1369P’hridon said: "I will speak a word, I think I am not at fault: We are few, the city is only expugnable by many; we have not strength for a direct attack--this is no time for boasting--in a thousand years we could not anywhere win in if they shut the gate against us.
1370"In my childhood my tutors instructed me in gymnastics, they taught me their tricks, they made me
leap, they trained me, I used to go along a rope so that eyes could not follow me; whatever little boys looked at me they also desired to do it.
1371"Now, whichever of you knows best how to cast a noose, let us throw the end of a long rope to that tower, it seems as easy for me to cross as a field; I shall make it a trouble to you to find a sound man inside.
1372"To me it seems nought to cross in armour, no trouble to bear a shield; nimbly shall I leap down inside, strike like a wind, slay the soldiers; I shall open, you will see the opening of the gate, you too come thither where you hear the uproar of alarm."
1373Avt’handil said: "Ha, P’hridon! friends cannot complain of thee; thou hast hope in thy lion-like arms, wounds hurt not thee; thou counsellest hard counsel to make foes lament; but hearest thou not how very near the garrison shouts!
1374"When thou goest over, the garrison will hear the clatter of thine armour, they will perceive thee, they will cut the cord, of this thou must be assured. Everything will turn out ill for thee; only the vain attempt will remain to thee. That counsel is of no value; let us help ourselves in some other way.
1375"This is better: you stay hidden in ambush. These men will not lay hands on a traveller coming into the town. I will dress myself as a merchant, I will do a treacherous deed; I will load a mule with helmet, hauberk and sword.
1376"It is of no use for the three of us to go in, there is risk that they would perceive it; I shall go alone as a merchant, and well shall I win in unnoticed; secretly shall
[paragraph continues] I don mine armour, I shall appear, I shall deceive them. God grant that I may make channels of blood to flow generously in there!
1377"Without any difficulty I shall remove the guards inside; you strike outside the gate, all like heroes; I shall shatter the locks, I shall open, you will see the opening of the gate. If aught else would be better, say so; I am for a plan of this sort."
1378Tariel said: "I recognize your heroism exceeding that of heroes; your counsel and advice is like your own stout-heartedness; I know you desire fierce fight, not a vain brandishing of swords, when the battle becomes perilous then are ye men.
1379"But let me too have some choice in the matter. The sound will be heard by her who maddens me; like the sun she will be standing aloft; you will have fierce fight, she will see me as a non-combatant! This will be a slur on me. Nay, speak no flattering words!
1380"Better than that counsel is this--let us do as I say: Let us divide the men by hundreds; when night turns to dawn let the three of us start out from three places, swiftly let us urge on our horses; they will send out to encounter us, we shall seem insignificant to them, we shall lend a powerful palm to the sword.
1381"Swiftly shall we engage them, we shall get round them; they will not be able to shut the gates against us; one of the three will go in, the others from outside will strike with battering-rams (?); that one who is inside will fall on those within, making their blood flow; again let us lay hold of the arms mightily used by us!"
1382P’hridon said: "I understand, I perceive, I know what (it is). None could forestall at the gates that horse that once was mine; when I gave it I knew not that we
should want to mount guard over the Kadjis in Kadjet’hi; if so, I tell thee I would by no means have given it to thee, such is mine avarice!"
1383P’hridon the gay jests with such discourse as this; thereupon they, the eloquent, wise-worded ones, laugh, they joke one with another, with merriment beseeming them. They dismounted and arrayed themselves; they mounted their excellent steeds.
1384Again they interchanged words, not tart to the mouth. They resolved on that plan proposed by Taria. They divided among them by hundreds the men, all equal to heroes. They mounted their horses; their helmets they raised.
1385I saw those heroes shining with rays excelling the sun; those three are covered by the seven planets with a column of light. Tariel with slender form sits on the black (horse); they consumed their foes in fight as their admirers by gazing.
