THIRTY-FIVE -- Dastan about the situation of the Sahib-qiran of the Age, the Earthquake of Qaf, the Younger Solomon, Amir Hamzah the glorious.

The king arranged a royal assembly, and rejoiced beyond all measure.  All the Parizads and governors of cities and other chiefs of Qaf who were in attendance gave gold and jewels in charity for the Amir’s sake, out of joy and gratitude they offered heaps of gold pieces and rupees.  Congratulating the Amir, they gave him formal gifts in token of victory, and along with this they offered up many prayers and vows. A troupe of Parizads began to dance.

The king said to ‘Abdur Rahman, “You always said that Hamzah was a suitable match for Asman Pari, that in every way he was superior to all other humans.  So what time could be better than this, when all the governors and chiefs of Qaf are here in attendance?  By the grace of God all, great and small, are pleased with Hamzah’s courage.  Why do you delay in marrying Asman Pari to the Sahib-qiran, why do you hesitate to perform such a worthy deed?”

‘Abdur Rahman rose and threw a perfume-orange/1/ against the Amir’s breast and congratulated him, and delighted his heart.  The Sahib-qiran asked, “Why have you thrown this perfume-orange, and why have you congratulated me?”  Then ‘Abdur Rahman said, “The king has accepted you as his son-in-law, he has preferred you over all the Parizads.”

The Amir said, “I do not at all consent!  It is not my custom to undertake such things when I am in the condition of a traveler.  For if I married Asman Pari, I would have to postpone going to the Realm of the World--I would then stay here with her, absorbed in luxury and enjoyment.  And the second problem is that I promised Mihr Nigar, the daughter of Naushervan the King of Kings of the Seven Realms, ‘Until I marry you, I won’t even steal a glance at anyone else.’  Thus I cannot break my vow, and I cannot turn aside from my oath and promise.  To break a vow is very improper; it is incumbent upon every person to uphold his vows.”

‘Abdur Rahman replied, “Oh Sahib-qiran, you made that promise in the Realm of the World, and this is the Realm of Qaf!  It’s not at all contrary to that oath and pledge!  It’s my responsibility to send you to the World; that is a small part of discharging my own pledge to you.”  The Amir said, “When will you send me to the Realm of the World, and let me take leave of this place?”  ‘Abdur Rahman replied, “Oh Sahib-qiran, this is a pledge of Qaf--please don’t argue about it!  Please accept what we tell you, and don’t by any means insist.  But after one year I’ll send you back to the World, I’ll see that you reach your native land safe and well.”

The Amir saw no other recourse but to agree, for without their consent he couldn’t manage to leave that place.  King Shahpal became absorbed in preparing for the wedding:  he wrote letters to summon all the kings and chiefs of Qaf, and ordered every kind of decoration.  Accordingly the kings of the realms of Emerald, Ruby, Yellow Basin, Yellow Wilderness, Topaz, Darkness, the Dark Regions, etc., came to Garden of Iram, bearing gifts from their various lands, and joined the marriage celebrations with great pomp and grandeur. 

Since news of the killing of ‘Ifrit and Mal’unah Jadu had spread to all the realms of Qaf, all the Devs had learned of it.  The Dev *Samandun the Thousand-armed, when he heard it, was very grieved and infuriated; the fire of anger consumed him.  He said, “The king has sent for a son of Adam named the Earthquake of Qaf, the Younger Solomon, from the Realm of the World, and has had him kill ‘Ifrit Dev and his father and mother!  This human showed not the slightest respect for us, and he broke the tilism of the City of Gold--he destroyed our creations of thousands of years.  And the king himself came and took him to Garden of Iram:  he brought a son of Adam, from an alien species, into his inner apartments, and married him to his daughter.  In this he acted very badly!  In any case, it’s incumbent on me to take revenge for ‘Ifrit’s blood, and punish the human most severely for this transgression.”  With these words, he sent the *White Dev, who was his chief general and a very brave and fierce warrior, together with four hundred Devs:  “Go quickly and bring that son of Adam, do this without any delay.”

