1191Woe, O Fate, in falsehood thou art like Satan, none can know aught of thine, where thy treachery is. That face apparent as a sun--where hast thou it hidden? Whither hast thou taken it? Therefore I see that in the end all seems vain (desolate), wherever anything may be.
1192P’hatman said: "The sun was departed from me, the light of all the world, life and existence, the gain of my hands; from that time unceasingly the burning of hot fires.
afflicted me, I could not dry the spring of tears flowing forth from mine eyes.
1193"House and child became hateful to me, I sat with cheerless heart; waking I thought of her, when I fell asleep (I thought of her) in my drowsiness. The oath-breaker Usen seems to me of the infidels in faith; the accursed one cannot approach me, to be near me with his cursed face.
1194"One day at eventide, just at sunset, I passed the guards, the door of the asylum caught mine eye; I was in a reverie, sadness at the thought of her was slaying me; I said: 'Cursed is the vow of every man!'
1195"From somewhere there came a wandering slave with three companions, the slave clad as a slave, the others in coarse travelling garb; they brought food and drink which they had bought in the city for a drama. They drank, they ate, they chattered, thus they sat merry.
1196"I hearkened to them, I watched them. They said: 'Pleasantly we rejoiced, but (though) here we are joined as comrades, (yet) are we strangers, none of us knows who another is or whence we are come; we must at least tell one another our stories with our tongues.'
1197"Those others told their tales as is the wont of wayfarers. The slave said: 'O brothers, providence is a celestial thing; I harvest for you pearls, you sowed but millet; my story is better than your stories:
1198"'I am the slave of the exalted king, the ruler of the Kadjis. It chanced that he was struck by a sickness which prevailed over him; the helper of the widow, the comforter of the orphan, was dead to us; now his sister, better than a parent, rears his children.
1199"'Dulardukht is a woman, but a rock, like a cliff, her slave is wounded by none, but he wounds others. She had little nephews: Rosan and Rodia; now she is seated as sovereign of Kadjet’hi, "the Mighty" is she called.
1200"'We heard news of the death overseas of her sister. The viziers were distressed, they refrained from assembling a privy council: "How can we venture to report the extinction of a face which was the light of the lands?"--Roshak is a slave, the chief of many thousand slaves.
1201"'Roshak said: "Even if I be killed (for mine absence), I shall not be at the mourning! I go into the plain, I will reive, I will fill myself with booty; I shall come home enriched, I shall be back in good time. When the sovereigns goes forth to bewail her sister, I too will accompany her."
1202"'He said to us, his underlings: "I will go, come with me!" He took of us a hundred slaves, all chosen by him. By day in the sunlight we reived, by night also we watched; many a caravan we broke up, we unloaded the treasure for ourselves.
1203"'One very dark night we were wandering over the plains; there appeared to us certain great lights in the midst of the field; we said: "Is it the sun strayed down from heaven to earth!" Perplexed, we gave our minds to torturing thought.
1204"'Some said: "It is the dawn!" others said: "It is the moon!" We, drawn up in fighting array, moved towards it--I saw it from very near--we made a wide circuit round it, we came and surrounded it. From that light came a voice speaking to us.
1205"'It said to us: "Who are you, O cavaliers? tell
me your names! From Gulansharo I go, a messenger to Kadjet’hi; have a care of me." When we heard this we approached, we formed a circle round about. A certain sun-faced rider appeared before our eyes.
1206"'We gazed at the brilliant face flashing out lightning, its glittering spread itself over the surroundings like the sun; rarely she spoke to us with some gentle discourse, (then) from her teeth the ray lighted up her jetty lashes.
1207"'Again we addressed that sun with sweet-discoursing tongue; she was not a slave, she spoke falsely, this we perceived. Roshak discovered that it was a damsel; he rode by her side; we did not let her go, we made bold to keep her in our hands.
1208"'Again we asked: "Tell us the true story of that sun-like light of thine. Whose art thou, who art thou, whence comest thou, enlightener of darkness?" She told us nought; she shed a stream of hot tears. How pitiable is the full moon swallowed by the serpent!
1209"'Neither plain tale nor secret, she told us nought, neither who she was, nor by whom she had been treacherously treated; angrily she spoke with us, sullen, on the defensive, like an asp attacking onlookers with her eye.
