The Adventures of Akbar eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about The Adventures of Akbar.
other remedy, we returned back to a place where there was abundance of firewood, and despatched sixty or seventy chosen men to retrace our footsteps and find on lower ground any people who might be wintering there, and bring back another guide.  We halted thus for three or four days awaiting the return of our messengers; but when they did appear it was without any one to show the way.  Placing my reliance on God alone, therefore, I went on.  For about a week we continued beating down the snow so as to form a road, only advancing two or three miles a day.  Accompanied by ten or fifteen of my personal followers, I worked myself with the others.  Every step we took forward we sank up to the middle, but still we went on, trampling till we got firm foothold.  And as the first person wearied of the exertion, he stood back and another took his place.  So, after a time, we managed to lead on a riderless horse.  It generally sank to the stirrups, and after floundering on a dozen paces was worn out.  But the second did better.  Thus in this way the twenty or so of us managed to prepare a sort of road for the rest, who with hanging heads (though many of them had seemed our best men) advanced along it without even dismounting!  But this was no time for reproof or authority.  Every man of spirit hastens to such work of himself, and the rest do not count.  In this way after three or four days we reached a cave at the foot of the Zirrin Pass.  That day the wind and storm were dreadful; the snow fell in quantities; we all expected to meet death together.  The snow was so deep, the path so narrow, the days were at shortest.  The first of the troops reached the cave while it was yet daylight; but some men had to wait for morning on horseback.  The cave seemed to be too small for all, so I would not go in.  I felt that for me to be warm and comfortable while my men were in snow and drift; for me to sleep at my ease while my followers were in trouble and distress, would be unfair.  I felt that whatever their sufferings might be, I ought to share them.  So I took a hoe and dug down into the snow as deep as my breast; this gave me some shelter from the wind, and I sat down in the hole.  By bedtime prayers the snow had fallen so fast that four inches of it had settled on my head——­’”

Here Old Faithful paused and shook his head gravely.  “His Majesty,” he went on, “writes in the margin, ‘That night I caught a cold in my ear.’  It is only wonder he did not catch his death.”

“But what happened next?” asked Akbar impatiently.  “Did poor Grand-dad sit in the snow all night?”

“No, Most-Honourable.  He goes on to say, ’The cave was properly explored and found to be large enough to hold us all.  So I ordered all to go in, and thus we escaped from the terrible cold, snow, and drift, into a wonderfully warm, safe, comfortable place.  And next morning the snow and tempest ceased and we moved on, trampling down the snow as before; but ere we quite got through the pass, night fell.  Though the wind had fallen, the cold was dreadful, and several lost fingers, toes, even hands and feet from frostbite, as we waited for dawn in the open.  As early as we could we moved down the glen, descending, without road, over difficult and precipitous places, the extreme depth of the snow enabling us to pass over countless dangers.  Thus our enemy became our friend.

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The Adventures of Akbar from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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