P’hridon Tells Tariel Tidings of Nestan-Daredjan
- "ONE day the king and I went forth to the
- climbed upon a cape jutting out into the sea.
- said to me: 'I will tell thee how, when we
were out riding
- for sport, I once saw a wonderful thing from
- "I BADE him speak, and P'hridon told me even
- 'One day I wished to hunt, I mounted this
steed of mine. In
- the sea it seemed a duck and on the land a
falcon; I stood
- here and watched the flight of the hawk
- "'NOW and then as I climbed uphill I gazed
out to sea.
- I perceived a small thing far away on the
sea, going so
- swiftly that nothing of its kind could equal
it; I could not
- make it out; in my mind I marvelled at these
- '"I SAID to myself: "What is it ? To what can
I liken it ?
- Is it bird or beast ?" It was a boat tented
over with many-
- folded stuff; a steersman guided it. I fixed
mine eyes upon
- it, and there in an ark sat the moon; I would
- her the seventh heaven as habitation.
- "'TWO slaves as black as pitch crept out,
they put ashore
- a maiden, I saw her thick-tressed hair, the
- flashed from her-to what colours can it be
- illumine the earth and make the sunbeams of
- '"JOY made me hasten, quiver, stagger. I
- rose who is not frozen by the snow. I
resolved to engage
- them, I said: "Let me go towards them; what
- can fly away from my black steed ?"
- '"I PRESSED my horse with my heel. There was
- and rustling among the rushes. I could not
- however much I used the spur; they were gone.
I came to
- the seashore and looked round, she appeared
only as a last
- ray of the setting sun, she went farther
away, she was gone
- from me, therefore was I consumed by flame.'
- "This I heard from P'hridon; heat was added
to my fire.
- I threw myself down from my horse, I wholly
- myself; with mine own blood shed from my
- anointed myself. Kill me! That anyone but I
- seen that tree!
- "THIS behaviour of mine astonished P'hridon,
- passing strange to him; but he was
exceedingly pitiful to
- me, by weeping he placated me, like a son he
- he pled with me, treated me with deference,
- pearl-like, hot tears sprang from his eyes.
- "'ALAS! What have I, misguided, madly
told thee?' I
- said: 'It matters not, grieve not for that!
She was my moon;
- for her the fire consumes me hotly. Now will
I tell thee my
- tale, since thou thyself wishest to have me
- "I TOLD P'hridon all that had befallen me. He
- me: 'What have I, mistaken, shamed, said to
thee ? Thou
- mighty king of the Indians, wherefore art
thou come to me ?
- A royal seat and throne become thee, a whole
- "AGAIN he said to me: 'To whom God gives for
- young cypress, from him He withdraws the
- at first He lacerates his heart therewith. He
will grant us
- His mercy. He will thunder it from heaven. He
- our sorrow to joy. He will never grieve us.'
- "WE went back tearful; we sat down alone
- the palace. I said to P'hridon: 'Save thee,
none is mine aid.
- God has not sent thy like to earth, and since
I know thee
- what more do I want ?
- "'THOU hadst no friend until the time when
- meet me; use now thy tongue and mind to
counsel me in
- this: What can I do? What is the best thing
to bring joy to
- her and me ? If I can do nought I shall not
- "HE said to me: 'What better fate could I
have from God
- than this ? Thou art come to be gracious to
- sovereign of India. Needs it that after this
I should desire
- any gratitude ? I stand before thee as a
slave to obey thee
- '"THIS city is the highway for ships coming
- parts, an emporium of much foreign news of
- Here shall we hear of the balm to assuage the
- burns thee. God grant that these woes and
- '"WE will send out sailors who have fared on
the sea before;
- let them find for us that moon for whose sake
grief is not
- lacking to us; until then be patient, so that
- torture thee not; grief will not last for
aye, shall not joy
- overcome it!'
- "THAT very instant we called men, we settled
- we commanded them: 'Go with ships, sail over
the sea, seek
- her out for us, fulfil the desire other
lover; undergo a
- thousand hardships for this, not merely seven
- "HE appointed men wherever there were havens
- he gave orders: 'Seek out everywhere,
wheresoever you hear
- of her.' Waiting seemed to me a consolation,
- became-lightened; absent from her I felt joy,
and for the
- sake of that day I am ashamed.
- "P'HRIDON set up a throne for me in the place
- overlord. He said to me: 'Hitherto have I
erred, I could not
- comprehend what I should have understood;
thou art the
- great king of the Indians; who can please
- Wherewithal ? How ? Who is the man who would
not be thy
- "WHY should I lengthen the story? From all
- the seekers of news, empty, and wearied of
- they had learned nothing at all, they knew
not any news.
- As for me, afresh the undrying tear flowed
still more from
- mine eyes.
- "I SAID to P'hridon: 'How this day seems
horrible to me,
- I have God for my witness thereto; to speak
thereof is hard
- for me; without thee night and day alike seem
- me; I am loosed from all joy, my heart is
bound with grief.
- '"NOW since I may no longer expect any news
- I can no longer stay; give me leave, I seek
- When P'hridon heard this he wept, he watered
the field with
- blood, and said: 'Brother, from this day vain
is all my joy!'
- "THOUGH they tried very hard, they could not
- back; his armies came before me on bended
- embraced me, kissed me, wept and made me
weep. 'Go not
- away; let us be your slaves so long as life
- "1 SPOKE thus: 'Parting from you is very hard
for me also.
- but it is hardly possible for me to have joy
- I cannot forsake my captive Nestan, whom you
- pity greatly; let none of you hinder me, I
will not stay nor
- be held back by any.'
