“Beyond the Black River” is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian. First published in Weird Tales magazine, MayJune 1935. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953 – edited by de Camp) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967 – edited by de Camp). It has since been published a numerous times in many languages. It’s set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan’s battle against a savage tribe of Picts in the unsettled lands beyond the infamous Black River.

You can read the story in the Weird Tales magazines available on this site, or just click on the links on the right to jump to each chapter.

From the letters:

In a letter (#301) to August Derleth, ca. mid-October 1934:

My latest sales have been a 23,000 word Oriental adventure yarn to Top- Notch, and a two-part Conan serial to Weird Tales; no sex in the latter. I wanted to see if I could write an interesting Conan yarn without sex interest.

The Top-Notch story is possibly “The Daughter of Erlik Khan,” but more likely “Hawk of the Hills” or “Blood of the Gods.”

The story is also mentioned in a letter (#304) to H.P. Lovecraft, ca. December 1934:

My latest sales to Weird Tales have been a two-part Conan serial: “Beyond the Black River” — a frontier story; and a novelet dealing with Mississippi negroes, etc. “The Moon of Zambebwei”, which I understand will be changed to “The Grisly Horror.”

The Californian Magazine was a fan magazine published by Hyman Bradofsky. In a letter (#352) in Summer 1936 to this magazine Howard writes:

Thank you very much for the copy of The Californian. I feel greatly honored that Miss Wooley should have quoted an excerpt from my serial “Beyond the Black River” in her article in your fine journal.

The story was “The Adventure Story” by Natalie Wooley, Fall 1935.

Published in:

The edited version by L. Sprague de Camp was published in:

Source: Howard Works.

Read the story: