Thinat'hin Sends Avt'handil to Find the Knight
- AVTHANDIL sat alone in his chamber, clad
- an undergarment; he was singing and making
- before him stood a harp. To him came
- slave, and said: "She of the aloe form, the
- sends for thee."
- AVT'HANDIL was glad to hear this joyful
news. He rose
- and donned his best and brightest coat. He
rejoiced to meet
- the rose; they had never yet met alone.
Pleasant is it to gaze
- on beauty, and be near one beloved.
- PROUDLY and boldly Avt'handil came to her,
- ashamed of none. He will see her for whom
the tear of woe
- full oft had flowed. The peerless one sat
mournful, she shone
- like lightning, her rays eclipsed the moon.
- HER fair form was clad in unlined ermine,
- negligently veils whose price it were hard
to tell; but her
- black, heart-piercing eyelashes and the
thick, long tresses
- which embraced her white throat were her
- PENSIVE she sat in her red veil; she
- Avt'handil, and gently bade him be seated.
The slave placed
- a seat; he sat down modestly and
respectfully. Face to face
- he gazed on her, full of great joy.
- AND the maiden answered: "I am frightened,
I fear this
- misery, I should like to be silent, but
have no strength and
- no patience, yet I know the cause that
makes thee call me
- here, my face remains sad and my reason
- THE knight said: "How indeed can I speak to
- dread! If the moon meet the sun it is
consumed, it fades
- away. I am no longer at leisure to think; I
fear for myself.
- Tell me, then, why you are sad and what
will relieve you."
- THE maiden replied with elegant words, not
- saying: "Since thou hast hitherto remained
far from me,
- amazed at what has seemed impossible to
thee, I must first
- tell thee of the malady which afflicts me,
as a plague.
- "DOST thou remember, when thou and Rostevan
- game in the plain, how ye saw a certain
stranger youth who
- wiped his tears away ? Since then I have
been a prey to
- thoughts of him. I beg thee to search for
him, to seek him
- within the bounds of the sky.
- "ALTHOUGH I have been unable to hold
- thee hitherto, yet from afar have I
perceived thy love for
- me; I know that without pause the hail has
- thine eyes upon thy cheek. Thou art made
prisoner by love;
- thy heart is taken captive.
- "THIS service of mine which I bid thee do
befits thee for
- these two reasons: First, thou art a
knight, among all
- flesh there is none like unto thee;
secondly, thou art in love
- with me, this is true and no slander. Go,
- brother-in-arms, be he near or far.
- "THEREBY shalt thou strengthen my love for
- delivering me from my sadness, thou shalt
- foul demon; plant the violet of hope in my
- roses; then come, 0 lion, I shall meet thee
like a sun; meet
- thou me.
- "SEEK three years him whom thou hast to
seek; if thou
- find him, come gaily telling thy victory.
If thou find
- him not, I shall believe he was a vision.
Thou shalt meet
- the rosebud unwithered, unfaded.
- "I SWEAR if I wed any husband but thee,
- the sun become man, incarnate for my sake,
may I be cut
- off for ever from Paradise, may I be
swallowed up in Hell,
- love for thee would slay me, piercing my
heart with a
- THE knight replied: "0 sun, who causest the
- blink, what else can I answer, or what can
I come to know ?
- I awaited death; thou hast renewed my will
to live. I shall
- certainly obey thee like a slave in
- AGAIN he spoke: "0 sun, since God has
created thee a
- sun, so that the heavenly planets obey thee
- may be, I have heard from you that which
- me with grace; my rose shall not wither,
thy ray shines
- generously upon it."
- ONCE more they made an oath together, they
- each other, they confirmed it and
discoursed much, with
- many a word; what grief they had borne
until now became
- easy. Their white teeth flashed white
lightning as if
- THEY sat together, they made merry, they
- of a hundred things, they spoke with their
crystal and ruby
- faces and jet eyes. The knight said: "Those
who gaze upon
- thee become mad; my heart is burned to
ashes by the fire
- that conies from thee."
- THE youth went away, but he could not bear
- from her, he looked back, his eyes were
dazed, crystal hails
- down and freezes the rose, his graceful
form was trembling;
- he had heart for heart, he had lent his to
- HE said to himself: "0 sun, separation from
- thus early manifested on the rose: my
crystal and ruby have
- faded, I am become yellower than amber.
What shall I do,
- then, when I cannot see thee for a long
time ? This shall be
- my law: death for the beloved is fitting."
- HE lay down on his bed, he weeps, it is
- him to wipe away the tears, he shivered and
- an aspen in the wind; when he fell into a
- dreamed his beloved was near; he starts, he
cries out loud,
- his suffering increases twentyfold.
