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82                        JOURNEYS IN PERSIA             LETTER xix

selves by an act of devotion. His village, Diz Arjanak,
has a Diz, or stronghold, with a limited supply of water.
It is the raison d'etre of his residence there. This Diz
consists of a few shelves or cavities, chiefly artificial,
scooped out in the face of the perpendicular cliff above
the village. They are only attainable by a very difficult
climb, have no internal communication, and would not
hold more than 150 people. In one cavity there is a
small perennial spring. " The largest recess is said to be
twelve feet deep by about twenty long, and has a loop-
holed breastwork across the entrance. In case of attack
the Khan and the people provision this hiding-place, and
retire to it, believing it impregnable.

Mirab Khan on this and a later occasion complained,
and apparently with good reason, of grinding exactions
on the part of Persia. The Isawands, like the Magawes
and Zalakis, pay their tribute partly to Burujird and
partly to the Ilkhani. The sum formerly fixed and paid
was 150 tumans. It was raised to 300, which was paid
for two years. Now, he says, this year's demand (1890)
is for 500.

We left Diz Arjanak rather late in the afternoon,
ascended a valley which opens out beyond it, forded the
green bright waters of the Mauri Zarin, and crossed
beautiful open hillsides and elevated plateaux on its right
bank till we lost it in a highly picturesque gorge. Some
miles of very pleasant riding brought us to a rocky and
dangerous path along the side of a precipice above the
river Badush, so narrow as to involve the unloading of
several mules, and a bad slip and narrow escape on the
part of mine. The scenery is singularly wild and severe.
Crossing the Badush, and ascending a narrow ravine
through which it flows, we camped at its source at the
junction of two wild gullies, where the Sahib, after sundry
serious risks, had already arrived. We did not see a