Tariel Tells the Tale of His Falling 
in Love When He First Fell in Love
WHEN he had wept for some time he again began to tell
his tale: „One day the king and I had come home from the
chase, and he said: „Let us see my daughter!" He took me
by the hand.. . . Does it not surprise thee that I live when
I remember that time ?
"I SAW the garden fairer indeed than all places of delight:
the voice of birds was heard, sweeter than a siren‘s, there
were many fountains of rose-water for baths, over the door
were hung curtains of cloth of gold.
SLIM cypress encircled the emerald wall of the courtyard.
The king dismounted and drew near to the bezoar-stone
tower. He entered; the great palace was hung with rugs.
My soul, how can you endure the piercing lances of those
days ?
"HE king ordered me to take some durajis1 and carry
them to the maiden. I took them and went to burn myself
at a flame. Then I began to pay the debt of Fate. It needs
a lance of adamant to pierce a heart of rock.
"I KNEW he wished none to see his sun-like one; I stood
outside, and the king went in through the curtain of the
door; I could see nothing, I only heard the sound of talk;
he commanded Asmat‘h to take the durajis from the
"ASMAT‘H drew aside the curtain; I stood outside the
curtain. I saw the maiden; a lance pierced my mind and
heart. Asmat‘h came, I gave her the durajis, she took them
from me who was burned with fire. Ah me! since then in
eternal fires I burn!"
NOW failed that light which despises even the sun; he
could teil no more, he fainted, groaning bitterly. Avt‘handil
and Asmat‘h wept; the vicinage re-echoed their voices. They
said gloomily: "The arms that brought to nought heroes are
become useless, alas !"
ASMAT‘H sprinkled water upon him, Tariel came back to
consciousness; for a long time he could not speak,
melancholy bound and overcame his heart; he sat down
and moaned bitterly, his tears were mingled with the
earth; he said: "Woe is me! what a great agitation is her
memory to me!
"TRUSTERS in this ephemeral worid have their pick of
her gifts, they are lucky, but at last are not spared her
treachery; I praise the prudence of those sages who oppose
her. Hearken to my tidings if life remain in me!
"THEY took in the durajis, I could make no way for
myself. I fell, I fainted, force was fled from mine arms and
shoulder. When I came back to life I heard the voice of
weeping and woe; the household surrounded me like one
who is embarking on a ship.
"I LAY in a fair bed in a great chamber; the king and
queen wept over me with undrying tears, they scratched
their faces with their hands, tearing their cheeks; mullahs
sat round, they called my sickness bewitchment of
"WHEN the king saw mine eyes open he embraced my
neck; he said to me with tears: 'My son, my son, dost thou
indeed live? Speak one word!" I could give no answer; like
a madman I was greatly affrighted. Again I fell into a faint;
blood rushed into my heart.
"ALL the muqris2 and mullahs watched round me, in their
hands they held the Koran, all ofthem read; they thought
I was struck by the Adversary of mankind, I know not of
what they raved. For three days I was lifeless;
inextinguishable fires burned me.
„THE doctors also marvelled, saying: „What manner of
sickness is this ? Nothing medicable afflicts him; some
melancholy has laid hold of him. " Sometimes I leaped up
like a madman, I uttered idle words. The queen poured
forth tears enough to make a sea.
„FOR three days was I in the palace neither alive nor
dead; then understanding caine back to ine, I remembered
what had befallen me; I said: „Alas! in what a plight am
I, despairing of life! „I prayed the Creator for patience;
I ventured to make a discourse of entreaty.
„I SAID: '0 God! abandon me not, hearken to my
supplication, give me strength to endure that I may rise a
little; to stay here will reveal my secret; let me reach horne!"
He did so and I mended; I steeled my wounded heart.
"I SAT up. . . . Many men were come from the king, they
carried back the good news: "He sits up!" The queen ran in,
the king came running bareheaded, he knew not what he
did, he glorified God, all others were silent.
„THEY sat down on either side ofme; I sipped some
soup, I said: „My lord, now my heart is stronger. I long to
mount a horse, to see river and field. „They brought me a
horse, I mounted, the king went with me.
„WE went forth; we passed by the moedan and the
riverbank. I went home, I sent back the king, who
accompanied me to the threshold of the house. I went in;
I feit worse, woe was added to woe; I said to myself: „I
would die! What more can Fate do to me!"
