The Ark of the Covenant is described in the Bible as a sacred container, wherein
rested the Tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron's rod and manna. According to the Biblical account,
the Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses' prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:10-16). God communicated
with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the
beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made
by Moses, and a later one made by Bezalel.
The Biblical account
relates that during the exodus of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests ~2,000 cubits (Numbers 35:5; Joshua 4:5)
in advance of the people and their army or host (Num. 4:5-6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). When the Ark was borne by priests
into the bed of the Jordan, the river was separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15-16;
4:7-18). The Ark was borne in a seven-day procession around the wall of Jericho by seven priests sounding seven trumpets of
rams' horns, the city taken with a shout (Josh. 6:4-20). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in tachash skins
(the identity of this animal is uncertain), and a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levite's
who carried it.
The Bible describes the Ark as made of
shittah-tree wood (acacia), known to the Egyptians as the Tree of Life and an important plant in traditional medicine containing
in many cases psychoactive alkaloids. It was 1.5 cubits broad and high, and 2.5 cubits long, conforming to the golden ratio.
The Ark was covered all over with the purest gold. Its upper surface or lid, the mercy seat, was surrounded with a rim of
On each of the two long sides were two gold rings, wherein
were placed two wooden poles (with a decorative sheathing of gold), to allow the Ark to be carried (Num. 7:9; 10:21; 4:5,19,
20; 1 Kings 8:3, 6). Over the Ark, at the two extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward one another (Leviticus
16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over the top of the Ark formed the throne of God, while the Ark itself was his footstool
(Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The Ark was placed in the "Holy of Holies," so that one end of the carrying poles touched
the veil separating the two compartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:8). The Book of Deuteronomy describes the Ark as a simple
wooden container with no mention of ornaments or gold. Similarly, the Quran makes a reference to the Ark as a wooden box with
holy relics inside it.
According to the Bible, the two
tablets of stone constituting the "testimony" or evidence of God's covenant with the people (Deuteronomy 31:26)
were kept within the Ark itself. The Tanakh states in I Kings 8:9 that there "was nothing in the ark save the two tables
of stone". Some see this as contradictory with other verses, claiming the presence of the "pot of manna" (Ex.
16:34), and "Aaron's rod that budded" (Num. 17:25) before the Ark (Heb. 9:4 - in the Ark). The items were placed
"before the Ark with the testimony"; the correct meaning of that phrase is open to interpretation.
Even Aaron, brother of Moses and the High Priest, was forbidden to enter the place of the
Ark too often. He was enjoined to enter the Holy of Holies only once per year on a designated day, and to perform certain
ceremonies there (Lev. 16). Moses was directed to consecrate the Ark, when completed, with the oil of holy ointment (Ex. 30:23-26);
and he was also directed to have the Ark made by Bezaleel, son of Uri of the tribe of Judah, and by Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach
of the tribe of Dan (Ex. 31:2-7). These instructions Moses carried out, calling upon "every wisehearted" one among
the people to assist in the work (Ex. 35:10-12). Bezaleel the artist made the Ark (Ex. 37:1); and Moses approved the work,
put the testimony in the Ark, and installed it.
10:1-5 a different account of the making of the Ark is given. Moses is made to say that he constructed the Ark before going
upon Mount Sinai to receive the second set of tablets. The charge of carrying the Ark and the rest of the holy implements
was given to the family of Kohath (of the tribe of Levi). They, though, were not to touch any of the holy things that were
still uncovered by Aaron (Num. 4:2-15).
The Ark carried into
the TempleThe only mention of the Ark in the books of the prophets is the reference to it by Jeremiah, who, speaking in the
days of Josiah (Jer. 3:16), prophesies a time when the Ark will no longer be needed because of the righteousness of the people.
In the Psalms, the Ark is twice referred to. In Ps. 78:61 its capture by the Philistines is spoken of, and the Ark is called
"the strength and glory of God"; and in Ps. 132:8, it is spoken of as "the ark of the strength of the Lord."