1386Now, this is what I shall say is their image and likeness: When clouds rain down, and the stream pours from the mountains, it comes and glides through the glens, turmoil and uproar is heard; but when it unites with the sea then is it even so calm.
1387Though P’hridon and Avt’handil are unrivalled in valour, yet to engage with Taria is to be desired of none; the sun hides even the planets, nor do the Pleiads shine. Now give heed, O listener; thou shalt hear of fierce fights.
1388The three split up into three, one for each gate; with them they had three hundred men all equal to heroes. That night they hastily made a reconnaissance, not illusory.
[paragraph continues] Day dawned, they appeared, they set forth, they each had his shield.
1389First they went quietly in the guise of some travellers; those inside could not perceive, they could not meet them alertly, they had no fear in their hearts, quietly they stood at ease. They approached; for the time being they covered over their helmets.
1390Suddenly they spurred their horses, their whips swished. When they saw, they opened the gates, a tumult came forth from the city. The three set out in three different directions, thus risking their lives (?). They played on fifes and drums; they made the trumpets sound shrill.'
1391Then the measureless wrath of God struck Kadjet’hi. Cronos, looking down in anger, removed the sweetness of the sun; to them (the Kadjis) also in wrath turned round the wheel and circle of heaven. The fields could not contain the corpses; the army of the dead was increasing.
1392The sound of Tariel's mighty voice made men unwounded faint, he rent the armour, the strength of the chain-mail was brought to nought; they attacked the gates on three sides, they found no difficulty in cutting them down; when they entered the city they began swiftly to destroy the castle.
1393Avt’handil and the lion P’hridon met inside, they had wholly destroyed the enemy, whose blood flowed in streams; they shouted and saw each other, they rejoiced
greatly; they said: "How goeth it with Tariel?" Their eyes roved round seeking him.
1394None of them knew; they could hear nought of Tariel. They wended to the castle gate, no care had they for the foe; there they saw a bank of armour, shattered chips of sword-blades, the ten thousand guards lifeless, like dust.
1395All the castle guard lay like sick men, every one wounded from head to foot, their armour rent in pieces, the castle gates open, the fragments of the gates flung aside. They recognized Tariel's handiwork, they said: "This is his doing."
1396They found the roads prepared, they entered and crept up the passages; they saw: the moon was freed from the serpent to meet the suns; he raised his helmet, his reedy hair thrown back became him (well), breast was glued to breast, neck was riveted to neck.
1397They (Nestan and Tariel) embraced each other, they kissed and shed tears; they were like when Musht’har and Zual are united. When the sun surrounds the rose they become fair and reflect the rays. They that have hitherto seen griefs will henceforth rejoice.
1398They kissed each other, they stood neck-welded; again full oft they glued the roses of the opened lips. Now those also (Avt’handil and P’hridon) came forth, the three sworn brothers were gathered together; they gave greeting to that sun, they presented themselves as they were called on.
1399The sun (Nestan) met them with lovely, laughing face, the proud one kissed her helpers with gentle mien, she humbly gave them thanks with dainty words; both together talked with fair discourse.
1400They greeted Tariel too, that tree like an aloe sapling, they wished him joy of the victory, they asked news of one another; it irked them not, they regretted not, for their armour had not failed them; they themselves had quit themselves as lions, those that fought against them had been as hinds and goats.
1401Out of the three hundred men, a hundred and sixty came in with them; it grieves P’hridon for his troops, but on the other hand he rejoiced; they sought out and suffered not to live whatever adversaries were left. What treasures they found, now how can their number be told!
1402They collected mules, camels, whatever they could find that was swift, they loaded three thousand with pearls and gems, every gem cut, jacinths and rubies; they placed that sun in a palanquin, precautions are taken by them.
1403They appointed sixty men to guard the castle of Kadjet’hi. They led away that sun--hard would it be to ravish her from them--they set out for the City of the Seas, though long is the way thither. They said: "We must see P’hatman; we owe her a due recompense."