As it happened, the wedding had been celebrated on that day.  The king, seated in the Pavilion of Solomon on the Peacock Throne,/2/ displayed his radiant presence.  All the nobles and chiefs, high and low, attained the high fortune of serving him.  And the Sahib-qiran shone in all his glory, with great grandeur and benevolence, on the throne that Hazrat Solomon had had made for his own vazir, Asif Barkhiya, and in which he had had thousands of kinds of jewels set.  With lordly grandeur he displayed his glory on that peerless throne.  The kings and chiefs of Qaf were seated on couches and chairs according to their rank, duly enjoying the elegant gathering, and taking pleasure in the joyous festivities--when the White Dev, with four hundred Devs bearing spears, chains, cypress-tree staffs, millstones, and saws made of crocodile-backbone, entered the court.

Without the least fear or doubt in his heart, the White Dev said calmly to the king:  “Oh King, Samandun Dev the Thousand-armed says, ‘The king has treated the race of the Devs very harshly, he has brought down a heavy misfortune onto himself, for he has sent for a son of Adam from the Realm of the World and has had him kill a chief like ‘Ifrit, together with his father and mother, without feeling the least pity.  He did not do well to take this step!  Now it is proper for the king to send that son of Adam to me.  He should send that cruel butcher without hesitation, so that in return for ‘Ifrit’s death I can divide up his flesh and bones among the Devs, and take a bloody revenge on this blood-drinker!’”

The Sahib-qiran, hearing the words of this unclean one, grew angry and replied,  “Oh petty creature, gallows-bait, what are you jabbering so senselessly about?  Hold your tongue, don’t let any disrespectful words escape your lips.  Otherwise I’ll punish you right now, I’ll make you eat your rude words!  Go tell that goose, ‘If you yearn to see ‘Ifrit, then come over here--I’ll send you to him, and admit you also into Hell!’”  The White Dev, hearing the Amir’s words, was displeased and replied, “Oh son of Adam, with your black head and white teeth, it seems that you alone are the one who killed ‘Ifrit!  Come along, my chief has sent for you!  This whole troop of Devs have come only to take you away.”

With these words, he stretched out his hand toward the Amir, and showed his strength.  The Sahib-qiran, remembering the Lord in his heart, seized the White Dev’s hand and gave it such a pull that the Dev fell on both knees.  And when the Sahib-qiran drew his dagger from his belt and struck the Dev in the breast, with a single sigh the Dev drew his last breath; through the Lord’s help the Amir overcame that high-headed Dev.  The Devs who had come with him ran head over heels away: they were thunderstruck by the killing of the White Dev, and they all took flight.

All the kings of Qaf were filled with admiration for the Amir’s prowess.  The king gave trays of gold and jewels in charity for the Amir’s sake, and in gratitude gave thousands of rupees to the poor.  He had the White Dev’s corpse thrown out in the desert; even when dead this accursed one was thus humiliated by his order.

And since this was the day of the marriage, for many days’ journey the king had lattices hung with lights set up on both sides and in the middle of the road, and had flares and other fireworks installed in the ground, and near the lights had gold and silver streamers and rosettes suspended.  Then, having put a royal robe of honor on the Sahib-qiran, they mounted him on a horse and escorted him from the Pavilion of Solomon to the royal ladies’ apartments; the bridegroom arrived at the bride’s house.  Look at the marvelous power of the Lord, that a human arrived in the land of the Paris in such style!

When one watch of the night remained, ‘Abdur Rahman joined the Amir with Asman Pari in marriage.  Both bride and groom gave their formal consent, both achieved their heart’s desire.  How many lands of Qaf the king gave to Asman Pari in dowry!  Over and above this, he showered many favors on the Amir.  Then the Sahib-qiran entered the palace.  Through the Lord’s marvelous power, on that very night an embryo found lodging in Asman Pari’s womb.  Through the Lord’s marvelous power, a son of Adam made of dust and a Pari made of fire--both their natures came to be in harmony.

