Sacred Texts  Asia  Myths/Legends  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at



948Weeping the knight went seventy days along the road to the seashore. Afar off he saw in the sea sailors approaching; he waited and asked: "Who are you, I beg you to tell me this: Whose realm is this or whose voice doth it obey?"

949They dutifully answered: "O fair of face and form, strange and pleasing to us thou seemest, therefore with praise we address thee; hereunto is the boundary of the Turks, marching with the border of P’hridon, whose (men) we are; of him shall we tell thee, if we faint not from gazing on thee.

p. 153

950"Nuradin P’hridon is king of this our land, a knight brave, generous, mighty, on horseback a swift racer; none has power to harm so fair a sun; he is our lord, he like the beams spread forth from heaven."

951The knight said: "My brethren, in you have I happed upon good men. I seek your king, teach me whither I should go. How shall I go, when shall I come thither, how long is the road?" The sailors guided him; they left not the shore.

952They reported to him: "This is the road going to Mulghazanzar, there our king will meet thee, he of the swift arrow, the keen sword. Thou shalt arrive there ten days hence, O thou of the cypress form, ruby in hue. Alas! why dost thou, a stranger, burn us strangers, why consumest thou us like a flame of fire!"

953The knight said: "I marvel, brethren, why you are heart-slain for me, or how the faded winter roses can please you thus! If you had seen us then when we sat proud, uncrippled, we charmed them that gazed on us, with us they sat joyful."

954They departed, the knight turned to pursue his road, he whose form is like the cypress, whose heart is like iron. He puts his horse to a canter, he discourses, he speaks aloud to comfort himself; the narcissi (his eyes) thunder, it rains tears, they lave the crystal and glass (of his face).

955Whatever strangers he met on the road served him, were subservient to him; they came to gaze on him, they courted him, it was hard for them to let him go, scarce could they bear parting, they gave him a guide for the road, whatever he asked they told him.

956He neared Mulghazanzar; soon he ended the long road. In the plain he saw an army of soldiers, and they were seen to be destroying game; on all sides a chain was formed, they encircled the outside of the field; they

p. 154

shot and shouted, they mowed down beasts like standing corn.

957He met a man, he asked him tidings of that host; he said: "Whose is this sound of trampling and stir?" He answered: "P’hridon the monarch, King of Mulghazanzar, hunts, he holds the edge of the sedgy plain engirt."

958Matchless in mien he went towards the troops, he became merry, how can I ever tell the beauty of that knight! Those who are parted from him he makes to freeze, like the sun he burns them that are met with him; he renews, if they look on him, those who gaze, his form sways like a tree.

959In the very midst of the hosts an eagle soared from somewhere. The knight urged on his horse, he emboldened himself, he feared not; he drew his bow and let the arrow fly; (the eagle) fell and blood flowed (from it); he dismounted and clipped its wings; calmly he remounted, he panted not.

960When they saw him, the archers ceased to shoot; they broke the circle, they came, they pressed upon him, they fainted, from all sides they surrounded him, some followed behind. They dared not ask him: "Who art thou?" nor could they say aught to him.

961In the meadow was a hill, on it stood P’hridon; forty men worthy to shoot with him attended him; thither Avt’handil made his way, after him followed the centre of the host. P’hridon marvelled. "What are they doing?" said he; he was angry with his armies.

962P’hridon sent out a slave, saying: "Go, see the armies, what they are doing, why they have broken the circle, whither blind like they go." The slave swiftly reached them, he saw the cypress, the sapling form; he

p. 155

stood, his eyes became dazed, he forgot the words he had to say.

963Avt’handil perceived that this (man) was come to learn news of him. He said: "I beg thee to convey this message to thy lord from me: 'I am a stranger, lonely, far removed from my home, sworn brother to Tariel, sent to you.'"

964The slave went to P’hridon to tell him his message. He said: "I have seen a sun arrived, he seems like the lightener of day. I think even sages would be maddened if they saw him anywhere. Quoth he: 'I am Tariel's brother (thus come) rudely to join P’hridon.'"

965When he heard (the name of) Tariel, P’hridon's woes were lightened, from his eyes tears sprang forth, his heart grew more agitated, a blast froze the rose, from his eyelids whirled snowstorms (of tears). They met each other, each was praised by the other, not dispraised.

