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1303Avt’handil has crossed the seas in a certain ship for travellers. He rides glad-hearted all alone. To meet Tariel with such tidings rejoices him. With hands uplifted, with his heart he hopes in God.

1304Summer was come, from the earth came forth verdure, the token of the rose bursting into bloom, the time of their tryst, the change of course by the sun, the setting out of the cypress-formed. He sighed when he saw the flower long time unseen by him.

1305The sky thundered and the cloud rained crystal dew; he kissed the rose with his rose-like lips; he said: "I gaze on you with tenderly-observant eye; I rejoice to have converse with you in her (T’hinat’hin's) stead."

1306When he thought on his friend, the bitter tears flowed; he travelled those weary ways towards Tariel, deserted and pathless, unknown regions; lion and panther of the reedy thickets he slew wherever he saw them.

1307The caves came in sight, he was glad, he recognized them. He said: "These be the rocks where my friend is, he for whom my tears have flowed. I am indeed worthy to see him face to face, to relate to him what I have heard. If he be not come, what shall I do? Vain will have been my travail.

1308"If he be come, doubtless he would not tarry within; he would go somewhere into the plain, like a wild

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beast he would roam in the fields; it is better for me to go round by the rushes." He bethought himself, he looked about; thus he spoke and turned, he went towards the plains.

1309. He canters along and sings with merry heart; he shouts to him by name with cheerful voice. He went a little farther, there appeared the sun in full splendour, at the edge of the rushes stands Tariel with sharp sword.

1310. Tariel had slain a lion; its blood anointed his sword. He stood dismounted at the edge of the rushes; his horse was not with him. He heard Avt’handil's shout, he was astonished; he looked at him, recognized him, started, ran towards him, bounded.

1311. Tariel flung aside his sword and went towards his adopted brother. The knight alighted from his horse; it seemed to him that he had attained his goal (?). They kissed each other; their necks were as if riveted together. There was the sugary sound of the rose frequently opening.

1312. Tariel, weeping, uttered polished, exquisite words--the tear of blood dyed the jetty thickets crimson, the fountain of tears, many streams, waters the aloe: "Since I have seen thee, what matters it to me if eight pains oppress me?"

1313. Tariel weeps and Avt’handil was speaking to him laughing, he smiles, he opens his coral (lips), the flash from his teeth quivers; he said: "I have learned tidings

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which will please thee; now the flower will be renewed, the rose hitherto fading."

1314Tariel said: "O brother, that which rejoices me to-day is enough, in seeing thee I have seen all my comfort, whatever other balm God gives; hast thou not heard: How can man find in the world that which is not of Heaven's doing!" (?)

1315When Tariel was not convinced, Avt’handil was ill at ease, he could no longer delay to tell the tale; he hastened, he drew forth the veil of her on whose lips the rose blooms; when Tariel saw, he recognized it, seized upon it, started.

1316He recognized the letter and the fringe of the veil and unfolded them, he pressed them to his face; he fell, a rose pale in hue, his spirits fled, the watchman of jet bowed his head. Neither Caen nor even Salaman could bear sorrows like his.

1317Avt’handil gazes at Tariel lying lifeless; he flew to him, he set about helping him, the sweetly-speaking; he could not be of avail to the consumed one, completely burned up with fire; her tokens had laid hold of his life.

1318Avt’handil sat down to weep; he mourns with melodious voice, full oft he tears his raven locks, he rouses them by seizing them with his crystal (hand), he brake the ruby polished with a hammer of adamant, thence issue streams which I likened to coral in hue.

1319He scratches his face; blood flows from his cheeks while gazing at (Tariel). "What I have done neither madman nor fool hath done. Why did I in my haste pour water on a fire difficult to quench! The heart struck hastily by exceeding joy cannot bear it.

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1320"I have slain my friend! What befits me disgraced? I blame myself for a deed not thought out with heed. A stupid man cannot do well in a difficult matter. It is said: 'Chidden slowness is better than praised haste.'"

1321Tariel lay unconscious, as if scorched, Avt’handil rose, he passed through the rushes in search of water; he found the lion's blood, he carries it to quench the flame, he sprinkled it on (Tariel's) breast; the lapis-lazuli became ruby-hued.

1322Avt’handil sprinkled the breast of that lion (Tariel) with the lion's blood. Tariel started up, the ranks of the race of India moved, he opened his eyes, he received power to sit up; blue seems the ray of the moon diminished in ray by the sun.

1323Winter makes the roses fade, their leaves fall; the ardour of the summer sun burns them, they bemoan the drought, but upon them nightingales complain with lovely voice; heat consumes, frost freezes; the wounds hurt them in either case.

1324Even so is it hard to deal with the heart of man; it is mad alike both in grief and in joy; it is always wounded, its fate is never whole. He only can trust this world who is his own foe.

1325Tariel gazed again on the writing of his slayer; he reads, though the reading of her letter maddens him; his tears blind him to the light, dark seems the beam of day. Avt’handil rose, he began to speak with rough? words.

1326He said: "Such behaviour is unworthy of an instructed man! Why should we weep now? It behoves us to set about the making of smiles. Arise, let us go in

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quest of that lost sun. Soon shall I lead thee to her; I must bring thee to thy desired one.

