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Illustrated. The Black Pullet (La poule noire) is a grimoire that proposes to teach the 'science of magical talismans and rings', including the art of necromancy and Kabbalah. It is believed to have been written in the 18th century by an anonymous French officer who served in Napoleon's army. The text takes the form of a narrative centering on the French officer during the Egyptian expedition led by Napoleon (referred to here as the "genius") when his unit is suddenly attacked by Arab soldiers (Bedouins). The French officer manages to escape the attack, but is the only survivor. An old Turkish man appears suddenly from the pyramids and takes the French officer into a secret apartment within one of the pyramids. He nurses him back to health whilst sharing with him the magical teachings from ancient manuscripts.
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Before beginning the subject, and to acquaint my readers of this profound Science, which until the present day has been the object of research of the most constant and profound meditations, I must unbosom myself how these marvelous secrets were communicated to me, and the manner in which the Divine Providence allowed me to escape from the greatest dangers and, so to speak, conducted me by the Divine Hand, to prove that by Divine Will it is sufficient to raise unto Himself the last of Beings or to precipate to naught those who are clothed with all power on Earth. We all therefor come from God, God is everything, and without God nothing can exist. Who more than I may penetrate the truth eternal and sacred.
I formed part of the expedition to Egypt, an officer in the army of the genius. I took part in the successes and reverses of this army, which victorious or obliged to cede to force from the eventualities and circumstances, always covered itself with glory.
As there is no point in relating here any detail which deals with this memorable campaign, I will but relate one single feature, with which I was touched, and is necessary for the development which I must give to those whom I mentioned in my preface. I had been sent by the General, under whose orders I found myself, to draw up the plans of the Pyramids; he had given me an escort of some mounted light infantry horse. I arrived with them at my destination without experiencing any accident, also without noticing anything that could conjecture the fate that awaited us. We had dismounted near the Pyramids, our horses had been tethered; sitting on the sands we appeased the hunger that tormented us. French gaiety seasoned the food which composed our frugal meal. It was on the point of ending, and I was occupied with my work when all of a sudden a horde of desert Arabs fell on us. We did not have the time to place ourselves in a position of defence. The blows of swords descended upon us, the bullets whistled, and I received several wounds. My unhappy companions were lying on the ground dead or expiring. Our cruel enemies after having removed our weapons and clothes, disappeared with our horses with the speed of lightning. I remained for some time in a state of prostration, facing the sun. At last recovering some of my strength, I raised myself with pain. I had two sword cuts on the head, and one on the left arm. I looked around me. I saw nothing but corpses, a burning sky and arid sand in an immense desert and a frightning solitude. With but the hope of a certain and cruel death, I resigned myself to saying goodbye to my country to my parents and to my friends. Invoking heaven, I crawled to the Pyramid, and the blood which ran with abundance from my wounds reddened the sand which was soon to be my tomb.
Arriving at the foot of these worldly marvels I sat down and leaned against this enormous mass that had seen many centuries pass by and which would see many more pass. I thought that my existence which was soon to end had come to naught just as the day which was nearing its end, the sun being on the point of plunging into the ocean.
"Brilliant star, receive my goodbyes," I said with emotion. "My eyes will never see you again, your benificent light will never shine on me again. Goodbye." As I said this goodbye which I thought was eternal, the sun disappeared. The night came and covered the world with its dark curtain.
I was absorbed with the most sad reflections when a light noise could be heard a few paces from me. A large slab of stone detached itself from the pyramid and fell on the sand; I turned to that side, and by the light of a small lantern that he carried in his hand, I perceived a venerable old man who came out of the pyramid. A white beard covered his chest, a turban covered his head, and the rest of his costume indicated that he was a Mohammedan. He cast his eyes around; then advancing a few steps he halted opposite the corpse of one of my unhappy companions of misfortune.
"Oh Heavens!" he cried in Turkish. "A man is wounded, a Frenchman is dead." He lifted his eyes to the sky saying: "Oh Allah." He then discovered the others which he carefully examined to see if he could not find one who still breathed, and to assure himself, I saw him place his hand in the region of the heart. The old man recognised that they had all ceased to live. Uttering a painful groan, with tears furrowing down from his eyes, he retraced his steps to re—enter the pyramid. I felt the desire to conserve my days. I had already made the sacrifice of my life; hope entered my heart. Summoning all my strength, I called to him; he heard me, and turning his lantern in my direction, he saw me. Advancing he gave me his hand, which I seized and pressed to my ups. He saw that I was wounded and that blood was flowing from the cuts on my head.
Placing his lantern on the ground, he removed his girdle and covered my brow. He then helped me to get up. I had lost a lot of blood and was suffering from extreme weakness—I hardly had the strength to support myself. Placing his lantern in my hand, then taking me in his arms, he carried me near the opening in the pyramid from which he had come and placed me gently on the sand. Giving me an affectionate grip of the hand, he indicated that he was re-entering the pyramid and would return promptly.
I gave thanks to Heaven for the unexpected help that had been sent me. The old man reappeared carrying a flagon. He removed the cork and poured a few drops of the liqueur into a drinking vessel which he gave to me to drink. A delicious perfume diffused around me. Hardly had this Divine Liqueur penetrated my stomach than I felt regenerated, and I had enough strength to enter the pyramid with my benefactor and generous conductor.