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The locals by this stage regarded the charismatic blue-eyed Layard as something of a magician and marvelled at his ability to conjure up from beneath the soil, that which they had never suspected lay under their feet. As Layard's friend the Sheikh declares:
God is great! Here are stones which have been buried ever since the time of the holy Noah- peace be with him! Perhaps they were under ground before the deluge. My father and the father of my father, pitched their tents here before me; but they never heard of these figures. For twelve hundred years have the true believers been settled in this country, and none of them ever heard of a palace under ground. Neither did they who went before them. But lo! Here comes a Frank from many days' journey off, and he walks up to the very place, and he takes a stick and makes a line here and makes a line there. Here, says he, is the palace; there, says he, is the gate; and he shows us what has been all our lives beneath our feet, without our having known anything about it. Wonderful! Is it by books, is it by magic, is it by your prophets that you have learned these things? Speak,
Oh Bey; tell me the secret of wisdom.
A.H. Layard - Popular Account of Discoveries at Nineveh