The Tale of Satampra Zeiros
"The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" is a short story written in 1929 by Clark Ashton Smith as part of his Hyperborean cycle, and first published in the November 1931 issue of Weird Tales. It is notable as the story in which Smith created the Cthulhu Mythos entity Tsathoggua.
"Satampra Zeiros" is a story written in the style of Lord Dunsany, who wrote a similar tale of thievery gone wrong called "How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art upon the Gnoles". Robert M. Price points to Dunsany's "Bethmoora", featuring another deserted city, as an additional likely inspiration.
When Smith sent his friend H. P. Lovecraft a copy of the unpublished manuscript, he responded with "well-nigh delirious delight.... You have achieved in its fullest glamour the exact Dunsanian touch which I find it almost impossible to duplicate.... Altogether, I think this comes close to being your high point in prose fiction to date...."
- Robert M. Price, The Tsathoggua Cycle, p. 56.
- H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Clark Ashton Smith, December 3, 1929; cited in Price, p. 56.