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487"I wrote: 'O sun! thy ray beaming forth from thee struck my heart; my alertness and boldness are brought to nought; mad for thee, I have perceived thy beauty and loveliness; with what service can I pay thee in exchange for life?'

488"'Then when thou didst make me to survive (and) sufferedst me not to be wholly sundered from life, now this time I compare with that time. I have received thine armlet; I have bound it round mine arm. How can I show my joy as much as is fitting?

489"'Of a truth I offer thee, lo! the veil which thou demandest; also a cloak, of the same (stuff), the like of which thou wilt not find. Leave me not to faint, help me, succour me, come!' Whom can I entreat in this world save thee?'

490"The maid arose and forsook me. I lay down and fell pleasantly asleep, but I shivered, I saw my beloved in my sleep; I awoke, I had her no more, life was a burden to me; thus I passed the night, I heard not her voice.

491"Early in the morning they summoned me to the palace, when day was yet at the dawn. I rose; I learned their tidings and went at the same moment. I saw them both sitting with pleased faces. When I entered they bade me be seated; I sat down before them on a chair.

492"They said to me: 'God has brought old age upon

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us so that we are exhausted, the time of age approaches us, youth has passed from us. We have no son, but we have a daughter whose rays fail us not; we care not for the lack of a son, we are reconciled to that.

493"'Now we want a husband for our daughter. Where shall we find him to whom we may give our throne, whom we may form in our image, make him ruler of the kingdom, guardian of the realm, that we be not destroyed, that we may not let our enemies whet their swords for us?'

494"I said: 'How can your heart not feel the want of a son! But she who is like the sun suffices for our hope. Whomsoever you choose as son-in-law, he will rejoice greatly. What more can I say? You yourselves know what will be fitting.'

495"We began to take counsel on the matter. I tried to keep my heart firm though it was weakened; I said to myself: 'I shall say nothing and can do nothing to hinder this.' The king said: "There is Khvarazmsha, King of the Khvarazmians, if he would give us his child for ours there is none like him.'

496"It was clear that they had settled it beforehand; they glanced at each other, their words also were guarded; it was not for me to venture to say anything to hinder them, only I became as earth and cinders; my heart quivered to and fro.

497"The queen said: 'Khvarazmsha is a king reigning with power. Who could be better than his son for our son-in-law!' How could I dare to dispute since they themselves desired it! I added assent. The day of the overthrow of my soul was fixed.

498"They sent a man to Khvarazmsha asking for his son. Their message was: 'Our whole realm is without an heir, there is one daughter fit for childbearing, not to be wedded abroad; if thou wilt give us thy son for her, wait not for aught further.'

499"The man arrived loaded with mantles and veils.

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[paragraph continues] Khvarazmsha rejoiced with great joy; he said: From God has befallen us that which we desired; what other child like unto her could we take to our arms?'

500"Again they sent other men to bring the bridegroom; they entreated him: 'Tarry not, come at our demand.' I was wearied after exercise at ball-playing, and went to my chamber to rest; sadness entered into my heart, I began to endure woes.

501"Excessive melancholy approached my heart as if to strike with a knife, (but when) Asmat’h's slave entered I sat proud and strong. He gave me a letter; in it was written: She who is like an aloe-tree in form commands thee to come hither soon without putting off time.'

502"I mounted, went forth, entered the little garden, as thou canst imagine, with a full measure of joy; I passed through the little garden and arrived at the tower; I saw Asmat’h standing at the foot; I looked and saw that she had been weeping, tear stains could be seen on her cheeks; I was sad, and did not ask; she was troubled by desire for my coming.

503"I saw her frowning; this oppressed me exceedingly. She no longer smiled on me as she had formerly smiled; she said no word to me, only her tears showered down; thereby she wounded me the more, she healed not my wounds.

504"She carried my thoughts very far away. She led me into the tower and raised the curtain. I went in, I saw that moon, every woe forsook me, the ray fell on my heart, but my heart was not melted.

505"The light falling upon the curtain was not light; her golden face was carelessly covered by the veil I had given her; the peerless one, apparelled in that same green garment, was seated in a reclining position on the couch; a shower of tears fell on her face flashing with radiance.

506"She crouched, like a panther on the edge of a rock, her face flashing fury; no longer was she like the sun, the

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moon, an aloe-tree planted in Eden. Asmat’h seated me far off; my heart was struck as by a lance. Then she sat erect with frowning brows, angry, enraged.

507"She said to me: 'I marvel why thou art come, thou breaker of thy binding oath, fickle and faithless, thou forsworn; but high Heaven will give thee guerdon and answer for this!' I said: 'How can I reply to what I know not?'

508"I said: 'I cannot answer thee if I know not the truth. Wherein have I sinned, what have I done, (I) senseless and pale?' Again she said to me: 'What shall I say to thee, false and treacherous one! Why did I let myself be deceived, woman-like! For this I burn with flame.

