FORTY-THREE -- [The Amir marries Raihan Pari, in an attempt to reach the World.]

Now please hear a bit about the Sahib-qiran’s situation.  Asman Pari had sworn in the presence of Khvajahs Khizr and Elias, and taken the most solemn oaths and vows, that in six months she would send the Sahib-qiran back to the World, and would absolutely not break faith this time.  When six months had passed, the Amir said to Asman Pari, “There--the period of this vow is over too!  Now send me to my own land; in God’s name, this time keep your promise!”  Asman Pari said, “I’ll send you in a year.  Stay one more year!  For my sake, force yourself to be patient.”

The Amir, growing angry when he heard this, said sharply, “Asman Pari, have you no fear even of God?  People ought to fear God, and not do things that will ensnare them in God’s wrath!  You swore in the presence of two Prophets that in six months you would, with the most complete certainty, send me to my country, and convey me to the Realm of the World.  Today you’re again making new promises!”  Asman Pari replied, “I’m the one who’ll be punished for swearing false oaths!  What’s it to you?”

The Amir, displeased, went to the king:  “Oh King of Kings of the Realm of Qaf, what harm have I ever done you, in return for which you’ve all but ruined my life, and caused me so much pain?  I left the World with a promise to return in eighteen days, and now so much time has passed!  All this time I haven’t been able to get any news of my family and children/1/--God knows what disaster may have overtaken them!  And I left behind an enemy like the King of Kings of the Seven Realms, who is thoroughly bent upon my death!

“Moreover, before two Prophets Asman Pari promised with an oath, that in six months she would, with the most complete certainty, send me to my own country, and she would absolutely, absolutely not delay.  Now that much time has passed too!  Asman Pari says, ‘Stay another year--since you’ve already been so patient, endure the grief of separation from your family and children for a few more days.’  That’s why I ask, why are you out to take my life?”

The king treated the Amir very kindly, and comforted him.  At once seating the Amir on a throne, he summoned four Devs and enjoined them, “Take the Sahib-qiran to the Realm of the World; obey this order of mine with your whole heart and soul.”  This news reached Asman Pari.  Taking Quraishah, she went to the Amir, and said, “Oh Father of Greatness, don’t you even love your daughter?  If I have been guilty, she has done nothing to offend you, she has caused you no grief!”  The Amir said, “When you come, bring Quraishah with you!  For you, it’s simple to come and go.  And when you call me, I’ll come; I’ll feel no doubt or hesitation about coming here.  But at present, it’s proper for me to go; let me go!”  With these words, he had the Devs lift up the throne, and set out.

Asman Pari, weeping, went to her home; she was very grieved at the Amir’s departure.  Sending for Rizvan Parizad, she said, “Go to the Sahib-qiran on the excuse of taking leave of him, and give my order quickly to the Devs who are bearing the throne:  tell them that they are to abandon the Amir in the Desert of Wonders and come back here, and not go a foot beyond that wilderness.  Otherwise I’ll treat them very harshly--they’ll taste the fruits of their disobedience!”

Rizvan, flying swiftly, went to the Amir; in the space of a breath he reached him.  The Amir, seeing Rizvan, said, “His arrival is not without meaning--no doubt about it, there’s something behind all this!  Asman Pari is very treacherous.”  To the throne-bearing Devs he said, “Go back to Shahpal; do as I say!”  The Devs began to make excuses.  The Amir, resting his hand on his sword-hilt, said, “If you don’t go, then I won’t leave a single one of you alive!  Remember that--I’ll break the heads of every one of you!”  The Devs, having no choice, took the Amir to the king; according to his order, they brought the Amir back to Shahpal.

King Shahpal, seeing the Amir, said, “Oh Amir, is everything all right?  How have you happened to come back, what has caused you to return?”  The Sahib-qiran replied, “I’ve come to ask you whether you intend to send me to my home--or to have me left wandering again in some wilderness, and to cause me such confusion as you did the first time?”  The king swore, “I willingly send you to the World!  It is truly my pleasure that you go to your native land, and have the joy of seeing your friends and relatives.”  The Amir replied, “If this is so, then please make the throne-bearing Devs swear by Hazrat Solomon before you send me off; enjoin them most strictly to take me to the World, before you give them leave to go.”

