Posted by Barbara Barrett on 25th November 2013
(fantasy tower concept by Zack Fowler)
1. an unpleasant or evil thing or creature supposedly sent by someone with paranormal or magical powers to warn, punish, or take revenge on a person.
[origin: mid-19th century; from Old Norse]
High in his dim, ghost-haunted tower
Zukala sits alone;
Like a spider spinning his webs of power
Upon his moon-pale throne.
All through the long, star-spectral night
The tower knows no tread
Save for, sometimes, the eery, light
Swift footfalls of the dead.
He does not sleep and his eyes are deep
As the Seas of Falgarai;
And he moves his sceptre but to sweep
The dim stars out of the sky.
And when the wind is out of the east
And the silver moon’s agleam
That pales the stars and dims the least,
Zukala sits a-dream.
But when the wind is out of the north
And the grey light lifts for morn,
Zukala harries his sendings forth
To know if a child be born.
And the babe that is born in that ghostly hour
In the time of the paling light
Is cursed with the gift of Zukala’s power—
The gift of second sight.
For an unseen web from the ghostly shores
Upon his soul is thrown
And though his brothers may number scores
That babe must walk alone.
[from “Zukala’s Hour”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 129; Singers in the Shadows, p. 15; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 450]