Of Avt’handil’s Going to P’hridon's
When He Parted From Tariel
967
WEEPING the knight went seventy days along the road to
the seashore. Afar off he saw in the sea boatmen
approaching; he waited and asked: "Who are you, I beg
you to tell me this: Whose realm is this or whose voice
doth it obey?"
968
THEY answered: "O fair efface and form, strange and
pleasing to us thou seemest, therefore with praise we
address thee; hereunto is the boundary of the Turks,
marching with the border of P'hridon, whose men we are: of
him shall we tell thee, if we faint not from gazing on thee.
969
"NURADIN P'hridon is king of this our land, a knight
brave, generous, mighty, on horseback a swift racer; none
has power to harm so fair a sun; he is our lord, he like the
beams spread forth from heaven."
970
THE knight said: "My brethren, in you have 1 happed upon
good men. I seek your king, teach me whither I should go.
How shall I go, when shall I come thither, how long is the
road?" The boatmen guided him; they left not the shore.
971
THEY reported to him: "This is the road going to
Mulghazanzar, there our king will meet thee, he of the swift
arrow, the keen sword. Thou shalt arrive there ten days
hence, O thou of the cypress form, ruby in hue. Alas! why
dost thou, a stranger, burn us strangers, why consumest
thou us like a flame of fire!"
972
THE knight said: "I marvel, brethren, why you are
heart-slain for me, or how the faded winter roses can
please you thus! If you had seen us then when we sat
proud, uncrippled, we charmed them that gazed on us, with
us they sat joyful."
973
THEY departed, the knight turned to pursue his road, he
whose form is like the cypress, whose heart is like iron. He
puts his horse to a canter, he discourses, he speaks aloud
to comfort himself; the narcissi thunder, it rains tears,
they lave the crystal and the enamel.
974
WHATEVER strangers he met on the road served him,
were subservient to him; they came to gaze on him, they
courted him, it was hard for them to let him go, scarce
could they bear parting, they gave him a guide for the road,
whatever he asked they told him.
975
HE neared Mulghazanzar; soon he ended the long road. In
the plain he saw an army of soldiers, and they were seen to
be destroying game; on all sides a chain was formed, they
encircled the outside of the field; they shot and shouted,
they mowed down beasts like standing corn.
976
HE met a man, he asked him tidings of that host; he
said : "Whose is this sound of trampling and stir?" He
answered: "P'hridon the monarch, King of Mulghazanzar,
hunts, he holds the edge of the sedgy plain engirt."
977
MATCHLESS in mien he went towards the troops, he
became merry, how can I ever tell the beauty of that
knight! Those who are parted from him he makes to freeze,
like the sun he burns them that are met with him; he
maddens, if they look on him, those who gaze, his form
sways like a tree.
978
IN the very midst of the hosts an eagle soared from
somewhere. The knight urged on his horse, he emboldened
himself, he feared not; he drew his bow and let the arrow
fly; the eagle fell and blood flowed from it; he dismounted
and clipped its wings; calmly he remounted, he panted not.
979
WHEN they saw him, the archers ceased to shoot; they
broke the circle, they came, they pressed upon him, they
fainted, from all sides they surrounded him, some followed
behind. They dared not ask him: "Who art thou?" nor
could they say aught to him.
980
IN the meadow was a hill, on it stood P'hridon; forty
men worthy to shoot with him attended him; thither
Avt'handil made his way, after him followed the centre of
the host. P'hridon marvelled. "What are they doing?"
said he; he was angry with his armies.
981
P'HRIDON sent out a slave, saying: "Go, see the armies,
what they are doing, why they have broken the circle,
whither blind-like they go." The slave swiftly reached
them, he saw the cypress, the sapling form; he stood, his
eyes became dazed, he forgot the words he had to say.
982
AVT'HANDIL perceived that this man was come to learn
news of him. He said: "I beg thee to convey this message
to thy lord from me: 'I am a stranger, wanderer, far
removed from my home, sworn brother to Tariel, sent to
you.'"
983
THE slave went to P'hridon to tell him his message. He
said: "I have seen a sun arrived, he seems like the
lightener of day. I think even sages would be maddened
if they saw him anywhere. Quoth he: 'I am Tariel’s brother,
come to join the brave P'hridon."'
984
WHEN he heard the name of Tariel, P'hridon's woes were
lightened, from his eyes tears sprang forth, his heart grew
more agitated, a blast froze the rose, from his eyelashes
whirled snowstorms. They met each other, each was
praised by the other, not dispraised.
