The last Island of Atlantis
Apr 11, 2002 03:52 AM
WHERE THE RISHIS WERE
The Rishis were the sacred Bards, the Saints, the
Known to the Hindus, who gave great spiritual
impulses in the
Past and are said to sometimes reincarnate, and
who at one time
lived on the earth among men.
"The world is made of seas and islands. For continents are only
great lands water-encircled. Men must ever live upon sea or
land, then, unless they abide in air, and if they live in the
air, they are not men as we know them."
Thus I thought as the great ship steamed slowly into the port of
a small island, and before the anchor fell the whole scene seemed
to change and the dazzling light of the past blotted out the dark
pictures of modern civilization. Instead of an English ship I
was standing on an ancient vehicle propelled by force unknown
today, until the loud noises of disembarkation roused me once
But landed now, I was standing on the hill overlooking the town
and bay. The strange light and the curious vehicle again
obtained mastery over sense and eye, while the whole majesty of
forgotten years rolled in from the Ocean. Vainly did modern
education struggle and soar: I let the curtain drop upon the
Now softly sings the water as it rolls against the shore, with
the sun but one hour old shining upon its surface. But, far off,
what is that spot coming nearer from the West, followed by
another and another until over the horizon rise hundreds, and now
some are so near that they are plainly seen? The same strange
vehicles as that I saw at first. Like birds they fly through the
air. They come slowly now, and some have been brought still on
the land. They light on the earth with a softness that seems
nearly human, with a skill that is marvelous, without any shock
or rebound. From them alight men of noble mien who address me as
friends, and one more noble than the others seems to say,
"Wouldst thou know of all this? Then come," as he turns again to
his vehicle that stands there like a bird in wait to be off.
"Yes, I will go;" and I felt that the past and the present were
but one, and knew what I should see, yet could not remember it
but with a vagueness that blotted out all the details.
We entered the swift intelligently-moving vehicle, and then it
rose up on the air's wide-spreading arms and flew again fast to
the West, where the water was still softly singing to the beams
of the sun. The horizon slowly rose and the Island behind us was
hidden by the sea from our sight. And still as onward we flew to
the Occident, many more birds made by manlike that we were in
flew by us as if in haste for the soft-singing waters lapping the
shore of that peak of the sea mountain we had left in the Orient.
Flying too high at first we heard no sound from the sea, but
soon a damp vapor that blew in my face from the salt deep showed
that we were descending, and then spoke my friend.
"Look below and around and before you!"
Down there were the roar and rush of mad billows that reached
toward the sky, vast hollows that sucked in a world. Black
clouds shut out the great sun, and I saw that the crust of the
earth was drawn in to her own subterranean depths. Turning now
to the master, I saw that he heard my unuttered question. He
"A cycle has ended. The great bars that kept back the sea have
been broken down by their weight. From these we have come and
Then faster sailed our bird, and I saw that a great Island was
perishing. What was left of the shore still crumbled, still
entered the mouth of the sea. And there were cars of the air
just the same as that I was in, only dark and unshining, vainly
trying to rise with their captains; rising slowly, then falling,
and then swallowed up.
But here we have rushed further in where the water has not
overflowed, and now we see that few are the bright cars of air
that are waiting about while their captains are entering and
spoiling the mighty cars of the men whose clothing is red and
whose bodies, so huge and amazing, are sleeping as if from the
fumes of a drug.
As these great red men are slumbering, the light-stepping
captains with sun-colored cloaks are finishing the work of
destruction. And now, swiftly though we came, the waters have
rushed on behind us, the salt breath of the all-devouring deep
sweeps over us. The sun-colored captains enter their light
air-cars and rise with a sweep that soon leaves the sleepers,
now waking, behind them. The huge red-coated giants hear the
roar of the waters and feel the cold waves roll about them. They
enter their cars, but only to find all their efforts are wasted.
Soon the crumbling earth no longer supports them, and all by an
inrushing wave are engulfed, drawn into the mouth of the sea, and
the treacherous ocean with roars as of pleasure in conquest has
claimed the last race of that Island.
But one has escaped of all the red giants, and slowly but surely
his car sailed up, up, as if to elude the sun-colored men who
Then, loud, clear, and thrilling swelled out a note of marvelous
power from my captain, and back came a hundred of those brilliant
fast cars that were speeding off eastward. Now they pursue the
heavy, vast, slow-moving car of the giant, surround it, and seem
to avoid its attacks. Then again swells that note from my master
as our car hung still on its wings. It was a signal, obeyed in an
One brilliant, small sharp-pointed car is directed full at the
red giant's vehicle. Propelled by a force that exceeds the swift
bullet, it pierces the other, itself, too, is broken and falls on
the waves with its victim. Trembling I gazed down below, but my
captain said kindly,
"He is safe, for he entered another bright car at the signal.
All those red-coated men are now gone, and that last was the
worse and the greatest."
Back eastward once more through the salt spray and the mist until
soon the bright light shone again and the Island rose over the
sea with the soft-singing water murmuring back to the sun. We
alighted, and then, as I turned, the whole fleet of swift sailing
cars disappeared, and out in the sky flashed a bright streak of
sun-colored light that formed into letters which read:
"This is where the Rishis were before the chalk cliffs of Albion
rose out of the wave. They were but are not."
And loud, clear and thrilling rose that note I had heard in the
car of swift pinions. It thrilled me with sadness, for past was
the glory and naught for the future was left but a destiny.
(Wm. Q. Judge)
THE PATH, January 1891.
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