Tariel's Departure for Khataet'hi and Great Battles
419
"IN the morning I mounted, I commanded the trumpet and
bugle to be sounded; I cannot tell thee of all the armies
nor of their readiness to mount; I, a lion, set forth for
Khataet'hi, none can accuse me of cowardice; the soldiers
marched without a road, they followed no track.
420
"I CROSSED the boundaries of India, I went on a
considerable time; a man met me from Ramaz, the khan
over Khataet'hi; he repeated to me a message conciliatory
to the heart: ""Your Indian goats are able to eat even our
wolves.'
421
"HE presented me with astounding treasures as a gift
from Ramaz; he said: " 'He entreats thee, destroy us not,
it is not a thing thou shouldst do; put us on our oath,
thereby are our necks bound with twigs, without
devastation we shall deliver over to thee ourselves our
children and possessions.
422
"'FORGIVE us in that we have sinned against thee, we
ourselves repent; by God, if thou wouldst have mercy on
us, bring not thine armies hither, destroy not our land, let
not the heavens fall upon us in wrath; we give thee our
castles and cities, let a few knights come with thee.'
423
"I PLACED my viziers at my side, we discussed and
counselled; they said: 'Thou art young, therefore we sages
venture to say to thee, alas! they are exceeding treacherous;
we have seen it indeed once already; may they not slay thee
treacherously, may they not bring on us woe!
424
"WE counsel thus: Let us go forth with brave heroes
only, let the soldiers follow close behind us, let them be
apprised of the tidings by a man; if they be true-hearted,
trust them, make them swear by God and heaven; if they
submit not to thee, pour forth thy wrath and moreover
the wrath of heaven upon them.'
425
"THIS advice counselled by the viziers pleased me; I
returned a message: 'O King Ramaz, I know thy decisions;
life is better than death to thee. We shall not be stopped by
stone walls. I will leave the soldiers, I will come with a few,
towards thee will I march.'
426
"I TOOK with me three hundred of the soldiers, good
brave knights, I went forth and left all the army; I said:
'Wherever I shall go, march over the same fields, follow
me closely, help me, I shall call you if I need help.'
427
"I TRAVELLED three days; another man of the same
khan met me, again he presented me with many beautiful
robes; he said: 'The khan wishes thee to be near him, proud
and mighty one; when he meets thee then shalt thou know
many such gifts.'
428
"YET more he said: 'What I have told thee is true. I
myself come forward to meet thee, I haste to see thee.' I
said, 'Tell the khan: Certainly, by God, I shall do your
commandment, tenderly shall we meet each other, we
shall be like father and son.'
429
"DEPARTED thence I alighted on the bounds of a
certain deep forest; again messengers came, they were not
shy to salute me, they brought fair steeds as a present to
me, they said: 'Of a truth the king would desire to see thee.'
430
"THEY said to me: 'The king informs thee: I myself also
come towards thee; having left my house, early to-morrow I
shall meet thee.' I kept the messengers, I put up a felt tent
not a rich one; I received them very amiably, they lay
down together like groomsmen.
431
"NO good deed done to a man can pass away thus. A certain
man returned; he came to me and said secretly: 'I owe you
a great debt hard for me to pay; I cannot forsake and
forget thee.
432
"I WAS to some extent brought up by your father. I
heard the treachery planned for you; I ran to let you know
of it. It would grieve me to see the elegant-formed, the
rose-faced, a corpse. I will tell thee all; hearken to me, be
calm.
433
"THAT thou be not vainly deceived, these men are
traitors to thee; in one place are hidden for thee one
hundred thousand troops, then in another place are thirty
thousand; that is why they call upon thee to hasten; if thou
take not measures at once mischance will come upon thee.
434
"THE king will come a little way to meet thee whose
admirers can never cease; secretly they will be clad in
armour; thou trusting them while they cajole thee the
soldiers will make smoke, on all sides they will surround,
as it is when ten thousand strike one so must they
overwhelm thee.'
435
"I SPOKE pleasantly to the man and gave him thanks:
'If I am not slain I shall repay thee for this according to
thee desires. Now let not thy comrades suspect; go, be
with them. If I forget thee may I be surely lost.'
436
"I TOLD no human being; I kept it secret like gossip.
What is to be will be; all advice is equal. But I sent men
towards the armies though the way was long; I gave the
message: 'Come quickly, hasten over mountain and hill.'
437
"IN the morning I gave a sweet message to the messengers.
They were to tell King Ramaz: 'I am coming to meet thee;
come, I also come soon.' Another half-day I journeyed on;
I took no heed of trouble; there is a providence, if I am to
be killed to-day where below can I hide myself!
438
"I MOUNTED a certain peak; I saw dust in the plain. I
said to myself: 'King Ramaz is coming; though he has
spread a net for me, my sharp sword, my straight lance,
will pierce their flesh.' Then I spoke to my troops; I set
forth a great plan.
439
"I SAID: 'Brothers, these men are traitors to us; why
should the power of your arms be weakened on that account ?
