THIRTY-FOUR -- [The Amir kills ‘Ifrit, and Khizr kills ‘Ifrit’s mother.]

After a time when the Amir looked around, at the edge of a river he saw a mountain of unimaginable height--the Pillarless Mountain would be a small hillock beside it.  From a cave in the mountain came the sound of a drum.  The Amir entered the cave.  He saw that ‘Ifrit lay in deep sleep, and his snoring resounded far and wide like the sound of a drum, frightening everyone nearby into a state of panic.  The Sahib-qiran said to himself, “It’s quite unmanly to kill a sleeping foe, it’s very heartless.”

Drawing the dagger of Rustam from his belt, he thrust it so forcefully into ‘Ifrit’s foot that it penetrated to the hilt.  ‘Ifrit shook his foot and said, “The mosquitoes are pestering me--where can such an army of mosquitoes have come from?  They don’t let me sleep in peace, they won’t stop biting for a moment!”  The Sahib-qiran said to himself, “My God!  If this wretch takes a blow like that for a mosquito, then what effect can further blows have on him?  How can the miserable creature be affected by them?”

The Amir seized both ‘Ifrit’s arms, pressed them hard, and gave the cry “God is great!” so forcefully that it caused the whole mountain and desert to quake.  ‘Ifrit woke up, startled.  Reeling from the grandeur of that cry, in the daze of sleep he thought that the earth had burst apart, or that the sky had fallen to the ground.  When he rubbed his eyes and looked, he saw the face of the Earthquake of Qaf.

Then panic overcame him.  Trembling like a willow, he said, “Oh son of Adam, I know and realize very clearly that you are my Angel of Death, you will take away my life.  I came and hid here so that perhaps concealed in this corner I could escape from you and live in peace.  But you’ve come even to this place, and you have me in your power.  Now come what may, I may live or die, but I won’t leave you alive, I won’t turn aside from confronting you!”

With these words he struck at the Amir with a cypress-tree staff in which several millstones were embedded; he showed the Amir his demonic strength.  The Amir blocked the blow with the Scorpion of Solomon and cut the staff in two.  Then the Amir didn’t even stop to breathe, but struck a blow at ‘Ifrit’s waist and brought him down.  ‘Ifrit had been cut in half, but one tendon still held, so that his life was still trapped in his body.  ‘Ifrit said, “Now, son of Adam, you’ve killed me.  Strike one more blow, sever the remaining tendon--release my spirit from the pain and torment it feels in this body!”

The Sahib-qiran struck one more blow and did as he had asked.  Even as the tendon was cut, both halves of the body flew up into the sky, turned into two ‘Ifrits, and swooped down to confront the Sahib-qiran.  In short, in the course of the afternoon thousands of ‘Ifrits were born, all kinds of Devs as large as mountains appeared.  The Sahib-qiran was very much worried, he was stunned by all this:  “Oh God, every one that I kill turns into two and confronts me, and shows his power and strength!”

As he was thinking this, from the right a voice said, “Peace be upon you”; the Amir had received help from God.  When the Sahib-qiran turned and looked, he discovered that it was Hazrat Khizr, peace be upon him, it was that Prophet of fortunate destiny.  The Sahib-qiran, returning the greeting, laid his complaint before Khizr.  Falling at his feet, he said, “Oh Hazrat, both my arms are weak from striking and striking, but it’s a strange thing, I’m at a loss and very much worried--every one that I kill becomes two and returns to confront me, not even one of them dies of his wounds and goes to Hell!”

Hazrat Khizr said, “Oh Sahib-qiran, you have brought this grievous task on yourself, and have done everything most carelessly.  Otherwise this would not have happened, you would not have wasted your time for nothing!  You know that this is a tilism.  But you don’t look at the tablet, you just do whatever you feel like doing!  You don’t worry at all about magic devices and tilisms!  Now do one thing:  take this Name which I will tell you, and the use of which I will teach you, breathe it over the tip of an arrow, and shoot the arrow at that one among the Devs who has a single cornelian gleaming on his forehead, and whose face glows like a ruby.  Then this calamity will be warded off, your life will be saved from the magic wiles of these Devs.”

The Sahib-qiran acted as Hazrat Khizr advised: he used that auspicious Name and an arrow.  When he looked, there were no Devs at all, only ‘Ifrit lying cut in two.  The whole field was empty, neither Dev nor monster was to be seen.  But ‘Ifrit’s head was not on his body.  When the Sahib-qiran saw only the body, and no sign of the head, Hazrat Khizr said, “Oh Sahib-qiran, do you understand how all those Devs were created, or not?”  The Sahib-qiran said, “God knows, or you!  You’re the Prophet, you’re the one who guides all wanderers who have lost their way.”

Hazrat Khizr said, “’Ifrit’s mother, bearing ‘Ifrit’s head, is sitting in this very cave.  That treacherous woman worked magic:  soaking a leaf of coriander in his blood, she breathed a spell over it and threw it into the sky.  In this way one ‘Ifrit turned into two, and came to confront you, and showed you this trick through the power of her magic.  Now enter the cave and kill her, slash off her impure head from her body and conquer the tilism.”  The Sahib-qiran, with Hazrat Khizr, entered the cave; both of them went into it together.

