1039Avt’handil crossed the sea; with stately form went he. They saw a city engirt by a thicket of garden, with wondrous kinds of flowers of many and many a hue. In
what way canst thou understand the loveliness of that land!
1040With three ropes they moored the ship to the shore of those gardens. Avt’handil clad his form in a cloak and sat on a bench. They brought out men that were porters, provided with drachmas. That knight bargains, acts as chief (of the caravan), and thereby conceals himself.
1041Thither came the gardener of him at whose garden they had landed; with ecstasy he gazes at the knight's face flashing like lightning. Avt’handil hailed him, he spoke to the man with faultless words: "Whose men are ye, who are ye? how call they the king reigning here?
1042"Tell me all in detail," quoth the knight to that man; "what stuff is dearer, or what is bought up cheap?" He said: "I see, thy face seems to me like the face of the sun. Whatever I know I will tell thee truly; I will by no means inform thee crookedly.
1043"The Sea Realm is this, ten months’ (travel) in extent, this is the city of Gulansharo 1, full of much loveliness. Hither everything fair cometh by ships sailing from sea to sea. Melik Surkhavi rules, perfect in good fortune and wealth.
1044"Even if he be old, a man is rejuvenated by coming hither; drinking, rejoicing, tilting and songs are unceasing; summer and winter alike we have many-hued flowers; whoever knoweth us envieth us, even they who are our foes.
1045"Great merchants can find nought more profitable than this: They buy, they sell, they gain, they lose; a poor man will be enriched in a month; from all quarters they gather merchandise; the penniless by the end of the year have money laid by.
1046"I am gardener to Usen, chief of the merchants. I shall tell thee somewhat of the manner of his ordinance:
[paragraph continues] This is his garden, your resting-place for the day; first it is necessary to show him all the fairest of your goods.
1047"When great merchants arrive they see him and give him gifts, they show him what they have, elsewhere they cannot unpack their goods; for the king they set aside the best, they straightway count out the price; thereupon he frees them to sell as they please.
1048"His duty it is to receive such honourable folk as you, he orders the caterers how to entertain them fitly; he is not now here, what avails it me to speak of him To meet you and carry you away with him, pressing you politely, is the way he should treat you.
1049"P’hatman Khat’hun, the lady, his wife, is at home, a hospitable hostess, amiable, not rough. I shall inform her of your arrival, she will take you in as one of her own folk, she will send a man to meet you, you shall enter the city by daylight."
1050Avt’handil said: "Go, do whatever thou desirest." The gardener runs, he rejoices, sweat pours down to his breast. He tells his tidings to the lady: "I boast of this: a youth comes, to them that look on him his rays seem like the sun.
1051"He is some merchant, chief of a great caravan, well-grown like a cypress, a moon of seven days, his coat and the fold of his coral-hued turban become him; he called me, asked me tidings and the tariff for the purchase of goods."
1052Dame P’hatman rejoiced; she sent ten slaves to meet him; they prepared the caravanserais, she stored their wares. The rose-cheeked, crystal and ruby, glass, jet, entered; they who looked on him compared his feet to the panther's, his palms to the lion's (paws).
1053There was a hubbub, the hosts of the town all
assembled; they pressed on this side and on that, saying: "We will gaze on him till sleeptime." Some were carried away by desire, some had their souls reft from them; their wives grew weary of them, their husbands were left contemned.
168:1 Gulan Shahr, P., the city of flowers; pl. in an (Abul., 180).