In the morning the Amir bathed, dressed, and entered the court.  A joyous and festive gathering began.  Through this close kinship, all distance vanished from between them.  To make a long story short, every sort of luxury was provided for the Amir night and day, all his desires were at once fulfilled.  But night and day, the Amir kept counting the days:  “When will the year be over, so I can go to the Realm of the World and have the joy of seeing my near and dear ones, and tell them about this realm, and show them the strange and remarkable gifts I’ve obtained in the land of the Paris!”

.    .    .    .    .    .    .

The dastan-reciters of ancient stories weigh their words in the following way:  When the year came to a close, and the term of pregnancy had achieved its end, a girl bright as the sun was born from Asman Pari’s womb; everyone was charmed by her beauty and radiance.  The king was very happy.  But the Sahib-qiran was thoroughly unhappy at the birth of a girl, and very disturbed in his heart.

The king learned that the Sahib-qiran was unhappy at the birth of a daughter, and was feeling quite sorrowful.  Giving him the Robe of Honor of Solomon, the king said, “Oh Amir, this is the decree of God, and nobody’s at fault in it!  It’s not an occasion for you to be grieved; this is not how the wise behave.”  ‘Abdur Rahman said, “Oh Sahib-qiran, this girl will be so powerful and favored by fortune that she will subjugate all the high-headed Devs of Qaf, and she’ll be called the Sahib-qiran of Qaf!  She’ll achieve great rank in the whole land of the Paris.”  The Amir’s grief vanished when he heard this, his heart became full of joy.  The king celebrated the baby’s birth for some months; he gave large amounts of gold, money and goods of every kind to the needy and faqirs and poor.

When the girl was six months old, the Sahib-qiran said to the king one day, “I have carried out all that you have commanded.  Now please send me to the Realm of the World; fulfill your promise.”  The king said, “Oh Sahib-qiran, in truth I am very grateful, and am very happy with your qualities and behavior.  Now I have no objection to permitting you to go, and in every way your happiness is close to my heart.

“But the Silver Fort, which is to the north of Qaf, is in a bad condition.  Two Devs named *Kharchal and Kharpal have established themselves there with an army of ten thousand Devs.  They are both very high-headed and mischievous.  That fort is mine by hereditary right.  If you think it proper and if you’ll heed my plea, then kill them and clean out the fort before you go--please take that much more trouble!  And if not, then as you wish; your happiness is my object, for I am much indebted to you.”

The Amir said, “In any case, I am your servant and your true friend, heart and soul.  In the name of God, order a conveyance and arrange for my trip:  I’ll set off in that direction and make an end of those impure ones.”  The king ordered a throne and had the Amir seated on it, and arranged for all the supplies necessary for travel; he sent ten thousand male Devs with him, and ordered them to serve the Sahib-qiran.  The Sahib-qiran set out from there, and all those Devs rendered him obedience.

.    .    .    .    .    .    .

        The Amir found and killed the rebel Devs Kharcal and Kharpal with very little trouble.  ‘Abdur Rahman appeared to escort him back to Garden of Iram.
Kissing the Amir’s arm and hand, ‘Abdur Rahman seated him on the throne beside him and returned to Garden of Iram; with with extreme respect and honor he brought the Amir before the king.  The king pressed the Sahib-qiran to his breast, and showed him the greatest affection, and said, “After six months I will send you to the Realm of the World, no matter what; I will give you a fine send-off!”  The Amir entered his palace, and began to count the days.  On the strength of the king’s promise, he trusted his soul to patience.

/1/ The perfume-orange [turanj ;xuushbuu kaa] was not a real orange, but a fragile spherical perfume-holder, designed to break on impact and perfume the person at whom it was thrown.  It was used during Iranian wedding celebrations.
/2/ The historical Peacock Throne [ta;xt-e :taa))uus], one of the wonders of the world, belonged to Shah Jahan (r1627-1656) and was taken away as loot by Nadir Shah in l739.

== on to Chapter 36 ==

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