The Ark is mentioned in one passage in the deuterocanonical
2 Maccabees 2:4-10, which contains a reference to a document saying that the prophet Jeremiah, "being warned of God,"
took the Ark, and the tabernacle, and the altar of incense, and buried them in a cave on Mount Nebo (Deut 34:1), informing
those of his followers who wished to find the place that it should remain unknown "until the time that God should gather
His people again together, and receive them unto mercy." Hebrews 9:4 states that the Ark contained "the golden pot
that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant." Finally, in Revelation 11:19, the Ark is
described as being in heaven, just before the woman clothed with the sun appears (Book of Revelation 12).
In the march from Sinai, and at the crossing of the Jordan, the Ark preceded the people,
and was the signal for their advance (Num. 10:33; Josh. 3:3, 6). The Ark of the Covenant burned the thorns and other obstructions
in the wilderness roads. According to tradition, sparks from between the two cherubim killed serpents and scorpions. (Canticles
During the crossing of the Jordan, the river grew dry as
soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark touched its waters; and remained so until the priests -- with the Ark --
left the river, after the people had passed over (Josh. 3:15-17; 4:10, 11, 18). As memorials, twelve stones were taken from
the Jordan at the place where the priests had stood (Josh. 4:1-9).
Ark was carried into battle, such as in the Midian war (Num. 31). During the ceremonies preceding the capture of Jericho,
the Ark was carried round the city in the daily procession, preceded by the armed men and by seven priests bearing seven trumpets
of rams' horns (Josh. 6:6-15). After the defeat at Ai, Joshua lamented before the Ark (Josh. 7:6-9). When Joshua read the
Law to the people between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, they stood on each side of the Ark. The Ark was again set up by Joshua
at Shiloh; but when the Israelites fought against Benjamin at Gibeah, they had the Ark with them, and consulted it after their
The Ark is next spoken of as being in the tabernacle
at Shiloh during Samuel's apprenticeship (1 Sam. 3:3). After the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, the ark remained
in the tabernacle at Gilgal for a season, then was removed to Shiloh until the time of Eli, between 300 and 400 years (Jeremiah
7:12), when it was carried into the field of battle, so as to secure, as they supposed, victory to the Hebrews; and it was
taken by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-11), who sent it back after retaining it seven months (1 Sam. 5:7, 8) because of the
events said to have transpired. After their first defeat at Eben-ezer, the Israelites had the Ark brought from Shiloh, and
welcomed its coming with great rejoicing.
In the second
battle, the Israelites were again defeated, and the Philistines captured the Ark (1 Sam. 4:3-5, 10, 11). The news of its capture
was at once taken to Shiloh by a messenger "with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head." The old priest,
Eli, fell dead when he heard it; and his daughter-in-law, bearing a son at the time the news of the capture of the Ark was
received, named him Ichabod - explained as "Where is glory?" in reference to the loss of the Ark (1 Sam. 4:12-22).
The Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country,
and at each place misfortune resulted to them (1 Sam. 5:1-6). At Ashdod it was placed in the temple of Dagon. The next morning
Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it; and on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again
found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with boils; a plague of mice was sent over the land (1 Sam.
6:5). The affliction of boils was also visited upon the people of Gath and of Ekron, whither the Ark was successively removed
(1 Sam. 5:8-12).
After the Ark had been among them seven months,
the Philistines, on the advice of their diviners, returned it to the Israelites, accompanying its return with an offering
consisting of golden images of the boils and mice wherewith they had been afflicted. The Ark was set in the field of Joshua
the Beth-shemite, and the Beth-shemites offered sacrifices and burnt offerings (1 Sam. 6:1-15). Out of curiosity the men of
Beth-shemesh gazed at the Ark; and as a punishment over fifty thousand of them were smitten by the Lord (1 Sam. 6:19). The
Bethshemites sent to Kirjath-jearim, or Baal-Judah, to have the Ark removed (1 Sam. 6:21); and it was taken to the house of
Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was sanctified to keep it. Kirjath-jearim was the abode of the Ark for twenty years. Under Saul,
the Ark was with the army before he first met the Philistines, but the king was too impatient to consult it before engaging
in battle. In 1 Chronicles 13:3 it is stated that the people were not accustomed to consult the Ark in the days of Saul.
