THIRTY-THREE -- [The Amir pursues
‘Ifrit into the tilism, and has strange adventures there.]
The Amir had only advanced a little way when
a voice came from the sky, “Oh Sahib-qiran, don’t go any further, don’t
by any means take even a step--wait until I come, have this much patience!”
The Amir stopped, and saw that it was the virtuous *Salasil Parizad.
Salasil Parizad saluted the Amir, gave him an emerald tablet with the Names
of God written on it, and said, “’Abdur Rahman sends you this tablet and
says, ‘Do nothing without looking at this tablet. Otherwise you will
come to great harm and endure much hardship.’” Salasil Parizad, having
given him the tablet, took his leave, and went back to where he had came
When the Amir looked at the tablet, after
“In the name of God” he found this written: “Oh breaker of the tilism,
God the Most Honorable and Glorious showed you much grace when this tablet
came into your hands: you won the key to triumph and victory.
Read the Name written on its margin, then blow toward the sky, and this
darkness will be removed; all the blackness will be hidden, and the road
will be full of light.” The Sahib-qiran read that Name and blew toward
the sky; the darkness completely disappeared. The Amir humbly thanked
God and, taking the tablet with him, set out ahead.
When he reached the vicinity of the fort,
he saw that a serpent was sitting with its lower jaw on the earth and its
upper jaw on the door-lintel, as though it had swallowed the gate of the
fort. The Amir, astonished, was regarding it, when suddenly the serpent
called out, “Oh breaker of the tilism, enter my mouth, don’t feel the least
fear or doubt!” The Sahib-qiran looked at the tablet. On it
was written, “Breathe this #Name over yourself without fear, and leap into
its mouth. Don’t be at all afraid of this serpent--it’s only a trick
to frighten you, it’s not a real serpent or a malevolent power.”
The Sahib-qiran had no sooner leaped into its mouth than a loud clamor
was heard; utter turmoil and confusion broke out, as though Doomsday had
After a time, the Amir opened his eyes.
Neither serpent nor fort was to be seen, but a garden in full bloom, the
envy of the gardens of Paradise. In it the flowers of all the seasons
bloomed at once, the flowering trees were ranged around with perfect elegance
and grace; out-of-season fruit hung from the trees, every tree was loaded
with fruit. Birds made of jewels sat singing on the trees, creating
a marvelous air with their sweet voices. The Amir sat down beside
a water-channel and began to look around.
Suddenly from the garden’s pavilion a sad
voice could be heard, but no face was to be seen: “Alas, there’s
no servant of the Lord here who will free me from the bonds of misery,
and find his fair reward before the Lord’s throne!” The Amir,
hearing this voice, entered the pavilion, and saw a charming girl, very
young and most beautiful, sitting bound to a couch. On her wrists
and ankles were iron chains instead of jewelry, and in this harsh bondage
she was utterly sad and downcast.
The Amir took pity on her condition; seeing
her sweet face, he felt very sorry. With the greatest compassion
he asked her, “Oh fair one, who are you, and who has imprisoned you here?”
She replied, “First please inform me of your name and origin, and tell
me about yourself--who you are and where you come from and how you have
entered this tilism.” The Amir said, “I am the Earthquake of Qaf,
the Younger Solomon, the *World-conqueror, the Sahib-qiran, the destroyer
of the treacherous ‘Ifrit; a servant of God, a member of the community
of the chosen Prophet, a worshiper of truth, a follower of the right path.”
She said, “I am *Sosan Pari, daughter of Salim
Kohi; how can I tell you of my wretched condition? ‘Ifrit fell in
love with me, and asked my father for me in marriage. When he refused,
‘Ifrit brought his army and attacked. When my father couldn’t withstand
him in battle, he came and told me of his defeat. I said, ‘Marry
me to him, and don’t worry or delay. I’ll catch him unawares and
bind him, I’ll fool him completely. Then you can send him to King
Shahpal; King Shahpal will be very pleased with you. He’ll be delighted
at the subjugation of his enemy--he will surely exalt you more highly,
he will give you some great estate.’
“Then my father married me to ‘Ifrit.
When ‘Ifrit drank too much wine, the wine acted like a knockout drug: he
lost his senses, the intoxicating effects of the wine made him drunk and
unconscious. I at once bound his hands and feet, to imprison him
and send him to Shahpal, in order to please the king with this service.
Someone told his mother Mal’unah the Magician about this. She came
and released him from bondage, confined me here, and went away. Since
then I’ve been imprisoned here. This life is worse than death; I’d
a thousand times rather die than live like this! Now if you will
release me from this bondage, and rescue me from this trouble, I’ll lead
you easily to ‘Ifrit, and bless you all my life.”
