THE GREAT TAHARI
Locations of and in the Tahari
I looked downward.
Though on the map it occupied only some several feet of the floor, in actuality
it was vast. It was roughly in the shape of a gigantic, lengthy trapezoid, with
eastward leaning sides. At its northwestern corner lay Tor, West of Tor, on the
Lower Fayeen, a sluggish, meandering tributary, like the Upper Fayeen, to the
Cartius, lay the river Port of Kasra, known for its export of salt. It was in
this port that the warehouses of Ibn Saran, salt merchant, currently the guest
of Samos of Port Kat, were to be found. This city, too, was indicated in the
cording of his agal, and in the stripes of his djellaba.
The area, in extent, east of Tor, was hundreds of pasangs in depth, and perhaps thousands in length. The Gorean expression for this area simply means the Wastes, or the Emptiness. It is a vast area, and generally rocky, and hilly, save in the dune country. It is almost constantly windblown and almost waterless. In areas it has been centuries between rains. Its oases are fed from underground rivers flowing southeastward from the Voltai slopes. The water, seeping underground, eventually, in places, due to rock formation, erupts in oasis springs, or, more usually, is reached by deep wells, some of them more than two hundred feet deep. It takes more than a hundred and fifty years for some of this water to make the underground journey, seeping hundreds of feet at times beneath the dry surface, moving only a few miles a year, to reach the eases. Diurnal air temperatures in the shade are commonly in the range of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Surface temperature, diurnally, is, of course, much higher in the dune country, by day, if one were so unwise as to go barefoot, the bright sand would quickly cripple a man, abrading and burning the flesh from his feet in a matter of hours.
"It is here," said Samos, pointing to the map, "that the secret lies." Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 1
The oasis of Two Scimitars is an out-of-the-way oasis,
under the hegemony of the Bakahs, which, for more than two hundred years,
following their defeat in the Silk War of 8,110 C.A., has been a vassal tribe of
the Kavars. The Silk War was a war for the control of certain caravan routes,
for the rights to levy raider tribute on journeying merchants. It was called the
Silk War because, at that time, Turian silk first began to be imported in bulk
to the Tahari communities, and northward to Tor and Kasra, thence to Ar, and
points north and west. Raider tribute, it might be noted, is no longer commonly
levied in the Tahari. Rather, with the control of watering points at the oasis,
it is unnecessary. To these points must come caravans. At the oases, it is
common for the local pashas to exact a protection tax from caravans, if they are
of a certain length, normally of more than fifty kaiila. The protection tax
helps to defray the cost of maintaining soldiers, who, nominally, at any rate,
police the desert. It is not unusual for the genealogy of most of the pashas
sovereign in the various eases to contain a heritage of raiders. Most of those
in the Tahari who sit upon the rugs of office are those who are the descendants
of men who ruled, in ruder days, scimitar in hand, from the high, red leather of
the kaiila saddle. The forms change but, in the Tahari, as elsewhere, order,
justice and law rest ultimately upon the determination of men, and steel.Tribesman
of Gor, Chapter 10
Tor, lying at the northwest corner of the Tahari, is the principal supplying point for the scattered oasis communities of that dry vastness, almost a continent of rock, and heat, and wind and sand. These communities, sometimes quite large, numbering in hundreds, sometimes thousands of citizens depending on the water available, are often hundreds of pasangs apart. They depend on caravans, usually from Tor, sometimes from Kasra, sometimes even from far Turia, to supply many of their needs. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 2
Samos turned away
from the girl. He indicated to me a man who sat at a far end of one of the low
tables. He did not drink wine or paga. The man, rare in Port Kar, won the
kaffiyeh and agal. The kaffiyeh is a squarish scarf, folded over into a
triangle, and placed over the head, two points at the side of the shoulders, one
in back to protect the back of the neck. It is bound to the head by several
loops of cord, the agal. The cording indicates tribe and district. Tribesman of
Gor, Chapter 1
At its northwestern
corner lay Tor, West of Tor, on the Lower Fayeen, a sluggish, meandering
tributary, like the Upper Fayeen, to the Cartius, lay the river Port of Kasra,
known for its export of salt. It was in this port that the warehouses of Ibn
Saran, salt merchant, currently the guest of Samos of Port Kat, were to be
found. This city, too, was indicated in the cording of his agal, and in the
stripes of his djellaba. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 1
called the man.
"Water," I said.
He came to me, bent over, tattered, swarthy, grinning up at me, the verrskin bag over his shoulder, the brass cups, a dozen of them, attached to shoulder straps and his belt, rattling and clinking. His shoulder on the left was damp from the bag. There were sweat marks on his torn shirt, under the straps. One of the brass cups he unhooked from his belt. Without removing the bag from his shoulder, he filled the cup. He wore a head scarf, the wrapped turban, wound about his head. It was of rep-cloth. It protects the head from the sun; its folds allow beat and perspiration to escape, evaporating, and, of course, air to enter and circulate. Among lower-class males, too, it provides a soft cushion, on which boxes, and other burdens, may be conveniently carried on the head, steadied by the right hand. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 2
Bent over, carrying
a grossly woven bag of kaiila-hair cloth, filled with accouterments, I set foot
on the cracked boards of the Kurtzal dock. Moments later I stood inland, ankle
deep in the white dust. Following me down the gangplank, clad in a black haik,
could have been only my companion, the pitiful free woman who shared my poverty.
The haik, black, covers the woman from head to toe. At the eyes, there is a tiny
bit of black lace, through which she may see. On her feet were soft, black,
nonheeled slippers, with curled toes, they were, decorated with a lind of silver
Beneath the haik none needed know the woman was naked and wore a collar. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
A merchant passed me, climbing the
stones of the street. He wore a striped, hooded, sleeved, loose robe, a djellaba.
