The Story of Avt’handil’s Arrival in Gulansharo
1059
AVT’HANDIL crossed the sea; with stately form went he.
They saw a city engirt by a thicket of garden, with
wondrous kinds of flowers of many and many a hue. In
what way canst thou understand the loveliness of that land!
1060
WITH three ropes they moored the ship to the shore of
those gardens. Avt'handil clad his form in a cloak and sat
on a bench. They brought out men that were porters, hired
with drachmas. That knight bargains, acts as chief of the
caravan, and thereby conceals himself.
1061
THITHER came the gardener of him at whose garden
they had anded; with ecstasy he gazes at the knight's face
flashing like lightning. Avt'handil hailed him, he spoke to
the man with faultless words: "Whose men are ye, who are
ye ? How call they the king reigning here ?
1062
"TELL me all in detail," quoth the knight to that man;
"what stuff is dearer, or what is bought up cheap ?" He
said: "I see, thy face seems to me like the face of the sun.
Whatever I know I will tell thee truly; I will by no means
inform thee crookedly.
1063
"THE Sea Realm is this, ten months' travel in extent, this
is the city of Gulansharo, full of much loveliness. Hither
everything fair cometh by ships sailing from sea to sea.
Melik Surkhavi rules, perfect in good fortune and wealth.
1064
"EVEN if he be old, a man is rejuvenated by coming
hither; drinking, rejoicing, tilting and songs are unceasing;
summer and winter alike we have many-hued flowers;
whoever knoweth us cnvieth us, even they who are our
foes.
1065
"GREAT merchants can find nought more profitable than
this: They buy, they sell, they gain, they lose; a poor man
will be enriched in a month; from all quarters they gather
merchandise; the penniless by the end of the year have
wares laid by.
1066
"I AM gardener to Usen, chief of the merchants. I shall
tell thee somewhat of the manner of his ordinance: This is
his garden, your resting-place for the day; first it is
necessary to show him all the fairest of your goods.
1067
"WHEN great merchants arrive they see him and give
him gifts, they show him what they have, elsewhere they
cannot unpack their goods; for the king they set aside the
best, they straightway count out the price; thereupon he
frees them to sell as they please.
1068
"HIS duty it is to receive such honourable folk as you, he
orders the caterers how to entertain them fitly; he is not
now here, what avails it me to speak of him ? To meet you
and carry you away with him, pressing you politely, is the
way he should treat you.
1069
"P'HATMAN Khat'hun, the lady, his wife, is at home,
a hospitable hostess, amiable, not rough. I shall inform her
of your arrival, she will take you in as one of her own folk,
she will send a man to meet you, you shall enter the city
by daylight."
1070
AVT'HANDIL said: "Go, do whatever thou desirest."
The gardener runs, he rejoices, sweat pours down to his
breast. He tells his tidings to the lady: "I boast of this:
a youth comes, to them that look on him his rays seem like
the sun.
1071
"HE is some merchant, chief of a great caravan, wellgrown
like a cypress, a moon of seven days, his coat and the fold
of his coral-hued turban become him; he called me, asked
me tidings and the tariff for the purchase of goods."
1072
DAME P'hatman rejoiced; she sent ten slaves to meet him:
they prepared the caravanserais, she stored their wares. The rose-cheeked, crystal and ruby, enamel, jet, entered: they who looked on him compared his feet to the tiger's, hi-palms to the lion's paws.
1073
THERE was a hubbub, the hosts of the town all assembled :
they pressed on this side and on that, saying: "How shall we gaze on him ?" Some were carried away by desire, some had their souls reft from them; their wives grew wearv of them, their husbands were left contemned.