When the king told the Devs to take the oath, they excused themselves:  “We won’t swear, because Asman Pari has ordered us not to take the Amir to the World, not to do this deed against her wishes.  We would only disobey the princess’s order if we were tired of our lives, if we had no idea what was for or against our interests!”  The king, looking at Asman Pari, said, “What is this vileness?”  Asman Pari replied, “What do you have to do with it?  He’s my husband, and I don’t consent to his going!  I don’t like being separated from him, his absence is very oppressive to my heart.”

The Amir, coming down from the throne, groaned so loudly that the fort trembled, and said, “Asman Pari, you swore an oath before two Prophets as witnesses, and then betrayed me!  If God Most High wills, the wrath of the Lord will fall on you--your high fortune will slip away from you!  I am going into the wilderness, placing my trust in God!”  With these words, he set out toward the wilderness like a madman.

Shahpal said to Asman Pari, “Oh Asman Pari, by treating the Earthquake of Qaf so badly you’ve disgraced and dishonored me in all Qaf!  Your improper behavior has made me low and base in everyone’s eyes.”  Asman Pari replied, “I’m willing to have you disgraced and dishonored, but I’m not willing to have my life ruined!”  With these words, she had the proclamation made that the Earthquake of Qaf had left Garden of Iram, and whoever should give him shelter, or take him to his own country, would be killed by her own hand along with his wife and children, he would be punished most terribly.

Now please hear about the Sahib-qiran.  Leaving Garden of Iram, he went on for seven days and nights into the wilderness.  On the eighth day, he fainted from lack of food, and collapsed in a garden.  The next day, coming to his senses, he ate from the bread-bun bestowed on him by Hazrat Khizr, and began to look around the area.

After a little while, what did he see but a Dev, powerful of body and tall of stature, coming along--the very sight of whom would make the heart flutter with fear.  When the Dev came near, he recognized the Amir and saluted him.  The Amir asked him, “Oh Dev, how far is the World from here?  I need to find out the distance.”  The Dev said, “Oh Earthquake of Qaf, Younger Solomon, if a human wants to go on his own, and get himself to the Realm of the World, he’ll arrive in five hundred years.  The ordinary Devs can take you in six months.  The messenger Dev will take you in forty days; he’ll take you faster than all the others.  And a Dev like me, in seven days.”

The Amir said, “If you’ll take me to my house, you’ll do me a great kindness.”  The Dev replied, “If I didn’t have to return to this land, I’d certainly take you to the World, and disobey my ruler!  But Asman Pari has proclaimed in the whole land of Qaf, that anyone who takes the Sahib-qiran to the World she will not leave alive, nor his wife and children--she’ll break their heads!”  The Amir called to him to come closer, and tried to put the fear of God into him.  The Dev replied, “I’m not such a fool as to come near you, and have you beat me, and sit on my head, and somehow force me to go to the World!  What could I do then?  I’d be entirely in your power!”  With these words, he saluted and flew away.

The Amir, losing hope, said to himself, “Hamzah, no Dev or Parizad will take you to your country; you’ll never reach your goal through them.  Instead, trust to fortune and go on your own.  The Lord is merciful: if He wishes, He will guide you there.”  With these words, he set out toward the wilderness.  Jungle after jungle, forest after forest, desert after desert, sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing, he went on; he endured thousands of kinds of grief and distress.

On the fifteenth day, the Amir saw a fort; on it Jinns were praying, bareheaded, to the Lord of Oneness.  And a Dev, ill-formed, huge, with elephant ears, stood as immovable as a mountain, having surrounded the fort with his army.  The Amir felt pity for those inside the fort, he was grieved at their plight.  He challenged the Dev:  “Oh infidel, why have you surrounded the fort?  Be warned!  I, the Angel of Death to your soul, have come before you--a huge storm of disasters has descended on your head!”

When the Dev saw the Amir’s face, he realized that this was the Earthquake of Qaf, the Younger Solomon--this was the breaker of tilisms and the killer of Devs!  Taking up his cypress-tree staff, he ran at the Amir.  The Amir cut him in two halves with the Scorpion of Solomon--he didn’t even give him a chance to take a breath.  And entering among his army, the Amir began to wield his sword.  More than half the Devs were killed; those who survived the massacre ran head over heels away.

The king, coming out of the fort, embraced the Amir; seizing his hand, he took him into the fort and seated him on a throne.  He treated him with great honor and generosity, and said, “I am that same Jinn, *Sabz-qaba, Shahpal’s brother, whom you liberated from the tilism of Solomon’s Chessboard,/2/ and saved from that mortal peril.”  With these words, he took the Amir into the fort of #Sabz-nigar and caused all, great and small, to pay their respects to him, and introduced him to them all.