"THE bath of tears changed the crystal to saffron colour;
ten thousand knives cut my heart still more. The doorkeeper
of the bedchamber entered, he called out the treasurer;
I said to myself: 'What news does he know, either this one
or that one ?'
"IT is Asmat'h's slave.' 'What knows he?' I called.
'Ask!' He came in. He gave me a love-letter. I read it.
I was surprised that I could diminish the burning of my
heart; I had no suspicion of her, my heart burned with
melancholy for this.
"I WAS surprised wherefore I was loved, or how Asmat'h
dared to declare it to me. But, thought I, disobedience
avails not, she will denounce me for silence, she will lose
hope of me, then will she reproach me. I wrote what answer
was fitting to enamourment.
"DAYS passed, and heart burned me still more with
flame. I no longer watched the soldiers going to the plain
to sport. I could not go to court. Many physicians began to
come. Then I began to pay the joys and debts of the world.
"THE physicians could do nothing for me; the twilight
of darkness fell upon my heart. No one else discovered the
burning of the hot fire. They blamed my blood. The king
ordered them to bleed my arm; I let it be done, so as to
hide my sufferings, to let none suspect.
"AFTER my arm was bled I lay melancholy alone in my
bed. My slave came in; I glanced at him to ask what he
wanted. 'It is Asmath's slave,' said he. I told him to bring
him in. I thought in my heart: 'What has she found in me,
or who is she ?'
"THE slave gave me a letter; I read it slowly. I learned
from the letter that she wished to come quickly to me.
I wrote in reply: 'It is time. Thou art right to be surprised.
I shall come if thou wantest me; suspect me not of tardiness
in coming.'
"I SAID to my heart: 'Why do such lances make thee thus
melancholy ? I am Amirbar, king: all the Indians are
subject to me. If it come to their knowledge they will
weight the deed a thousand times; if they find it out they
will not let me travel in their regions.'
"A MAN came from the king saying he wished to hear
the news. I ordered him in; the king commanded me to be bled.
I said: 'My arm has been bled; I have begun to mend. I
come to your presence; it is fitting for me to rejoice the
more for this again.'
"I; he girded WENT to court. The king said: 'Now, do this no more!'
He seated me quiverless on a horse not my loins.
He mounted, he let fly the falcons, the durajis shrank with
fear, the archers formed in ranks said: 'Bravo! Bravo!'
"WE made a feast at home that day for those who had been
in the plain; the singers and minstrels were not dumb; the
king gave away many precious stones praised as unique;
none of those present were left dissatisfied that day.
"I STROVE, but could not keep myself from melancholy;
I thought on her, the fire burned into a larger flame in my
heart. I took my comrades with me, I sat down; they called
me an aloe-tree; I drank and feasted to hide my misery
and grief.
"MY treasurer of the household whispered in mine ear:
'A certain woman asks if she can see the Amirbar; veils
cover her face, worthy of the praise of the wise.' I replied:
'Take her to my chamber; she is invited by me.'
"I ROSE up; those sitting at the banquet prepared to
depart. 'By your leave,' said I, 'do not rise; I shall not
tarry long.' I went forth and entered the chamber, a slave
stood on guard at the door, I nerved my heart to suffer
"I HALTED at the door; the woman came forward to
meet me and did me homage. She said to me: 'Blessed is he
whoever is worthy to come before thee!' I marvelled;
whoever saluted a lover ? I thought: 'She knows not how
to make love; and she knew she would sit quiet.'
"I ENTERED, sat down on the sofa, she came to the edge
of the carpet, not daring to sit near me for she did not
judge herself worthy. I said: 'Why do you remain there
when you are seeking for my love ?' The maiden answered
nothing, she was calculating her words.
"SHE said to me: 'This day makes my heart to burn with
a flame of shame. Thou thinkest I came hither to thee for
that purpose, but I find cause for hope in the fact that I
have not waited long for thee; I cannot say if I am worthy
of this. God's mercy fails me.'
"SHE rose; she said to me: 'I am bashful of thee, my
reason is perplexed. Suspect me not of what has been said
by command of my mistress; such great boldness is in order
to please her heart. This letter will tell thee for whom I
1 Durajis-francolims.
2 Muqris-an Arabian word meaning learned expounders of the Mussulman doctrine.