The Sahib-qiran granted her release from captivity;
it was as though he had bestowed on her a new life. She took the
Sahib-qiran with her into another garden, and showed him ‘Ifrit’s house,
and told him all about where he was to be found. The Sahib-qiran
saw that there were twelve hundred Devs with weapons at the ready, alert
to protect him. Suddenly Sosan Pari threw herself to the ground before
the Amir, recited a Name, and rose up into the sky. She ignored such
great kindness on the Amir’s part, and showed herself unfaithful.
When she had flown very high, she called out loudly to those Devs, “Oh
Devs, don’t just sit there! The destroyer of ‘Ifrit and the ruiner
of tilisms stands before you--kill him however you can!”
The Sahib-qiran very much regretted having
released her, he was anxious and stupefied at her faithlessness.
The Devs surrounded the Amir from all sides and prepared to attack, they
drew their weapons to kill him. The Amir, drawing the Scorpion of
Solomon from its scabbard, cut every Dev who attacked in two, and sent
him to Hell. But all the drops of blood that fell from his body turned
into Devs! The Amir’s arm and hand grew weak from striking and striking;
from dealing so many blows his strength was completely exhausted.
Then he remembered the tablet, and fixed his
eyes on its words. When he looked, he saw written, “Oh breaker of
the tilism, don’t release Sosan the Magician from captivity, don’t fall
into her trap! She’s a great deceiver, she will trick and betray
you. And if it happens that you make a mistake and she escapes, then
when she flies up as high as the stars and the Devs begin to attack you,
breathe this Name over the tip of an arrow and shoot it at her, so that
she’ll disappear and be seen no more.” The Amir acted on the tablet’s
order. Instantly a tumult and confusion broke out: “Beware,
let him not escape! The destroyer of ‘Ifrit has entered the tilism,
let him be struck down quickly!”
After this tumult and confusion, when the
Amir looked around, there was no Sosan Pari and no Devs, no noise and no
turmoil. From over the garden wall, Parizads’ voices could be heard,
and voices like those of Qaf-dwellers. The Amir went over that way
and looked. There was a beautifully arranged garden; in its pavilion
a beautiful young girl, fairer than the full moon, was imprisoned, and
near her was seated a venerable man who looked like a king of Qaf, with
his head bowed in extreme sorrow. And nearby were four hundred Jinns
and Parizads with their feet in chains, all wrongfully imprisoned.
Seeing the Sahib-qiran, that fair one said,
“Oh Sahib-qiran, for the Lord’s sake free us from this captivity; the Lord
will reward you richly!” The Sahib-qiran suspected that this might
be a case like the former one: that this girl too might be treacherous
and deceive him. It’s truly said, ‘Someone scalded by hot milk blows
on buttermilk too before drinking it.’ Drawing his sword, the Sahib-qiran
ran at her to kill her, so she’d have no chance to escape. The old
man said with tears and lamentations, “My friend, why do you kill us who
are already half-dead? Fear the Lord, and have pity on our wretchedness!
First listen to our story, then do as you will--kill us or deliver us!
“My name is *Junaid Shah the Green-robed,
I am Shahpal’s older brother. This is my daughter; *Raihan Pari is
her name. We are all Qaf-dwellers. When ‘Ifrit defeated Shahpal,
he required me, ‘Give me your daughter in marriage, and become my vassal,
and fear my wrath.’ When I didn’t agree, he defeated me and imprisoned
me here with Raihan Pari and four hundred companions, and assigned us this
garden to live in. Now it’s up to you--kill us or spare us, do whatever
you wish.” The Sahib-qiran looked at the tablet, and found that it
confirmed his words.
Then the Amir took pity on his plight.
He at once released them all from bondage, and said to them, “After giving
my greetings to Shahpal, tell him, ‘I have suffered very much on this journey,
and endured great shocks. Now by God’s grace I’ve come this far;
if God wills I’ll succeed in killing ‘Ifrit also, and will have the honor
of returning to serve you. Please pray for victory for me, and don’t
let worry and anxiety afflict your heart.’” It is written that as
soon as Junaid the Green-robed, overwhelmed with joy at his release, took
leave of the Amir, the Amir set out onwards from there.
He saw a grand mansion, most elegantly adorned.
Its courtyard seemed to be full of water; this surprised the Amir.
Then he saw that an opened chest sat in the midst of the courtyard.
The Amir extended a foot, to see how deep the water was. That step
showed him that it was not water, but a floor of amazingly pure crystal
clearer and brighter than water. The Amir said to himself, “I ought
to look at this box and see what’s in it; it must surely contain some marvels
of magic and tilism!” The moment he bent down to look at the box,
a Dev who had been lying on his back inside it wrapped both arms around
the Amir’s neck and clung to him; he clasped him with great force.
