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1439He placed for the maid and the youth a throne white and coral-hued, prettily sprinkled with red and yellow gems; for Avt’handil one of mingled yellow and black; they came, they sat down. The spectators, I ween, were impatient for them.

1440The minstrels came forth; the sound of sweet singing was heard. They made the wedding; the presentation of soft silk stuffs was multiplied by P’hridon, the good entertainer, not an abashed host. A smile, a tooth-glimpse, beautifies Nestan-Daredjan.

1441They brought out incomparable gifts from the wealthy P’hridon: nine pearls in size like a goose's egg; also one gem like to the sun with augmented ray; before it at night a painter could have painted a picture.

1442Likewise he presented to each a necklace to throw over the neck, of gems cut into spheres, of whole jacinths. He also brought a tray scarcely to be held in the hand, a gift for the lion Avt’handil from the generous P’hridon.

1443That tray is full of plump pearls; he gave all to Avt’handil, with not unseemly words. The house was filled with brocade and soft cloth of gold; Tariel the proud gave thanks with sweet words.

1444For eight days P’hridon made measureless wedding festivities, every day they offer priceless presents prepared; day and night lute and harp ceased not to sound. Behold a youth and a maiden worthy each of other have attained each other.

1445Tariel one day spake to P’hridon words of the

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heart: "Your heart is more mine than that of a complete (i.e., born) brother; my life would not be a fitting return, nor the gift of my soul; dying I found from you the balm for my wound.

1446"Thou knowest of Avt’handil's self-sacrifice for my sake; now I would serve him in return; go, ask, he will reveal what he wants; as he hath quenched my furnace, even so hath his burned enough.

1447"Say to him: 'O brother, what will repay thee for the grief thou hast seen for my sake? God will grant thee His grace imaged forth from on high. If I cannot do something desirable for thee, contrived for thy sake, I will not see my house, nor hall, not hut.

1448"'Now tell me what thou wishest of me, or in what I can help thee. I choose that we go to Arabia; be thou my guide. Let us bring to reason the sweet with words, the warlike with swords. If thou be not united to thy wife I will be no husband to mine.'"

1449When P’hridon told Avt’handil Taria's message, he laughed, he smiled, mirth beautified him. He said: "Why want I a helper? I am not hurt by a wound from any. The Kadjis possess not my sun, nor doth lack of joy afflict her.

1450"My sun sits upon a throne, powerful by the will of God, respected and honoured, proud, harmed by none, she is by no means oppressed by Kadjis, nor by the sorcery of wizards. Why should I want help with regard to her? Expect me not to speak flattering words.

1451"When Providence shall come for me, heavenly beings from above, (if) God wills, shall visit my heart, consolations for the furnace; then indeed the radiances of the flashing of the sun will be my lot (when I am) dying; till that time be come, vain are my runnings to and fro.

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1452"Go and report to Tariel the answer spoken by me: 'What thanks are needed, O king, however great is thy compassion; even from my mother's womb am I born to be your servant, and, by God, let me be but earth till thou be recognized as king.'

1453"Thou hast said: 'I desire thy union to thy beloved!' This is like your compassionate heart. There my sword cuts not, nor breadth of tongue. It is better for me to await the deed of yon celestial Providence.

1454"This is my wish and my desire, that I may see thee powerful in India, enthroned upon the thrones, the heavenly light (Nestan), too, sitting by thy side, the face flashing lightning; that your foes be exterminated, that no adversary appear there.

1455"When these the desires of my heart have been fulfilled to me, then indeed shall I go to Arabia, it will befall me to be near that sun; when she wills she shall quench the burnings of this fire for me. Nought else do I wish from you; I hate all kinds of flattery."

1456When P’hridon reported to Tariel these words of the knight, he said: "That will I not do; for that it needs no wizard. As he found the cause of the existence of my life (Nestan), even so he too shall see the valour of a brother (used) in his favour.

1457"Go, speak on my behalf words not of adulation: I will not remain without seeing thy foster-father. I suspect I slew many servants beloved by him. I will only beg forgiveness, and so I shall return.'

1458"Speak thus: 'Send me no more messages. Tomorrow I shall not fail to set out; I shall have no more of the word "if"; the King of the Arabs will not make my words to be of no avail; pleasantly shall I beg his daughter, I shall entreat of him, I shall persuade him."

1459P’hridon told Avt’handil Taria's message: "He

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will not stay," quoth he; "vain is it for thee to speak of waiting!" It oppressed him; again the smoke and glow burned his heart. Thus respect is due to kings, devotion from knights.

1460Avt’handil went to beseech Taria on bonded knee; he embraces his feet, he kisses them, he no longer looks up to his waist. He says: "What I have sinned against Rosten this year is enough; make me not again to be a breaker, a shatterer of loyalty.

1461"What thou desirest God's justice will not give thee. How can I dare do a treacherous deed to my foster-father, how can I undertake aught against him who for my sake is become pale, how can the servant use his sword upon his master!

1462"Such a deed will make discord between me and my beloved. Woe is me if she become angry, displeased, if wrath compel her heart! (Then) will she even stint me of tidings, and make me languish for a sight of her. No man of flesh can exact forgiveness for me."

1463Tariel, that radiant sun, spake laughing. He took Avt’handil's hand, raised him, set him on his feet: "Thy help hath done me every good, but it is better that thou also shouldst rejoice my joy with thine.

1464"I greatly hate too much fear, respect and ceremony in a friend, I hate unbroken sternness, gloominess, majesty; if one be a hearty friend let him tend towards me; if not, I for myself, he for himself, separation is much better.

1465"I know the heart of thy beloved with regard to thee; the visit of me who have met thee will not displease her. Now I can venture to speak somewhat plausibly to the king: I only desire to see the desirable sight of them.

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1466"This only will I say to him entreatingly and respectfully: that he should give thee his daughter of his free will. Since the end is union, how can you endure separation? Beautify each other; fade not apart."

1467When Avt’handil knew from Taria that he would not be hindered from going, he ventured not to dispute, he added thereto assent. P’hridon counted over select men as a convoy; he set out with them, of course he travelled the road with them.

Next: XLVI. Tariel Goes Again to the Cave and Sees the Treasure