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and gone, dynasties had reigned and passed away; but here, through the narrow window, only the sunbeams on the floor had daily traced their course, by night the bats flitted around the walls. For two centuries no other visitor had entered, no other sounds disturbed its deep repose.

CHAPTER XXV.

GHOST STORIES.

SECRET passages suggest ghosts, and of these and evil spirits the fort was believed to be very full. Some frequented the palace, some the ramparts, while others hung on trees outside the gateways. The fairies kept to the wells, but other female spirits of a most malignant description roamed about promiscuously. Predominant over the other ghosts was that of the founder of the fort, the great Emperor Akbar. He was never seen, but he manifested his presence by sounds and influences that were even more dreaded.

An old attendant of mine had once experienced them. When quite a lad he served in the battalion that then supplied guards for the fort. One evening he was crossing the great square, when he heard his name called. Thinking it was a comrade, he made no answer. In a minute the voice came again, and from a different direction, Kulloo Beg! Kulloo Beg!' it said, 'tell me whose house this is.' He now felt a little uncomfortable, and hurried on. He had nearly reached the gateway, when the question was repeated and in a louder tone, and the voice came from right before him.

He

Kulloo Beg now thought it best to answer. replied, 'Oh, brother! Whoever you are, why do you ask? Do you not know that we are in the fortress of

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the illustrious Company?' As he uttered the word 'Company' there came a yell and a scream, and in a voice of thunder he heard it shouted, It is false! It is false! The house is mine! mine!! mine!!!' Kulloo Beg saw nothing, but he had a horrible impression that he was surrounded by forms of terror. The voice and this feeling so overcame him that he fell to the ground in a faint. When he recovered consciousness he crawled to the guard-house, and there related his adventure.

One of his comrades told him that he had heard the voice of Akbar, and if he heard it again he must reply, 'The house is yours, my Lord Akbar,' or worse might befall him. Kulloo Beg avoided the chance of hearing. the voice by keeping in after sunset. But at length one evening he was sent out on some duty, and, to his terror, he heard his name called, and the same question addressed to him, 'Tell me whose house this is? Tell me whose house this is ?' Kulloo remembered the advice he had received, and before the inquiry was repeated he answered as directed,

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Yours, my Lord Akbar. Yours, and no one else's.' He heard a sort of murmur of approval, and after this was molested no more—at least not by the Emperor, but he had experiences of other apparitions.

It was at night and in the cold season, the soldiers were in the guard-house, and the workmen were leaving the fort. One of them came in, and reported that he had seen a light on the northern bastion. It seemed as if some people were cooking there. The native sergeant. ordered out a party to see, and, if true, to arrest the intruders. The party proceeded to the ramparts; Kulloo Beg was one of them. As they approached the bastion, sure enough there was the fire, and a large cauldron suspended over it. They came near, the cauldron was.

full of what seemed soup, and was boiling furiously. But no one was there. The men were puzzled, and a little uneasy. They remained looking on. The contents of the cauldron bubbled and heaved, black lumps seemed rolling about in the liquid. As they looked, one of the lumps rose to the surface.

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Kulloo's companions shrieked and fled; Kulloo himself stood transfixed with horror. The lump rose, lifted itself above the cauldron, and displayed a human head with great teeth and rolling eyes. The mouth opened, and addressed him. What it said Kulloo knew not. the first sound he fainted away. When he came to himself the sun was shining, the fire and the cauldron had disappeared, and there was no sign of smoke or cinder on the pavement.

The party were considered to have escaped easily, for some of the spirits are very malignant, especially the fairies and a female ghost who assumes the form of a young woman, and is distinguishable from such only by the fact that her feet are put on the wrong way. One of these creatures nearly caused the death of the head of my office. When a young man he was sitting on the bank of the road by the outer defences. A woman passed, and as she went by turned and lifted the cotton sheet that native women wear over their heads, smiled, and beckoned to him to follow. He saw that she was young and pretty. Nothing loth, he complied. They went on till they reached the ravines, when a puff of wind raised her skirt, and, to his horror, he perceived that though she was walking in front, her feet were turned towards him. The spirit seemed aware that she was discovered, and as he noticed her feet she turned. Her aspect was changed to that of a devil. She advanced towards him with claws and long teeth, he had

no doubt, to tear him to pieces. Just then a man and a cart came in sight. This saved him. The spirit glided down a pathway, and disappeared among the ravines.

The young man's life was preserved, but he did not escape altogether unharmed. The influence of the ghost had affected him-he was ill, he nearly died.

The fairies are still more dangerous. They haunt wells, those immense reservoirs peculiar to India, which, reached by long inclines and surrounded by apartments of many storeys, more resemble pieces of ornamental water in subterranean houses than mere wells. Here by day the fairies, the Peris' of our Eastern stories, lie concealed. At night they repair to the court of Rajah Indra, the king of the skies, and dance before him till the dawn approaches.

In the course of the excavations, one of these immense structures was discovered in the ruins of the old palace. The fairies had not yet been seen in it, but in a still larger well at Futtehpore Secree they were known to exist, and when they could to entice children. The old guide to that palace informed me that when a little boy he nearly fell a victim to them. He and some other lads were playing on the terrace; one ran a little way down the steps, the others followed him. At the first turn they got a little frightened, for the lower stairs were dark and the water beneath looked gloomy. They were going to turn when they saw below them, growing out of the wall, a red flower. The rest were afraid to venture. My informant was bolder, he ran down the stairs and plucked it; as he returned in triumph his companions screamed and scampered up to the terrace. He looked and fainted away-the stalk of the flower was dropping blood.

Fortunately for him his father happened to be passing. Hearing the screams he ran down and brought up the Ichild in his arms. Had he not the spirit would have

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