The striping was that of the Teehra, a district southwest of Tor, bordering on
the Tahari. Following him, in a black haik, was a woman. Suddenly I was
startled. As she passed me, her stride small and measured, I heard the clink of
light chain, the sound of ankle bells. She was slave. She turned her head,
briefly, to look at me; I saw her eyes, dark, through the tiny opening in the
haik, through the tiny, black-lace screen, about an inch in height and four
inches in width. Then, with a rustle of the chain, and the tiny music of her
bells, she turned swiftly, following her master. Beneath the haik, I supposed
her collared, naked. The use of a light walking chain, tethering the ankles,
meant to be worn abroad, accompanying the master, incidentally, is not uncommon
in the regions of the Tahari. A beautifully measured gait is thought, in the
Tahari, to be attractive in a woman. There is dispute as to the desirable length
of the stride, and the chain may be adjusted accordingly. To me it seems obvious
that one must experiment with the given girl. Height and hip structure vary. I
resolved to obtain such a set of chains for Miss Blake-Allen. I was curious to
see what measure of stride would best suit the slave in her. Free women, in the
Tahari, incidentally, usually, when out of their houses, also measure their
stride. Some fasten their own ankles together with silken thongs. Some dare even
the chain, though they retain its key. Free girls, not yet companions, but of an
age appropriate for the companionship, sometimes signal their availability to
possible swains by belling their left ankles with a single "virgin bell." The
note of this bell, which is bright and clear, is easily distinguished from those
of the degrading, sensual bells of the slave. Sometimes free girls, two or more
of them, as a girlish lark, obtain slave bells and, chaining their ankles, dress
themselves in their haiks and go about the city. Sometimes their girlish
amusement does not turn out as they expect. Sometimes they find themselves being
sold in markets at obscure eases. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 2
listened to the caravan bells. I pulled the burnoose down about my face, shading
The movements of the men of the Tahari are, during the hours of heat, usually slow, almost languid or graceful. They engage in little unnecessary movement. They do not, if they can help it, overheat themselves. They sweat as little as possible, which conserves body fluid. Their garments are loose and voluminous, yet closely woven. The outer garment when in caravan, usually the burnoose, is almost invariably white. This color reflects the rays of the sun. The looseness of the garments, acting as a bellows in movement, circulates air about the body, which air, circulating, over the damp skin, cools the body by evaporation: the close weave of the garment is to keep the moisture and water, as much as possible, within the garment, preferably condensing back on the skin. There are two desiderata, which are crucial in these matters; the first is to minimize perspiration: the second is to retain as much moisture, lost through perspiration, as is possible on the body. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
Closer came the men, stopping, starting, moving from one
man to the next, down the long line. They were led by a captain, with a
red-bordered burnoose. Several of them held their scimitars, unsheathed, across
the leather of their saddles. "You are not a Kavar, are you?" asked the drover.
"No," I said.
The riders were before us.
The drover threw back the hood of his burnoose, and pulled down the veil about his face. Beneath the burnoose he wore a skullcap. The rep-cloth veil was red; it had been soaked in a primitive dye, mixed from water and the mashed roots of the telekint; when he perspired, it had run; his face was stained. He thrust back the sleeve of his trail shirt.
The captain looked at me. "Sleeve," he said. I thrust back the sleeve of my shirt, revealing my left forearm. It did not bear the blue scimitar, tattooed on the forearm of a Kavar boy at puberty. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
City of the Tahari Collecting dates Tea in the Tahari
called the man.
"Water," I said.
He came to me, bent over, tattered, swarthy, grinning up at me, the verrskin bag over his shoulder, the brass cups, a dozen of them, attached to shoulder straps and his belt, rattling and clinking. His shoulder on the left was damp from the bag. There were sweat marks on his torn shirt, under the straps. One of the brass cups he unhooked from his belt. Without removing the bag from his shoulder, he filled the cup. He wore a head scarf, the wrapped turban, wound about his head. It was of rep-cloth. It protects the head from the sun; its folds allow beat and perspiration to escape, evaporating, and, of course, air to enter and circulate. Among lower-class males, too, it provides a soft cushion, on which boxes, and other burdens, may be conveniently carried on the head, steadied by the right hand. The water flowed into the cup through a tiny vent-and-spigot device, which wastes little water, by reducing spillage, which was tied in and waxed into a hole left in the front left foreleg of the verr skin. The skins are carefully stripped and any rents in the skin are sewed up, the seams coated with wax. When the whole skin is thoroughly cleaned of filth and hair, straps are fastened to it so that it may be conveniently carried on the shoulder, or over the back, the same straps serving, with adjustment, for either mode of support. The cup was dirty.
I took the water and gave the man a copper tarsk.
I smelled the spices and sweat of Tor. I drank slowly. The sun was high.
Tor, lying at the northwest corner of the Tahari, is the principal supplying point for the scattered oasis communities of that dry vastness, almost a continent of rock, and heat, and wind and sand. These communities, sometimes quite large, numbering in hundreds, sometimes thousands of citizens depending on the water available, are often hundreds of pasangs apart. They depend on caravans, usually from Tor, sometimes from Kasra, sometimes even from far Turia, to supply many of their needs. In turn, of course, caravans export the products of the oases. To the oases caravans bring various goods, for example, rep-cloth, embroidered cloths, silks, rugs, silver, gold, jewelleries, mirrors, kailiauk tusk, perfumes, hides, skins, feathers, precious woods, tools, needles, worked leather goods, salt, nuts and spices, jungle birds, prized as pets, weapons, rough woods, sheets of tin and copper, the tea of Bazi, wool from the bounding Hurt, decorated, beaded whips, female slaves, and many other forms of merchandise. The principal export of the oases is dates and pressed-date bricks. Some of the date palms grow to more than a hundred feet high. It takes ten years before they begin to bear fruit. They will then yield fruit for more than a century. A given tree, annually, yields between one and five Gorean weights of fruit. A weight is some ten stone, or some forty Earth pounds. A great amount of farming, or perhaps one should speak of gardening, is done at the oasis, but little of this is exported. At the oasis will be grown a hybrid, brownish Sa-Tarna, adapted to the heat of the desert; most Sa-Tarna is yellow; and beans, berries, onions tuber suls, various sorts of melons, a foliated leaf vegetable, called Katch, and various root vegetables, such as turnips, carrots, radishes, of the sphere and cylinder varieties, and korts, a large, brownish-skinned, thick-skinned, sphere-shaped vegetable, usually some six inches in width, the interior of which is yellowish, fibrous and heavily seeded. At the oasis, because of the warm climate, the farmers can grow two or more crops a year. Larma and tospits are also grown at the oases, in small orchards. Some rep is grown, for cloth, but most cloth comes to the oases from caravans. Kaiila and verr are found at the oases, but not in great numbers. The herds of these animals are found in the desert. They are kept by nomads, who move them from one area of verr grass to another or from one water hole to another, as the holes, for the season, go dry. Smaller water sources are used in the spring, for these are the first to go dry, larger ones later in the year. No grass grows about these water holes because many animals are brought to them and graze it to the earth. They are usually muddy ponds, with some stunted trees about, centered in the midst of an extensive radius of grassless, cracked, dry earth. Meat, hides, and animal-hair cloth are furnished to the oases by the nomads. In turn, from the oases the nomads receive, most importantly, Sa-Tarna grain and the Bazi tea. They receive, as well, of course, other trade goods. Sa-Tarna is the main staple of the nomads. They, in spite of raising herds, eat very little meat. The animals are too precious for their trade value, and their hair and milk, to be often slaughtered for food. A nomad boy of fifteen will often have eaten meat no more than a dozen times in his life. Raiders, however, feast well on meat. The animals mean little to them and come to them cheaply. Tea is extremely important to the nomads. It is served hot and heavily sugared. It gives them strength then, in virtue of the sugar, and cools them, by making them sweat, as well as stimulating them. It is drunk three small cups at a time, carefully measured.
