Two hours more brought us to the junction of the
Karun and Duab (" two rivers ") above which the former
is lost to view in a tremendous ravine, the latter coming
down a green valley among high and mostly bare mountains,
on a gravelly slope of one of which we camped, for the
purpose of ascending a spur of a lofty mountain which
overhangs the Karun. On such occasions I take my mule,
Suleiman, the most surefooted of his surefooted race, who
brings me down precipitous declivities which I could not
look at on my own feet. After crossing the Duab, a green,
rapid willow-fringed river, by a ford so deep as to be half-
way up the bodies of the mules, and zigzagging up a steep
mountain side to a ridge of a spur of Kaisruh, so narrow
that a giant might sit astride upon it, a view opened of
singular grandeur.

On the southern side of the ridge, between mountains
of, barren rock, snow-slashed, and cleft by tremendous
rifts, lying in shadows of cool gray, the deep, bright,
winding Duab flows down the green valley which it
blesses, among stretches of wheat and mounds where only
the forgotten dead have their habitation,—a silver thread
in the mellow light. On the northern side lies the huge
Tang-i-Karun, formed by the magnificent mountain Kais-
ruh on its right bank, and on the left by mountains
equally bold, huge rock-masses rising 3000 feet per-