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ITHRAN THE DEMONIAC.
BY WILLIAM HOWITT, ESQ.
It was during the latter part of that remarkable period in the history of the world, when the Hebrews, passing from Egypt to Canaan, had encamped in the wilderness of Kadesh, that a young hunter went forth one morning from the borders of Mount Seir. He had pursued a herd of wild antelopes across one of the wide, sandy tracts of those regions till he beheld them take refuge among some rocky hills at a considerable distance before him. When he reached this craggy solitude, a variety of narrow valleys that opened between the cliffs, distracted his attention, and, pausing to consider which he should pursue, he observed for the first time—what his enthusiasm had hitherto prevented him from noticing—that the sun had nearly reached the mid-heaven, that the heat was intense, and that a burning thirst and a throbbing brow demanded the refreshments of shade and water. Added to this pressing necessity, he knew that to attempt to retrace those scorching sands till the heat of the day was past, was next to impossible; and beside, he hoped yet to surprise his game in some of the seclusions of these rocks. Selecting therefore, in preference to the others, a glen, which, by the dampness of the sand in its bottom, gave indication of water higher up, he followed its windings for a long time with great perseverance, and, at length, found his patience rewarded by the sight of one of those little, paradisiacal valleys often hidden in the bosom of these stony Oases. There the stream, which at his entrance was absorbed by the hot and ever-thirsty sand, came murmuring along with all the transparency and liveliness of a mountain rivulet; and, while all the tops of the eminences around were bare and burning peaks, its banks were brightened with the most green and flowery verdure; the large white lily, the globe amaranth, and abundance of other plants of the most splendid hues, and of the richest aroma, bending over its margin ; the aloe, here and there, spreading out its ample round of dark-green leaves, and lifting up its lofty blossomed stem ; thickets of tamarind, rose-laurel, cotton, and a variety of aromatic shrubs scattered about between the water and the feet of the dark granite rocks, aloft in whose interstices, the lovely rose of Jeri. cho waved its glowing blooms, and acacias, dates, and various species of palm, cast at once shade and beauty.
After quenching his thirst, and cooling his feet repeatedly in the stream, he slowly wandered farther up the valley, and soon beheld, to his mortification, that it was terminated by lofty cliffs, down which the brook came scattering loudly its waters. One nook attracted his steps by the luxuriant, dependant foliage of a vast wild