- SEPARATION from his beloved made him
- like pearls were shed upon the rose, making
it tender. When
- day dawned he apparelled himself, fair to
look upon; he
- mounted his horse, set out and came to
court for an
- HE sent a chamberlain into the hall of
- a message from him to the king, saying: "0
king, I venture
- to tell you what I have thought: all the
face of the earth
- is subjected to you by your sword; now, if
it be better,
- I shall make known these tidings to all the
- "I WILL go, I shall travel, I shall wage
war, I shall go
- to the rounds of the marches, I shall, by
- heart of your enemies, announce
- I shall cause the obedient to rejoice, the
- I make to weep, I shall send you gifts
incessantly, I shall
- not be sparing of greeting."
- THE king expressed his great gratitude; he
said: "0 lion,
- stretching thine arm in battle irks thee
not. Behold, this
- thy counsel is matched by thy valour. Thou
- but what shall I do if it happen that thou
tarry long ?"
- THE knight came in; he did homage, and
- words of thanks: "0 monarch, I wonder that
- deign to praise me. Now God will perchance
- me the darkness of separation, and let me
see again in joy
- your joyful face."
- THE king hung upon his neck and kissed him
like a son;
- like unto them have none been, neither
- upbrought. The knight rose and went away,
to him their
- day seemed separated; Rostevan, wise and
- wept for him.
- AVT'HANDIL set out, a brave knight marching
- twenty days he journeyed, many a day he
made one with
- the night. She is the joy of the world, she
is treasure and
- due; he puts not away the thought of
T'hinat'hin, of her for
- whom the flame burns.
- WHENEVER he came there was rejoicing in the
- nobles met him, they gave generous gifts;
the sun-faced had
- not wasted time in his rapid journey. The
drums of joy met
- them that came into his presence.
- HE had a strong city to strike terror in
- outside was a rock, I tell thee, with an
- The knight spent there three days in the
pleasant chase; he
- invited his pupil, Shermadin, to sit in
council with him.
- THIS is the slave Shermadin, mentioned
- up with Avt'handil, faithful and
self-sacrificing to him.
- He knew not hitherto of the fire which
burned the knight;
- now Avt'handil revealed the hopeful words
of the sun.
- HE said: "Lo, Shermadin, for this I am
- thee; thou knowest all my affairs and hast
given heed to
- them; but hitherto thou hast not known what
tears I have
- shed; in her from whom I had suffering I
now find joy.
- "I AM slain by love and longing for
- the narcissi hot tears moistened the
frosted rose; I could
- not till now show my hidden woe, now has
she bidden me
- hope, therefore thou seest me joyful.
- "SHE said to me: 'Learn news of that lost
- come, I shall fulfil thy heart's desire; I
want no husband
- save thee, even if a planted tree falls to
my lot.' She gave
- me the balm of my heart until that moment
- "FIRST, I am a knight; I wish to go forth
to serve my
- lady. Faithfulness to kings is fitting,
vassal must act as
- vassal; then, she has extinguished the
fire, my heart is
- no longer consumed to soot; a man must not
- misfortune, but meet it like a man.
- "OF all lords and vassals thou and I are
- therefore I entreat thee to hear this from
mine own mouth;
- in my stead I appoint thee lord and chief
over mine armies,
- I could not entrust this matter to others.
- "LEAD forth the soldiers to battle, rule
- send messengers to court telling the state
of affairs, write
- letters in my stead, present priceless
gifts; why should it
- be known that I am not here ?
- "REPRESENT me in military duties and in the
- hunting-field, wait here for me three
years, keep my secret;
- perchance indeed I shall return, my
aloe-tree shall not
- fade; but if I come not back, mourn me,
weep for me, utter
- "TELL the king forthwith-it is not a
- deed-announce my death to him, be as if
thou art drunk;
- say to him: 'For him is come to pass the
- none escape.' Give to the poor my
- and copper.
- "THUS shalt thou help me after the best
fashion, by this
- thou shalt aid me most; do not forget me
- me often, take good thought of provision
for me, pray for
- my soul. Remember my childhood; let thy
- motherly towards me."
- WHEN the slave heard this he wondered, he
- from his eyes the hot tears poured like
pearls. He said:
- "How can the heart deprived of thee
rejoice? I know thou
- wilt not stay; so I cannot hinder thee in
- "WHY didst thou say thou wouldst appoint me
- stead ? How can I undertake the lordship,
how can I imitate
- thee or resemble thee ? It were better that
the earth cradled
- me too than that I should have to think
that thou art
- alone; rather let us both steal forth, I
will accompany thee,
- take me with thee."
- THE knight replied: "Hearken unto me, I
tell thee truth
- without any falsehood; when a lover would
roam the fields
- alone he must wander; a pearl falls to the
lot of none
- without buying and bargaining. An evil and
- man should be pierced with a lance.
- "TO whom could I tell my secret? Save thee,
- worthy. To whom can I entrust the lordship
- who else can do it well ? Fortify the
marches that the enemy
- may not encamp near. Perchance I shall
return, if God
- make me not to be wholly lost.
- "HAZARD kills equally be it one or a
- can matter nought if the group of the
- protect me. If I come not hither in three
years, then will
- it beseem thee to mourn and wear funeral
garb. I will give
- thee a letter, whoever is my courtier must