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755The sun-faced, dispenser of light, speaks to Shermadin and says: "This day is hope, the comforter of my heart, that thou wilt show what thou canst do for me." It needs a reader and a listener for the praise of this story of them.

756He says: "Rosten did not grant me leave, he hearkened not even to a word from me; he knows not wherein one's being lies and how one's life is in another. Without him (Tariel) in truth I live not, neither abroad nor at home. What unrighteous deed has God ever forgiven to anyone?

757"Though I resolved not to forsake him, and my decision is final--every liar and traitor insults God and thus lies--the heart seeing not him weeps and sighs, moans

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and groans, it comes not near to any joy, it shudders, grows sullen, cries clack! and alas!

758"Three are the ways of showing friendship by a friend: First, the wish for nearness, impatience of distance; then giving and not grudging, unweariedness in liberality; and attention and aid, roaming in the fields td help him.

759"But why should I lengthen speech; it is time to shorten it. Now to steal away is the healing of this bruised heart. Hearken to what I shall entreat so long as thou hast time in my company, and fortify thyself in observance of what I have already taught thee.

760"Now prepare as first leader to serve the sovereigns, manifest thy valour and integrity in all things. Take care of my household, command my troops, repeat anew the service, the attention thou hast hitherto shown.

761"Keep my foes out of the marches, let not thy might fail in aught, grudge no good to the loyal, may they that are false-hearted towards thee be slain; if I return, well shall thy due be repaid to thee by me; service to a master is never lost."

762When he heard this, the hot tear flowed from Shermadin's eyes. Quoth he: "Wherefore should I be affrighted by sorrow in loneliness! But what shall I do without thee--twilight will fall on my heart! Take me with thee to serve thee; I will help thee however thou wishest.

763"Who has heard of so great wandering by one alone! Who has heard of a knight holding back from his lord in trouble! Thinking thee lost, what shall I, useless, do here?" The knight answered: "I cannot take thee, however many tears thou sheddest.

764"How can I disbelieve thy love for me! But the thing cannot be; thus Fate has taken up arms against me. To whom can I entrust my house; save thee, who is fit?

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[paragraph continues] Calm thy heart, believe me, I cannot take thee! I cannot! I cannot!

765"Since I am a lover I must run mad alone in the fields. Should not one with blood-stained tears roam alone! Errantry is the business of lovers; how can one wait till he is grown old? This world is such, be thou assured thereof and submit.

766"When I am far from thee, think of me, love me. I fear not my foes; I shall take care of myself. A brave man must be of good cheer, he must not mope in grief; I hate when a man hesitates at no shameful deed.

767"I am such an one as will not gather cucumbers in this world as an old man, one to whom death for a friend seems a sport and a play. I have left my sun, she grants me leave, why should I linger! Then, if I can bear to go from mine own home, whose can I not bear (to leave)?

768"Now I give thee my testament addressed to Rosten. I will confide thee to him, and entreat him to care for thee as befits one brought up by me. Should I die, slay not thyself; do not the deed of Satan; weep thereupon, fill the channel 1 of the eyes."


122:1 Irrigation canal.

Next: XXI. The Testament of Avt’handil to King Rostevan When He Stole Away