I finished the cup of water and handed the cup back to the water carrier. He bowed, grinning, the bag, swollen and bulging, damp on his shoulder, and. hooking the cup on his belt, backed away. "Water!" he called. "Water!"
I blinked my eyes against the heat and glare of the sun. The buildings of Tor are of mud brick, covered with colored, often flaking, plasters. But now, in the sun, and the dust, raised by the people in the streets, everything seemed drained of color. I would soon have to buy appropriate garments. In such a city I was too conspicuous.
I made my way toward the bazaar.
I knew the light lance, and the swift, silken kaiila. I had learned these with the Wagon Peoples. But I did not know the scimitar. The short sword, now slung over my left shoulder, in the common fashion, would be of little use on kaiila back. The men of the Tahari do not fight on foot. A man on foot in the desert, in warfare, is accounted a dead man.
I looked up at the buildings. I was now in the shade, descending a narrow, steep street, toward the bazaar. The buildings in Tor are seldom more than four stories high, which is about as high as one may build safely with beams and mud brick. Because of the irregular topography of Tor, however, which is a hilly, rocky area, like most of the Tahari terrain, many of the buildings, built on shelves and rises, seemed considerably higher. These buildings, on the outside smooth and bleak, save for occasional narrow windows, high, not wide enough to admit a body, abut directly on the streets, making the streets like deep, walled alleys. In the center of the street is a gutter. It seldom rains in Tor, but the gutter serves to collect waste, which is often thrown into it, through open doors, by slaves. Within these walls, however, so pressing upon the street, I knew there were often gardens, walled, well-watered, beautiful, and cool, dark rooms, shielded from the heat and sun, many with superb appointments. Tor was, as Gorean cities went, rich, trading city. It was headquarters for thousands of caravan merchants. In it, too, were housed many craftsmen, practicing their industries, carvers, varnishers, table makers, gem cutters, jewelers, carders, dyers of cloth, weavers of rugs, tanners, makers of slippers, toolers of leather, potters, glaziers, makers of cups and kettles, weapon smiths, and many others. Much of the city, of course, was organized to support the caravan trade. There were many walled, guarded warehouses, requiring their staffs of scribes and guards, and, in hundreds of hovels, lived kaiila tenders, drovers, and such, who would, at the caravan tables, when their moneys had been exhausted, apply, if accepted, making their mark on the roster, once more for a post with some new caravan. Guards for these caravans, incidentally, were usually known by, and retained by, caravan merchants between caravans. They were known men. Tenders and drovers, on the whole, came and went. Elaborate random selection devices, utilizing coins and sticks, and formulas, were sometimes used by merchants to assure that applying tenders and drovers were selected, if they were not known, by chance. Tenders and drovers were assured that this was to insure fairness. Actually, of course, as was well known, this was a precaution against the danger of hiring, en bloc, unwittingly, an organized group of men, who might, prior to their hiring, have formed a plan to slay the guards and merchants and make off with the caravan. Tenders and drovers, however, like men generally, were an honest sort. When they returned to Tor, of course, they had been long in the desert. At the end of the trip they received their wages. Sometimes, not even a hundred yards from the warehouses, these men would be met by enterprising cafe owners, praising the advantages of their respective establishments. The owners of these cafes, usually, would bring with them a chain of their girls, stripped, as free women in the Tahari districts may not be, purportedly a typical selection of the stock available.
"In my house," he would call, indicating one or another of the girls, "rent the key to her chains."
But generally the men would proceed past these enticements, which were, from what I saw, far from negligible, and hurry toward their favorite cafes and hostels, whose wares, I gathered, did not need such blatant advertisement, whose worth, and capacities for total and complete satisfaction were apparently well known. Certain of these cafes I might mention. The Silken Oasis is well known, even in Ar, but it is extremely expensive; in the middle range of price are the Golden Collar and the Silver Chain, both under the same management, that of a Turian named Haran; good, relatively inexpensive cafes are the Thong, which I would recommend, the Veminium, the Pomegranate, the Red Cages and the Pleasure Garden. These various establishments, and more than forty others, from the point of view of tenders and drovers, have one thing in common. They succeed in separating, with celerity and efficiency, a fellow from his money. I do not feel this way myself. I think most of them, with the exception of the Silken Oasis, are reasonable. The drover's objection, I think, is largely a function of the fact that he does not have a great deal of money to spend. What there is, accordingly, seems rapidly diminished. Tenders and drovers often proceed from one cafe to the other, for several nights. The wages for a caravan trip, which often takes months, commonly will last the fellow about ten days, or, if nursed out, some fifteen days. They are, of course, a rather pleasant ten or fifteen days. At the end of this time, after a day or so of some physiological discomfort, usually violent nausea and blinding headaches, it is common to find the man again back at the tables, once more attempting to vend his services to the master of a caravan.
A fellow walked past me, carrying several vulos, alive, heads down, their feet tied together. He was followed by another fellow, carrying a basket of eggs.
I followed them, as they would be going to the market streets, near which was the bazaar.
The water in an oasis is, of course, at its lowest point. Residences, at an oasis, are built on the higher ground, where nothing will grow. It is the valley, naturally, which, irrigated, usually by hand, though sometimes with clumsy wooden machinery, supports the agriculture. Land, at an oasis, which will grow food, is not wasted on domiciles. Tor, rather similarly, though few crops were grown within its walls, was built high, about its water, several wells in the deepest area in the city. The architecture of Tor, in concentric circles, broken by numerous, narrow, crooked streets, was a function of the radius from its wells. An advantage of this municipal organization, of course, though it is scarcely a matter of intentional design, is that the water is in the most protected portion of the city, its center. Tor's water, I might mention, was ample to her needs. Though I saw few of them, she boasted many shaded gardens. Water for these gardens, by contract with slave masters, was carried by chains of male slaves and emptied into house cisterns, whence, later, by house slaves, it would be taken in cans and sprinkled carefully, foot by foot, throughout the garden.
I was now in the lower part of the city.
"Water!" I heard. "Water!"
Behind me, turning, I saw the water carrier, he from whom I had purchased a cup of water earlier.
A woman, veiled, passed me. She held a baby inside her cloak, nursing it.
