The Oera Linda Book, by Wiliam R. Sandbach, , at sacred-texts.com
Two years after Gosa had become the mother (303 B.C.) * there arrived a fleet at Flymeer. The people shouted "Ho-n-sêen" (What a blessing). They sailed to Staveren, where they shouted again. Their flags were hoisted, and at night they shot lighted arrows † into the air. At daylight some of them rowed into the harbour in a boat, shouting again, "Ho-n-sêen." When they landed a young fellow jumped upon the rampart. In his hand he held a shield on which bread and salt were laid. After him came a grey-headed man, who said we come from
p. 164 p. 165
the distant Greek land to preserve our customs. Now we wish you to be kind enough to give us as much land as will enable us to live. He told a long story, which I will hereafter relate more fully. The old man did not know what to do. They sent messengers all round, also to me. I went, and said now that we have a mother it behoves us to ask her advice. I went with them myself. The mother, who already knew it all, said: Let them come, they will help us to keep our lands, but do not let them remain in one place, that they may not become too powerful over us. We did as she said, which was quite to their liking. Fryso remained with his people at Staveren, which they made again into a port as well as they could. Wichhirte went with his people eastwards to the Emude. Some of the descendants of Jon who imagined that they sprang from the Alderga people went there. A small number, who fancied that their forefathers had come from the seven islands, went there and set themselves down within the enclosure of the citadel of Walhallagara. Liudgert, the admiral of Wichhirt, was my comrade, and afterwards my friend. Out of his diary I have taken the following history.
After we had been settled 12 times 100 and twice 12 years † in the Five Waters (Punjab), whilst our naval warriors were navigating all the seas they could find, came Alexander * the King, with a powerful army descending the river towards our villages. No one could withstand him; but we sea-people, who lived by the sea, put all our possessions on board ships and took our departure. When Alexander heard that such a large fleet had escaped him, he became furious, and swore that he would burn all the villages if we did not come back. Wichhirte was ill in bed. When Alexander heard that, he waited till he was better. After that he came to him, speaking very kindly—but he deceived,
p. 166 p. 167
as he had done before. Wichhirte answered: Oh greatest of kings, we sailors go everywhere; we have heard of your great deeds, therefore we are full of respect for your arms, and still more for your wisdom; but we who are free-born Fryas children, we may mot become your slaves; and even if I would, the others would sooner die, for so it is commanded in our laws. Alexander said: I do not desire to take your land or make slaves of your people, I only wish to hire your services. That I will swear by both our Gods, so that no one may be dissatisfied. When Alexander shared bread and salt with him, Wichhirte had chosen the wisest part. He let his son fetch the ships. When they were all come back Alexander hired them all. By means of them he wished to transport his people to the holy Ganges, which he had not been able to reach. Then he chose among all his people and soldiers those who were accustomed to the sea. Wichhirte had fallen sick again, therefore I went alone with Nearchus, sent by the king. The voyage came to an end without any advantage, because the Joniers and the Phœnicians were always quarrelling, so that Nearchus himself could not keep them in order. In the meantime, the king had not sat still. He had let his soldiers cut down trees and make planks, with which, with the help of our carpenters, he had built ships. Now he would himself become a sea-king, and sail with his whole army up the Ganges; but the soldiers who came from the mountainous countries were afraid of the sea. When they heard that they must sail, they set fire to the timber yards, and so our whole village was laid in ashes. At first we thought that this had been done by Alexander's orders, and we were all ready to cast ourselves into the sea: but Alexander was furious, and wished his own people to kill the soldiers. However, Nearchus,
p. 168 p. 169
who was not only his chief officer, but also his friend, advised him not to do so. So he pretended to believe that it had happened by accident, and said no more about it. He wished now to return, but before going he made an inquiry who really were the guilty ones. As soon as he ascertained it, he had them all disarmed, and made them build a new village. His own people he kept under arms to overawe the others, and to build a citadel. We were to take the women and children with us. When we arrived at the mouth of the Euphrates, we might either choose a place to settle there or come back. Our pay would be guaranteed to us the same in either case. Upon the new ships which had been saved from the fire he embarked the Joniers and the Greeks. He himself went with the rest of his people along the coast, through the barren wilderness; that is, through the land that she had heaved up out of the sea when she had raised up the strait as soon as our forefathers had passed into the Red Sea.
When we arrived at New Gertmania (New Gertmania is the port that we had made in order to take in water), we met Alexander with his army. Nearchus went ashore, and stayed three days. Then we proceeded further on. When we came to the Euphrates, Nearchus went ashore with the soldiers and a large body of people; but he soon returned, and said, The Bing requests you, for his sake, to go a voyage up the Red Sea; after that each shall receive as much gold as he can carry. When we arrived there, he showed us where the strait had formerly been. There he spent thirty-one days, always looking steadily towards the desert.
