Synopsis for “The Garden of Death and Life!”
In a small desert village Conan comes across a group of villagers determined to kill a beautiful girl named Zhadoor, who seems to have bewitched one of their number. Conan fights them off and flees the village with the girl, who tells him of a nearby oasis. On their way there, they are discovered by a group of desert bandits, who follow them to the oasis, a refreshing pool next to a large tree filled with large pods. Conan dives into the welcoming waters, but discovers the pool’s floor littered with bones. Afraid the water is poisoned, and realizing the oasis’s name, Shar-Al-Tjinin, is Zamorian for “bones of fools,” Conan comes to the surface only to be captured by the bandits, who intend to sell him into slavery. That night, Conan slips free but discovers that Zhadoor has died for mysterious reasons. At that moment, the tree itself attacks the men, using vines and ropes to pull the men into a gaping maw in its trunk. Conan frantically attacks the tree creature with a torch, setting it aflame, and killing it and all the bandits. Only one of the pods remains unharmed, and it opens up revealing a perfect replica of Zhadoor, who apparently was only a spore to lure men to the oasis for the tree to devour. Horrified, Conan kills the plant-woman and rides away.