I continued down the sloping street, toward the bazaar and market. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
There was another reason I had brought Miss Blake-Allen, as we may perhaps speak of her for purposes of simplicity, to the Tahari districts. Cold, white-skinned women are of interest to the men of the Tahari. They enjoy putting them in servitude. They enjoy, on their submission mats, turning them into helpless, yielding slaves. Too, blue-eyed, blond women are, statistically, rare in the Tahari districts. Those that exist there have been imported as slaves. Given her complexion and coloring, I thought, and Samos concurred, we could get a good price for the wench in Tor, or in the interior, at an oasis market. We had little doubt that the men of the Tahari would pay high for the body and person of Miss Blake-Allen. There was another reason I had brought Miss Blake-Allen, as we may perhaps speak of her for purposes of simplicity, to the Tahari districts. Cold, white-skinned women are of interest to the men of the Tahari. They enjoy putting them in servitude. They enjoy, on their submission mats, turning them into helpless, yielding slaves. Too, blue-eyed, blond women are, statistically, rare in the Tahari districts. Those that exist there have been imported as slaves. Given her complexion and coloring, I thought, and Samos concurred, we could get a good price for the wench in Tor, or in the interior, at an oasis market. We had little doubt that the men of the Tahari would pay high for the body and person of Miss Blake-Allen. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
There was a great
shouting, and, passing through the market gate, I had turned into the nest of
I brushed away two sellers of apricots and spices. "Come with me to the cafe of Red Cages," said a boy, pulling at my sleeve. They receive a copper tarsk for each patron they bring through the arched portal of the cafe. I gave the boy a copper tarsk, and he sped from me.
I made my way carefully through the crowds.
The vendors come early to the market, leaving their villages outside of Tor in the morning darkness, that they may find a yard of pavement, preferably near the market gate, to display their wares. I was jostled to one side by two men in djellabas. My ankle stung. I had nearly stepped into a basket of plums. Not even looking up, a woman had cried out, and, with a stick lashed out, protecting her merchandise. "Buy melons!" called a fellow next to her, lifting one of the yellowish, red-striped spheres toward me. A boy passed, spitting out the seeds of a tospit. The thought of Kamchak, of the Tuchuks, passed through my mind. I smiled. Only the rare, long- with melted cheese and nutmeg; hot Bazi tea, sugared, and, later, Turian wine. I did not forget the slave, of course. Crusts of bread did I throw to the boards before her. It was slave bread, rough and coarse-grained. The beauty ate it eagerly. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
I passed a fellow
inlaying wood, and the shop of a silversmith, and stalls filled with baskets,
some of which, grain baskets, were large enough to hold a man. In another place
tanned, dyed leathers were hanging, purple, red, yellow. I passed a boy in a
shop using a bow lathe. He spins the wood with bow and string, held in his right
hand. He uses his left hand and his right foot to guide the cutting tool.
Djellabas and burnooses, sleeveless, hooded desert cloaks, were being sold in
another stall. The burnoose can, as the djellaba cannot, because of the sleeves,
be thrown back, freeing the arms. One who rides the swift kaiila,
who handles the scimitar and lance, chooses the burnoose.
I passed another stall, in which mats were being sold. These are used for various purposes, sometimes vertically for screens, more normally, horizontally, for sitting and sleeping. T`ey can be tightly rolled and occupy little space. Among them I saw rough-fibered slave mats, and among those, the coarsest of all, submission mats, on which the female slave may be forced to perform for her master.
There were sellers of scarves and sashes, veils and haiks, chalwars and tobes, and slippers and kaftans, and cording for agals. Too, there were cloth merchants, with their silks and rolls of rep cloth. Cloth is measured in the ah-il, which is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, and the ah-ral, which is ten ah-ils. I saw sleeve daggers. I brushed a mat salesman away.
In another stall a slave girl was being vended. I watched her for a time dance before me, then I turned away.
I smelled veminium oil.
The petals of veminium, the "Desert Veminium," purplish, as opposed to the "Thentis Veminium," bluish, which flower grows at the edge of the Tahari, gathered in shallow baskets and carried to a still, are boiled in water. The vapor, which boils off, is condensed into oil. This oil is used to perfume water. This water is not drunk but is used in middle and upper-class homes to rinse the eating hand, before and after the evening meal.
At one place, on a stone shelf, under awnings, several girls, chained naked, were for sale, interestingly, at set prices. It was a municipal sale, under the jurisdiction of the courts of Tor. One brown-skinned girl, black-eyed, no more than fifteen, kneeling, her wrists and ankles tightly chained, looked up at me. She was being sold to pay her father's gambling debts. I purchased her, and freed her. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
In the bazaar I
stopped, seeming to contemplate mirrors. The four men I had seen earlier, two
large ones, two small ones, in white burnooses, still followed.
I had assumed the name Hakim, a Tahari name, one suitable for a merchant.
I would choose the place with some care.
I passed a stall of perfumers, and thought of Saphrar of Turia. Then I passed a shop where the high, light kaiila saddles were being made. One could also buy there, saddle blankets, quirts, bells and kaiila reins. The kaiila rein is a single rein, very light, plaited of various leathers. There are often ten to a dozen strips of tanned, dyed leather in a single rein. Each individual strip, interestingly, given the strength of the rein, is little thicker than a stout thread. The strips are cut with knives, and it requires great skill to cut them. The rein, carefully plaited, is tied through a hole drilled in the right nostril of the kaiila. It passes under the animal's jaw to the left. When one wishes to guide the animal to the left one draws the rein left; when one wishes to guide it right one pulls right, drawing the rein over the animal's neck, with pressure against the left cheek. To stop the animal one draws back. To start or hasten the animal, one kicks it in the flanks, or uses the long kaiila quirt.
I passed one of the wells of Tor. There were steps, broad, flat, worn, in concentric circles, leading down to the water. At this time of year eight of the steps were uncovered by the water. Many came there for water. I saw children on their hands and knees lapping water, women filling jugs, men submerging bags, the air bubbling up as the bags filled. Like most water in the Tahari the water of Tor was slightly salty and unclear. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
Salt of the Tahari
We went to the man. "This is Ibn
Saran, salt merchant of the river port of Kasra," said Samos.
The red salt of Kasra, so called from its port of embarcation, was famed on Gor. It was brought from secret pits and mines, actually, deep in the interior, bound in heavy cylinders on the backs of pack kaiila. Each cylinder, roped to others, weighed in the neighborhood of ten stone, or some forty pounds, a Gorean "Weight." A strong kaiila could carry sixteen such cylinders, but the normal load was ten. Even numbers are carried, of course, that the load is balanced. A poorly loaded kaiila can carry far less weight than one on whom the burden is intelligently distributed.
