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Created: February 2017
| Updated: February 2017
Tsathoggua, also known as the Sleeper of N'kai, is a fictional supernatural entity in the Cthulhu Mythos shared fictional universe. He is the creation of Clark Ashton Smith and is part of his Hyperborean cycle.
The first description of Tsathoggua occurs in "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", in which the protagonists encounter one of the entity's idols:
Later, in Smith's "The Seven Geases" (1933), Tsathoggua is described again:
Robert M. Price notes that "Lovecraft's Tsathoggua and Smith's differ at practically every point." Lovecraft, dropping Smith's bat and sloth comparisons, refers to the entity in " The Whisperer in Darkness" as the "amorphous, toad-like god-creature mentioned in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon and the Commoriom myth-cycle preserved by the Atlantean high-priest Klarkash-Ton"--the priest's name a tip of the hat to Tsathoggua's creator.
Later, in "The Horror in the Museum", a story ghost-written by Lovecraft, he writes, "Black Tsathoggua moulded itself from a toad-like gargoyle to a sinuous line with hundreds of rudimentary feet."
Tsathoggua dwells deep beneath the earth in N'kai. Tsathoggua once dwelt inside Mount Voormithadreth in Hyberborea, but left after the continent iced over.
In 1975, Tsathoggua made a cameo in The Golden Apple, book two of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, where he was also referred to as Saint Toad.
The Tsathoggua Cycle
In 2005, Chaosium published a Cthulhu Mythos anthology edited by Robert M. Price called The Tsathoggua Cycle, which comprised the original Clark Ashton Smith stories featuring Tsathoggua, along with tales by other authors in which the entity has a starring role. The short story collection includes:
Smith literally wed Lovecraft's creations to his own gods, which seem to be molded more like the Greek pantheon than the cosmic group of Lovecraft's fiction. Indeed, he assigned outlandish familial relationships to his gods — for example, making the Saturnian being Hziulquoigmnzhah the "uncle" of Tsathoggua — and ascribed this bizarre family tree to the Parchments of Pnom, Hyperborea's leading "genealogist [and] noted prophet".
Kzadool-Ra was a son of Tsathoggua, who destroyed him in a fit of jealousy.