When Mal’unah Jadu saw Hazrat Khizr with the Sahib-qiran she grew furious; she opened her mouth and spoke:  “Oh old man, I know that all this is your mischief, you’re seeking to ruin and destroy us!  It was you alone who had my son killed at the hands of this son of Adam; you satisfied your malice.  Come what may, I won’t leave you alive either, I won’t forget to take my revenge!”  With these words, she began to work magic.  Hazrat Khizr recited the Great Name and blew it at that cursed one’s/1/ head.  In an instant she reached Hell and joined the other dead.

The effects of the tilism were removed, and both venerable men felt their hearts fill with joy.  Hazrat Khizr congratulated the Sahib-qiran on his conquest of the tilism, and praised the Sahib-qiran’s courage very highly, and said, “Take off the gold helmet and the #Night-glowing Pearl from ‘Ifrit’s head.  For when another such Night-glowing Pearl comes into your hands from the White Dev, both of these rare jewels will be of great advantage to you.  You should put them both in your crown, and make yourself incomparable.”  And giving the Amir a very large cup which could hold fourteen quarts of sherbet, he said, “This will be useful in your assemblies, this cup too will show you many strange wonders.”

The Amir said, “Hazrat, I am hungry; please feed me something and show your miraculous power.”  Hazrat Khizr bestowed on the Amir a bread-bun, he pulled it out of his leather bag and gave it to him.  The Amir ate from that bread-bun until his stomach was full, he found peace from the pangs of hunger.  But the bread-bun remained just as it was--it didn’t diminish even a little bit.  Hazrat Khizr also bestowed on him a water-flask full of water; to satisfy his needs he gave him this also.

And he said, “Keep both these things with you, so that as long as you are on Qaf you will not suffer from hunger or thirst, you will not be dependent on anyone for food and drink.  And when this bread-bun and water-flask disappear from your possession, and you no longer see them with you, then know that you will soon depart for the Realm of the World, after a long time your own house will be brightened by your footstep.”  With these words, Hazrat Khizr took his leave.

The Amir, who had eaten his fill from the bread-bun for the first time in some days, felt lethargic.  The moment he lay down on that mountain-face--the same one where ‘Ifrit used to sleep--he went to sleep, he lost himself in restful dreams.  He didn’t remember to give the third cry.  The Parizads, who were waiting on Poison-stone Mountain for the sound of the third cry, didn’t hear it.  Therefore they informed Shahpal that the Amir had been killed, and made him aware of all that had befallen the Amir from beginning to end.

As soon as Shahpal heard from the Parizads of the Amir’s death, he burst into tears, he dissolved in grief and lamentation.  Addressing ‘Abdur Rahman, he said, “I’ve taken the blood of a son of Abraham on my head, for I gave him leave to search for and kill ‘Ifrit!”  ‘Abdur Rahman at once consulted numerology and astrology, and reported, “The Sahib-qiran has already killed Mal’unah Jadu and ‘Ifrit; both their heads have already been severed from their foul bodies.  However, a little inauspicious influence of the stars remains--though that too will very quickly abate, and the desire of his heart will be achieved.  Thus he forgot to give the third cry.  Come, let’s go and bring him back, so that all the people will have the joy of seeing him, and won’t feel any sort of doubt or anxiety in their hearts.”

Shahpal at once ordered the drum of celebration sounded, and had careful preparations made for the journey.  With the champions of Qaf, he mounted and set out for the City of Gold; all the Parizads’ hopes burst into flower with this happiness.  When Asman Pari heard the good news of victory, she couldn’t control herself, but flew off most rapidly on the wings of her longing to see the Sahib-qiran.  She flew off in that direction like a swift wind, and arrived there before all the rest; she found the exact place where the Amir was.

She saw that the Sahib-qiran lay asleep by a cave, and the sun was falling on his head--the heat of the sun had darkened the color of his face.  Asman Pari shaded the Amir’s face with one wing, she sheltered him from the heat and discomfort of the sun, and with her other wing she began to fan him, and adoringly made the gesture of warding off evil from him onto herself.  The Amir felt the comfort; he opened his eyes and looked at her.  He saw that Asman Pari was shading him with one wing, and fanning him with her other wing.

He rose and embraced her and showed her much affection, and kissed her moon-like cheek.  Seeing her tenderness and love, he felt very much moved; her love and sincerity made him wholeheartedly enamored, and he said, “Oh dearest in the world, oh heart and soul of the Sahib-qiran, why have you come here at such a time?  It’s quite remarkable that you’ve come!”  Asman Pari replied, “I came when I heard the news of your victory, and I’ve also brought you a piece of good news:  the king too is coming, he is so delighted at your victory and the death of his enemies that he can hardly contain himself.”

The Amir was very happy, and made that charming woman sit down beside him, and treated her most affectionately; he had begun to embrace and caress her, and to declare his passion for her--when King Shahpal’s party arrived like a spring breeze.  The Amir, seeing his throne, stood up.  The king came down from the throne and kissed the Amir’s arm and hand.  The king embraced him with extreme enthusiasm and, seating the Amir beside him on the throne, took him to Garden of Iram.  It was as if every wish of his heart had been granted.

/1/ A pun on her name, as in Chapter 32.

== on to Chapter 35 ==

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