966Hastily P’hridon came down from the ridge; he descended to meet (Avt’handil). When he looked on hint he said: "If this be not the sun, who is it?" (Avt’handil) outdid the praise (P’hridon) had heard from the slave. They both dismounted; joy made tears gush up.

967They embraced; they were not shy for being strangers. The knight seems peerless to P’hridon, and P’hridon pleases the knight. Any onlookers who saw them (would) despise the sun. Slay me! if another like them will ever be bargained for or sold in the bazaar.

968What knights are there like P’hridon! But near him is one whom praises still more befit; the sun makes the planets invisible when they come near; a candle gives no light by day, but its rays shine by night.

969They mounted their horses and set out for P’hridon's palace. The chase was broken up; they made an end of

p. 156

the slaying of beasts. From all sides the troops thronged to gaze on Avt’handil; they said: "What creature can compare with him?"

970The knight said to P’hridon: "Thou art eager, I know, to hear my tidings. I will tell thee who I am, whence I come, inasmuch as thou wishest to know, also whence I know Tariel and why I spoke of our brotherhood. He calls me brother; 'Thou art my brother,' quoth he, though I am scarce worthy to be his slave.

971"I am King Rosten's vassal, a knight nurtured in Arabia, Grand Commander-in-Chief; by name they call me Avt’handil, I am a noble of great family, reared as son of the king, one to be respected, bold, none dares meddle with me.

972"One day the king mounted, went forth to hunt; in the plain we saw Tariel, he poured forth tears watering the fields; we were astonished, he surprised us, we called and he came not, he made us angry; we knew not how fire consumed him.

973"The king shouted to the troops to seize him, and he was irritated; without trouble he slew, battle was not grievous to him; of some he broke the arms and legs, some he slew outright; there they learned that the course (chariot) of the moon is not to be turned back.

974"The king, greatly indignant, perceived that the troops could not capture him; himself he mounted and went against him, the haughtily unfearing. When Tariel knew it was the king, then he avoided his sword, he gave the reins to his horse, he was lost to our eyes.

975"We sought and could find no trace; we believed it devilry. The king was sad, forbad drinking, feast and banquet. I could not endure lack of certainty about his

p. 157

story. I stole away in quest of him, fire burned me, and smouldering.

976"Three years I sought him; I enjoyed not even sleep. I saw Khatavians he had mauled; they showed him to me. I found the yellowish rose, faint-rayed, pale-tinted; he welcomed me and loved me like a brother, like a son.

977"He took the caves from the Devis after great bloodshed. There Asmat’h attends the solitary, none else is with him; ever the old fire burns him, it is not newly roused. Groaning befits one parted from him, a black mourning kerchief bound round the head.

978"Alone in the cave the tearful, tear-stained damsel weeps. The knight hunts game for her as a lion for its whelp; he brings it, and thus he feeds her. He cannot rest in one place. Save her (Asmat’h) he desires not the sight of any of man's race.

979"To me, a stranger, he pleasantly narrated his wondrous and pleasing (story); he told me his tale, and his beloved's. What woe he has suffered this tongue of a madman cannot now tell; longing slays him, and lack of the sight of his grave-digger.

980"Like the moon he unceasingly roams, he rests not; he sits on that horse thou gayest him, he never alights; he sees no speaking being, like a wild beast he shuns men. Woe is me, remembering him; alas for him dying for her sake!

981"The fire of that knight burns me, I am consumed with hot fire; I pitied him, and I became mad, my heart grew furious; I wished to seek remedies for him by sea and land. I returned and saw the sovereigns, whose hearts were gloomy.

982"I entreated leave of absence; the king was enraged at me, and fell into sadness. I deserted my soldiers, therefore they there cried, 'Woe!' I stole away, I freed myself from the flood of tears of blood. Now I seek balm for him; I turn about hither and thither.

p. 158

983"He told me tidings of thee, how he had made brotherhood with thee. Now have I found thee, peerless, worthy to be praised by the tongue; counsel me where it is better to seek that heavenly sun, the joy of those who gaze on her, the disturber of those that cannot see her."

984Now P’hridon speaks, utters the words spoken by that knight (Tariel); both in unison lamented in a threnody worthy of praise; sobbing, they wept with impatient hearts, there the roses were sprinkled by the water of tears dammed up in the jungle.