"Ibn Saran, in the past months, has heard an unusual thing," said Samos. "I leaned of this from a captain, one known to him, with whom he spoke recently upon the salt wharf." Samos was first in the Council of Captains of Port Kar, which body was sovereign in the city. There was little of interest, which did not, sooner or later, come to his attention. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 1
"The noble Samos
has been most kind" said Ibn Saran. His hospitality has been most generous."
I extended my hand to Ibn Saran and he, bowing twice, brushed twice the palm of his hand against mine.
"I am pleased to make the acquaintance of he who is friend to Samos of Port Kar," said Ibn Saran. "May your water bags be never empty. May you have always water."
"May your water bags be never empty," I said. "May you have always water." Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 1
Traveling the desert and storms of the desert and weather
"If it pleases you,
noble Ibn Saran," said Samos, "would you speak before my friend what heard you
"It is a story told by a boy, a tender of kaiila. His caravan was small. It was struck by storm, and a kaiila, maddened by wind and sand, broke its hobble, plunging away into the darkness. Foolishly the boy followed it. It bore water. In the morning the storm had passed. The boy dug a shelter trench. In the camp was organized the wheel."
A shelter trench is a narrow trench some four or five feet deep and about eighteen inches wide. The sand, struck by the sun, can reach temperatures on its surface of more than 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Set on rocks, boards of metal some two feet in length, and six inches wide, exposed to the sun, are sometimes used by the nomad women in frying foods. Only a foot or two `elow the surface, these temperatures are reduced by more than fifty degrees. The trench provides, most importantly, shade from the sun. The air temperature is seldom more than 140 degrees in the shade, even in the dune country. The trench, of course, is always dug with its long axis perpendicular to the path of the sun, that it provides the maximum shade for the longest period of time
One does not, alone, without water, move on the sands during the day. Interestingly, because of the lack of surface water, the nights, the sun gone, are cool, even chilly at times. One would, thus, if not in caravan, move at night. The conservation of body water is the crucial parameter in survival. One moves little. One sweats as little as possible.
The "wheel" is a search pattern. Herdsmen, guards, kaiila tenders, leave the camp along a "spoke" of a wheel, spacing themselves at intervals. The number of men in the caravan determines the length of the "spoke." No one in the caravan departs from it by more than the length of the wheel's spoke, pertinent to the individual caravan. The boy, for example, presumably, if he had his wits about him, would not follow the kaiila long enough on foot to place himself outside the "rim" of the "wheel." As the "wheel" of men turns about its axis, the camp, at intervals the men draw arrows in the dirt or sand, or, if rocks are available, make arrows, pointing to the camp. When the search is discontinued, after success or failure, these markers are destroyed, lest they be taken by travelers for water arrows, markers indicating the direction of water holes, underground cisterns or eases. The caravan kaiila, incidentally, both those which are pack animals and those used as mounts for guards and warriors, are muchly belled. This helps to keep the animals together, makes it easier to move in darkness, and in a country where, often, one cannot see more than a hundred yards to the next dune or plateau, is an important factor in survival. If it were not for the caravan bells, the slow moving, otherwise generally silent caravans might, unknowingly, pass within yards of men in desperate need of succor. The kaiila of raiders, incidentally, are never belled.
"By noon," said Ibn Saran, "the boy was found. Hearing the bells of a guard's mount, he emerged from the shelter trench, and, attracting the man's attention, was rescued. He was, of course, muchly beaten, for having left the caravan. The kaiila, of its own accord, returned later, for fodder."
"From how far had
the man come?" I asked. How long had he been on the desert?"
"I do not know," said Ibn Saran. "How well did he know the desert? How much water had he?"
The man might have come thousands of pasangs before the kaiila had died, or fled.
"How long had he been dead?" I asked.
Ibn Saran smiled thinly. "A month," he said. "A year?"
In the desert decomposition proceeds with great slowness. Bodies, well preserved, had been found which had been slain more than a century before. Skeletons, unless picked by birds or animals, are seldom found in the desert. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 1
In the Tahari there is an almost
constant wind. It is a hot wind, but the nomads and the men who ply the Tahari
welcome it. Without it, the desert would be almost unbearable, even to those
with water and whose bodies are shielded from the sun.
I listened to the caravan bells, which sound is pleasing. The kaiila moved slowly.
Prevailingly, the wind in the Tahari blows from the north or northwest. There is little to fear from it, except, in the spring, should it rise and shift to the east, or, in the fall, should it blow westward.
We were moving through hilly country, with much scrub brush. There were many large rocks strewn about. Underfoot there was much dust and gravel.
On the shaded sides of some rocks, and the shaded slopes of hills, here and there, grew stubborn, brownish patches of verr grass. Occasionally we passed a water hole, and the tents of nomads. About some of these water holes there were a dozen or so small trees, flahdah trees, like hat-topped umbrellas on crooked sticks, not more than twenty feet high; they are narrow branched, with lanceolate leaves. About the water, little more than muddy, shallow ponds, save for the flahdahs, nothing grew; only dried, cracked earth, whitish and buckled, for a radius of more than a quarter of a pasang, could be found; what vegetation there might have been had been grazed off, even to the roots; one could place one's hand in the cracks in the earth; each crack adjoins others to constitute an extensive reticulated pattern; each square in this pattern is shallowly concave. The nomads, when camping at a watering place, commonly pitch their tent near a tree; this affords them shade; also they place and hang goods in the branches of the tree, using it for storage.
From time to time the caravan stopped and, boiling water over tiny fires, we made tea. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 4
It was in the late afternoon. We
would stop in an Ahn or two for camp.
Fires would be lit. The kaiila would be put in circles, ten animals to the circle, and fodder, by kaiila boys, would be thrown into the center of the circle.
The tents would be pitched. The opening of the Tahari tent usually faces the east, that the morning sun may warm it. Gor, like the Earth, rotates to the east. The nights require, often, a heavy djellaba or an extra blanket. Many nomads build a small kaiila-dung fire in the tent, to smolder during the night, to warm their feet. I needed not do this, of course, for at my feet slept the former Miss Priscilla Blake-Allen, the girl, Alyena.
