- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
79

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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OVER THE CAUCASUS
79
there that Zeus chained Prometheus, who, håving
stolen fire from Heaven and given it to mankind,
thought he could also defy the unswerving laws of
the gods, and in open fight with the mighty ones
snatch power and happiness for the children of
men. Up there above the dizzy cliffs the foolhardy
dreamer chafes in his chains, whilst the greedy
vulture of envy gnaws at his liver. It is the old tale
of our erring kind, which seeks to storm Heaven and
steal happiness, but is left hanging on the edge of
the abyss ; it is the spirit of Cain, the rebel, with the
hot greed that knows no bounds.
According to what is told by some of the
mountain-dwellers the hero is now old, his hair is
white like his beard, which reaches to his feet, and
his whole body is covered with white hair. Around
his body and hands and feet are iron chains
fastened to the rock. Only a few men can gaze
upon him, since it is so dangerous to climb the
high, steep mountains and snowfields, and none
can look at him twice; those that have tried have
never come back. There are some old people in
the mountains that have spoken with him. They
may not tell of all they have seen and heard. But
the old man is sore glad and rejoiced when he can
see people. There are three things he asks about:
whether strangers yet ride through the land, and
towns and villages are built; whether the young
folk in all the land are yet being taught in schools ;
and whether the wild fruit-trees bear much fruit.
If, as is usual, the answer is No, he is greatly
afflicted.

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