985Among the soldiers there arose the sound of great weeping, the scratching of the face by some, from others comes a torrent (of tears). P’hridon weeps, laments aloud the seven years’ separation. Alas! the inconstancy and falsity of this vain world!

986P’hridon laments: "How can we tell forth thy (i.e., Tariel's) praise, thou who canst not be praised, thou inexpressible one! O sun of the earth, who transferrest the sun of the firmament from its course, joy, life, quickener of them that are near thee; light of the planets of heaven, consumer and swallower up!

987"Since I was removed from thee life has been hateful to me. Though thou hast no leisure for me I long for thee; to thee lack of me seems joy, it oppresses me greatly. Life without thee is empty; the world is become hateful to me."

988P’hridon uttered these words in a beautiful lament. They grew calm, they were silent; they rode with no sign

p. 159

of song. Avt’handil is fair to beholders in his ethereal loveliness; he covers the inky lakes (of his eyes) with the jet ceiling (of his lashes).

989They entered the city, there they found the palace adorned in perfection, with all the officers of state mustered, the slaves delicately apparelled were in faultless order; they were enraptured and ravished in heart with Avt’handil.

990They entered and held a great court, not a privy council; on this side and on that side ten times ten magnates were ranged; apart sat the two together; who can tell forth their praise? Here glass, there jet, adorned the crystal and ruby (of their faces).

991They sat, they banqueted, they multiplied the best liquor; they entertained Avt’handil as kinsman (treats) kinsman; they brought beautiful vessels, all quite new. But the heart of those who looked on that youth, alas! was given to flame.

992That day they drank, they ate, there was a banquet for the tribe of drinkers. Day dawned; they bathed Avt’handil; there lies abundance of satin; they clad hint in raiment worth many thousands of dracanis; 1 they girded him with a girdle of inestimable worth.

993The knight tarried some days, though he could not brook delay; he went out hunting with P’hridon and sported, he slew alike from far and near whatever offered itself to his hand; his archery put every bowman to shame.

994The knight said to P’hridon: "Hear what I have now to tell thee. Parting from you seems to me like death, and thereby shall I harm myself; but I,

p. 160

unhappy, have not time to stay; another fire also consumes me. A long road, an urgent deed I have to do, I shall be very late.

995"Right is he who sheds tears at parting from thee. To-day without fail I depart, therefore it is that another fire burns me; to tarry is a mistake of a traveller, he will do well to teach himself this; lead me to the seashore where thou sawest that sun (Nestan)."

996P’hridon answered: "Nothing shall be said by me to hinder thee. I know thou hast no more time; another lance pierces thee. Go! God will guide thee, may thy foes be destroyed! But tell me, how shall I bear the lack of thee?

997"This I venture to tell thee: It is not fitting that thou go away alone, I will give thee knights with thee to serve and attend thee, armour and beasts, a mule, a horse. If thou take not these thou wilt have trouble, tears will flow on the rose cheeks."

998He brought out four slaves, trustworthy in heart, complete armour for each man, with armpieces and greaves, sixty pounds of the red (gold), full weight, not with any shortage, a peerless stallion with complete harness."

999On a strong-legged mule he packed bedding. He set out, and P’hridon mounted and went forth with him also. Now fire burned and consumed him who awaited the parting. He laments: "If the sun were near us, winter could not freeze us!"

p. 161

1000The rumour of the knight's departure spread, they gave themselves up to grief; the burgesses flocked together, those who sold silk goods like those who sold fruit; the voice of their lamentation was like thunder in the air; they said: "We are removed from the sun; come, let us close our eyes."

1001They passed through the city, they went on, they came to the seashore where P’hridon had formerly seen the sun (Nestan) seated (? landed); there they shed a rivulet of blood from the lake of tears. P’hridon tells the story of that shining captive.

1002"Hither the two slaves brought by ship the sun, white-teethed, ruby-lipped--a black sight! I spurred my horse, I determined to steal her by sword and arm; they saw me from afar, they soon fled from me, the boat seemed like a bird."

1003They embraced each other, they multiplied the springs of tears; they kissed, and both their fires were renewed; the inseparable sworn brothers parted like brothers. P’hridon remained, the knight went away, the form the slayer of gazers.


159:1 Value seems to be unknown; Ch. gives drakhma as about sixpence.

Next: XXVIII. Avt’handil's Departure From P’hridon to Seek Nestan-Daredjan