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Chapter XVII

1. WHEN Asha went away from the king's palace, Zarathustra met him, and they went together to the prison where the guardsmen were confined, prior to execution on the morrow at sunrise; and there came four hundred of the converts of Asha, and, when they stood around about the prison, Zarathustra said unto them:

2. Stand ye in the altar (crescent) of the living God, for his power is upon me, and I will deliver this prison! And the keeper of the prison, and also his attendants, woke up, and came with spears, saying: Disperse! disperse! Or, by the King of the Sun, ye shall die!

3. Zarathustra said: Art thou greater than I'hua'Mazda? Thrust, then, thy spear against my breast. The keeper did so, saying: Thy size is nothing to me, thou boaster! But, lo, the shaft was broken in a thousand pieces, neither touched the blade against his garments. Seeing which, the other spearsmen feared, and Zarathustra walked up to them and took their spears from them.

4. And the Zarathustrians stood in the form of a living altar, and Zarathustra laid his hands against the front wall of the prison, saying: In thy wisdom and power, O I'hua'Mazda, deliver thou this prison! And, behold, the front wall opened as a door openeth, and the prisoners came out unharmed.

5. Zarathustra said: On the morrow the king will decree to death every Faithist within the city. Go ye, therefore, whilst it is yet night, and command all my people to rise at once and depart out of the city, and I will lead them to a place of safety. So that same night the Faithists fled beyond the walls.

6. And it came to pass that on the next day, when the king heard what had transpired in regard to the prison, he decreed to death every Zarathustrian found within the city, even as prophesied by Zarathustra. But they were already gone, and were in the Forest of Goats, and there were of them four thousand six hundred and thirty, men, women and children.

Next: Chapter XVIII