The Coming to India of Khvarazmsha's Son and His Slaying by Tariel
547
"A MAN came. 'The bridegroom cometh,’ announced he;
but, wretched man! he knew not what God was preparing
for him. The king looked pleased, he spoke no woeful words;
he bade me sit near him; 'Come,' said he, and inclined his head.
548
"HE said to me: 'For me this is a day of joy and merriment.
Let us celebrate the wedding in a palace as befits our
sister Nestan; let us send a man, let us have all the
treasures brought from every part, generously let us
distribute, let us till them with treasure; avarice is
clownishness.'
549
"I SENT in all directions men carrying treasure. The
bridegroom also came, they were no laggards; our men met
them from inside, from outside came the Khvarazmians;
the sum of their soldiers could not be contained even by
the fields.
550
"THE king commanded: 'Prepare the moedan with tents,
let the bridegroom rest, let him tarry there a little while;
the other armies can go thither without thee to see him,
thou shalt see him here, go not, the knights will be sufficient
to see him.'
551
"I RAISED on the moedan tents of red satin. The
bridegroom arrived, he dismounted; it seemed not like
Easter Eve; those inside began to go out, there was a host
of courtiers there, the soldiers began to form in ranks
according to their regions.
552
"I WAS wearied, as is the wont of one who has done duty:
tired, I turned homeward, and wished to sleep. A slave
came and gave me a letter from Asmat'h the sweet: 'Come
quickly! She who is like a full-grown aloe commands thee.'
553
"I DISMOUNTED not; I went quickly obedient. Asmat'h
had been weeping; I asked her: 'Why flow thy tears ?'
She said to me: 'Being engaged in thy defence, how can I
avoid weeping? How can I justify thee unceasingly,
whatever kind of advocate I may have become!'
554
"WE went in, we saw her seated on a cushion, her brows
puckered; the sun could not more illume the vicinage than
she. I stood before her. She said to me: 'Why standest
thou there ? The day of battle comes—or, wert thou forsaking
me, wert thou false to me and deceiving me again ?'
555
"I WAS angered, I said nothing, hastily I went out again:
I called back: 'Now shall it be seen if I did not wish it!
Am I become so cowardly that a woman urges me to fight ?'
I went home, I concerted his slaughter, I was not idle.
556
"I COMMANDED a hundred servants: 'Prepare for battle!'
We mounted, we passed through the city without letting
anyone perceive us. I went into the tent. It is a horror to
tell with the tongue how the bridegroom was lying; I
killed that youth without shedding of blood, though it was
necessary for blood to flow.
557
"I CUT the tangled edge of the tent, I tore it, I seized
the youth by his legs and struck his head on the tent-pole.
Those lying at the door cried; their lamentation was
marvellous. I mounted my horse, departed, my coat of
chain-mail protected me.
558
"AN alarm was raised against me; there was cry to pursue
me. I went on, they began to follow, I slew my pursuers.
I had a strong city, impregnable to the foe; I reached it
safely, pleasantly, unhurt.
559
"I SENT a man, I made known to all the soldiers: 'Let
all who will aid me come hither!' My pursuers did not weary
of coming in the depth of dark night; when they
recognised me they kept their heads whole.
560
"I AROSE at daybreak; I apparelled myself when night
dawned into morn. I saw three lords sent by the king; he
sent a message, saying: 'God knows I have fostered thee
like my son; why hast thou thus changed my rejoicing
into heaviness ?
561
"WHY didst thou make Khvarazmsha's innocent blood to
fall on our house! If thou didst desire my daughter, why
didst thou not tell me so ? Thou hast made life distasteful
to me, thine aged foster-father; thou thyself hast brought
it about that thou remainest not with me till the day of
my death.'
562
"IN answer I sent a message: 'O king, I am stronger than
copper, and this alone hinders me from being destroyed by
the fire and flame of death; but, as you know, a king should be
a doer of justice; by your sun! I am far from desiring your
daughter.
563
"THOU knowest how many palaces and thrones are in
India; I am the sole heir left, all has fallen into your hands.
all their heirs have died out, their heritage remains to you:
by right the throne belongs to none but me.
564
"I SWEAR by your virtue, I cannot flatter you, now this
is not just: God gave thee no son; thou hast an only
daughter. If thou appointedst Khvarazmsha king, what
would have been left for me in exchange ? Can another king
be seated on the throne of India while I wear my sword ?
565
"I WANT not thy daughter, marry her, rid her of me.
India is mine, to no man else will I give it; whoever
contests my right, him will I cause to be uprooted from the
earth; kill me! if I need any foreign helpers.'