Tariel Hears Tidings of the Loss of Nestan-Daredjan
- "I SENT those men. I was mad in mind; since I
- learn nought of her I grew more inflamed with
grief. I went
- to look from a wall I had built overlooking
the plain. I
- learned a dreadful thing, though I lost not
- "TWO pedestrians appeared, I went to meet
them; it was
- a woman with a slave; I recognized who was
- was Asmat'h, with dishevelled head, blood
flowing from her
- face; no more did she call to me smiling, nor
did she greet
- me with a smile.
- "WHEN I saw her I became perturbed; my mind
- maddened. I cried from afar: 'What has
befallen us, why
- does the fire consume us ?' She wept
pitifully, she could
- hardly utter words, she said to me: 'God had
- sphere of the heavens in wrath for us!'
- "I CAME near, I enquired again: 'What has
- us? Tell me the truth.' Again she wept aloud
- again the flame burned her; for a long time
- speak no word to me, not the tenth part of
her griefs; her
- breast was dyed crimson with the blood
- her cheeks.
- "THEN she said to me: 'I will tell thee, why
- hide it from thee ? But inasmuch as I shall
make thee to
- rejoice, so have mercy upon me, suffer me not
- let me not survive, I entreat thee, have pity
on me, save me
- from the passing world, fulfil thy duty to
- "SHE said to me: 'When thou slowest the
- the alarm was raised, the king heard it, he
leaped up, he
- was sore stricken thereat; he called for
thee, he ordered thee
- to be summoned, in a loud voice he cried;
- thee, they could not find thee at home, and
- king complained.
- "THEY told him: "He is not here; he
- passed the gates." The king said: "I know, I
know, too well
- I understand; he loved my daughter, he shed
blood in the
- fields, and when they saw each other they
could not refrain
- from gazing.
- "NOW, by my head! I will slay her who is
- sister; I told her God's will, she has caught
her in the devil's
- net; what have those wicked lovers given or
promised her ?
- If I allow her to remain alive I renounce
God; this is ready
- for her punishment."
- "SELDOM was it the king's wont to swear by
- and when he thus swore he brake not his oath,
- fulfilled it. Someone—who knows who ?-who
- wrath of the king told it to Davar the Kadj,
- even heaven by her sorcery.
- "SOME enemy of God told Davar, the king's
- "The brother hath sworn by his head, he will
not leave thee
- alive, the people know it." She spoke thus:
"The good God
- knows that I am innocent, and let that same
- who it is that slays me and for whose sake I
- "MY mistress was the same as when thou didst
- head was still wrapped in thy veils,
beautifully they became
- her. Davar spoke words such as I had never
- thou harlot, why didst thou slay me ? I think
thou too shalt
- not rejoice.
- "WANTON, harlot woman, why didst thou cause
- bridegroom to be slain, or why dost thou make
me pay for
- his blood with mine ? My brother shall not
slay me in
- vain for what I have done, what I have made
- Now God grant thou mayst never meet him whom
- didst incite to hinder this!"
- "SHE seized her, dragged her along, tore her
- wounded her, bruised her, fiercely she
- could make no answer, but only sighed and
- black woman was of no avail, she could not
- "WHEN Davar was sated with beating and
- slaves with Kadj-like faces came forth; they
brought an ark,
- they spoke rudely to her, they put that sun
- was she made prisoner.
- "SHE said to them: "Go and lose her in the
- of the great seas. Do not show her frozen
water, let not
- this water be slippery." Gleefully they began
- screaming with joy. All this I saw, nor did I
die of it;
- stronger than rock am I.
- "THEY passed the windows towards the sea,
- she was out of sight. Davar said: "Who would
not stone me
- for doing this? Who? Before P'harsadan slay
me, I shall die.
- Life is wearisome to me!" She struck herself
with a knife,
- died, fell in a stream of blood.
- "WHY marvel'st thou not to see me alive,
- a lance! Now do to me what befits a bringer
- tidings; by the Most High, deliver from this
- life me who have not yet ceased to breathe.'
Her tears fell
- piteously, undiminished, undrying.
- "I SAID: 'Sister, why should I kill thee, or
what is thy
- fault ? What shall I do in return for the
debt I owe her ?
- Now I devote myself to seek her wherever rock
- are found.' I became quite petrified; my
heart grew like
- hard rock.
- "EXCESSIVE horror maddened me; fever and
- came upon me. I said to myself: 'Die not! To
lie idle is of
- no avail; better is it to roam forth to seek
her, to run and
- wander in the fields. Has come the time for
thee, who wishest
- to go with me!'
- "I WENT in, I arrayed myself quickly,
- mounted my horse. A hundred and sixty good
- serving me a long time joined me, we passed
forth from the
- gates in order of battle. I went to the
seashore, I saw a ship,
- the master of the ship saw me apparelled.
- "I ENTERED the ship, I went out to sea, I
- the sea. I let no ship from any quarter pass
- waited, but I heard nothing. Mad as I was I
- more maddened; God hated me so that He
- "THUS I spent a year-twelve months which were
- like twenty—but I found no man, even in a
- had seen her. All those who were attendant
upon me were
- dead and perished. I said: 'I cannot defy
God; what He
- wills even that will I do.'
- "I WAS weary of tossing on the seas, so I
- My heart had become altogether like a
beast's, I hearkened
- to no counsel; all those who were left to me
- misfortune have been scattered from me, but
- not a man thus forsaken by Fortune.
- "ONLY this Asmat'h and two slaves remained
with me as
- my comforters and counsellors. I could learn
no news of
- Nestan, not even the weight of a drachm.
- to me as joy, and streams of tears flowed