At the very beginning of his reign, David removed the Ark from Kirjath-jearim amid great
rejoicing. On the way to Zion, Uzzah, one of the drivers of the cart whereon the Ark was carried, put out his hand to steady
the Ark, and was smitten by the Lord for touching it. David, in fear, carried the Ark aside into the house of Obed-edom the
Gittite, instead of carrying it on to Zion, and here it stayed three months (2 Sam. 6:1-11; 1 Chron. 13:1-13).
On hearing that the Lord had blessed Obed-edom because of the presence of the Ark in his
house, David had the Ark brought to Zion by the Levites, while he himself, "girded with a linen ephod," "danced
before the Lord with all his might"‹a performance for which he was despised and scornfully rebuked by Saul's daughter
Michal (2 Sam. 6:12-16, 20-22; 1 Chron. 15). This unjustified derision on her part resulted in the permanent loss of her fertility.
In Zion, David put the Ark in the tabernacle he had prepared for it, offered sacrifices, distributed food, and blessed the
people and his own household (2 Sam. 6:17-20; 1 Chron. 16:1-3; 2 Chron. 1:4).
were appointed to minister before the Ark (1 Chron. 16:4). David's plan of building a temple for the Ark was stopped at the
advice of God (2 Sam. 7:1-17; 1 Chron. 17:1-15; 28:2, 3). The Ark was with the army during the siege of Rabbah (2 Sam. 11:11);
and when David fled from Jerusalem at the time of Absalom's conspiracy, the Ark was carried along with him until he ordered
Zadok the priest to return it to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:24-29).
Abiathar was dismissed from the priesthood by Solomon for having taken part in Adonijah's conspiracy against David, his life
was spared because he had formerly borne the Ark (1 Kings 2:26). It was afterwards placed by Solomon in the temple (1 Kings
8:6-9). Solomon worshiped before the Ark after his dream in which the Lord promised him wisdom (1 Kings 3:15). In Solomon's
Temple, a Holy of Holies was prepared to receive the Ark (1 Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark -- containing
nothing but the two Mosaic tables of stone -- was placed therein. When the priests emerged from the holy place after placing
the Ark there, the Temple was filled with a cloud, "for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord"
(1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chron. 5:13, 14).
When Solomon married
Pharaoh's daughter, he caused her to dwell in a house outside Zion, as Zion was consecrated because of its containing the
Ark (2 Chron. 8:11). King Josiah had the Ark put into the Temple (2 Chron. 35:3), whence it appears to have again been removed
by one of his successors.
When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem
and plundered the temple, the Ark entered the domain of legend. Many historians suppose that the ark was probably taken away
by Nebuchadnezzar and destroyed. The absence of the ark from the Second Temple was acknowledged.
In contrast to the general consensus of historians (that supposes that the ark was taken
away and destroyed), variant traditions about the ultimate fate of the Ark include the intentional concealing of the Ark under
the Temple Mount, the removal of the Ark from Jerusalem in advance of the Babylonians (this variant usually ends up with the
Ark in Ethiopia), the removal of the Ark by the Ethiopian prince Menelik I (purported son of King Solomon and the Queen of
Sheba), removal by Jewish priests during the reign of Manasseh, and the miraculous removal of the Ark by divine intervention
(C.f. 2 Chronicles).
Some believe that the Ark of the
Covenant and the Tabernacle of the Lord was hidden. This is referenced by four separate sources:
1. the Mishnayot of Rabbi Hertz
2. the Marble Tablets of Beirut
the Copper Scroll
4. the ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue sacred texts
The Mishnayot introduction included ancient records that Rabbi Hertz called the "Mishnayot".
Hertz used the term "Mishnayot", since the text of the Mishnayot is missing from the Mishnah (Mishna), which is
the first section of the Talmud, a collection of ancient Rabbinic writings including also the Gemara, "the summary",
and containing the Jewish religious law.