985
HASTILY P'hridon came down from the ridge; he
descended to meet Avt'handil. When he looked on him he
said: "If this be not the sun, who is it ?" Avt'handil outdid
the praise P'hridon had heard from the slave. They both
dismounted; joy made tears gush up.
986
THEY embraced; they were not shy for being strangers.
The knight seems peerless to P'hridon, and P'hridon
pleases the knight. Any onlookers who saw them would
despise the sun. Slay me! if another like them will ever be
bargained for or sold in the bazaar.
987
WHAT knights arc there like P’hridon! But near him is
one whom praises still more benefit; the sun makes the
planets invisible when they come near; a candle gives no
light by day, but its rays shine by night.
988
THEY mounted their horses and set out for P'hridon's
palace. The chase was broken up; they made an end of
the slaying of beasts. From all sides the troops thronged to
gaze on Avt'handil; they said: "What creature can compare
with him ?"
989
THE knight said to P'hridon: "Thou art eager, I know,
to hear my tidings. I will tell thee who I am, whence I come,
inasmuch as thou wishest to know, also whence I know
Tariel and why I spoke of our brotherhood. He calls me
brother; 'Thou art my brother,' quoth he, though I am
scarce worthy to be his slave.
990
"I AM King Rostevan's vassal, a knight nurtured in
Arabia, Spaspeti; by name they call me Avt'handil, I am
a noble of great family, reared as son of the king, one to be
respected, bold, none dares meddle with me.
991
"ONE day the king mounted, went forth to hunt; in the
plain we saw Tariel, he poured forth tears watering the
fields; we were astonished, he surprised us, we called and
he came not, he made us angry; we knew not how fire
consumed him.
992
"THE king shouted to the troops to seize him, and he was
irritated; without trouble he slew, battle was not hard for
him; of some he broke the arms and legs, some he slew
outright; there they learned that the course of the moon is
not to be turned back.
993
"THE king, greatly indignant, perceived that the troops
could not capture him; himself he mounted and went
against him, the haughtily unfearing. When Tariel knew it
was the king, then he avoided his sword, he gave the bridle
to his horse, he was lost to our eyes.
994
"WE sought and could find no trace; we believed it
devilry. The king was sad, forbad drinking, feast and
banquet. I could not endure lack of certainty about his
story. I stole away in quest of him, fire burned me, and
smouldered.
995
"THREE years I sought him; I enjoyed not even sleep. I
saw Khatavians he had mauled; they showed him to me. I
found the yellowish rose, faint-rayed, pale-tinted; he
welcomed me and loved me like a brother, like a son.
996
"HE took the caves from the Devis after great bloodshed.
There Asmat'h attends the solitary, none else is with
him; ever the old fire burns him, it is not newly roused.
Groaning befits one parted from him, a black-mourning
kerchief bound round the head.
997
"ALONE in the cave tearful, tear-stained damsel weeps.
The knight hunts game for her as a lion for its whelp;
he brings it and thus he feeds her. He cannot rest in one
place. Save Asmat'h he desires not the sight of any of man's
race.
998
"TO me, a stranger, he pleasantly narrated his wondrous
and pleasing story; he told me his tale, and his beloved's.
What woe he has suffered this tongue of a madman cannot
now tell; longing slays him, and lack of the sight of his
grave-digger.
999
"LIKE the moon he unceasingly roams, he rests not; he
sits on that horse thou gavest him, he never alights; he
sees no speaking being, like a wild beast he shuns men.
Woe is me, remembering him; alas for him dying for her
sake!
1000
"THE fire of that knight burns me, I am consumed with
hot fire: I pitied him, and I became mad, my heart grew
furious; I wished to seek remedies for him by sea and land.
I returned and saw the sovereigns, whose hearts were
gloomy.
1001
"I ENTREATED leave of absence; the king was enraged
at me, and fell into sadness. I deserted my soldiers, therefore
they there cried, 'Woe!' I stole away, I freed myself from
the flood of tears of blood. Now I seek balm for him;I turn
about hither and thither.
1002
"HE told me tidings of thee, how he had made brotherhood
with thee. Now have I found thee, peerless, worthy to be
praised by the tongue, counsel me where it is better to seek
that heavenly sun, the joy of those who gaze on her, the
disturber of those that cannot see her."
1003
NOW P'hridon speaks, utters the words spoken by that
knight; both in unison lamented in a threnody worthy of
praise; sobbing, they wept with impatient hearts, there
the roses were sprinkled by the water of tears dammed up
in the jungle.
