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LETTER xvm AN ISOLATED VILLAGE 41
CAMP GOKUN, July 6.
A DESCENT of 5000 feet brought us into the grand and
narrow gorge of the Sahid stream, with willow, walnut,
oak, maple, pear, and crab along its banks, knotted together
by sprays of pink roses, with oaks higher up, and above
them again overhanging mountains of naked rock, scorched,
and radiating heat.
Quite suddenly, after a steep ascent, there is a view of
a steep slope below, where a lateral ravine comes down
on the Sahid, green with crops of wheat and barley,
poplars, willows, and a grove of fine walnuts, and more
wonderful still, with an wnamssada, in good repair, and a
village, also named Sahid, in which people live all the
year. The glen is magnificent, and is the one spot that
I have seen in Persia which suggests Switzerland.
It is a steep and difficult descent through a walnut
grove to the village, and before I knew it I was on the
roof of a house. The village is built in ten steps up the
steep hillside, the posts which support one projecting roof
resting on the back of the roof below.
The people were timid and suspicious, gave untrue
replies to questions at first, said we were " doing talisman
to take their country," and consulted in Aziz's and
Mirza's hearing how they might rob us. It was even
difficult to get them to bring fodder for the horses. They
were fanatical and called us Kafirs. Some of the women