Arranging for a royal celebration, he inquired about the Amir’s situation.  The Amir, telling him the whole story of his experiences, said, “Oh Sabz-qaba Jinn, I’m afraid to trust you either!  For you’re the older brother of King Shahpal, you’re still part of that family.  So I can’t by any means hope for faithfulness from you!”  The king replied, “Why, what are you saying?  I’m your slave and obedient servant!”  The Amir said, “May the Lord keep you well!  In truth, men hope for so many things from their friends.”  Then he continued, “Instead of sacrificing your life for me, do me only this much of a favor:  take me to my country.  I’ll be grateful to you my whole life long.”

The king, after some thought, called Khvajah Ra’uf the Jinn and said, “Tell the Amir, ‘If you will take Raihan Pari, who is my daughter and loves you, as your wife, and have no doubt or hesitation about this, then nine days from today I’ll take you to your home; I pledge myself to bring this to pass.’”  The Amir, after at first refusing, consented, and obtained the king’s oath as well for his part of the bargain.  Sabz-qaba the Jinn celebrated Raihan Pari’s marriage to the Amir with great pomp and splendor; he was proud to take the Amir as a son-in-law.

But at night, when the Amir went to lie down with Raihan Pari, he put a sword between them.  She felt that it must be a custom of the Amir’s country to sleep on this occasion with a sword in between, and lie down together like this on the first night.  Both, turning their backs to each other, settled down on their own sides of the bed and went to sleep; there was no involvement between them, there was no true union.  That night the Amir suddenly saw Mihr Nigar in a dream--he saw her very much distressed by the separation.  Waking with a start, he ran out toward the wilderness like a madman.

In the morning, when *Durdanah Pari, Raihan Pari’s mother, came in, she found her daughter sleeping alone.  Waking her, she asked, “Where is the Sahib-qiran?  Tell me how he is--give me a full account of what happened!”  She replied, “I don’t know.  Last night he put a sword between us and went to sleep.  After that, since I went to sleep too, I don’t know  where he went.”  Durdanah Pari, frowning, went and told Sabz-qaba the Jinn what had happened.

He too was very unhappy, when he heard how the Sahib-qiran had treated his daughter he was very much grieved:  “If this was going to happen, why did the Amir agree to marry?  He shouldn’t have agreed to the marriage, if this was to be the result!  I’ve been disgraced in Qaf for nothing!  People will say, ‘The Amir left Sabz-qaba the Jinn’s daughter after the wedding and went away.  There must be something wrong with her!  Otherwise, does anyone leave a one-day-wedded bride and go away--does anyone behave like that?’”  At once Sabz-qaba ordered the Devs and Parizads, “See where the Sahib-qiran has gone--and wherever you find him, bring him here; bring him without the slightest delay!”

Now please hear a bit about Asman Pari.  One day, wearing red clothing, she came into the king’s court.  Looking at ‘Abdur Rahman, she said, “See where the Amir is these days--tell me truly where he is, according to your rules of geomancy.”  ‘Abdur Rahman, using geomancy, said only this and nothing more:  “The Amir, thanks to you, is wandering around in distress.”

Since Asman Pari was seated just beside him, and herself had some knowledge of geomancy, she looked at the diagram and exclaimed, “Oh God, oh God!  To think that Sabz-qaba the Jinn, although he’s my uncle, should marry his daughter to my husband, and should have no regard for my honor and reputation, no fear of my wrath and fury!  It seems he’s not my uncle, but my rival!  For an uncle to do such a thing is extraordinary--to knowingly and deliberately make Raihan Pari my co-wife!  If I don’t burn down his country into black dust, if I don’t punish him, I won’t claim the name Asman Pari!”  With these words, taking a fierce army with her, she seated herself on a throne and set out toward the fort of Sabz-nigar.

/1/ Hamzah seems to be using “children” in a general sense, for at this point in the story he has begotten only one son, ‘Amr bin Hamzah, whose birth he does not even know about.
/2/ The tilism of Solomon’s Chessboard appears earlier in the dastan, but Sabz-qaba the Jinn does not figure in it at all.  However, he and Raihan Pari were indeed rescued by Hamzah from a different tilism, that of the City of Gold; see Chapter 33.

== on to Chapter 44 ==

 -- Amir Hamzah index page -- fwp's main page --