Those who die for their kings, upwards their spirits fly!
Now let us engage the Khatavians. Why should we gird on
the sword in vain !'
440
"PROUDLY, with fierce words, I commanded them to don
armour; we clad ourselves for fight in chain coats of mail
with shoulder-pieces; I formed squadrons, I set out, I went
in great haste; that day my sword cut in pieces mine
adversary.
441
"WE approached. They perceived that our forms were
clad in armour. A man came with a message from the
king; he said: 'We look upon your treachery as untimely,
now we see your armour, this causes us displeasure.'
442
"I SENT back a message: 'I too know what thou hast
contrived for me; you have made certain plans, but they
will not come to pass; give orders, come and fight me as is
the law and custom, I have taken my sword in my hand
to slay you.'
443
"WHEN the messenger came, why did they send yet
another ? They made smoke for the soldiers, they made plain
what was hid, they came forth from ambush, they advanced
from both sides, they formed into many ranks, though,
thank God, they could not harm me.
444
"I TOOK a lance, I applied my hand to helming myself,
I was eager for the fray to break them, I extended a
stadium's length, I made ranks and advanced in a long line.
They drew up innumerable cohorts, they stood calm and
undisturbed.
445
"WHEN I came near they looked at me: 'He is a madman,'
said they. I, strong-armed, made my way thither where the
main body of the army stood; I pierced a man with my
lance, his horse I overturned, they both departed from the
sun, the lance broke, my hand seized the sword; I praise,
0 sword, him who whetted thee
446
"I SWOOPED in like a falcon among a covey of grey
partridges, I threw man upon man, I made a hill of men
and horses; the man thrown down by me spins like a
dragon-fly; I completely destroyed at one onslaught the
two front squadrons.
447
"CROWDING they surrounded me, about me was a great
fight; when once I struck none could stand, I made blood
spurt forth as from a fountain, he whom I clove hung on
his horse like a saddle-bag, wherever I was they fled from
me, they were wary of me.
448
"AT the evening hour their watchman cried forth from
the summit: 'Stand no longer, let us go, heaven looks again
on us in wrath, a terrible dust is coming, we should beware
of this, let not their countless tens of thousands of
soldiers completely destroy us.'
449
"MY soldiers whom I had not brought with me, when
they heard of it, set out, they travelled day and night
without stopping, neither plain nor mountain could contain
them; they appeared, they beat the kettledrum, the
trumpet sounded aloud.
450
THE enemy saw them, they started to flee, we raised
a shout, we pursued over the fields in which we had fought
our battle. I unhorsed King Ramaz; we found each other
with swords. We captured all his armies; we slew them not.
451
"THOSE who fled were overtaken by the rearguard, they
began to seize them, to throw down the terrified, the
vanquished; Tariel's troops had a reward for their
sleeplessness and night-watching; the prisoners, even
those that were unwounded, ceased not to wail like sick
men.
452
"WE dismounted to rest on the battle-field. I had
wounded my arm with the sword; it seemed to me a mere
scratch. My armies came to see me and praise me, they
could not speak, they knew not how to express their
admiration
453
"THE glories which they thrust upon me were sufficient
for one man; some blessed me from afar, some tried to
kiss me; those nobles who had trained me wept over me,
they saw that which had been cut by my sword, they
marvelled exceedingly.
454
"I SENT soldiers everywhere to bring in booty; they came
together loaded. I was proud of myself; I had dyed the
plain with the blood of those who had sought to slay me.
I did not fight at the gate of the cities; I seized them
without a battle.
455
"I SAID to Ramaz: 'I have learned of thy treacherous
deed; now that thou art captured justify thyself; fortify
not strongholds, count them all into my hand; else, why
should I overlook thy guilt towards me?"
456
RAMAZ said to me: 'I have no more power left; give
me one of my lords over whom I may have lordship; I will
send him to the guardians of the castles; let me speak with
them; I will give all into thine hands, since I make it thy
property.'
457
"I GAVE him a lord, I sent knights with him, I caused
all the governors of fortresses to be brought before me,
they gave the strongholds into my hands; thus I made them
repent the war. With what can I compare the abundance
of treasure!
458
"THEN I went in to travel through and inspect Khataet'hi;
publicly they presented me with the keys of the treasuries;
I settled the country, I commanded: 'Be ye without fear,
the sun shall not burn you, be assured you will be left
unburned.'
459
"I EXAMINED the treasuries one by one from end to end;
I should be weary if I mentioned all the wondrous kinds of
treasures. I saw together a short cloak and veil; if thou
didst see it thou wouldst desire to know its name.
460
"I COULD not learn what stuff it was nor what kind of
work; everyone to whom I showed it marvelled and said
it was a divine miracle; neither was the basis of the tissue
like that of brocade nor carpet, its strength was as if it had
been wrought like iron-I might say tempered in fire.
461
"I PUT them aside as a present for her whose ray
enlightened me; I chose as a gift for the king whatever was
best: a thousand mules and camels, all strong-limbed, I
sent them loaded; he also learned the good news."