Arabian Poetry, by W. A. Clouston, , at sacred-texts.com
"They travelled on for three days, and on the fourth (for the Lord of Heaven had decreed the glory of Antar, and that none should exceed him in prosperity), Antar, happening to stray a little out of the way, descended into a deep valley, and to! there were two horsemen engaged in desperate combat. Antar urged on his steed, and coming up to them, 'Stop, ye Arabs!' he cried, 'and tell me the cause of your quarrel.' At the instant one of them stepped aside, and came up to Antar. 'Noble horseman of the desert and the town,' said he, 'I refer myself
to you, for you are able to protect me.'—'I will take your part,' said Antar, 'I will protect you—I pledge myself to you. But acquaint me with your story, and what has rendered necessary this combat between you.'
"'Know, then, noblest knight of the age,' said the youth, 'that I and this horseman are brothers, of the same father, and the same mother; he is the eldest and I am the youngest; and our father was one of the Arab chieftains, and he was called Amru, the son of Harith, the son of Teba; and Teba was our ancestor. And one day as he was sitting down, his flocks strayed away, and one of his camels was lost, and as he was very partial to it, he questioned some of the herdsmen about it. One of them said: "Know, my lord, yesterday this camel strayed away from the pasture; I followed behind it, and it still continued to run away, and I after it, till I became tired, and perceiving that it lagged behind, I stretched out my hand and took up a stone, black in appearance, like a hard rock, brilliant and sparkling. I struck the camel with it, and it hit the camel on the right side and issued out on the left, and the camel fell to the ground dead. On coming up to it I found the stone by its side, and the camel was weltering in its blood."
"'On hearing this my ancestor mounted his horse, and, taking the herdsman with him, went to find out the pasture. They passed on till they came to the camel, which they found dead, and the stone lying near it. My ancestor took it in his hand, and considered it very attentively, and he knew it was a thunderbolt; so he carried it away and returned home. He gave it to a blacksmith, and ordered him to make a sword of it. He obeyed, and took it and went his way; and in three days he returned to my ancestor with a sword two cubits long and two spans wide. My ancestor received it, and was greatly pleased when he saw it, and turned towards the blacksmith and said: "What name have you given it?" So the blacksmith repeated this distich:
[paragraph continues] And my ancestor waved the sword with his hand, and said: "As to the smiter—I am the smiter!" and struck off the head of the blacksmith, and separated it from his body. He then cased it with gold, and called it Dhami, on account of its sharpness. He laid it by amongst his treasures, and when he died it came in succession to my father with the rest of the arms; and when my father perceived his death was at hand, he called me to him privately. "O my son," said he, "I know your brother is of a tyrannical, obstinate disposition, one that likes violence and hates justice, and I am aware that at my death he will usurp my property."—"What measures shall I take?" said I.—He answered: "Take this sword and conceal it, and let no one know anything about it: and when you see that he takes forcible possession of all my property, cattle and wealth, do you be content, my son, with this sword, for it will be of great benefit to you: for if you present it to Nushirvan, king of Persia, he will exalt you with his liberality and favours; and if you present it to the Emperor of Europe, he will enrich you with gold and silver."
"'When I heard these words I consented to what he demanded, and took it out in the darkness of the night, and having buried it in this place, I returned to my father and stayed with him till he died. We buried him, and returned home; but my brother took possession of all my father had, and gave me nothing—not a rope's end; and when he searched for the arms, and saw not the Dhami, he asked me for it. I denied knowing anything about it; he gave me the lie, and abused me most violently; at last I confessed, and told him I had buried it in such a spot; so he came with me hither, and searched for it but could not find it. Again he asked me where I had buried it; and when he saw me roaming about from place to place, he rushed upon me, and cried out, saying: "Vile wretch! you know where the sword is, and act thus to deceive me." He attacked me, and sought to slay me. I defended myself until you arrived, and now I demand your protection.'
"When Antar heard this his heart pitied him; he left the
youth, and turning to his brother, said: 'Why do you tyrannize over your brother, and do not divide with him the property your father left?'—'Base slave!' cried he, highly incensed, 'look to yourself, and interfere not so arrogantly'; and he turned upon Antar, thinking him a common man; but Antar gave him no time to wheel, or direct his reins, ere he pierced him through the chest with his spear, and thrust it ten spans through his back, and threw him down dead. 'And now, young man,' said he to the other, 'return to your family, and assume the rank of your father; and should any one molest you, send and inform me: I will come and tear his life out of his sides.' The youth thanked him and expressed his gratitude: 'Now my brother is no more,' said he, 'I have no other enemy'; and he departed home.
"But Antar fixed his spear in the ground, and dismounted from Abjer, and sat down to rest himself; and as he was moving the sand with his fingers, he touched a stone; on removing what was about it, behold! the sword the youth had been seeking! He still cleared away, and drew it forth, and seized hold of it, and it was a sword two cubits in length, and two spans wide, of the metal of Almalec, like a thunderbolt. And Antar was convinced of his good fortune, and that everything began and ended in the most high God."