Mishnaic text in the Mishnayot is called the Massakhet Keilim, written in twelve chapters. Each chapter of the Mishnayot describes
vessels which were hidden under the direction of Jeremiah the Prophet by five holy men (Shimor HaLevi, Chizkiah, Tzidkiyahu,
Haggai the Prophet and Zechariah the Prophet), seven years prior to the destruction of Solomon's First Temple, because the
dangers of Babylonian conquest were imminent. The Mishnayot describing this hiding was then written in Babylon during the
The first chapter of the Mishnayot describes
the vessels that were hidden - including the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle of the Lord, i.e. the Mishkan, the Tablets
of Moses, the altar (with cherubim) for the daily and seasonal sacrifices (the ushebtis), the Menorah (candelabra), the Qalal
(copper urn) containing the Ashes of the Red Heifer (ashes from a red cow sacrificed under Moses, necessary for ritual purification
of the priests), and numerous vessels of the Kohanim (priests).
second chapter of the Mishnayot states that a list of these treasures was inscribed upon a copper tablet. This is the Copper
Scroll found at Qumran.
In 1952 two large marble tablets were
found in the basement of a museum in Beirut, stating they were the words of Shimor HaLevi, the servant of HaShem, and the
writing on the tablets is the entire missing text of "Massakhet Keilim" (Mishnayot) including reference to the Copper
The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered
in 1947, and the famed Copper Scroll - made of pure copper - was found at Qumran in 1952. The Copper Scroll is an inventory
- written in Hebrew - of the holy treasures of Solomon's First Temple, treasures hidden before the destruction of that temple
by the Babylonians and treasures which have not been seen since.
Copper Scroll states that a silver [or alabaster?] chest, the vestments of the Cohen Gadol (Hebrew High Priest), gold and
silver in great quantities, the Tabernacle of the Lord (the Mishkan) and many treasures were hidden in a desolate valley -
under a hill - on its east side, forty stones deep. The Mishkan was a "portable" Temple for the Ark of the Covenant.
The writings in the Copper Scroll were confirmed 40 years later in the 1990s through an ancient text found in the introduction
to Emeq HaMelekh ("Valley of the King(s)") -- a book published in 1648 in Amsterdam, Holland, by Rabbi Naftali Hertz
Ben Ya¹acov Elchanon (Rabbi Hertz).
Work in the 1990s showed
that in 1896, almost one hundred years previous, Solomon Schechter at Cambridge University in England had acquired 100,000
pages of ancient Hebrew texts from the Genizah (repository for aged sacred Jewish texts) of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo,
Egypt. A copy of the "Tosefta" (supplement to the Mishnah) was found in these texts, included among the text on
Keilim (vessels). This "Tosefta" is the same text as cited by Rabbi Hertz as his source for the Mishnayot. Where is it now?
have claimed to have possession or discovered the Ark.
Ron Wyatt claims to have broken into a chamber while digging underground beneath Mount Moriah, also known as The Temple Mount.
He claimed to have seen the ark and taken photographs. All photos came out blurry (leading to skepticism of the claim). According
to Wyatt the excavations were closed off (because of private property concerns) and, to the extent of knowledge, no one has
seen the ark since. Ron Wyatt is widely seen in the Biblical archeology community as an attention seeker, often announcing
he has found Biblically important objects with little or no hard evidence to back up his claims.
Vendyl Jones claimed to have found the entrance to the chamber in the cave of the Column
- Qumran. Here, he stated, is where the Ark was hidden prior to the destruction of the First Temple. Arutz Sheva quoted Jones
stating he would reveal the ark on Tisha B'Av (August 14, 2005), the anniversary of the destruction of both the First and
Second Temples. However, this did not occur. On Jones' website he states that he was misquoted and actually said it would
be appropriate if he discovered the ark on Tisha B'Av. Jones is waiting for funding to explore the cave.