At last there arrived a great troop of people, bringing with them 200 elephants, 1000 camels, a quantity of timber, ropes, and all kinds of implements necessary to drag our fleet to the Mediterranean Sea. This astounded us, and seemed
p. 170 p. 171
most extraordinary; but Nearchus told us that his king wished to show to the other kings that he was more powerful than any kings of Tyre had ever been. We were only to assist, and that surely could do us no harm. We were obliged to yield, and Nearchus knew so well how to regulate everything, that before three months had elapsed our ships lay in the Mediterranean Sea. When Alexander ascertained how his project had succeeded, he became so audacious that he wished to dig out the dried-up strait in defiance of Irtha; but Wr-alda deserted his soul, so that he destroyed himself by wine and rashness before he could begin it. After his death his kingdom was divided among his princes. They were each to have preserved a share for his sons, but that was not their intention. Each wished to keep his own share, and to get more. Then war arose, and we could not return. Nearchus wished us to settle on the coast of Phœnicia, but that no one would do. We said we would rather risk the attempt to return to Fryasland. Then he brought us to the new port of Athens, where all the true children of Frya had formerly gone. We went, soldiers with our goods and weapons. Among the many princes Nearchus had a friend named Antigonus. These two had only one object in view, as they told us—to help the royal race, and to restore freedom to all the Greek lands. Antigonus had, among many others, one son named Demetrius, afterwards called the "City Winner." He went once to the town of Salamis, and after he had been some time fighting there, he had an engagement with the fleet of Ptolemy. Ptolemy was the name of the prince who reigned over Egypt. Demetrius won the battle, not by his own soldiers, but because we helped him. We had done this out of friendship for Nearchus, because we knew that he was of bastard birth by his white skin, blue eyes, and
p. 172 p. 173
fair hair. Afterwards, Demetrius attacked Rhodes *, and we transported thither his soldiers and provisions. When we made our last voyage to Rhodes, the war was finished. Demetrius had sailed to Athens. When we came into the harbour, the whole village was in deep mourning. Friso, who was king over the fleet, had a son and a daughter so remarkably fair, as if they had just come out of Fryasland, and more beautiful than any one could picture to himself. The fame of this went all over Greece, and came to the ears of Demetrius. Demetrius was vile and immoral, and thought he could do as he pleased. He carried off the daughter. The mother did not dare await the return of her joi † (the sailors wives call their husbands joi or zoethart (sweetheart). The men call their wives troost (comfort) and fro or frow, that is, vreuyde (delight) and frolic; that is the same as vreugde.
As she dared not wait for her husband's return, she went with her son to Demetrius, and implored him to send back her daughter; but when Demetrius saw the son he had him taken to his palace, and did to him as he had done to his sister. He sent a bag of gold to the mother, which she flung into the sea. When she came home she was out of her mind, and ran about the streets calling out: Have you seen my children. Woe is me! let me find a place to hide in, for my husband will kill me because I have lost his children.
When Demetrius heard that Friso had come home, he sent messengers to him to say that he had taken his children to raise them to high rank, and to reward him for his services. But Friso was proud and passionate, and sent a messenger with a letter to his children, in which he recommended them to accept the will of Demetrius, as he wished to promote their happiness; but the messenger had another letter with poison, which he ordered them to take:
p. 174 p. 175
But, said he, your bodies have been defiled against your will. That you are not to blame for; but if your souls are not pure, you will never come into Walhalla. Your spirits will haunt the earth in darkness. Like the bats and owls, you will hide yourselves in the daytime in boles, and in the night will come and shriek and cry about our graves, while Frya must turn her head away from you. The children did as their father had commanded. The messenger had their bodies thrown into the sea, and it was reported that they had fled. Now Friso wished to go with all his people to Frya's land, where he had been formerly, but most of them would not go. So Friso set fire to the village and all the royal storehouses; then no one could remain there, and all were glad to be out of it. We left everything behind us except wives and children, but we had an ample stock of provisions and warlike implements.
Friso was not yet satisfied. When we came to the old harbour, he went off with his stout soldiers and threw fire into all the ships that he could reach with his arrows. Six days later we saw the war-fleet of Demetrius coming down upon us. Friso ordered us to keep back the small ships in a broad line, and to put the large ships with the women and children in front. Further, he ordered us to take the crossbows that were in the fore part and fix them on the sterns of the ships, because, said he, we must fight a retreating battle. No man must presume to pursue a single enemy—that is my order. While we were busy about this, all at once the wind came ahead, to the great alarm of the cowards and the women, because we had no slaves except those who had voluntarily followed us. Therefore we could not escape the enemy by rowing. But Wr-alda knew well why he
p. 176 p. 177
did this; and Friso, who understood it, immediately had the fire-arrows placed on the crossbows. At the same time he gave the order that no one should shoot before he did, and that we should all aim at the centre ship. If we succeeded in this, he said, the others would all go to its assistance, and then everybody might shoot as he best was able. When we were at a cable and a half distance from them the Phœnicians began to shoot, but Friso did not reply till the first arrow fell six fathoms from his ship. Then he fired, and the rest followed. It was like a shower of fire; and as our arrows went with the wind, they all remained alight and reached the third line. Everybody shouted and cheered, but the screams of our opponents were so loud that our hearts shrank. When Friso thought that it was sufficient he called us off, and we sped away; but after two days' slow sailing another fleet of thirty ships came in sight and gained upon us. Friso cleared for action again, but the others sent forward a small rowing-boat with messengers, who asked permission to sail with us, as they were Joniers. They had been compelled by Demetrius to go to the old haven; there they had heard of the battle, and girding on their stout swords, had followed us. Friso, who had sailed a good deal with the Joniers, said Yes; but Wichirte, our king, said No. The Joniers, said he, are worshippers of heathen gods; I myself have heard them call upon them. That comes from their intercourse with the real Greeks, Friso said. I have often done it myself, and yet I am as pious a Fryas man as any of you. Friso was the man to take us to Friesland, therefore the Joniers went with us. It seems that this was pleasing to Wr-alda, for before three months were past we coasted along Britain, and three days later we could shout huzza.
163:* 303 before Christ.
163:† Barnpila, De falarica, Livy, xxi. 8.
165:* Alexander at the Indus, 327 before Christ.
165:† 327+1224 is 1551 before Christ.
173:* 305 before Christ.
173:† Joi en trâst. At Scheveningen you still hear "Joei en troos." Joi is the French joye.