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276                  JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN    LETTER xxvm

the splintered Kanisairani summits. The plain has an
altitude of over 6000 feet, and there was a sharp frost as
we dismounted at the village of Pirzala and put up at
the house of the Malek David, having been eleven and a
half hours in the saddle. After consulting with him and
other village worthies I dismissed the Jcatirgis and paid
them more than their contract price. The next morning
they swore by the Prophet's beard, and every other
sacred thing, that they had not been paid, and when pay-
ment was proved by two respectable witnesses, they were
not the least abashed. Poor fellows! They know no
better and are doubtless very poor. I was glad to get
rid of their sinister faces and outbreaks of violence, but
for some days it was impossible, being harvest-time, to
obtain transport to Kochanes, though I was able to leave
Pirzala for other villages.

The next day mists rolled down the mountains, and a
good cold English rain set in, in which I had a most
pleasant ride to Diza, which was repeated the following
day in glorious weather, the new-fallen snow coming half-
way down the mountain sides. I was surreptitiously on
Turkish soil, and it was necessary to show my passport
to the Diza officials, get a permit to travel, and have my
baggage examined. Ishu, the present Malek of the plain,
through whom all business between the Christians and
the Government is transacted, accompanied us to the
Mutessarif of Julamerik.

Diza is an unwalled town on an eminence crowned
by barracks. The garrison of 200 men was reduced to
six during the summer. The Kurds evidently took the
reduction as a hint to them to do what they liked, and they
have mercilessly ravaged and harried the plain for months
past.1 An official assured me that 15,000 sheep have

1 About Christmas 1890 in Constantinople I had an opportunity of
laying the state of the Gawar Christians and the reduction of the garrison