At night the kaiila are hobbled. The slave girls, too, are hobbled. With the kaiila a simple figure-eight twist of kaiilahair rope, above the spreading paws, below the knees, is sufficient. A girl, of course, is chained. Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 4
When rain does fall, however,
sometimes it is fierce, turning the terrain into a quagmire. Following such
rains great clouds of sand flies appear wakened from dormancy. These feast on
kaiila and men. Normally, flying insects are found only in the vicinity of the
oases. Crawling insects of various sorts, and predator insects, however, are
found in many areas, even far from water. The zadit is a small, tawny-feathered,
sharp-billed bird. It feeds on insects. When sand files and other insects,
emergent after rains, infest kaiila, they frequently alight on the animals, and
remain on them for some hours, hunting insects. This relieves the kaiila of the
insects but leaves it with numerous small wounds, which are unpleasant and
irritating, where the bird has dug insects out of itīs hide. These tiny wounds,
if they become infected, turn into sores; these sores are treated by the drovers
with poultices of kaiila dung.
Tribesman of Gor,
I had now seen the Tahari in many moods. For twenty days we had been upon the desert.
Once, when a rising edge of blackness, whipping with dust, had risen in the south, we had dismounted, hobbled our kaiila and turned their backs to the wind. We had made a wall with our packs and crouched behind it, drawing our burnooses about us. Hassan, in his own burnoose, sheltered the girl, Alyena, commonly keeping her wrists braceleted behind her, that she not forget she was slave. For two days the sand bad hurtled about us, and we had waited, in the manner of the Tahari, patiently in the blasting half darkness of the sand. We had scarcely moved, save to pass about a verrskin of water and a leather pouch of Sa-Tarna meal. Then, as swiftly as it had come, the sand fled, and the sun, bright and immediate, raw with its ferocity and beauty, held again, untroubled, forgetful, the scepter, the constant, merciless mace, of its light and heat over the wide land.
Hassan was the first to stand. He shook the sand from his burnoose. He unbraceleted Alyena. She stretched like a she-sleen. Sand was banked against the wall of packs.
"A terrible storm," I said.
He smiled. "You are not of the Tahari," he said. "Be pleased that now, in the spring, the wind did not blow from the east." Then he said to Alyena, "Make tea." "Yes, Master," she said, happily.
Two days later there had been rain.
The flies had now gone.
I had, at first, welcomed the clouds, and thrown back my burnoose to feel the swift, fierce rain pelt my face. The temperature fell by more than fifty degrees in a matter of Ehn. Alyena, too, was much pleased. The men of the Tahari, however, sought quickly the highest ground in the vicinity. There is little rain erosion in the Tahari, with the result that there are few natural and ready paths to convey water. When it falls, it often falls heavily, and on flat land, in the loose dust. Within minutes of the rain beginning to fall we had to dismount, to drag and pull our struggling, frightened kaiila to higher ground, They sank to their knees in the mud, snorting, eyes rolling, and we, mud to our hips, pushing and pulling, sometimes actually seizing one of their mired limbs, freeing it and moving it, brought them to the place Hassan had designated, the Joe side of a rocky formation.
Hassan put Alyena, whom be had carried, beside him.
"This is only the fourth time,'' he said, "I have seen rain."
"It is beautiful!" cried Alyena.
"Can one drown in such mud?" I asked.
"It is unlikely," said Hassan. "It is not as deep as a man. Small animals, in effect, swim in it. The danger is primarily that the kaiila may, struggling, and falling, break their limbs." I noted that Hassan's men had thrown blankets over the heads of the kaiila, to prevent them from seeing the storm, and keep rain from striking their faces, which phenomenon, frightening them, tends to make them unmanageable.
"One must not, of course," said Hassan, "camp in a dried watercourse. A storm, of which one is unaware, perhaps pasangs away, can fill such a bed with a sudden flow of water, washing away one's camp and endangering life."
"Are men often drowned in such accidents?" I asked.
"No," said Hassan. "Men of the Tahari do not camp in such places. Further, those who are foolish enough to do so, can usually, struggling and washed along, save themselves."
Many men of the Tahari, incidentally, and interestingly, can swim. Nomad boys learn this in the spring, when the waterholes are filled. Those who live at the larger, more populous oases can learn in the baths. The "bath" in the Tahari is not a matter of crawling into a small tub but is more in the nature, as on Gor generally, of a combination of cleaning and swimming, and reveling in the water, usually connected with various oils and towelings. One of the pleasures at the larger oases is the opportunity to bathe. At Nine Wells, for example, there are two public baths.
Within an Ahn after the cessation of the rain, the sun again paramount, merciless, in the now-cloudless sky, the footing was sufficiently firm, the water lost under the dust and sand, to support the footing of kaiila. The animals were unhooded, we mounted, and again our quest continued.
It was only a day later that the flies appeared. I had thought, first, it was another storm. It was not. The sun itself, for more than four Ehn, was darkened, as the great clouds moved over us. Suddenly, like darting, black, dry rain, the insects swarmed about us. I spit them from my mouth. I heard Alyena scream. The main swarms had passed but, clinging about us, like crawling spots on our garments, and in and among the hairs of the kaiila, in their thousands, crept the residue of the infestation. I struck at them, and crushed them, until I realized the foolishness of doing so. In less than four Ahn, twittering, fluttering, small, tawny, sharp-billed, following the black clouds, came flights of zadits. We dismounted and led the kaiila, and let the birds hunt them for flies. The zadits remained with us for more than two days. Then they departed.
The sun was again merciless. I did not find myself, however, longing for a swift return of rain.Tribesman of Gor, Chapter 10
Twice I was passed
by pairs of guardsmen, in white robes with red sashes and scimitars, the police
Not five paces behind them I saw a ragged cutpurse cut the wallet of a merchant, dropping its contents into his hand and, bowing and whining, twist away in the crowd. The merchant huffed away. The fellow had done it neatly. I recalled a girl named Tina, once of Lydius, now of Port Kar. She, too, had
been an excellent thief. My own coins I kept in belt pockets, within my robes, save for a small wallet at my side. I went about Tor now as a traveler from Turia, a small merchant. I checked the wallet at my side. It was intact.
Some other thieves had not done so well in the bazaar. Several right hands, severed, were nailed to a board on which salt prices were affixed.
