H. P. Lovecraft
Written on August 14, 1921
Published in November of 1933
The Fantasy Fan
The Other Gods
Atop the tallest of earth's peaks dwell the gods of earth, and suffer not man to tell that he hath looked
upon them. Lesser peaks they once inhabited; but ever the men from the plains would scale the slopes
of rock and snow, driving the gods to higher and higher mountains till now only the last remains. When
they left their old peaks they took with them all signs of themselves, save once, it is said, when they
left a carven image on the face of the mountain which they called Ngranek.
But now they have betaken themselves to unknown Kadath in the cold waste where no man treads, and
are grown stern, having no higher peak whereto to flee at the coming of men. They are grown stern,
and where once they suffered men to displace them, they now forbid men to come; or coming, to
depart. It is well for men that they know not of Kadath in the cold waste; else they would seek
injudiciously to scale it.
Sometimes when earth's gods are homesick they visit in the still of the night the peaks where once they
dwelt, and weep softly as they try to play in the olden way on remembered slopes. Men have felt the
tears of the gods on white-capped Thurai, though they have thought it rain; and have heard the sighs of
the gods in the plaintive dawn-winds of Lerion. In cloud-ships the gods are wont to travel, and wise
cotters have legends that keep them from certain high peaks at night when it is cloudy, for the gods are
not lenient as of old.
In Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, once dwelt an old man avid to behold the gods of earth; a
man deeply learned in the seven cryptical books of earth, and familiar with the
of distant and frozen Lomar. His name was Barzai the Wise, and the villagers tell of how he went up a
mountain on the night of the strange eclipse.
Barzai knew so much of the gods that he could tell of their comings and goings, and guessed so many
of their secrets that he was deemed half a god himself. It was he who wisely advised the burgesses of
Ulthar when they passed their remarkable law against the slaying of cats, and who first told the young
priest Atal where it is that black cats go at midnight on St. John's Eve. Barzai was learned in the lore of
the earth's gods, and had gained a desire to look upon their faces. He believed that his great secret
knowledge of gods could shield him from their wrath, so resolved to go up to the summit of high and
rocky Hatheg-Kla on a night when he knew the gods would be there.
Hatheg-Kla is far in the stony desert beyond Hatheg, for which it is named, and rises like a rock statue