A Voyage to Arcturus
"From brooding, Maskull. Out of no other mother can truth be born. I have brooded, and
rejected; and I have brooded again. Now, after many months' absence from Sant, the truth
at last shines forth for me in its simple splendour, like an upturned diamond."
"I see its shining," said Maskull. "But how much does it owe to ancient Hator?"
"Knowledge has its seasons. The blossom was to Hator, the fruit is to me. Hator also was
a brooder - but now his followers do not brood. In Sant all is icy selfishness, a living
death. They hate pleasure, and this hatred is the greatest pleasure to them."
"But in what way have they fallen off from Hator's doctrines?"
"For him, in his sullen purity of nature, all the world was a snare, a limed twig. Knowing
that pleasure was everywhere, a fierce, mocking enemy, crouching and waiting at every
corner of the road of life, in order to kill with its sweet sting the naked grandeur of the
soul, he shielded himself behind pain. This also his followers do, but they do not do it for
the sake of the soul, but for the sake of vanity and pride."
"What is the Trifork?"
"The stem, Maskull, is hatred of pleasure. The first fork is disentanglement from the
sweetness of the world. The second fork is power over those who still writhe in the nets
of illusion. The third fork is the healthy glow of one who steps into ice-cold water."
"From what land did Hator come?"
"It is not said. He lived in Ifdawn for a while. There are many legends told of him while
"We have a long way to go," said Tydomin. "Relate some of these legends, Spadevil."
The snow had ceased, the day brightened, Branchspell reappeared like a phantom sun, but
bitter blasts of wind still swept over the plain.
"In those days," said Spadevil, "there existed in Ifdawn a mountain island separated by
wide spaces from the land around it. A handsome girl, who knew sorcery, caused a bridge
to be constructed across which men and women might pass to it. Having by a false tale
drawn Hator on to this rock, she pushed at the bridge with her foot until it tumbled into
the depths below. 'You and I, Hator, are now together, and there is no means of
separating. I wish to see how long the famous frost man can withstand the breath, smiles
and perfume of a girl.' Hator said no word, either then or all that day. He stood till sunset
like a tree trunk, and thought of other things. Then the girl grew passionate, and shook
her curls. She rose from where she was sitting she looked at him, and touched his arm;
but he did not see her. She looked at him, so that all the soul was in her eyes; and then
she fell down dead. Hator awoke from his thoughts, and saw her lying, still warm, at his
feet, a corpse. He passed to the mainland; but how, it is not related."