Letter of Tariel to the King of the Indians When He Triumphed Over the Khatavians
"I WROTE a letter: 'O king, great is your good fortune!
The Khatavians plotted treachery to me, though it fell on
them to their hurt; therefore am I tardy in telling you m
true tidings. I have captured the king; I come to thee with
spoil and prisoners.'
"WHEN I had put everything in order I set out from
Khataet'hi. I took the treasures, I despoiled the kingdom,
I could not get enough camels, I loaded bullocks with the
burdens; I had found glory and honour, for what I had
desired that had I obtained.
"I LED away captive the King of Khataet'hi. I came to
India, sweet was the meeting with my foster-father; what
eulogy he uttered to me cannot be repeated, for me to tell
it were unseemly; he undid mine arm, he bound it with a
soft bandage.
"FAIR tents stood pitched in the moedan for him who
desired to speak with and gaze upon me. That day the king
who rested there spread a banquet, he caressed me, sitting
near me he gazed at me.
THAT night we spent in feasting; pleasantly we made
merry there. In the morning we left the moedan; we entered
the city. The king commended: ‘Call the soldiers, assamble
them, show me this day the Khatavians, lead in the
"I LED in King Ramas captive before him. The king
looked sweetly on him as on a son whom he had cradled.
It made the deceitful and treacherous one seem deserving,
and this is the excess of heroism in a brave man.
"HE entered the King of the Khatavians, he caressed
him, he conversed with him for a long time in a fitting
manner; at dawn I was called, he spoke to me a
compassionate word: ‘Shall I pardon the Khatavian, my
former enemy?’
"I ventured to replay: ‘Since God forgive the sinner,
be you also mercifule to him whose might is brought to
nought.’ He said to Ramaz: ‘Know that I send thee hence
nought. ‘He said to Ramaz: ‘Know that I send thee hence
forgiven, but show not thyself before me again disgraced.’
"HE levied a tribute of a hundred times a hundred
drachmas, all in Khatavian money, also brocades and
satins; then he clad him and all his courtiers, and sent them
away with pardon in place of wrath.
"THE Khatavian thanked him, bent, paid lowly homage;
he said: 'By God, I repent my treachery towards you;
if ever I sin against you again then kill me.' He departed
and took all his folk with him
"A MAN of the king's came; it was dawn, and the morning
grey was past; he brought a message: 'For three months
have I been separated from thee, I have eaten no game
killed by arrow in the field; if thou be not tired come
forth, though it be time to be tired.'
"I APPARELLED myself, I went into the hall of audience:
a pack of harriers met me, all the space round the hall was
full of falcons. The king sat decked in beauty like the sun;
he rejoiced at the coming of me, the lovely and fair.
"HE said secretly to his wife, but unknown to me: 'To
gaze on Tariel returned from war is desirable, he brings
light to the onlooker's heart, however dark it may be;
whatever I ask thee to do, do it without delay.
"NOW, without consulting thee I have thought of a plan;
but thou too must know it: Since the maid is to be queen,
and has been so nominated by us ourselves, whoever shall
even to-day; seat her by thy side, both of you meet us in the
palace, I shall come joyful
"WE hunted over plain, mountain-foot and hill; there was
a multitude of hounds, falcons and hawks. We returned
early without having gone a stage from the long road. They
did not play at ball; they broke up two games.
"FOLK eager to gaze on me filled the city, the bazaar
and roofs; tasselled robes adorned me who had
finished the war; I was a pale-hued rose bathed in
tears, he who looked on me swooned; true is this, and no
"THE velis I had found in the city of the Khatavians I
bound round me, they became me, I meddened stil more
the heart of the mad. The king dismounted; we entered
the apartments of my foster-parents. I saw the flash of her
cheeks like sunlight, I trembled.
"THE form of that sun was clad in robes of orange; behind
her was a host of eunuches in cohorts and lines;with light
she quite filled house,street and quarter; there, amid the
roses, shone in beauty coral- pearl twins.
"I WHO had fought and been woonded had mine arm hung
from my neck in a sling. The qween rose from her throne
and came forward to meet me. She kissed me hard like a
son, she made my rose cheek blue; she said to me:
‘Henceforth expect not the foe to engage thee.’
"NEAR at hand they made place for me, there where it
pleased me; opposite sat the sun for whome my heart was
dying. Stealthily I looked at her, she looked at me; no other
conversevwas there; when I tore away mine eyes from her,
thereby was life made hateful to me.
"THERE was drinking and feasting on a scale fitting to
their might, such another rejoicing eye has not seen,
goblet and cup were all of turquoise and ruby; the king
gave order that no drunk man be suffered to depart.1
"BEING there I gave myself up to an excess of joy; when
she gazed at me and I at her, my fire began to be
extinguished. I called upon my wild, mad heart to have a
care of me. How exceedingly pleasant it is to look face
to face on the beloved!
"THE minstrels ceased to sing. ‘Be silent!’ They bent
their heads. The king said to me: ‘Son Tariel, how can we
tell thee how we rejoice! we are in bliss, therefore our
adversaries are woeful; right are thine admirers, not idly
do they vaunt.
" NOW, thought it is fitting that we should clothe thee
who art mightly in glory, we clothe thee not, we doff not
those robes beauteously adorning thee. Now thou whose
rays are spread abroad hast a hundred treasures from us,
thou thyself canst have sewn what thou desirest, be not
bashful before us.’
"THEY gave me all treasures with the hundred keys
that locked them. I blessed them for those treasures and
paid them my respects. Rising, they kissed me, shining
like two suns. How can I describe the gifts they presented to
the army?
"HE sat down again joyful, drinking and singing increased,
again the feast went on, the lyre and tinkling of harps.
The queen retired when day met twilight and until
evening joy was not joy.
"WE broke up; we could no more endure the drinking of
double goblets. I went into my chamber, my perception
became like that of one dazed; I had no power in me, made
prisoner as I was, to extinguish that fire. I remembered,
and the memory of being gazed on by her rejoiced me."
"A SLAVE came; he told me true tidings: ‘A veiled woman
asks tidings of you.’Then I knew at once, I leaped up in
all haste, with trembling heart; she came in, I saw Asmat’h,
who was coming towards me.
"FOR the sake of her whom I am dying I was pleased
to see Asmat’h, as if I saw herself. I hindered her from
doing me homage, I kissed her, I took her hand and seated
her near me on my couch, and greeted her: ‘Blessed art
thou, come as a shoot from the aloe-tree!
"TELL me news of her; speak to me of nought else.’
She said to me: ‘I will tell thee truth; now from me thou
shalt not hear words uttered merely to give pleasure. To-day
ye saw each other, and tenderly were pleased; now again she
commands to make known news of her through me.’
1They were to be tended in the palace