The Telling of His Tale by Tariel When He First Told It to Avt'handil
"HEARKEN, give heed to the hearing of my tidings,
discourses and deeds such that I can scarce utter them!
She who maddens me, for whom I am overpowered by
melancholy, for whom flow streams of blood, from her I
never expect comfort.
"THOU knowest, as every man knows, of India's seven
kings. P'harsadan possessed six kingdoms; he was sovereign,
generous, rich, bold, ruier over kings, in form a lion, in
face a sun, a conqueror in battle, a leader of squadrons.
"MY father sat on the seventh throne, king, terror of
adversaries; Saridan was his name; not underhanded in
the destruction of enemies, none dared offend him either
openly or secretly; he hunted and made merry, careless
of Fate.
"HE hated solitude; it created hosts of cares in his heart.
He said to himself: 'By conquest I have taken from foes
the vicinage of the marches, I have chased them forth
everywhere, I am seated in power, I have pomp and might';
he said: 'I will go and enjoy the favour of King P'harsadan.'
"HE resolved to despatch an envoy to P'harsadan; he
sent a message saying: Thou hast the rule of all India; now
I also wish to exhibit before you the power of my heart;
may the glory of my faithfui Service remain !'
"P'HARSADAN, on hearing those tidings, made great
jubilation. He sent a message: ''I, ruier of the lands, give
thanks to God, because thou, a king like me enthroned in
India, hast done this; now come, I shall honour thee like
a brother and parent.'
"HE bestowed on him one kingdom well worthy of a good
knight, also the dignity of Amirbar-the Amirbar in India is
also Amirspasalari; when he sat as king, he was not absolute:
he only lacked the overlordship, in all eise he was sovereign lord.
"THE king considered my father equal with himself; he
said: 'I wager that no man has an Amirbar like mine.'
They waged war and they hunted; they forced their enemies
to make peace. I am not like him, as no other man is like me.
"THE king and the sun-like queen had no child, for this
they were sad; a time came when the armies were seized
with alarm thereat. Woe befall that cursed day when I was
given to the Amirbar! The king said: 'I shall rear him as my
son; he is even of mine own race.'
"THE king and queen took me as their child, they brought
me up as lord of all the soldiers and countries, they gave me
wise men to instruct me in the behaviour and deportment
of kings. I grew up, I became like the sun to look upon, like
a lion in
"ASMAT'H, tell me whatever thou knowest to be false in
my story! When I was five years old I was like an opened
rosebud; to me it appeared no labour to slay a lion-it was
like a sparrow. P'harsadan cared not that he had no son.
"ASMAT'H, thou art witness of my pallor! I was fairer in
beauty than the sun, as the hour of dawn than darkness.
Those who saw me said: 'He is like a nursling of Eden.'
My person now is but a shadow of what it was then.
"I WAS five years old when the queen became with child."
When he had said this the youth sighed, and weeping said:
"She bare a daughter." He was like to faint; Asmat'h
sprinkled water on his breast. He said: "She for whom
these flames now burn me was like the sun even then.
"THE tongue with which I now speak cannot utter the
praise of her. P'harsadan sat down to announce the good
news with jubilation and pomp. From everywhere came
kings bringing many kinds of gifts. They gave away
treasure; they filled the soldiers with presents.
"MISSIVE followed missive when the queen was confined.
Many messengers came, all India was informed. The moon
and the sun rejoiced, the sky sparkled with joy, every
human being was happy and frohcked in merriment.
"THE guests at the birth festivities separated. They began
to rear nie and the maiden; even then she was like the
sun's rays augmented threefold; the king and queen loved
us and looked on us alike. Now shall I utter the name of her
for whom my heart is consumed by flame."
THE knight swooned when he sought to mention her name.
Avt'handil also wept; his fire made his heart like soot. The
maiden revived Tariel; she sprinkled water on his breast.
He said: "Hearken! but this truly is the day of my death.
"THAT maiden was called by the name Nestan-Daredjan.
When she was seven years old she was a gentle and wise maid,
moon-like, not equalled by the sun in beauty; from her how
can the heart bear Separation, even if it were adamant or
forged steel?
"SO she grew up, and I was able to go to battle. Since
the king looked upon the maid as the heir to the kingship.
he gave me back into the hands of my father. When I was
of that age I played at ball, I hunted, I killed a lion like a
"THE king built a house, and in it a dwelling for the
maid; for stone he used bezoar, cut jacinths and rubies; in
front was a little garden and a fountain of rose-water for
bathing; there abode she for whose sake a furnace of flame
consumes me.
"DAY and night cut aloes poured forth their incense from
censers. Sometimes she sits in the tower; sometimes she
descends to the garden when it is shaded. Davar was the
king‘s sister, a widow who had been wedded in Kadjet‘hi;
to her the king gave his child to be taught wisdom.
„THE palace was curtained with cloth of gold and costly
brocades; none of us saw her how she became crystal and
rose of face; Asmat‘h and two slaves she had, they played
backgammon. There her shape was formed; she grew up like
a tree in Gabaon.
"I WAS fifteen years old. The king brought me up as a
son; by day I was betцre him, and he did not even give me
leave to sleep at home. In power a lion, to the eye a sun,
in form I was like one reared in Eden; they lauded the feats
done by me in archery and in the lists.
"THE arrow I shot siew beasts and game; returned from
the plain, I played at ball in the moedan1; then I went
home, I used to make a feast, accustomed continually to
rejoice. Now Fate has sundered me from the crystal-
MY father died; the day ofhis death was come. This
event brought to nought all sign of merriment for
P‘harsadan; it rejoiced those whoni terror or fear of him
as a foe exhausted; the loyal began to mourn and his
encmies began to rejoice.
„I SAT in the dark for a year, annihilated by Fate; by
day and by night I groaned, calmed by none; then courtiers
came to draw me from the dark, they told me the king‘s
command; he said: 'Son Tariel, wear mourning no longer!
"'WE are even more grieved than thou at the loss of our
peer.' He gave a hundred treasures, and commanded that
I should put off my black raiment. He gave me all the
lordship that had belonged to my father. Thou shalt be
Amirbar; fulfil the duties ofthy father.‘
I WAS inflamed; inextinguishable furnaces burned me
for my father‘s sake. The courtiers Standing betore me
led me out from the dark; the monarchs of India made
jubilation at my coming forth; they met me afar off, they
kissed me with regard like parents.
„THEY seated me near their thrones, they honoured me
like their son, they both told me gently of my Obligation
ofduty; I was recaicitrant, and to behave as my father had
done seemed a horror to me. They would take no denial: I
submitted, and did homage to them дs Amirbar.
"MANY years have passed, I know not how to teil you, it is
so difficult to relate. Variable, inconstant, the worid always
does evil. The sparks from its anvil burn me incessantly."
1 Moedan-public square.