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planation. I hope now you are all satisfied that Noah's ark might have rested on the seem. ingly sharp points of Ararat. Sir Robert Ker Porter, however, is of opinion that it did not rest on either of the two points, but in the middle between them. But the native Christians of those parts think differently. They not only believe that the ark rested on the top of the higher mountain, but that it remains there to this day. There is a famous church in the neighbourhood, and among its treasures I was shown a plank which, I was assured, once belonged to the ark.
J. Oh, uncle! why did you not ask them to saw you off a little bit to keep for a curiosity ?
U. O. There were several reasons why I did not. Firstly, they would have made me pay a large sum for the favour;—secondly, I believed that, if Noah's ark ever was there, it must have perished several thousand years ago. Therefore, thirdly, I did not believe the plank was from the ark, and was angry that they expected me to believe their stupid story about it. Their story was this: Many hundred years ago, a pious monk belonging to this monastery undertook a journey to the top of the mountain, in the hope of finding the remains of the ark, and of bringing away some portion which might be preserved as a precious relic in his convent. He was still far short of the summit when, fatigued by his exertions, he lay down and fell asleep. An angel then appeared to him in a vision, and told him that beyond that point no man had been allowed to pass since Noah came down from the mountain; but to reward his zeal and the piety of the convent, a heavenly messenger had been ordered to bring him down a plank of the holy ship. Accordingly, when he awoke, he found it by his side, and with a happy and grateful heart carried it down to the convent, where it has remained ever since.
J. What a pretty story! But you say it is a fib, uncle. Why should they tell such a fib?
U. O. That they may have the credit of possessing a plank of Noah's ark; and I need not explain to you the feeling which makes such things desirable, since you inquired why I had not brought home a bit of that plank.
H. But, Sir, is it true that no one has been to the top of the mountain ?
U. O. I understand that a German professor, named Parrot, lately succeeded in reaching the top after having failed several times in the
attempt. I cannot, at this moment, tell you the particulars, but hope I shall be able to do so on some other evening. When I was at Ararat, every person considered that the impossibility of ascending to the summit had been decided by the late Pasha of the neighbouring town of Bayazid. He left that city with a large number of horsemen at the best time of the year for making such an attempt, that is, when the disappearance of the snow from the top of the Little Ararat, in the month of August, showed that the season had reached its greatest warmth; and on the side which it seemed most easy to ascend, and which he ascended as high as he could on horseback. He caused three stations to be marked out in the ascent, where he built huts and collected provisions; the third of these stations was at the snow. He did not find it very difficult to pass the snow, but when he came to the great cap of ice that covers the top of the cone he could proceed no farther, because several of his men were there seized with violent oppressions of the chest, on account of the fineness of the air, which becomes thinner and colder the higher one goes. The Pasha had before offered large rewards to any one who should reach the top; but although
many Koords who live at its base have attempted it, all have come back disappointed.
Besides what they suffered from the state of the air, the men were exposed to great danger from the falling ice, large masses of which were continually breaking off from the main body and rolling down. Such masses of falling ice or snow are called “avalanches;' and, in mountainous districts, travellers, and sometimes even villages, are completely buried beneath them, or crushed by them. Occasionally, however, they happen to be of use. About four years ago I crossed the river Terek, in the highest region of the Caucasus, upon a bridge of ice. An avalanche had, the preceding year, fallen from the heights above, and completely filled up the deep and narrow bed of the rapid river. But the stream had soon worked its way through, and passed freely under this curious bridge of ice, which seemed likely to last for years to come, as the sun, which does not shine warmly there in the warmest season, was not likely soon to melt such a mass of ice.
H. I suppose this white upon the top of the mountain is the snow, then? .
U.0. The very top of all is hard ice, and below there is snow. This remains all the year round, being within the limits of that cold region where snow and ice will not dissolve. Indeed, the people say that the great icy cap of Ararat has visibly increased since they first knew it.
H. But how can they, at such a distance, tell which is the ice and which is the snow?
U. O. The distinction is very plain in summer, when the ice glows in the sunbeams with great splendour, which the snow does not equal.
F. Oh, uncle ! now I understand better the beautiful lines in the poem Mr. Dillon read to us the other day.
U. O. What poem?
U. O. By all means fetch it, and let us see the passage you mean.
F. No; pray stop, and I will try to repeat it, (He pauses to recollect, and then procceds):
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
U. O. Thank you, Harry! And you are sure, Frank, you understand this passage now?
F. (Hesitating.) So far as it is about the sun.