There were no feminine hands on the board. A female thief in Tor, even on the first offense, is immediately reduced to slavery. Chapter 2
Desert at night
Wells and water of the Tahari
I passed one of the wells of Tor. There were steps, broad, flat, worn, in concentric circles, leading down to the water. At this time of year eight of the steps were uncovered by the water. Many came there for water. I saw children on their hands and knees lapping water, women filling jugs, men submerging bags, the air bubbling up as the bags filled. Like most water in the Tahari the water of Tor was slightly salty and unclear. Tribesmen of Gor, Chapter 2
On the shaded sides of some rocks, and the shaded slopes of hills, here and there, grew stubborn, brownish patches of verr grass. Occasionally we passed a water hole, and the tents of nomads. About some of these water holes there were a dozen or so small trees, flahdah trees, like hat-topped umbrellas on crooked sticks, not more than twenty feet high; they are narrow branched, with lanceolate leaves. About the water, little more than muddy, shallow ponds, save for the flahdahs, nothing grew; only dried, cracked earth, whitish and buckled, for a radius of more than a quarter of a pasang, could be found; what vegetation there might have been had been grazed off, even to the roots; one could place one's hand in the cracks in the earth; each crack adjoins others to constitute an extensive reticulated pattern; each square in this pattern is shallowly concave. The nomads, when camping at a watering place, commonly pitch their tent near a tree; this affords them shade; also they place and hang goods in the branches of the tree, using it for storage. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
Six days ago," said the merchant, "soldiers, Aretai,
from Nine Wells raided the Oasis of the Sand Sleen."
It puzzled me that the merchant should say this.
I looked about me. In the moonlight I could see that kaiila had trodden the gardens. I saw two walls broken, the high Walls of red clay used to shade courtyards and as a protection against raiders. I counted eleven palm trees, date palms, cut down, their trunks fallen at an angle into the dust, the palm leaves dried and lifeless, the fruit unripened. It takes years for such a tree to grow to the point at which it will bear fruit.
"They struck here last night," said the merchant "But we drove them off.
"Aretai are sleen,'' said Hassan.
I wondered that be should feel so deeply about such matters, he, a bandit.
"They broke a well," said the merchant.
No one spoke for some time. Hassan, nor his men, did not, even cry out in outrage.
Then Hassan said, thinly, "Do not jest."
"I do not jest," said the merchant
"Aretai are sleen," said Hassan, "but yet are they of the Tahari."
"The well is broken," said the merchant. "Do you wish to see?"
"No," said Hassan.
"We are attempting to dig out the rock, the sand," said the merchant.
Hassan's face was white.
It is difficult for one who is not of the Tahari to conjecture the gravity of the offense of destroying a source of water. It is regarded as an almost inconceivable crime, surely the most heinous which might be perpetrated upon the desert. Such an act, regarded as a monstrosity, goes beyond a simple act of war. Surely, in but a few days, word that Aretai tribesmen had destroyed, or attempted to destroy, a well at Two Scimitars would spread like fire across the desert, inflaming and outraging men from Tor to the Turian outpost merchant fort, and trading station, of Turmas. This act, perpetrated against the Bakahs at Two Scimitars, a vassal tribe of the Kavars, would doubtless bring full-scale war to the Tahari.
"Even now the war messengers ride," said the
The tribes, at the various oases, and in the desert, in their nomad territories, and at their kasbahs, would be summoned. It would be full war.
A well had been broken. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
War Kaiila and "Sharing salt" ceremony
The war kaiila,
rearing on its hind legs, its claws, however, sheathed, lunged at the other
animal, its clawed back feet thrusting with an explosion of sand away from the
ground; the long neck darted forward, the long, graceful head, its fanged jaws
bound shut with leather, struck at the man astride the other beast. He thrust
the jaws away with the buckler, and, rearing in the stirrups of his high saddle,
slashed at me with the leather-sheathed, curved blade. I turned the stroke with
my own sheathed blade, it, too, in the light, ornamented exercise sheath.
The kaiila, both of them, with the swiftness, the agility of cats, spun, half crouching, squealing in frustration, and again lunged toward one another. With the light rein I pulled my kaiila to the left as we passed, and the man, trying to reach me, was, startled, off balance. With a backward sweeping cut the sheathed blade struck him, as he hung from his saddle, on the back of the neck.
He swept past me and spun his kaiila, then jerked it up short, back on its haunches in the sand.
I readied myself for another passage.
For ten days had we trained, for ten Gorean hours a day. Of the past forty passages eight had been divided, no blood adjudged drawn. In thirty-two I had been adjudged victorious, nineteen times to the death cut.
He pulled his sand veil, yellow, from his dark face, down about his throat. He thrust his burnoose back further over his shoulders. He was Harif, said to be the finest blade in Tor.
"Bring salt," he said to the judge.
The judge gestured to a boy, who brought him a small dish of salt.
The warrior slipped from his saddle, and, on foot, approached me.
I remained mounted.
"Cut the leather from the jaws of your kaiila," said he. Then he gestured to the boy, that the boy should remove the claw sheaths of the beast. He did so, carefully, the beast moving, nervous, shifting in the sand.
I discarded the exercise sheath, and, with the bared blade, parted the leather that had bound the jaws of the kaiila. The leather sprang from the blade. Silk, dropped upon the scimitar of the Tahari, divided, falls free, floating, to the floor. The beast reared, its claws raking the air, and threw back its head, biting at the sun.
I lifted the curved blade of the scimitar. It flashed. I sheathed it, and slipped from the saddle, giving the rein of the mount to the boy.
I faced the warrior.
"Ride free," he said.
"I will, "I said.
"I can teach you nothing more," he said.
I was silent.
"Let there be salt between us," he said.
"Let there be salt between us," I said.
He placed salt from the small dish on the back of his right wrist. He looked at me. His eyes were narrow. "I trust," said he, "you have not made jest of me."
"No," I said.
"In your hand," he said, "steel is alive, like a bird."
The judge nodded assent. The boy's eyes shone. He stood back.
"I have never seen this, to this extent, in another man." He looked at me. "Who are you?" he asked.
I placed salt on the back of my right wrist. "One who shares salt with you," I said.
"It is enough," he said.
I touched my tongue to the salt in the sweat of his right wrist, and he touched his tongue to the salt on my right wrist. "We have shared salt," he said.
He then placed in my hand the golden tarn disk, of Ar, with which I had purchased my instruction.
"It is yours," I said.
"How can that be?" he asked.
"I do not understand," I said.
He smiled. "We have shared salt," he said.
I was returning to my compartment in Tor, from the tents of Farouk of Kasra. He was a merchant. He was camping in the vicinity of the city while purchasing kaiila for a caravan to the Oasis of Nine Wells. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 3
Slaves in the Tahari
The caravan moved slowly.
I turned my kaiila, and, kicking its flanks, urged it down the long line of laden animals.
With my scimitar tip I lifted aside a curtain.
The girl, startled, cried out. She sat within, her knees to the left, her ankles together, her weight partly on her hands, to the right, on the small, silk-covered cushion of the frame. It was semicircular and about a yard in width at its widest point. The superstructure of the frame rose about four feet above the frame at its highest point, inclosing, as in an open-fronted, flat-bottomed, half globe, its occupant. This frame, however, was covered completely with layers of white rep cloth, to reflect the sun, with the exception of the front, which was closed with a center-opening curtain, also of white rep-sloth. The wood of the frame is tem-wood. It is light. It is carried by a pack kaiila, strapped to the beast, and steadied on both sides by braces against the pack blankets. This frame is called, in Gorean, the kurdah. It is used to transport women, either slave or free, in the Tahari. The girl was not chained within the kurdah. There is no need for it. The desert serves as cage.