The Amir grasped the edge of the chest with
one hand and, collecting his strength, used the other hand to bring the
tablet before his eyes. He saw written on it, “Traveler in the tilism,
beware, beware--don’t go near that box, save yourself from such a calamity!
If you do go near it, you’ll never escape from this tilism as long as you
live, you’ll die and stay inside it! On that Dev’s breast is a single
hair like a stinking piece of rope. It is not a rope, but a snare.
A tablet is tied to it. Pull out the tablet and the hair together
from his breast, to save yourself from that Dev’s attack and to achieve
your purpose. Then breathe the Great Name of God over the first tablet
and hit him on the head with it. You will see the wonderful power
of the Lord, and by the Lord’s grace and favor will be freed of all disasters.”
The Amir pulled the tablet, together with
the hair, out of the Dev’s breast, and gave thanks to the Lord when the
hair broke. Then he read the Great Name of God over the first tablet,
and hit the Dev over the head with it. At once the Dev went off to
Hell. At the touch of the tablet a whirling flame came out of his
head; the chest began to burn fiercely, a blazing fire arose from it.
Voices called out, “Seize him, kill him!” with a tumult and commotion that
rose to the skies and reached as far as the mountains: “Be careful,
don’t let the destroyer of Zarraq/1/
the Magician escape! Let him be killed quickly in any way possible!”
When the tumult and commotion ceased, the
Amir saw neither crystal floor nor Dev nor palace--only a desolate plain.
In the plain was a pool brimful of blood, and in the middle of the pool
stood a wheel. The blood flowed through the wheel and into a well.
But he could not get a clear impression of what kind of marvel it was,
or what sort of magic. The Amir, seeing it, was astonished, and went
After going a little way, he saw a garden,
and there too he found a new marvel. A boy stood at the gate as though
he were firmly guarding it. The Amir asked him a number of times,
“Who are you? Inform me of your identity, and tell me about yourself.”
The boy gave the Amir no answer, and absolutely didn’t speak to the Amir
at all. When the Amir entered the garden, the boy called out, “Oh
Devs, be on the alert, the breaker of the tilism has entered the garden,
all your magic is now nullified!” The Amir, turning, struck one blow
with his sword that sent the boy’s head flying fifty paces away like a
scythed corn-ear. But as the Amir went on, what sight did he see
but the boy’s head leaping up and rejoining his body! The boy rose
up living, as though he had drunk the Water of Life.
The Amir, stupefied, looked at the tablet,
and saw written there, “Oh breaker of the tilism, don’t by any means kill
the Magic Gatekeeper, for he won’t die till Doomsday, no blow will affect
him. If you breathe this Name of God over the tip of an arrow and
shoot him in the breast, then he’ll surely die from the effects of the
Name, and will not come back to life. And you deserve congratulations,
for you have reached ‘Ifrit, and arrived near his house!”
When the Amir breathed the Great Name of God
on an arrowhead and shot it into the boy’s breast, a dense black whirlwind
came, darkness spread over the whole world. Thunder and lightning
began striking all around, bolts of lightning began falling everywhere.
There was even more tumult and confusion than there was thunder--birds
and beasts began to lose their senses. The Amir covered his eyes
with the tablet and sat still, for fear that some shock would affect his
eyes and his vision would be quite lost.
After the tumult and confusion subsided and
the whirlwind vanished, he saw that there were poppies blossoming for miles
around; wherever he looked were fields of roses and sweet basil in full
flower. And marigolds were blooming, in large beds so elegantly designed
and beautifully decorated as to be beyond description; the tongue is incapable
of sufficiently praising them. In the gardens some Parizads with
well-tuned instruments were singing and playing, enjoying each other’s
company in thousands of ways.
When the Amir approached the garden-house
and the Parizads saw him, one Parizad girl came running with a cup of wine:
“Oh Sahib-qiran, you are thoroughly tired out. Here, drink this,
it will take away your weariness and enliven your spirits. Then sit
and listen for a few hours to our singing and playing--it will comfort
your heart, and remove all the fatigue of the journey, and put you entirely
at your ease.”
The Amir, having looked at the tablet, took
the cup of wine from her hand, recited the Great Name over it, and poured
it over her head. He did exactly what the tablet said to do.
At once a tongue of flame emerged from her body, and in barely an instant
she burned to death; her whole body and all her bones melted in a moment
like wax. A tumult and confusion arose: “The breaker of the
tilism has killed Asrar/2/
the Magician too, and scattered all her companions!”
[zarraaq] means “deceiver.”
[asraar] means “secrets.”
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