The Fulfilled Prophecy

Clark Ashton Smith

You may set this story down as a case of coincidence. Indeed, you may not believe it at all. But the facts are well authenticated, and to my mind are far too remarkable to be accounted for by the coincidence theory.

I found the first part in an old Telegu manuscript, written perhaps seven centuries ago, and which today is in a private library in Madras. If fate or curiosity should ever take you to that city, and you obtain access to this library, you will discover this manuscript, and may read it for yourself.

The thing purported to have been written by one Vikram Roo, a priest, who in his time was of much importance in Rajahpur, a Kingdom of the Deccan, which ceased to exist, politically speaking, about three centuries ago.

Skipping a considerable amount of literature pertaining to himself, and the virtues of Natha Singh, the then Rajah of Rajahpur, the manuscript ran somewhat as follows:

It was during the reign of this most beneficent ruler (Natha Singh) that the strange event which I am about to relate, occurred.

It happened in the order of things set down by the fate that the omniscient Natha Singh, on a Wednesday, called his viziers about him and sat on his throne in the Hall of Audience to dispense justice to his subjects.

And it came to pass that many cases were judged by the omnipotent ruler, whose decisions were wise and just to all.

At length there entered the Audience Hall a wandering Jacquer. Upon his face were the marks of years, and his long locks were as the snows of the eternal Himalayas.

Natha Singh leaned towards him expectantly, and all present awaited his complaint in silence. For a space he spoke not, his eyes, which glowed strangely, as one who sees many things, fixed upon the Rajah's countenance. At length he spoke, and his words fell heavily upon the ears of the hearers.

"Know ye Natha Singh" he said, "that thy Kingdom shall come to an end. This shall not happen in thy days, or in the days of thy sons. But many years hence when thou and many that shall follow thee are but memories of yesterday, then shall come from the North a great army. And at the head shall ride a warrior on a white horse, whose birth was in a far land. He is a mighty general, and his men are as the sands of the sea. And before them the warriors of the Rajah shall melt as even as snow in the desert. And on that day shall Rajahpur fall, and those dwelling therein be given over to the sword. And before the sun has set, the reigning Rajah shall die, and his Kingdom pass to his conquerors. And after him there shall be no more of thy race, and Rajahpur shall be but a province of a mighty empire. And upon thy throne he of the White Horse shall rule, as a governor holding office under an emperor."

The Jacquer ceased. For a space he stood silently, and then he turned to go. Slowly he passed from the Audience Hall and into the streets of Rajahpur. For a time there seemed a presage of gloom within the Hall, and the Rajah wondered if indeed, this strange prophecy should ever be fulfilled.

But the Jacquer had passed from Rajahpur, and no man might say whither he had gone. In his eyes was the look of one who has seen many things.

Several months later, while at Hyderabad I came across the sequel. A friend to whom I related the story contained in Vikram Roo's manuscript, supplied me with a history of the wars of Akbar. Opening one of the volumes, he pointed out a passage describing the fall of Rajahpur. The book was by a native historian, little known, even in India, nowadays, and was authentic in every particular. The author, who lived during the reign of Shah Jihan, had taken great pains to make his work complete and accurate. The passage pointed out by my friend was as follows:

"Abd-ul-Marrash, the famous general, after his conquests in Rajputana, was sent by Akbar to conduct a war in the Deccan. His extensive and successful services had earned him the entire confidence of his Master, and, in this new campaign he more than fulfilled Akbar's expectations. Abd-ul-Marrash carried all before him. Several minor states he crushed at one blow—— At length he came to Rajahpur, a large and important Kingdom situated in a fertile plain of the Southern Deccan, and ruled over by a prince named Nasir Singh. Nasir's army, which he led in person, met Abdul- Marrash on the plains without the walls. The great general, mounted on a white horse, headed the charge, and carried his foes before him like reeds in a storm. Soon all was over, and Nasir Singh's army, in which was the flower of Rajahpur, lay dead upon the field, or was captive to the conqueror. Nasir himself escaped and reached the city in safety.

"Rajahpur was taken the same day; Abd-ul-Marrash, too impatient to await the following day, pressed on, and ordered an immediate attack. All was carried, Rajahpur sacked, and Nasir Singh slain in a vain attempt at escape, before sunset.

"As a reward for his distinguished services, Abd-ul-Marrash was created subadar, or governor, of this new province."

Editor's Note:
Asia Minor and the Orient were, in Clark's youth, "The Mysterious East"—an area little known and to Western eyes filled with arcane religions and dark and ancient knowledge of forbidden things. This vignette is an early example of Clark's experimenting with "strange prophecies" and "ancient manuscripts" containing hidden knowledge of the past. These devices occur in much of his writing. It is doubtful that he had publication in mind for this story; he seemed instead to be trying his hand at a technique. As with many of the vignettes contained in this collection, a sense of being part of a larger story is conveyed, leaving the reader strangely dissatisfied and wanting to know more. Not bad for one who was probably a pre-teen at this point.

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