1327"What joy befits us, therewithal let us first rejoice. Then let us mount and set out, let us wend towards Kadjet’hi. Be our swords our guides, let us sheath them in their (the Kadjis') backs; untroubled shall we return, we shall reduce them to carrion."

1328Then Tariel asks for tidings; he no longer fainted. He looked up, he raised his eyes, the black and white lightning glittered, as a ruby by the sun so was his colour increased. Who is worthy that towards him the sky turn ever in mercy?

1329To Avt’handil he gave thanks; he conversed with him: "How shall I speak thy praise, worthy to be praised by the wise! Like a spring up on a mountain thou hast watered the flower of the plain; thou hast cut off for me the flow of tears of the pool of the narcissi (the eyes).

1330"I can never make thee a return; may the God of heaven repay thee! May He in my stead reward thee from His height!" They mounted and went home; they made great rejoicing. Now the world (Fate) will indeed sate Asmat’h so long hungering.

1331At the door of the cave Asmat’h sits alone, not fully dressed; when she had looked she recognized Tariel, and with him a knight on a white horse; both were sweetly singing like songster nightingales. Immediately she recognized them she rose hastily, bare but for her smock.

1332Hitherto she had ever seen him come to the cave weeping, now she wondered to behold him singing, laughing; seized with fear she arose, her understanding was

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like a drunkard's; she heard not yet the news she so longed for.

1333When they saw her they shouted to her, laughing and showing their teeth: "Ho! Asmat’h! God's mercy is come down on us from on high; we have found the lost moon; what we desired that have we done; now we shall have our fires quenched by Fate, our sorrows turned to joy."

1334Avt’handil alighted from his horse to embrace Asmat’h; she laid hold of the aloe, pliant to the touch was its branch (his arm); she kisses his neck and face; she sheds tears. "Tell me what thou hast discovered, what thou hast done. Beseeching thee, I weep on the field."

1335Avt’handil gave to Asmat’h the letter of her charge, the aloe with faded branch, the pale moon. He said: "See the writing of her who hath passed through troubles; the sun approaches us, it hath given us the putting away of shadow."

1336When Asmat’h saw the letter she knew (Nestan's) hand; she marvelled, fear seized her, she quakes like one possessed, from head to foot overwhelming wonder laid hold on her; she says: "What have I seen, what do I heard is it indeed true?"

1337Avt’handil said: "Fear not, this story is true, joy is given to us, all sore grief is put away from us, the sun is come nigh us, darkness is no longer dark for us. Good hath overcome ill; the essence of (good) is lasting."

1338The King of the Indians merrily spoke somewhat with Asmat’h; they embraced each other, joy made them weep; the raven's tail (eyelashes) dropped light dew upon the rose (cheeks). God forsaketh not man if man comprehend this.

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1339They gave God great thanks. They said: "Thou hast done to us what was best; now we recognize that your mouth would not have adjudged to us the worst." The King of the Indians, with uplifted hand, joyously shouted this. Merry they went into the caves; Asmat’h made ready somewhat for their refreshment.

1340Tariel said to Avt’handil: "Hearken to these words: I will tell thee something, think me not a tedious narrator. Since the time when I captured the caves (and) slew droves of Devis, their precious treasury lies here.

1341"Never have I seen it, for I have not wished to do so. Come and let us open it; let us see how much treasure there is." It pleased him; both arose, nor did Asmat’h stay seated. They broke down forty doors; it was no great struggle for them.

1342They found unequalled treasure, hitherto unseen by their eyes. There stood a heap of jewels of fair workmanship. There were seen pearls each as big as a ball for play. Who could make account of the gold not to be numbered by any!

1343Inside those forty rooms were full. They found an armoury newly made for armour; there all kinds of armour were placed like preserves (in a store cupboard); therein was a coffer, sealed, unopened.

1344Upon it was written: "Here lieth wondrous armour: chain helmet, habergeon, steel-cutting sword. If the Kadjis attack the Devis it will be a hard day. Whoever openeth at any other time is a slayer of kings!"

1345They opened the coffer; they found in it three suits of armour fit for three warrior knights to don; coats of mail, swords, helmets, greaves of like sort; they were in emerald nests, as it were shrines.

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1346Each clothed himself with each, they tested them on themselves; chain helmet and habergeon nought could dint; they struck the swords on iron, they cut it like cotton-thread. I tell you they prize them more than all the world; they would not barter them for it.

1347They said: "As a sign this is enough for us; we are in good luck. God has gazed on us with His eye, looking down from above." They took up that armour, each put it on his neck; they bound up one (set) with leather thongs to present to P’hridon.

1348They took with them some gold, some rare pearls; they went forth, they sealed up the forty treasuries. Avt’handil said: "Henceforth will I fasten my palm to the sword; nowhere shall I go to-night, when day dawns I shall not tarry."

1349Now, painter, limn the sworn brothers more steadfast than brothers, these lovers of stars, excelled by none, both heroic knights renowned in bravery. When they go to Kadjet’hi you shall see a battle of piercing lances.

Next: XLII. Tariel and Avt’handil Go to P’hridon