Study of Beelzebub's Tales




41 The Bokharian Dervish Hadji-Asvatz-Troov


“When we were all seated on the floor in the said section of the cave, the venerable Hadji-Asvatz-Troov said among other things that during the period of his investigations he and his friend the dervish Kerbalai-Azis-Nuaran had also occasion to study very thoroughly all the theories existing on the Earth about vibrations made at any time by serious terrestrial scientists.


“He said: ‘We studied the Assyrian theory of the great Malmanash, and the Arabian theory of the famous Selneh-eh-Avaz, and the Greek—of the philosopher Pythagoras—and of course all the Chinese theories.


“‘And we made apparatuses exactly similar to those with which all these ancient sages made their experiments, and we even made an addition to one of their apparatuses, which is now the chief one for my experiments.


“‘With this apparatus Pythagoras made his experiments, and it was then called a “monochord,” but now that I have altered it, I call it a “vibrosho.”’


“Having said this, he pressed something on the floor with one hand, and with the other he pointed to a very strangely shaped apparatus standing there and added that it was the same altered ‘monochord.’


“The apparatus he pointed to consisted of a two-meter board, the whole front half of which was divided into sections called ‘frets,’ like the neck of the sound-producing instrument called ‘guitar,’ and on it was stretched only one string.


“To the other half of this board were fastened a great number of vibrometers like those on the strings of the grand piano, and they were affixed in such a way that their indicating needles came just over the mentioned frets on the front side of the board.


“To the back half of this board was fastened a whole network of various small glass and metal pipes, which also served to produce sounds, but this time sounds obtained from vibrations arising from certain movements and currents of ordinary or of artificially compressed or rarefied air; and for measuring the vibrations of these sounds the same vibrometers served as were used for measuring the vibrations arising from the string.


“Having said this, the venerable Hadji stood up and brought from another section of the cave a pot of flowers in bloom, placed it in the center of that section of the cave, and then seated himself at the former monochord of the famous Pythagoras.


“‘At first we made our experiments with the aid of this vibrosho alone, but one day when my friend Kerbalai-Azis-Nuaran was in the Bokharan town of X on business, he happened to see a grand piano there at an auction sale of a number of things belonging to a Russian general who had left, and noticing by chance that its strings were made of just the metal needed for our experiments, he bought it and afterwards, of course with great difficulty, brought it up here into the mountains.