1210"'Roshak ordered us: "Ask not, it seems nought is to be said now; her business is a strange one and difficult to be told. The good fortune of our sovereign is to be desired by creatures, for God giveth her whatever is most marvellous.
1211"'"This (damsel) has been destined to us by God that we might bring her; we will take her as a gift, she (Dulardukht) will render us very great thanks; if we conceal it, we shall be found out, (and) our sovereign is.
proud: first, it is an offence to her, then it is a great disgrace."
1212"'We agreed, we prolonged not the discussion. We returned, we made for Kadjet’hi, leading her with us; we ventured not to speak directly to her, nor did we annoy her. She weeps; with embittered heart she laves her cheeks in flowing tears.
1213"'I said to Roshak: "Give me leave; soon again shall I attend you. At present I have some business in the city of Gulansharo." He granted me leave. Hereabout I have some stuff to be carried off, I will take it with me, I will go and overtake them.'
1214"This story of the slave greatly pleased those men. I heard it; the stream from the pool of tears dried up in me. I guessed, I recognized every sign of (her who is my) life this gave me a little comfort, like a drama's weight.
1215"I laid hold of that slave and set him close before me. I asked him: 'Tell me what thou wert saying; I, too, wish to hear.' He told me again the same as I had heard thence (i.e., from my hiding-place). This story enlivened me; me, struggling in soul (with death), it preserved alive.
1216"I had two black slaves full of sorcery, by their art they go and come invisible; I brought them out, I despatched them to Kadjet’hi, I said: 'Tarry not; give me tidings of her by your deeds.'
1217"In three days they came and told me, swiftly had they trod the road: 'The queen, who was ready to go over the sea, has taken her. None can fix his eyes to gaze upon her, as upon the sun. She (the queen) has betrothed? her (Nestan) as wife to the little boy Rosan.
1218"'"We shall wed her to Rosan," this is the decree of Queen Dulardukht, "at present I have not leisure for the wedding, now is my heart consumed with fire; when I
return home I will make a daughter-in-law of her who is praised as heaven's sun." She has set her in the castle; one eunuch attends her.
1219"'She (Dulardukht) took with her all those skilled in sorcery, for perilous is the road, her foes are ready for the fray; she has left at home all her bravest knights. She will tarry; but little time has already passed.
1220"'The city of the Kadjis has hitherto been unassailable by foes; within the city is a strong rock, high and long; inside that rock is hollowed out a passage for climbing up. Alone there is that star, the consumer of those who come in touch with her.
1221"At the gate of the passage are continually on guard knights not ill-favoured, there stand ten thousand heroes all of the household, at each of the three city gates three thousand.' O heart, the world hath condemned thee; I know not, alas! what binds thee."
1222When Avt’handil the sun-faced but woeful (?) heard these tidings he was pleased, he showed nothing else. The lovely creature rendered thanks to God: "Somebody's sister has told me joyful news!" (?)
1223He said to P’hatman: "Beloved, thou art worthy to be loved by me, thou hast let me hear a welcome story, not with louring looks; but let me hear more fully about Kadjet’hi 1; every Kadj is fleshless, how can it become human?
1224"Pity for that maiden kindles me and burns me with flame; but I marvel what the fleshless Kadjis can do with a woman!" P’hatman said: "Harken to me! Truly I see thee here perplexed (? timorous). They are not
[paragraph continues] Kadjis, but men (who) put their trust in steep rocks," quoth she.
1225"Their name is called Kadji because they are banded together, men skilled in sorcery, exceeding cunning in the art, harmers of all men, themselves unable to be harmed by any; they that go out to join battle with them come back blinded and shamed.
1226"They do something wondrous, they blind the eyes of their foes, they raise fearful winds, they make the ship to founder midst the seas, they run as on dry land, (for) they clean dry up the water; if they wish they make the day dark, if they wish they enlighten the darkness.
1227"For this reason all those that dwell round about call them Kadjis, though they, too, are men fleshly like us." Avt’handil thanked her: "Thou hast extinguished my hot flames; the tidings just told me have pleased me greatly."
1228Avt’handil, shedding tears, magnifies God with his heart; he said: "O God, I thank Thee, for Thou art the Comforter of my woes, who wast and art, Unspeakable, Unheard by ears: Your mercy is suddenly spread forth over us!"
