Tariel and Avt’handil Go to P’hridon
1372
WHEN day dawned they set out; they took Asmat'h with
them. Till they came to Nuradin's land they mounted her
behind them; there a merchant gave them a horse for a
price in gold, he made not a gift of it. As guide Avt'handil
sufficed; whom else need he take!
1373
THEY wended their way and met with Nuradin's herdsmen,
they saw the herd of horses; it pleased them, who had come
for P'hridon. There said the Hindoo to Avt'handil: "I will
have thee do a good piece of fooling: Come, let us play a
joke on P'hridon, let us chase his herd.
1374
"WE will carry off the herd, he will come and hear that
the herd is reaved; he will prepare to do battle, to dye the
plain with gore. Suddenly he will recognize us, he will be
surprised, he will calm his heart. Pleasant is good joking;
it makes even the proud merry."
1375
THEY began to seize the steeds, P'hridon's finest. There
the herdsmen made a torch, they struck steel. They
shouted: "Who are ye, knights, who do such high deeds?
This herd is his who strikes the foe with his sword without
making him to sigh."
1376
THEY seized their bows, they pursued the herdsmen; the
herdsmen shrieked aloud, they raised their voices: "Help,
help! Brigands are massacring us!"" They made an outcry,
they united, they appealed to P'hridon, they were not
bashful.
1377
P'HRIDON arrayed himself, he mounted, he rode forth in
full array. They made an outcry, they united, the regiment
covered the fields. Those suns whom winter could not
freeze came forward; they were covered up, helmets hid
their faces.
1378
WHEN Tariel knew P'hridon, "Now have I seen him I
want," said he; he raised his helm, he smiled, he laughed;
he said to P'hridon: "What dost thou wish ? Why doth our
coming annoy thee? Bad host! Thou meetest us to fight."
1379
P'HRIDON swiftly dismounted; he fell down and saluted.
They also alighted, they embraced—ay, kissed him. P'hridon
with upraised hand gave God measureless thanks. The
lords also kissed them, whoever knew them.
1380
P'HRIDON said: "Why tarried ye? I expected ye sooner.
I am ready; I shall not lag in any service of yours!" It
seemed as if two suns and a moon were united there; they
beautified one another. They set out, they departed.
1381
AT P'hridon's fairly-builded house they both alighted;
he sits down beside his sworn brother Avt'handil; Tariel sat
on a throne covered in cloth of gold. To P'hridon, renowned
as a hero, they presented that armour.
1382
THEY said: "At this time we have no other gifts for
thee, but we have many other fair things lying in a place
we wot of." He laid his face to the ground, he wasted no
time: "Such a gift to me is worthy of you."
1383
THAT night they rested as P'hridon's guests; baths he
gave them, he gave them gifts of garments in plenty, he
clad their beauty in beauty, each garment fairer than the
other; he gave them rare jewels and pearls in a golden
basin.
1384
HE said: "This is the speech of a bad host; 'tis as if
hospitality to you, wise ones, wearied me as if you were
mad; but tarrying now avails not, it is better to travel the
long road; if the Kadjis outstrip us there is a risk of trouble.
1385
"WHY should we use great hosts? We want good and few;
three hundred men suffice us, let us go swift like runaways;
in Kadjet'hi for fighting the Kadjis we shall put basket-hilts
on our swords; soon shall we find her whose pleasant aloe
form will slay us.
1386
"ONCE aforetime I was in Kadjet'hi; you shall see it,
and you, too, shall find it strong; on all sides round about
is rock, a foe may not come up to it; if we may not go in
privily, it is impossible to engage openly; so we need no
army, the squadron cannot follow us secretly."
1387
WITH what he said, they too agreed. They left there the
maiden Asmat'h; P'hridon bestows a gift upon her. They
took with them three hundred horsemen equal to heroes.
At the last God will give the victory to all who have been
distressed.
1388
ALL three sworn brothers crossed the sea. P'hridon knows
the way; going day and night they travel. P'hridon said:
"Now are we coming nigh the regions of Kadjet'hi;
henceforth we must travel by night so that we be not
discovered."
1389
THE three behaved according to this advice of P'hridon's;
when it was daylight they stopped, and by night they went
swiftly on. They arrived; the city appeared; they could not
count the guards; outside was a rock, the noise of the
sentinels in crowds increased.
1390
AT the gate of the passage ten thousand braves kept
guard. Those lions saw the city; the shining moon stood
upon it. They said: "Let us advise what is best, now is
choice difficult; a hundred can overcome a thousand if
they choose the best way."