Sacred Texts  Islam  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Arabian Poetry, by W. A. Clouston, [1881], at


King Cais having despatched some of his slaves to obtain tidings of Antar, one of them returned with a glowing account of a wonderful colt, called Dahis, which he had seen in the course of his journey. In beauty and in speed this colt had no equal in all Arabia. The King bargained for Dahis with the owner, and was delighted when he came to terms for his purchase. Soon after this Carwash, a cousin of King Cais, was present at a grand feast given by Hadifah; and the conversation turning upon horses, Carwash boasted of the racing qualities of Dahis. Hadifah

p. 288

offers to back his mare Ghabra for twenty camels, to run against Dahis, and a match is made accordingly. But the King takes the matter in his own hands, and visits Hadifah, to arrange the conditions of the race.

"'As to the first bet, Hadifah,' said Cais, 'I dissolve it, and I will lay you another, and let the wager be thirty.' 'Forty,' said Hadifah. 'Fifty,' said Cais. 'Sixty,' said Hadifah; and they continued rising till they made the bet a hundred she-camels, and consigned the contract into the hands of a man called Sabik, son of Wahab, whilst a crowd of old and young collected about them.—'What distance shall we run?' said Hadifah to Cais.—'Forty arrow-shots,' said Cais; 'and we have an archer called Ayas, son of Mansoor'—for there was no Arab at that day could shoot like him, and the Arabs had made him quite a proverb. King Cais was anxious indeed for a longer race on account of the strength of his horse's muscles; for the greater distance he went, the more his spirit and animation increased in his movements. 'Determine, then,' said Cais to Hadifah, when the match shall take place.'—'Forty days, I think,' said Hadifah, will be required to train the horses.'—'Very well,' said Cais; and the affair was mutually settled, that the horses should be trained forty days, and the race-ground should be near the lake of Zat-ul-irsad; and the horse that should arrive first should be the winner. Cais having given his consent, he returned to the tents."

The race between Dahis and Ghabra came off at the place appointed, and Dahis would have won, but for foul play on the part of Hadifah, who caused the colt to be injured before reaching the goal; the consequence of which was the famous Forty Years’ War between the tribes of Abs and Dhobyan, known as the War of Dahis.

Next: Prince Malik's Marriage and Death