Avt’handils Letter to His Vassals
166
HE wrote as follows: "My vassals, my instructors and
some my pupils, faithful, trusty and tried, attentive to my
behests like shadows, hearken to my letter all assembled!
167
"GIVE ear! I, Avt'handil, earth beneath your feet, write
this unto you; with mine own hand have I written this
epistle. For a little while I have preferred roaming to
drink and song; for bread and meat I shall trust to my bow
and thumb.
168
"I HAVE in hand a certain matter which makes me
journey to a far country; I depart alone, and this year
shall I travel. I ask you only this: I beseech you let me find
the realm unshaken by the foe.
169
"I HAVE in hand a certain matter which makes me
journey to a far country; I depart alone, and this year
shall I travel. I ask you only this: I beseech you let me find
the realm unshaken by the foe.
170
"YOU know, too, how he has grown up with me like a
brother and like a son; you must obey him as if he were
Avt'handil; let him make to sound the trumpet, do
everything as I have hitherto done; if I come not at the
time appointed, mourning and not laughter will be seemly
to you."
171
THE eloquent and nice-worded one ended this letter, he
tied gold round his waist, habited himself to travel alone;
he said: "I shall mount in the plain." The soldiers formed
in line, then they came forth; he tarried no time indoors.
172
HE said: "Let all go hence; herein I need none as a
partisan." He sent the slaves away also, he remained by
himself, alone he withdrew himself, he hastened through
the rushes. His slayer, T'hinat'hin, is always in his thoughts.
173
HE galloped over that plain; he was lost to the soldiers'
sight. What human being might have seen him and pursued
him, his sword could not harm him; his arm was hampered.
He was heavy laden with a burden of grief for her sake.
174
WHEN the soldiers hunted and sought their lord, and
could no longer find the sun-faced, their countenances
paled, their great joy turned into heaviness, they ran
everywhere to seek him, whoever had a swift horse.
175
"0 LION, whom can God put in thy place!" They ran and
brought out other messengers from elsewhere; they could
learn nothing of him; he passed from that place. His
disheartened hosts shed hot tears.
176
SHERMADIN assembled together the courtiers and nobles;
he showed them the letter in which Avt'handil had told
them his tidings. When they heard it, all remained
heart-pierced, they beat themselves, there was not
a tearless heart, not an unbruised breast.
177
ALL said: "Though our state without him is irksome to us,
to whom save thee could he give his seat and throne ? Of
a truth we shall obey thee, whatever thou commandest
any of us." They made that vassal lord; all did him
homage.