1004
AMONG the soldiers there arose the sound of great weeping,
the scratching of the face by some, the casting away of
the veils. P'hridon weeps, laments aloud the seven years'
separation. Alas! the inconstancy and falsity of this vain
world!
1005
P'HRIDON laments: "How can we tell forth thy praise,
thou who canst not be praised, thou inexpressible one!
0 sun of the earth, who transferrest the sun of the
firmament from its course, joy, life, quickener of them that
are near thee; light of the planets of heaven, consumer and
swallower up!
1006
"SINCE I was removed from thee, life has been hateful to
me. Though thou hast no leisure for me I long for thee; to
thee lack of me seems joy, it oppresses me greatly. Life
without thee is empty; the world is become hateful to me."
1007
P'HRIDON uttered these words in a beautiful lament.
They grew calm, they were silent; they rode with no sign
of song. Avt'handil is fair to beholders in his ethereal
loveliness; he covers the inky lakes of his eyes with the jet
ceiling of his lashes.
1008
THEY entered the city, there they found the palace
adorned in perfection, with all the officers of state mustered,
the slaves delicately apparelled were in faultless order;
they were enraptured and ravished in heart with Avt'handil.
1009
THEY entered and held a great court, not a privy council;
on this side and on that side ten times ten lords were
ranged; apart sat the two together; who can tell forth their
praise? Here enamel, there jet, adorned the crystal and ruby
of their faces.
1010
THEY sat, they banqueted, they multiplied the best
liquor; they entertained Avt'handil as kinsman treats
kinsman; they brought beautiful vessels, all quite new.
But the heart of those who looked on that youth, alas! was
given to flame.
1011
THAT day they drank, they ate, there was a banquet for
the tribe of drinkers. Day dawned; they bathed Avt'handil;
there lies abundance of satin; they clad him in raiment
worth many thousands of drachmas; they girded him with a
girdle of inestimable worth.
1012
THE knight tarried some days, though he could not brook
delay; he went out hunting with P'hridon and sported, he
slew alike from far and near whatever offered itself to his
hand; his archery put every bowman to shame.
1013
THE knight said to P'hridon: "Hear what I have now to
tell thee. Parting from you seems to me like death, and
thereby shall I harm myself; but I, unhappy, have not time
to stay; another fire also consumes me. A long road, an
urgent deed I have to do, I shall be very late.
1014
"RIGHT is he who sheds tears at parting from. thee. Today
without fail I depart, therefore it is that another fire burns
me; to tarry is a mistake of a traveller, he will do well
to teach himself this; lead me to the seashore where thou
sawest that sun."
1015
P'HRIDON answered: "Nothing shall be said by me to
hinder thee. I know thou hast no more time; another lance
pierces thee. Go! God will guide thee, may thy foes be
destroyed! But tell me, how shall I bear the lack of thee ?
1016
"THIS I venture to tell thee: It is not fitting that thou
go away alone, I will give thee knights with thee to serve
and attend thee, armour and bedding, a mule, a horse.
If thou take not these thou wilt have trouble, tears will
flow on the rose cheeks."
1017
HE brought out four slaves, trustworthy in heart,
complete armour for each man, with armpieces and
greaves, sixty pounds of the red gold, full weight, not with
any shortage, a peerless stallion with complete harness.
1018
ON a strong-legged mule he packed bedding. He set out,
and P'hridon mounted and went forth with him also. Now
fire burned and consumed him who awaited the parting.
He laments: "If the sun were near us, winter could not
freeze us!"
1019
THE rumour of the knight's departure spread, they gave
themselves up to grief; the burgesses flocked together, those
who sold silk goods like those who sold fruit; the voice of
their lamentation was like thunder in the air; they said:
"We are removed from the sun; come, let us close our eyes."
1020
THEY passed through the city, they went on, they came
to the seashore where P'hridon had formerly seen the sun
seated; there they shed a rivulet of blood from the lake of
tears. P'hridon tells the story of that shining captive.
1021
"HITHER the two Negro slaves brought by ship the sun,
white-teethed, ruby-lipped - a black sight! I spurred my
horse, I determined to steal her by sword and arm; they saw
me from afar, they soon fled from me, the boat seemed like a
bird."
1022
THEY embraced each other, they multiplied the springs
of tears; they kissed, and both their fires were renewed;
the inseparable sworn brothers parted like brothers.
P'hridon remained, the knight went away, the form the
slayer of gazers.