Mr. X or Captain Pogossian

Exactly two months after crossing the river Arax, we finally came to the town of Z, beyond which we had to go through a certain pass in the direction of Syria. In this pass, before reaching the famous waterfall of K, we were to turn off towards Kurdistan and it was somewhere along this road that we expected to find the place which was the chief objective of our journey.

In our further peregrinations, since we had by this time sufficiently adapted ourselves to surrounding conditions, everything went along fairly smoothly—until one unexpected accident changed all our intentions and plans.

One day we were sitting by the roadside eating our bread and the tarekh we had brought with us. Suddenly Pogossian jumped up with a shout and I saw darting away from under him a big yellow phalanga. I at once understood the cause of his cry and, springing up, killed the phalanga and rushed to Pogossian. He had been bitten in the leg. I knew that the bite of this insect—a kind of tarantula—is often fatal, and so I instantly tore away the clothes to suck the wound. But seeing he had been bitten in the fleshy part of the leg and knowing that sucking the wound would be dangerous if there were the slightest scratch in one’s mouth, I took the lesser risk for both of us, seized my knife, and quickly cut away a piece of my comrade’s calf—but in my haste I cut away too much.

Obviating in this way all danger of fatal poisoning, I felt less anxious and immediately began washing the wound and bandaging it as best I could. As the wound was large and Pogossian had lost much blood and all kinds of complications were to be feared, it was not possible for the time being to think of continuing the journey we had mapped out. We had to decide at once what was to be done.

Having talked it over together, we decided to spend the night there on the spot, and in the morning to find some means of reaching the town of N, thirty miles away, where we had a letter to deliver to a certain Armenian priest—a commission we had not carried out as this town was not on the route we had planned before the accident.