Origin: The Cave of Thieves

He entered the throat of a tremendous ravine. The arid precipices surrounding him stood more than a thousand feet high and for the most part completely perpendicular. Clouds of pigeons flocked to what the villagers called the hamâm in the rocks high above. Multitudes of holes, caverns and narrow passages perforated the mountainside.

Dismounting near the cavern’s steepest edge and after assuring the tattered line would hold, he began his ascent. He recalled stories his grandfather told of days long ago, when this place was the chosen refuge of thieves. The walls and fortifications that once defended them from attack, now stood as ruins, an echo of the past.

Prodigious rocks at the bottom of the gorge appeared no larger than pebbles among the weeds. Footing secured, he shifted the rope, aligned the pin-shackle toward Kurûn Hattîn across the plain to the southwest and entered the cave.

Far below, his Arabian steed reared madly; it having become startled by the incessant reverberation of his raging scream.

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