Read THE STRAINING HEART OF ASIA: CHAPTER XXXIX of Beasts‚ Men and Gods , free online book, by Ferdinand Ossendowski, on ReadCentral.com.

"THE MAN WITH A HEAD LIKE A SADDLE"

After drinking tea at Djam Bolon’s yurta I rode back to my quarters and packed my few belongings. The Lama Turgut was already there.

“The Minister of War will travel with us,” he whispered. “It is necessary.”

“All right,” I answered, and rode off to Olufsen to summon him. But Olufsen unexpectedly announced that he was forced to spend some few days more in Urga a fatal decision for him, for a month later he was reported killed by Sepailoff who remained as Commandant of the city after Baron Ungern’s departure. The War Minister, a stout, young Mongol, joined our caravan. When we had gone about six miles from the city, we saw an automobile coming up behind us. The Lama shrunk up inside his coat and looked at me with fear. I felt the now familiar atmosphere of danger and so opened my holster and threw over the safety catch of my revolver. Soon the motor stopped alongside our caravan. In it sat Sepailoff with a smiling face and beside him his two executioners, Chestiakoff and Jdanoff. Sepailoff greeted us very warmly and asked:

“You are changing your horses in Khazahuduk? Does the road cross that pass ahead? I don’t know the way and must overtake an envoy who went there.”

The Minister of War answered that we would be in Khazahuduk that evening and gave Sepailoff directions as to the road. The motor rushed away and, when it had topped the pass, he ordered one of the Mongols to gallop forward to see whether it had not stopped somewhere near the other side. The Mongol whipped his steed and sped away. We followed slowly.

“What is the matter?” I asked. “Please explain!”

The Minister told me that Djam Bolon yesterday received information that Sepailoff planned to overtake me on the way and kill me. Sepailoff suspected that I had stirred up the Baron against him. Djam Bolon reported the matter to the Baron, who organized this column for my safety. The returning Mongol reported that the motor car had gone on out of sight.

“Now,” said the Minister, “we shall take quite another route so that the Colonel will wait in vain for us at Khazahuduk.”

We turned north at Undur Dobo and at night were in the camp of a local prince. Here we took leave of our Minister, received splendid fresh horses and quickly continued our trip to the east, leaving behind us “the man with the head like a saddle” against whom I had been warned by the old fortune teller in the vicinity of Van Kure.

After twelve days without further adventures we reached the first railway station on the Chinese Eastern Railway, from where I traveled in unbelievable luxury to Peking.

Surrounded by the comforts and conveniences of the splendid hotel at Peking, while shedding all the attributes of traveler, hunter and warrior, I could not, however, throw off the spell of those nine days spent in Urga, where I had daily met Baron Ungern, “Incarnated God of War.” The newspapers carrying accounts of the bloody march of the Baron through Transbaikalia brought the pictures ever fresh to my mind. Even now, although more than seven months have elapsed, I cannot forget those nights of madness, inspiration and hate.

The predictions are fulfilled. Approximately one hundred thirty days afterwards Baron Ungern was captured by the Bolsheviki through the treachery of his officers and, it is reported, was executed at the end of September.

Baron R. F. Ungern von Sternberg. . . . Like a bloody storm of avenging Karma he spread over Central Asia. What did he leave behind him? The severe order to his soldiers closing with the words of the Revelations of St. John:

“Let no one check the revenge against the corrupter and slayer of the soul of the Russian people. Revolution must be eradicated from the World. Against it the Revelations of St. John have warned us thus: ’And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication, and upon her forehead a name written, mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.’”

It is a human document, a document of Russian and, perhaps, of world tragedy.

But there remained another and more important trace. In the Mongol yurtas and at the fires of Buriat, Mongol, Djungar, Kirkhiz, Kalmuck and Tibetan shepherds still speak the legend born of this son of crusaders and privateers:

“From the north a white warrior came and called on the Mongols to break their chains of slavery, which fell upon our freed soil. This white warrior was the Incarnated Jenghiz Khan and he predicted the coming of the greatest of all Mongols who will spread the fair faith of Buddha and the glory and power of the offspring of Jenghiz, Ugadai and Kublai Khan. So it shall be!”

Asia is awakened and her sons utter bold words.

It were well for the peace of the world if they go forth as disciples of the wise creators, Ugadai and Sultan Baber, rather than under the spell of the “bad demons” of the destructive Tamerlane.