Thursday's storm had roared into town with uncommon severity, bringing with it not only more than two feet of fresh snow, but a wind that set the white stuff a-dancing and swirling about the town, like a wild rhumba or some native fertility rite.
It is evident that it was originally a goddess who was supposed to be in control of Irkalla, corresponding to Ishtar in control of fertility and vegetation on earth.
It was founded (perhaps on the site of an early Sicanian settlement) by colonists from Gela about 582 B.C., and, though the lastest city of importance founded by the Greeks in Sicily, soon acquired a position second to that of Syracuse alone, owing to its favourable situation for trade with Carthage and to the fertility of its territory.
West of Herat, it forms a valley of great fertility, densely populated and highly cultivated; practically all its waters being drawn off for purposes of irrigation.
The district is by no means devoid of fertility, the steep slopes facing the south enjoying so fine a climate as to render them very favorable for the growth of fruit trees, especially the olive, which is cultivated in terraces to a considerable height up the face of the mountains, while the openings of the valleys are generally occupied by towns or villages, some of which have become favorite winter resorts.