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24                       JOURNEYS IN PERSIA           LETTER xvi

came down abruptly intp the elevated plain of Cheshmeh
Zarin (the Golden Fountain) at a height of 8500 feet,
the plain, being about five miles by two and a half.
Receding hills with some herbage upon them border the
plateau, and the Zard Kuh, though at some distance,
apparently blocks up the western end. A powerful
spring bursts from under a ridge of rock half-way down
the plain, and becomes at once a clear gentle stream, fifty
feet broad, which passes through the level green sward
in a series of turns which are quite marvellous. Smooth
sward, green barley, many yoke of big oxen ploughing up
rich black soil, dark flocks of thousands of sheep and
goats, asses, mares, mules, cows, all feeding, large villages
of black tents, one of them surrounding the white pavilion
of a Khan, saddle-horses tethered, flocks being led to and
fro, others being watered, laden asses arriving and de-
parting, butter being churned, and carpets being woven,
form a scene of quiet but busy industry which makes
one feel quite "in the world." This stream is one of
the chief sources of the Zainderud.

From this cheerful camping-ground we marched over
low hills, forded the Zainderud several times, and came
upon several Ilyat camps on low, rich pasture lands.
These nomads had no tents, but dwelt in booths without
fronts, the roofs and backs being made of the tough
yellow flowering stalks of the celery. The path follows
the left bank -of the river, there a full, broad stream,
flowing through the Tang-i-Ghezi, through rounded hills,
and scenery much like that of the Cheviots. At the
Tang-i-Ghezi we camped, and this morning crossed a low
hill into a heavily-grassed valley watered by the Kherson,
ascended a shoulder of Gargunak, and halted at Aziz
Khan's tents, where the women were very hospitable,
bringing out cows' milk, and allowing themselves to be
photographed.