Modern excavations near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have found tunnels, but digging beneath
the Temple Mount is somewhat restricted. One of the most important Islamic shrines, the Dome of the Rock, sits in the location
where the Temple Mount in Jerusalem once stood. The late Ron Wyatt claimed he felt it unwise to fully excavate the Ark for
a variety of reasons, including bloody ownership disputes and divine inspiration.
sources suggest that during the reign of King Manasseh (2 Chron 33) the Ark was smuggled from the temple by way of the Well
of souls and taken to Egypt, eventually ending up in Ethiopia Africa. There are some carvings on the Cathedral of Chartres
that may refer to this.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church
in Axum, Ethiopia claims to still possess the Ark of the Covenant. Local tradition maintains that it was brought to Ethiopia
by Menelik I following a visit to his father King Solomon. Although it was once paraded before the town once each year, it
is now kept under constant guard in a "treasury" near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, and only the head priest
of the church is allowed to view it. Most Western historians are skeptical of this claim.
Andis Kaulins claims that the hiding place of the ark, said specifically by ancient sources (such
as the Mishnayot), to be a desolate valley under a hill - on its east side, forty stones deep.
Today, it is believed by some that this refers to the Tomb of Tutankhamun (east side of the
Valley of Kings, ca. forty stones deep). Some believe that what was found there are the described treasures, including the
Mishkan and the Ark of the Covenant.
The word Ark comes from
the Hebrew word 'Aron', which means a chest or box. Its dimensions are described by the bible as 2.5 cubits by 1.5 cubits
by 1.5 cubits (62.5 inches by 37.5 inches by 37.5 inches). Curiously, this is the exact volume of the stone chest or porphyry
coffer in the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid in Egypt. This coffer was the only object within the King's Chamber, as the Ark was
the single sacred object within the Holy of Holies, in the Temple. Also the laver, or basin, that the priests used to wash their feet
had the identical cubit dimensions.
The cubit dimensions of
the inner chamber of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, are precisely identical in size to the King's Chamber in the Pyramid
and the same volume as the molten sea of water on the Temple Mount as prepared by King Solomon. Since the Pyramid was built
and sealed long before the days of Moses, when he built the Ark and the Holy of Holies, and had remained sealed for over twenty-five
centuries until the ninth century after Christ, there is no natural explanation for the phenomenon of both structures having
identical volume measurements.
The pyramid itself possessed
its own force centers: the heart of the King's Chamber, its most vital and sacred points, where divine energy was concentrated
and especially powerful. And other chambers not yet discovered. The candidate undergoing initiation was placed in the great
granite sarcophagus in the King's Chamber at the August moment of the initiation rites (Note: the purpose of Initiation is
to bestow upon the disciple certain molecular changes in the body to handle higher energy) because the sarcophagus was in
direct alignment with the down pouring ray of cosmic light through the Ark in the Third Eye capstone. The voltage of such a fiery light ray could only be endured by one in whom
the physical, emotional and spiritual forces were completely aligned and purified.
candidate with an unbalanced polarity ran the risk of injury to the physical organism, or even death, because of the accelerated
frequencies of manna-loa pouring through the capstone.
the massive structure was first constructed, the final portion to be levitated into place was the gleaming gold and crystal
capstone containing the original Ark of the Covenant, allegedly brought from Atlantis. This Ark and capstone graced the very summit of Knut. Once this floating capstone was
so placed, the Great Ones created several lesser Arks.
voltage of a second Ark was integrated into the structure of the open granite sarcophagus in the King's Chamber. Since granite
is saturated with minute crystals, it was not difficult to charge the initiatory coffer with incredible cosmic force. Hence
the uninitiated unprotected sons of Earth were not permitted to touch the Ark because of its radiating voltage, placed there
by generated cosmic rays. The priests who had charge of it, called the Arkites, wore protective garments. But they were themselves
charged with cosmic power.
Such human Arks allegedly were somewhat
immune from the rays of the crystal because each radiated frequencies harmonious with the crystal. Since the Ark radiated
an energy destructive to all inharmonious with it, a gold sheath was constructed to insulate it, to partially shield the people
from the powerful emanations.
