King Rostevan and Avt'handil Go Hunting
- EARLY in the
morning Avt'handil came forth like a
lily; he was clad in crimson, his face was of
- crystal and
ruby, over his face was a golden veil, he was
- fair in
huntsman's apparel. He rode upon a white steed; he
- invited the
king to come forth.
- THE king was
arrayed, he mounted, they set out for the
- chase. The
people surrounded the field, they made a ring
- round about
it; there was much mirth and excitement; the
- armies kept
the ground. For their wager were they hooting
- and striving
- THE king
commanded the twelve slaves: "Come,
- accompany us,
bring us the swift bows, prepare the arrows,
- compare what
is struck and keep count of the shots.
- " Game began
to come in from every corner of the plain.
- HERDS of game,
innumerable, flocked in: stags, goats,
high-leaping chamois. Lord and vassal pursued
- them; what
sight could be fairer! Behold the bow, the
- arrow, and the
- THE dust from
their horses' tracks cut off the sun's rays.
- They slew,
their arrows sped, blood flowed through the
- field; as the
shafts were shot away the slaves brought
- more of them.
The beasts wounded by them could not take
- another step.
- THEY ran
through that field; they drove the herd before
- them. They
slew and exterminated, they made wroth the
- God of the
heavens, the fields were dyed crimson with
- the blood they
shed from the beasts. Those who watched
said: "He is like an aloe-tree planted in Eden."
- THEY coursed
over the whole of that plain only they had
over. There on the farther edge of the plain
- flows a
stream; on the bank of the stream are rocks. The
- game fled into
the wood, where horse could not follow.
- They were
tired in spite of their strength.
laughingly said to the other: "'Tis I that have won!"
- Merry were
they; they sported, hither and thither they
Then came the slaves who had tarried, and
- the king said;
"Tell the truth; we seek not flattery from
- THE slaves
said: "We shall speak the truth; think not we
- shall deceive
you, 0 king; we may by no means liken you
- to him. Slay
us at once if you will, it matters not; we
- cannot help
you in any way. We observed the beasts
- stricken by
him; they could not move forward a step.
- "TOGETHER ye
have slain in all a hundred score, but
killed more by a score; he missed not even one
- at which he
aimed his bow, but we cleaned up many of
- your arrows
which left blots on the earth."
- THE king heard
this with as little concern as the result
- of a game of
backgammon, he rejoiced so at the victory
- of his
foster-son; he loved him as the rose loves the
smiling he made merry, all grief was gone
- from his
- THERE they
both sat to cool themselves at the foot of
- the trees; the
soldiers assembled and stood round them,
- countless as
chaff; near them were the twelve slaves, bravest
- of the brave.
As they sported they gazed at the stream
- and the edge
of the glens.