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1350When day dawned they set out; they took Asmat’h with them. Till they came to Nuradin's land they mounted her behind them; there a merchant gave them a horse for a price in gold, he made not a gift of it. As guide Avt’handil sufficed; whom else need he take!

1351They wended their way and met with Nuradin's herdsmen, they saw the herd (of horses); it pleased them, who had come for P’hridon. There said the Hindoo to

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[paragraph continues] Avt’handil: "I will have thee do a good piece of fooling: Come, let us play a joke on P’hridon, let us chase his herd.

1352"We will carry off the herd, he will come and hear that the herd is reived; he will prepare to do battle, to dye the plain with gore. Suddenly he will recognize us, he will be surprised, he will calm his heart. Pleasant is good joking; it makes even the proud merry."

1353They began to seize the steeds, P’hridon's finest. There the herdsmen made a torch, they struck steel. They shouted: "Who are ye, knights, who do such high (-handed) deeds? This herd is his who strikes the foe with his sword without making him to sigh."

1354They seized their bows, they pursued the herdsmen; the herdsmen shrieked aloud, they raised their voices: "Help, help! brigands are massacring us!" They made an outcry, they united, they appealed to P’hridon, they were not bashful.

1355P’hridon arrayed himself, he mounted, he rode forth in full array. They made an outcry, they united, the regiment covered the fields. Those suns whom winter could not freeze came forward; they were covered up, helmets hid their faces.

1356When Tariel knew P’hridon, "Now have I seen him I want," said he; he raised his helm, he smiled, he laughed; he said to P’hridon: "What dost thou wish? Why doth our coming annoy thee? Bad host! Thou meetest us to fight."

1357P’hridon swiftly dismounted; he fell down and saluted. They also alighted, they embraced--ay, kissed him. P’hridon with upraised hand gave God measureless thanks. The magnates also kissed them, whoever knew them.

1358P’hridon said: "Why tarried ye? I expected ye sooner. I am ready; I shall not lag in any service of

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yours!" It seemed as if two suns and a moon were united there; they beautified one another. They set out, they departed.

1359At P’hridon's fairly-builded house they both alighted; he sits down beside his sworn brother Avt’handil; Tariel sat on a throne covered in cloth of gold. To P’hridon, renowned as a hero, they presented that armour.

1360They said: "At this time we have no other gifts for thee, but we have many other fair things lying in a place (we wot of)." He laid his face to the ground, he wasted not time: "Such a gift to me is worthy of you."

1361That night they rested as P’hridon's guests; baths he gave them, he gave them gifts of garments in plenty, he clad their beauty in beauty, each (garment) fairer than the other; he gave them rare jewels and pearls in a golden basin.

1362He said: "This (that I am about to say) is the speech of a bad host; ’tis as if hospitality to you wise (ones) wearied me as if you were mad (ones); but tarrying now avails not, it is better to travel the long road; if the Kadjis outstrip us there is a risk of trouble.

1363"Why should we use great hosts? We want good and few; three hundred men suffice us, let us go (swift) like runaways; in Kadjet’hi for fighting the Kadjis we shall put basket-hilts on our swords; soon shall we find her whose pleasant aloe form will slay us.

1364"Once aforetime I was in Kadjet’hi; you shall see it, and you, too, shall find it strong; on all sides round about is rock, a foe may not come up to it; if we may not go in privily, it is impossible to engage openly; so we need no army, the squadron cannot follow us secretly."

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1365With what he said, they too agreed. They left there the maiden Asmat’h; P’hridon bestows a gift upon her. They took with them three hundred horsemen equal to heroes. At the last God will give the victory to all who have been distressed.

1366All three sworn brothers crossed the sea. P’hridon knows the way; going day and night they travel. P’hridon said: "Now are we coming nigh the regions of Kadjet’hi; henceforth we must travel by night so that we be not discovered."

1367The three behaved according to this advice of P’hridon's; when it was daylight they stopped, and by night they went swiftly on. They arrived; the city appeared; they could not count the guards; outside was a rock, the noise of the sentinels in crowds increased.

1368At the gate of the passage ten thousand braves kept guard. Those lions saw the city; the shining moon stood upon it. They said: "Let us advise what is best, now is choice difficult; a hundred can overcome a thousand if they choose the best way."

Next: XLIII. The Council of P’hridon, Avt’handil and Tariel as to the Assault on the Castle of Kadjet’hi