- "THEN P'hridon brought and gave me this horse
- he said: 'Behold! this steed is given to you,
- the cypress; more I know thou desirest not,
- despise such a gift ? This will please thee
by its breaking-in
- and its swiftness.'
- "P'HRIDON escorted me; as we went we both
- there we kissed each other, with cries we
parted, all the host
- lamented for me, truly, in their hearts, not
with the tongue;
- our severing was like that of foster-parent
- "DEPARTED from P'hridon, I went on the quest,
- I fared so that I missed nought on land or
out at sea; but
- I met no man who had seen her, and my heart
- wholly maddened, I was like a wild beast.
- "I SAID to myself: 'No longer shall I rove
and sail in vain;
- perchance the company of beasts may make my
- grief.' I said seven or eight words to my
slaves and to this
- Asmat'h: 'I know I have brought grief upon
you; you have
- good reason to murmur against me.
- "NOW go and leave me, provide for yourselves,
- longer on the hot tears flowing from mine
eyes.' When they
- heard such discourse they said to me: 'Alas!
Alas! let not
- our ears hear what thou sayest!
- '"LET us not see any master or lord apart
from thee, may
- God not sunder us from your horse's
footprints! We would
- gaze upon you, a fair and adorable
- forsooth, makes a man listless, however
valiant he may be.
- "I COULD not send them away; I hearkened to
- of my slaves, but I forsook the haunts of
human tribes, the
- retreats of goats and stags seemed a fitting
abode for me;
- I roamed, I trod every plain below and hill
- "I FOUND these manless caves, hollowed out by
- I combated them, I destroyed them, they could
- means prevail against me; they killed my
slaves, ill had they
- buckled on their coats of mail. The passing
world made me
- gloomy; its showers again bespattered me.
- "BEHOLD, brother! since that day am I here,
and here I
- die. Mad I roam the fields; sometimes I weep
- sometimes I faint. This maid will not abandon
me; she too
- is burned by fire for Nestan's sake. I have
no other resource
- to try but death.
- "SINCE a beautiful tiger is portrayed to me
as her image.
- for this I love its skin, I keep it as a coat
for myself; this
- woman sews it, sometimes she sighs, sometimes
- Since I cannot kill myself, in vain is my
- "THE tongues of all the sages could not
- praise. Enduring life, I think upon my lost
one. Since then
- I have consorted with the beasts, calling
myself one of
- them; I am suitor for death, nought else I
entreat of God."
- HE beat his face, he rent it, he tore his
cheeks of rose; the
- ruby turned to amber, the crystal was
- Avt'handil's tears flowed too; one by one
they dripped from
- his lashes. Then the maid soothed Tariel; on
- she besought him.
- TARIEL, calmed by Asmat'h, said to
Avt'handil: "I have
- made everything pleasant for thee, I who
- pleasure for myself. I have told thee the
tale of mine
- irksome life; now go and see thy sun, thou
whose time for
- meeting is nigh."
- AVT'HANDIL said: "I cannot bear to part from
- I separate from thee tears indeed will flow
from mine eyes,
- Verily I tell thee-be not wroth at this
- whose sake thou diest will not be comforted
- "WHEN a physician—however praiseworthy he
- sick, he calls in another leech, another
skilled in the pulse;
- him he tells what illness inflaming him with
fire afflicts him.
- Another knows better what is useful advice
- "LISTEN to what I say to thee; I speak to
thee as a sage
- and not as a madman; a hundred times must
- heed, once sufficeth not. A man so furious of
heart can do
- nought well. Now I desire to see her for
whose sake hot
- fire consumes me.
- "I SHALL see her, I shall confirm her love
for me, I shall
- tell her what I have learned; nought else
have I to do.
- I beseech thee to assure me, for God and
heaven's sake, let
- us not abandon one another, make me swear and
- an oath to me.
- "IF thou promise me that thou wilt not go
hence, I shall
- assure thee by an oath that for nought shall
I forsake thee;
- I shall come again to see thee, I shall die
for thee, for thee
- shall I rove. If God will, I shall make thee
cease to weep
- thus for her for whom thou diest!"
- HE answered: "How is it that thou, a
stranger, so lovest
- me, a stranger ? It is as hard for thee to
part from me as for
- the nightingale from the rose. How can I
forget thee, how
- can I cease to remember thee! God grant that
I may again
- see thee, full-grown young aloe-tree.
- "IF thy form remain a tree, and thy face turn
round to see
- me, my heart will not flee into the fields,
it will become
- neither a deer's nor a goat's. If I lie to
thee or cheat thee,
- may God judge me in wrath! Thy presence will
- my sadness and dissolve it!"
- HEREUPON they swore, the frank friends, those
- of amber hue, wise-worded but mad-minded.
- each other; forever would affection's flame
burn their hearts.
- That night the fair comrades spent together.
- AVT'HANDIL wept with him; fast fell the
- day dawned he went forth, kissed him and
parted from him.
- Tariel was so grieved that he knew not what
- Avt'handil wept, too, as he rode through the
- ASMAT'H went down with Avt'handil, she
- with an oath, she kneeled, she wept, she bent
her fingers in
- entreaty, she besought him to come back soon;
as a violet.
- so she faded. He replied: "O sister, of what
can I think save
- "SOON shall I come; I shall not forsake thee
nor waste time
- at home. But let him not go elsewhere; let
not that fair
- form wander. If I come not hither in two
months I shall be
- doing a shameful thing; be assured that I am
- unceasing grief."