Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

The Doom that Came to Sarnath

The Doom that Came to SarnathThe Doom that Came to Sarnath

Sarnath was once a land of plenty. There in a place called Ib dwelled a race of strange creatures. They were green. They had large eyes. They were quite ugly. The worshiped a strange creature. It was said that they came from the moon. Ib was by a great lake. The creatures would dance in the moonlight.

People came to the land. They saw the nice land that the creatures lived upon and decided to take it for their own. They slaughtered all the creatures and three them into the great lake, along with their idol. The people soon set up their homes in this land, although, one day, one of the priests was murdered and the word Doom was scrawled on the wall.

No doom came to Sarnath at that time. In fact It was many years before doom came to Sarnath. There was to be a great celebration because it had been such a long time since the land beside the lake had been acquired. The city was sprawling and made from the riches of the land. Precious and semi-precious stones seemed to decorate all the roads and all the houses. People were coming from all around to celebrate. The celebration was not to be completed though. Something horrible happened. People started to leave the city by droves. They were mad. Some said they had seen some relics of Ib come up out of the lake, others said they had seen the strange creatures dancing in the moonlight. Some people even said they saw the strange creatures peeking in the windows.

Sarnath wasn’t as great as it had been anymore.

Observations

This story is so alien. Sarnath, is a real place, but not the Sarnath that H.P. speaks of. His Sarnath is completely made up. H.P. was really before his time. He was writing science-fiction and fantasy stories that wouldn’t ever really be equaled for a while.

Themes

A historical era that seems to equate to this story is the taking of Native American lands by various Europeans. It happened all over the Americas. The natives were wiped out, or forced out of their homes, and then possibly wiped out on top of that. This story feels like this era of history to me. These creatures lost their land, and lives, because someone else wanted it. Yes, doom did ultimately come to these intruders, but it was such a long time after that no one alive could have been responsible for any of it.

I don’t think it’s right to force a people out of their homes, out of their land, and into somewhere else, or into death. If they live there, it doesn’t matter how nice of a place it is and if it rains gold instead of rain, they live there, not you. You just go on and leave them alone. It’s their land.

This story has a punishment for these people, but it came too late for the creatures and too late for the original doers of the wrong deed, I think so anyway. I don’t think someone should get away with an act like this, but, ultimately, who is going to stop them? Who is going to punish them? It’s not as if the universe has a “be nice” police that will come and get you ever time you push some other kid out of the sandbox.

Sure, there are various tenants of religion that suggest that these wicked people will get what’s coming to them when they have to spend eternity in Hell with Satan listening to the Barney and Friends soundtrack for all of time. We don’t have scientific evidence of a hell, or a heaven, that doesn’t change our beliefs; the idea that someone awful might not get punished for something terrible is somewhat disheartening, but we’re not supposed to be vengeful.

I don’t think Sarnath got the doom that it deserved, but it certainly did get its doom. From who or what? I have no idea.

Overall

Don’t take stuff that doesn’t belong to you, especially land.

Weigh In

Do you think the people of Sarnath, many years later, deserved doom?

Don’t you think some sort of compromise could have been made with the creatures?

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