509"'Knowest thou not of the bringing of Khvarazmsha to wed me? Thou wert sitting as counsellor, thy consent to this was given, thou hast broken thine oath to me, the firmness and bindingness thereof. Would to God I might bring thy cunning to nought!

510"'Rememberest thou when thou didst sigh "Ah! Ah!" when thy tears bathed the fields, and the physicians and surgeons brought thee medicines? What else is there that resembles a man's falsehood? Since thou hast denied me, I, too, will renounce thee. Let us see who will be the more hurt?

511"'I tell thee this: Whosoever shall rule India I have the rule also, whether they go trackless or by the road! It may not be thus! Now thou hast fallen into error. Thine opinions and like thee--even so untrue!

512"'While I live, by God, thou shalt no more dwell in India. If thou seekest to tarry, the soul shall be parted from thy body! None other shalt thou find like me, even though thou stretch thy hand unto heaven!'" When the knight had ended these words he wept, moaned, and said: "Ah me!"

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513He said: "When I heard this from her, hope revived in me exceedingly; once more mine eyes had power to look upon her light; now I have lost it, why art thou not surprised that dazed I live? Woe to thee fleeting world! why seekest thou to drain my blood?

514"I looked, and saw on the lectern the Koran lying open; I raised it, I stood up, and, praising God and afterwards her, said: 'O sun, thou burnedst me, and in truth my sun is set; since thou slayest me not, I will venture to make thee some answer:

515"'If what I tell thee, these words, be falsely cunning, may Heaven itself be wrathful with me, may all the sun's rays be turned against me! If thou considerest me worthy to be judged, I have done no ill.' She said: 'What thou knowest, speak!' She nodded to me.

516"Then again I ventured to say: 'If I, O sun, have broken my vow to thee, may God now forthwith show His anger by hurling a thunderbolt from heaven upon me! Who save thee has for me a face like a sun, a form like a tree? so how can I remain alive if a lance strike my heart!

517"'The sovereigns summoned me to court, they held a solemn council, beforehand they had appointed that youth as thy husband; (even if) I had opposed it I could not prevent it, I should have been a fool for my pains; I said to myself: "Agree with them for the nonce; it is better for thee to fortify thy heart."

518"'How could I dare to forbid it, since he (P’harsadan) understands not, knows not that India shall not remain masterless! It is I alone who am her (India's) owner; none other has any right. I know not him whom he (P’harsadan) will bring hither, nor who is mistaken (in this matter).

519"'I said: "I can do nothing in this; I shall contrive some other means." I said: "Be not assailed by a multitude of thoughts." My heart was like a wild beast; a

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thousand times I was ready to fly to the fields. To whom can I give thee? Why shouldst thou not take me?'

520"I sold soul for heart's sake; thus the tower became for me a market. That rain which at first had frozen the rose became milder; I saw pearl in the coral, round about (the pearl) (the coral) was tenderly enfolded; she said: Why do I, too, judge this to be right?

521"'I do not believe thee to be treacherous and faithless, a denier of God, not thankful to him; entreat of him myself and lordship in gladness over India; I and thou I shall be sovereigns--that is the best of all matches!'

522"The wrathful, enraged one became tender to me; either the sun was on earth or the full-faced moon; she set me near her, she caressed me, hitherto unworthy of this, she conversed with me; thus she extinguished the fire kindled in me.

523"She said to me: 'The prudent should never hasten, he will contrive whatever is best, he will be calm under Fate. If thou suffer not the suitor to come in (to India), woe if the king be wroth with thee, thou and he will quarrel, India will be laid waste.

524"On the other hand, if thou allow the bridegroom to come in, (if) he wed me, (if) it so fall out, we shall be sundered each from other, our gay garb will be turned to mourning, they will be happy and glorious, our sufferings will be magnified an hundredfold. This shall not be said, that the Persians hold sway in our court.'

525"I said: 'May God avert the wedding of thee by that youth! When they come into India (and) I discover their quality, I shall show forth to them my strong-heartedness and prowess; I shall so slay them that they become of no account!'

526"She spoke to me saying: 'A woman should act in

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a womanly way as befits her sex; I cannot have thee shed much blood, I cannot become a wall of division. When they come, slay the bridegroom without killing his armies. To do true justice makes even a dry tree green.

527"'Thus do, my lion, most excellent of all heroes; slay the bridegroom stealthily, take not soldiers, slaughter not his armies like cattle or asses; how can a man bear the burden of much innocent blood!

528"'When thou hast killed him, tell thy lord, my father, say to him: "I could never let India be food for the Persians; it is mine own heritage, never will I give up even an ounce of it; if thou wilt not leave me in peace I will make a wilderness of thy city!"

529"'Say not that thou wantest my love or desirest me, so will the righteousness of thy deed seem the greater; the king will then entreat thee in the most desperate and abject manner; I shall give myself into thy hands, reigning together will suit us."'

