“Other Gods, The“

“Other Gods, The“
   Short story (2,020 words); written on August 14, 1921. First published in the Fantasy Fan(November 1933); rpt. WT(October 1938); first collected in BWS;corrected text in D.
   The “gods of earth” have forsaken their beloved mountain Ngranek and have betaken themselves to “unknown Kadath in the cold waste where no man treads”; they have done this ever since a human being from Ulthar, Barzai the Wise, attempted to scale Mt. Ngranek and catch a glimpse of them. Barzai was much learned in the “seven cryptical books of Hsan” and the “Pnakotic Manuscripts of distant and frozen Lomar,” and knew so much of the gods that he wished to see them dancing on Mt. Ngranek. He undertakes this bold journey with his friend, Atal the priest. For days they climb the rugged mountain, and as they approach the cloud-hung summit Barzai thinks he hears the gods; he redoubles his efforts, leaving Atal far behind. But his eagerness turns to horror. He thinks he actually sees the gods of earth, but instead they are “The othergods! The othergods! The gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth!’” Barzai is swept up (“‘Merciful gods of earth, I am falling into the sky!’”) and is never seen again.
   The story is a textbook example of hubris, similar to many written by Dunsany (see, e.g., “The Revolt of the Home Gods,” in TheGodsofPegana,1906). The seven cryptical books of Hsan are mentioned again in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath;in the first appearance of this story, “Hsan” was erroneously rendered as “Earth.”
   See Robert M.Price, “‘The Other Gods’ and the Four Who Erected Paradise,” Crypt No. 15 (Lammas 1983): 19–20.

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