To maintain its potency, each
Ark had to be constantly recharged with a creative energy of tremendous voltage. The principal source of that energy was man
himself, and only the highest initiates were capable of radiating the particular force required to keep the Ark active.
Much of this responsibility fell upon the high priests, the
Arkites or Ptahs of the temple, who, if they so willed it, could raise the frequency of their forms to radiate so powerful
a force that an initiate touching their bodies could be struck down, just as if he had touched the Ark itself. Rarely was
such voltage require of them, except to recharge the Arks.
crystals and compounds of which the Ark were allegedly constructed - the silver, brass-like substance, and pure living gold
- were charged with seven octaves of energy, from the materialistic charges of electric voltage up to the highest spiritualized
forces of celestial planes - pranic forces far beyond the voltage of Earth's electricity.The Ark is a metaphor for a container,
chest, box, or vessel which holds a source of light or consciousness through which all is created. Physical reality is the Ark or Box. Consciousness manifests
as light within the box. To quest for the Ark is to quest for the nature of reality, creation, and where it is all quickly evolving in the alchemy of time. The Ark will
never be found or will it?. The word 'ark' or 'arc' links to mathematics and the blueprint of human creation, Sacred Geometry
According to scriptural
accounts, Halpern said, the Ark is a box made from acacia wood, covered in gold and used as a container for the stone blocks
bearing the Ten Commandments. Said to have been built at God¹s command, the Ark is believed to measure about 4 feet by
2 feet by 2.5 feet and features gold rings on the two long sides that hold the wooden poles used to carry it.
The top surface of the Ark is decorated with two cherubim, or angels, who crouch facing each
other with wings outstretched, forming a seat. Believers say God himself occupies that seat, while the Ark served as a footstool,
There are references in other ancient texts of
similar "containers" used to transport sacred relics, and the image of God sitting on the wings of cherubim with
his feet resting on the Ark below fits with depictions of ancient kings, he said.
also important to note that it wasn¹t just the Ark being carried into battle. YHWH, the name accorded the god of Israel
in much of the Bible and later literature, accompanies the Ark into battle, giving it miraculous power," Halpern said.
There are many references to the awesome power of the
Ark, he said. Various Bible stories describe how, during the exodus of the Israelites, the power of the Ark parted the river
Jordan to allowing the people to pass. During the siege of Jericho, the Ark was toted around the city walls in a seven day
procession accompanied by seven priests sounding seven trumpets - and made the city walls come tumbling down. The ferocity
of the Ark was so great that it had to be covered by a veil while being carried around, and could bring misfortune and tragedy
on those who disrespected it.
Despite the powers it was said
to possess, the Ark was eventually lost to the sands of time. The last Biblical mention of the Ark comes when the Babylonians
destroyed Jerusalem and plundered the temple where the Ark was stored, Halpern said. After this point, the fate of the Ark
is the subject of much speculation. One theory is that the Ark was captured by an Egyptian pharaoh, a tale that gave rise
to the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie plot. Another possibility is that the Ark was hidden by priests under the Temple Mount
for safekeeping, or spirited away to an unknown site before the Babylonians even arrived in Jerusalem. Other suggestions are
that the Ark was removed by divine intervention, taken by an Ethiopian prince, or destroyed in battle.
"They¹re all fantasy, and we¹ll never really know which one is true,"
Halpern said. "Some theories seem more plausible than others. Was the Ark hidden from the Babylonians? Unlikely. Did
the Babylonians take it? That theory is more probable."
Indiana Jones, some real-life scholar-adventurers are on the trail of the Ark, with one researcher claiming to have found
the remnants of the Ark stored in a library in Zimbabwe. Could this be true?
some ways, the story of the Ark is similar to other Judeo-Christian religious relics such as the Shroud of Turin and Noah¹s
Ark, Halpern said. "You have to remember why this scripture was written in the first place, and see the Ark¹s symbolic
power to people as a sacred object. If you try to over-explain it, you lose the power of the story."