The E-Stone first appears in the short story The Gift. Its exact origin seems to be lost in antiquity but stories and rumors prevail. These are the most prominent ones.
In one story, the E-Stone is said to be an offshoot of a piece of falling star debris which crash landed on earth back in the year 1799 during the historic Leonid meteor shower. The whole eastern seaboard witnessed the event. It was a cause of great concern as many believed that it was a portent of evil since that was a prevailing thought at the time. Andrew Ellicott Douglass, an early American astronomer, described the phenomena as the “whole heaven appeared as if illuminated with sky rockets, flying in an infinity of all directions, and I was in constant expectation of some of them falling on the vessel.”
A former colleague of Douglass, Percival Lowell, revealed in his own personal diary, that Ellicott hid the fact that one of those meteors had actually fallen on the boat he was sailing on. He was keeping it for observation and research. But Ellicott began to act erratic, not letting the rock out of his sight and having wild mood swings. It wasn’t long after that he had a falling out with Percival and William Pickering, another colleague. Months later, Ellicott reported that it was stolen from his home and his research along with it. People had surmised that the rock was cursed but Percival immediately dismissed the theory.
The Weeping Prophet
Another story of the stone’s origin comes from the time of the biblical prophet Jeremiah. For over forty years he had portended doom for the kingdom of Judah, pleading with the citizens to give themselves over to the Babylonian conqueror Nebuchadnezzar. He was called a traitor and was arrested, thrown in a pit, assaulted, and many other persecutions from his own people. Known as the weeping prophet, he was passionate and emotional, crying over the sins of his people and often struggling with God.
Towards the end of his life, Jeremiah had preached that going to Egypt would spell doom for the people that did so. However, the people did not believe him and they went there any way, taking him and his close associate Baruch. Antiquity says that he continued to preach but the people had had enough, stoning him to death at Tahpanhes. It is believed that it was one of these stones that became what is known as the E-Stone though no one knows how it got to where it is today.
In 1631, Shah Jahan, the emperor of India, was happy and successful in bringing the Mughal Empire to the greatest time of their prosperity. In addition, his wife Mumtaz Mahal was pregnant with their 14th child. But tragedy struck during the delivery when Mumtaz died. Shah Jahan was sick at heart and went into a period of deep grief and depression. However, it was this self-same grief that inspired him to begin the construction of the Taj Mahal, a world famous, white marble mausoleum, in honor of his deceased wife.
A story persists in the land of Shah Jahan’s deep grief during the construction. It is said that he would often spend hours at the side of his wife’s resting place, crying, talking and sleeping. Legend says that his tears run through every stone of the building.
In the late 19th century, some British soldiers defaced the resting place, chiseling out precious stones from the walls. One soldier however, familiar with the story behind the Taj Mahal, was so moved by the love story and Jahan’s devotion to his wife, that he carved an ‘L’ out of the white marble signifying his love and gave it as a gift to his wife back home. Years later, they both died mysteriously with a rictus of rage and surprise on their faces. The home had been invaded and the L shaped stone taken.