"Veil yourself," I laughed.
Angrily Alyena, the former Miss Priscilla Blake-Allen of Earth, took the tiny, triangular yellow veil, utterly diaphanous, and held it before her face, covering the lower portion of her face. The veil was drawn back and she held it at her ears. The light silk was held across the bridge of her nose, where, beautifully, its porous, yellow sheen broke to the left and right. Her mouth, angry, was visible behind the veil. It, too, covered her chin. The mouth of a woman, by men of the Tahari, and by Goreans generally, is found extremely provocative, sexually. The slave veil is a mockery, in its way. It reveals, as much as conceals, yet it adds a touch of subtlety, mystery; slave veils are made to be torn away, the lips of the master then crushing those of the slave. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
Of course Aya exploited her. It was
my intention that she should. But, too, Aya, with her kaiila strap, continued
her lessons in Gorean. Too, she taught her skills useful to a Tahari female, the
making of ropes from kaiila hair, the cutting and plaiting of reins, the weaving
of cloth and mats, the decoration and beading of leather goods, the use of the
mortar and pestle, the use of the grain quern, the preparation and spicing of
stews, the cleaning of verr and, primarily when we camped near watering holes in
the vicinity of nomads, the milking of verr and kaiila. Too, she was taught the
churning of milk in skin bags.
"She is making me learn the labors of a free woman," once had complained Alyena to me.
I had gestured her to her knees. "You are a poor sort," L told her. "To a nomad I may sell you. In his tent the heavy labors of the free woman will doubtless be yours, in addition to the labors of a slave."
"I would have to work as a free woman," she whispered, "and yet be also a slave?"
"Yes," I said.
She shuddered. "Sell me to a rich man," she begged. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
The Sand Kaiila
The sand kaiila, or
desert kaiila, is a kaiila, and handles similarly, but it is not identically the
same animal which is indigenous, domestic and wild, in the middle latitudes of
Gor's southern hemisphere; that animal, used as a mount by the Wagon Peoples, is
not found in the northern hemisphere of Gor; there is obviously a phylogenetic
affinity between the two varieties, or species; I conjecture, though I do not
know, that the sand kaiila is a desert-adapted mutation of the subequatorial
stock; both animals are lofty, proud, silken creatures, long-necked and
smooth-gaited; both are triply lidded, the third lid being a transparent
membrane, of great utility in the blasts of the dry storms of the southern
plains or the Tahari; both creatures are comparable in size, ranging from some
twenty to twenty-two hands at the shoulder; both are swift; both have incredible
stamina; under ideal conditions both can range six hundred pasangs in a day; in
the dune country, of course, in the heavy, sliding sands, a march of fifty
pasangs is considered good; both, too, I might mention, are high-strung,
vicious-tempered animals; in pelt the southern kaiila ranges from a rich gold to
black; the sand kaiila, on the other hand, are almost all tawny, though I have
seen black sand kaiila; differences, some of them striking and important,
however, exist between the animals; most notably, perhaps, the sand kaiila
suckles its young; the southern kaiila are viviparous, but the young, within
hours after birth, hunt, by instinct; the mother delivers the young in the
vicinity of game; whereas there is game in the Tahari, birds, small mammals, an
occasional sand sleen, and some species of tabuk, it is rare; the suckling of
the young in the sand kaiila is a valuable trait in the survival of the animal;
kaiila milk, which is used, like verr milk, by the peoples of the Tahari, is
reddish, and has a strong, salty taste; it contains much ferrous sulphate; a
similar difference between the two animals, or two sorts of kaiila, is that the
sand kaiila is omnivorous, whereas the southern kaiila is strictly carnivorous;
both have storage tissues; if necessary, both can go several days without water;
the southern kaiila also, however, has a storage stomach, and can go several
days without meat; the sand kaiila, unfortunately, must feed more frequently:
some of the pack animals in a caravan are used in carrying fodder; whatever is
needed, and is not available enroute, must be carried; sometimes, with a mounted
herdsman, caravan kaiila are released to hunt tabuk; a more trivial difference
between the sand kaiila and the southern kaiila is that the paws of the sand
kaiila are much broader, the digits even webbed with leathery fibers, and
heavily padded, than those of its southern
Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
On a rise, pushing
back the burnoose, I stood in my stirrups and looked back. I saw the end of the
caravan, more than a pasang away. It wound, slowly, gracefully, through the
hills. At its very end came a man on a single kaiila. From time to time, he
dismounted, gathering shed kaiila hair and thrusting it in bags at his saddle.
The kaiila, unlike the verr and hurt, is never sheared. When it sheds its hair,
however, the hair may be gathered, and, depending on the hair, various cloths
can be made from it. There is a soft, fine hair, the most prized, which grows on
the belly of the animal; there is an undercoating of hair, soft but coarser,
which is used for most cloth; and there are the long, outer hairs. These, though
still soft and pliant, are, comparatively, the most coarse. The hairs of this
coat are used primarily for rope and tent cloth.
Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4
I had waited a month at the Oasis of Nine Wells before being granted an audience with Suleiman.
Ibn Saran, not taking his eyes from Alyena, lifted his finger. From one side a slave girl, barefoot, bangled, in sashed, diaphanous, trousered chalwar, gathered at the ankles, in tight, red-silk vest, with bare midriff, fled to him, with the tall, graceful, silvered pot-containing the black wine. She was veiled. She knelt, replenishing the drink. Beneath her veil I saw the metal of her collar.
I had not thought to have such fortune. She did not look at me. She returned to her place with the pot of black wine.
Ibn Saran lifted another finger. From the side there hastened to him another girl, a fair-skinned, red-haired girl. She, too, wore veil, vest, chalwar, bangles, collar. She carried a tray, on which were various spoons and sugars. She knelt, placing her tray on the table. With a tiny spoon, its tip no more than a tenth of a hort in diameter, she placed four measures of white sugar, and six of yellow, in the cup; with two stirring spoons, one for the white sugar, another for the yellow, she stirred the beverage after each measure. She then held the cup to the side of her cheek, testing its temperature; Ibn Saran glanced at her; she, looking at him, timidly kissed the side of the cup and placed it before him. Then, her head down, she withdrew.
I did not turn to look back at the first girl, she who held the silvered pot. Tribesmen of Gor, chapter 4