530"This counsel and advice pleased me exceedingly; I boasted that I would wield my sword for the slaying of my foes. Then I rose to depart. She began to entreat me to sit down; I longed to do so, but could not bring myself to clasp and embrace her.

531"I tarried some time, (then) I left her; but I became like one mad; Asmat’h went in front of me; I shed hot tears; my grief increased a thousandfold, my  joy was reduced to one; then I went unwillingly away, and so I went slowly.

532"A man came. 'The bridegroom cometh,' announced he but, wretched man! he knew not what God was preparing for him. The king looked pleased, he spoke no woeful words; he bade me sit near him; 'Come,' said he, and inclined his head.

533"He said to me: 'For me this is a day of joy and merriment. Let us celebrate the wedding, since it is

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necessary that the matter he concluded; let us send a man, let us have all the treasures brought from every part, generously let us distribute, let us fill them (with treasure); avarice is clownishness.'

534"I sent in all directions men carrying treasure. The bridegroom also came, they were no laggards; our men met them from inside, from outside came the Khvarazmians; the sum of their soldiers could not be contained even by the fields.

535"The king commanded: 'Prepare the maidan with tents, let the bridegroom rest, let him tarry there a little while; the other armies can go thither without thee to see him, thou shalt see him here, go not, this will suffice for thee.'

536"I raised on the maidan tents of red satin. The bridegroom arrived and entered (the tent), he dismounted; it seemed not like Easter Eve; those inside began to go out, there was a host of courtiers there, the soldiers began to form in ranks according to their clans.

537"I was wearied, as is the wont of one who has done duty; tired, I turned homeward, and wished to sleep. A slave came and gave me a letter from Asmat’h the sweet: 'Come quickly! She who is like a full-grown aloe commands thee.'

538"I dismounted not; I went quickly obedient. The maiden (Asmat’h) had been weeping; I asked her: 'Why flow thy tears?' She said to me: 'Being engaged in thy defence, how can I avoid weeping? How can I justify thee unceasingly, whatever kind of advocate I may have become!'

539"We went in, we saw her seated on a cushion, her brows puckered; the sun could not more illume the vicinage than she. I stood before her. She said to me: 'Why standest thou there? The day of battle comes--or, wert thou forsaking me, wert thou false to me and deceiving me again?'

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540"I was angered, I said nothing, hastily I went out: again; I called back: 'Now shall it be seen if I did not wish it! Am I become so cowardly that a woman urges me to fight?' I went home, I concerted his slaughter, I was not idle.

541"I commanded a hundred servants: 'Prepare for battle!' We mounted, we passed through the city without, letting anyone perceive us. I went into the tent. It is a horror to tell with the tongue how the bridegroom was lying; I killed that youth without shedding of blood (? on our side), though his blood cried out as it flowed.'

542"I cut the tangled edge of the tent, I tore it, I seized the youth by his legs and struck his head on the tent-pole. Those lying at the door cried; their lamentation was marvellous. I mounted my horse, departed, my coat of chain mail protected me.

543"An alarm was raised against me; there was a cry to pursue me. I went on, they began to follow, I slew my pursuers. I had a strong city, impregnable to the foe; I reached it in safety, pleasantly, unhurt.

544"I sent a man, I made known to all the soldiers: 'Let all who will aid me come hither!' My pursuers did not weary of coming in the depth of dark night; when they recognized me they kept their heads whole.

545"I arose at daybreak; I apparelled myself when night dawned into morn. I saw three lords sent by the king; he sent a message, saying: 'God knows I have fostered thee like my son; why hast thou thus changed my rejoicing into heaviness?

546"'Why didst thou make Khvarazmsha's innocent blood to fall on our house! If thou didst desire my daughter, why didst thou not tell me so? Thou hast made life distasteful to me, thine aged foster-father; thou thyself

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hast brought it about that thou remainest not with me till the day of my death.'

547"In answer I sent a message: 'O king, I am stronger than bronze, and this alone hinders me from being destroyed by the fire and flame of death; but, as you know, a king should be a doer of justice; by your sun! I am far from desiring your daughter.

548"'Thou knowest how many palaces and thrones are in India; I am the sole heir left, all has fallen into your hands, all their heirs have died out, their heritage remains to you; by right the throne belongs to none but me.

549"'I swear by your virtue, I cannot flatter you, now this is not just: God gave thee no son; thou hast an only daughter. If thou appointedst Khvarazmsha king, what would have been left for me in exchange? Can another king be seated on the throne of India while I wear my sword?

550"'I want not thy daughter, marry her, rid her of me. India is mine, to no man else will I give it; whoever contests my right, him will I cause to be uprooted from the earth; kill me! if I need any foreign helpers.'

Next: XIV. Tariel Hears Tidings of the Loss of Nestan-Daredjan