Tariel Hears About the Death of the King of India
1577
ON the summit of the mountain, a great caravan appeared,
men and mules were all in black; the tresses of their hair
were woven round their heads. The king commandcth:
"Bring them here, we must tarry yet a while."
1578
THEY brought those merchants and their chief. The king
asked: "Who are you, why are your bodies robed in black?"
The men answered: "Such is the custom in the countries
from which we come. We came to India from Egypt and
have travelled a long way."
1579
TARIEL, P'hridon and Avt'handil rejoiced to hear that
those merchants had come from India; they feigned
indifference and abandoned themselves not to their
feelings. Tariel began to speak to them in a foreign language,
they did not understand Indian and they also answered in
Arabian.
1580
THEY said: "Give us, O merchants, some tidings from
India." Those answered: "The wrath of God has fallen on
India from on high. and great and small shed tears which
fall from their eyes drop by drop; the sages living among
them have lost their minds."
1581
THE chief of the merchants spake to them in words of
great eloquence: "P'harsadan, King of India, was a happy
king. He had a daughter, a star, more sun than the sun.
Her teeth were pearls, her form the aloe-tree, her cheeks
were rubies from Badakhshan, her hair was raven black.
1582
"DEARLY did that maid and the Amirbar love one
another. The Amirbar killed the bridegroom, news of it
spread rapidly. A tempest raged devastating all of India.
From her childhood this maiden had been reared by her
aunt.
1583
"HER aunt was a Kadj, most cunning in matters of sorcery.
Thus she undertook a most fearful task, depriving the earth
of sun. And she, unfortunate one, died being unworthy of
life. The maiden disappeared, she planted elsewhere the
shoot of the aloe-tree.
1584
"HAVING learned this, the Amirbar, the lion, set forth
in quest of the sun. He disappeared, the sun was dimmed in
India, the moon was tarnished; both are lost, there is no
hope of finding them. The king said: ''O God, why dost them
burn me on a slow fire!'
1585
"THE king was wrathful, to find them was beyond his
power; the sound of the cymbals and harps gave place to
woe. A brief time more he endured the burning of the
furnace. Now he too is dead, the processions and the sound
of footsteps have come to an end."
1586
HAVING conveyed these tidings the merchant continued to
speak. The woman cried out violently, and tore the veil
from her head. Tariel too cried out, disclosing what had
been hidden. A torrent flowed from the narcissi, the snow
melted.
1587
KILL me, if the sun could disobey the bare-headed woman!
Her fragrance is like unto the perfume of the rose, she, the
bare-headed one, is like a poppy. If even the sage praiseth
her, they will tell him: "Stop!" as to a donkey. Her teeth
are like twin-pearls set in a crystal shell.
1588
BITTERLY the woman laments her father's death, she is
like a nightingale. She tears her hair which streams about
her, her eyes are filled with tears; the rose become saffron,
the ruby is like moss. A cloud covers the sun, dimming its
rays.
1589
SHE scratches her face, she tears her hair, she weeps and
wails in a clamorous voice. Blood and tears flow in torrents
from her eyes. "O father, let me die for thy sake! I, thy
unworthy child, I have done nought for thee, in nothing
have I pleased you.
1590
"MY father, who is no more, was the light of my eyes. Who
will bring thee mv tidings, consoling thy heart therewith!
O sun, of what use is thy light, why dost thou shine of the
world! O world, why dost not perish! O mountain, why
yearn to rise aloft!"
1591
TARIEL lament? weeping: "O master, what is this I hear!
I marvel that the gun still shines, that it manifests no grief!
You are dead, sun of everything living, the world is no
longer yours. For God's sake be merciful, forgive me the
grief I have brought upon you!"
1592
ONCE again they spake: "Tell us the rest of this tale!"
The merchants answered: "O protector, a great battle is
being fought in India. The troops of the Khatavians came,
they surrounded the town, a certain King Ramaz is their
lord.
1593
"ALTHOUGH the queen is still alive, she is more dead
than the dead. The Indian troops are fighting, yet have they
already abandoned all hope. All the fortresses on the
boundaries are taken and destroyed. O sun, shed your rays,
see how unclement is the weather.
1594
"ALL those living there and we amongst them made
ourselves black robes. We presented ourselves to Ramaz and
made ourselves known as Egyptians; our king is great, and
therefore Ramaz wished to maintain peace with him. He
released us, we set forth, he caused us no harm."
1595
HAVING heard this Tariel set forth in haste; in one day
he traversed a three days' journey; he raised his banner,
nor did he shield himself. Now look how staunch is his
giant's heart!