1229For the knowledge of this story he magnified God with tears. P’hatman thought of herself; therefore she was again burned up. The knight kept his secret, he lent himself to love; P’hatman embraced his neck, she kissed his sun-like face.
1230That night P’hatman enjoyed lying with Avt’handil; the knight unwillingly embraces her neck with his crystal neck; remembrance of T’hinat’hin slays him, he quakes with secret fear, his maddened heart raced away to the wild beasts and ran with them.
1231Avt’handil secretly rains tears, they flow to mingle with the sea; in an inky eddy floats a jetty ship. 1 He
says: "Behold me, O lovers, me who have a rose for mine own! Away from her, I, the nightingale, like a carrion-crow, sit on the dungheap!"
1232The tears which flowed there from him would have melted a stone, the thicket of jet dammed them up there is a pool on the rose-field. P’hatman rejoiced in him as if she were a nightingale; if a crow find a rose it think itself a nightingale.
1233Day dawned; the sun (Avt’handil) whose rays were soiled by the world went forth to bathe. The woman gave him many coats, cloaks, turbans, many kinds of perfumes, fair clean shirts. "Whatsoever thou desirest," said she, "put on; be not shy of me!"
1234Avt’handil said: "This day will I declare mine affair." The wearing of merchant garb had hitherto been his resolve. That day wholly in knightly raiment he apparelled his brave form; he increased his beauty, the lion resembled the sun.
1235P’hatman prepared a meal, to which she invited Avt’handil. The knight came in adorned, gaily, not with louring looks. P’hatman looked, she was astonished that he was not in merchant garb; she smiled at him: "Thus is it better for the pleasure of them that are mad for thee."
1236P’hatman exceedingly admired his beauty. He made no answer, he smiled to himself: "It seems she does not recognize me!" How foolishly he behaved, how he invited (her)! Though he took some liberty he did not go farther.
1237When they had eaten they separated, the knight went home; having drunk wine, he lay down merry, pleasantly he fell asleep. At eventide he awoke; he shed his rays across the fields. He invited P’hatman: "Come, see me, I am alone, quite alone!"
1238P’hatman went, Avt’handil heard her voice making moan; she said: "Undoubtedly I am slain by him whose form is like an aloe-tree." He set her at his side; he gave her a pillow from his carpet. The shade from the eaves of the eyelashes overshadows the rose-garden (of the cheeks).
1239Avt’handil said: "O P’hatman, I know thee; thou wilt tremble at these tidings like one bitten by a serpent; but hitherto thou hast not heard the truth concerning me: my slayers are black lashes, trees of jet.
1240"Thou thinkest me some merchant, master of a caravan; I am the Commander-in-Chief of the exalted king Rostevan, chief of the great host befitting him; I have the mastery over many treasuries and arsenals.--
1241"I know thee to be a good friend, faithful, trusty.--He has one daughter, a sun the enlightener of lands; she it is who consumes me and melts me; she sent me, I forsook my master, her father.
1242"That damsel thou hadst--to seek that same damsel, that substitute for the sun, I have gone over the whole world; I have seen him who roves for her sake, where he, pale lion, lies wasting himself, his heart and strength."
1243Avt’handil told all his own tale to P’hatman, the story of the donning of the panther hide by Tariel. He said: "Thou art the balm of him thou hast not yet seen, the resource of (him of) frequent eyelash, ruffled like a raven's wing.
1244"Come, P’hatman, and aid me, let us try to be of use to him, let us help them, perchance those stars shall receive joy. All men who shall know it, all will begin to praise us. Surely again will it befall the lovers to meet.
1245"Bring me that same sorcerer slave, I will send him to Kadjet’hi, we will make known to the maiden all the tidings known to us, she also will inform us of the truth, we will do what she chooses. God grant you may hear that the kingdom of the Kadjis is vanquished by us."
1246P’hatman said: "Glory to God, what things have befallen me! This day I have heard tidings equal to immortality!" She brought the sorcerer slave, black as a raven, and said: "I send thee to Kadjet’hi; go, thou hast a long journey.
1247"Now will appear advantage for me from thy witchcraft, speedily quench the furnace of the burning of my fires, tell that sun the means for her cure." He said: "To-morrow I shall give you full news of what you wish."
198:1 The land of the Kadjis.
199:1 The black pupil in his dark eye.