FIFTY-TWO -- [The Amir marries Mihr Nigar, and she gives birth to Qubad.]

Now please hear about Naushervan.  Taking seven men with him, he drew the wandering faqir’s vertical mark on his forehead, hung a faqir’s thread and rosaries around his neck, took up the faqir’s handkerchief and twisted cane, put on a cheap cotton cap, and went to see the sights of the wedding celebration.  ‘Amar, recognizing Naushervan, said, “Please come and sit in the gathering and see the sights.”  Naushervan did not agree.  Then ‘Amar said, “Please come with me, I’ll seat you in a place where you will see everyone, and no one will see you.”  This idea pleased Naushervan, he was delighted to hear it.

‘Amar took Naushervan into the Pavilion of Solomon; arranging jewel-adorned chairs, he seated him with a hundred signs of honor and respect.  He ordered the rosy-cheeked silver-bodied cupbearers to keep the flasks of colorful wine going round, to serve the rose-colored wine to him with the greatest elegance.  Naushervan, after sitting for four hours, arose.  Blessing the Amir, he said, “Son, we are faqirs, we came to enjoy the sights.  Now we will take our leave.  Please excuse us, and graciously permit us to depart.”

The Amir said to ‘Amar in ‘ayyari language, “Take him and seat him on the upper level of the Four Arcades, and show him the most careful attention, so that he can watch undisturbed, in privacy.  Provide him with every sort of luxury, so that he won’t be downcast or dismayed.”  ‘Amar seated Naushervan on the upper level of the Four Arcades, and provided him with whatever was needed; he made him comfortable in every way.
When four hours remained in the night, Khvajah Buzurchmihr joined the Amir with Mihr Nigar in marriage according to sacred religious law.  Just before dawn, the bridegroom was sent for from within the palace.  When the Amir arrived at the outer door of the palace, Queen Asman Pari closed the door and said, “The door will be opened when you pay over Mihr Nigar’s dowry, and fulfill this religious debt.”  The Amir gave Muqbil the Faithful, together with forty thousand horsemen and slaves with golden sashes, as Mihr Nigar’s dowry.  Queen Asman Pari opened the door.  Then, closing the second door, she demanded the price of seeing Mihr Nigar’s face.  The Amir gave his sword, the Scorpion of Solomon, with his horse Black Constellation.  Whatever Asman Pari said, he did.

In short, in this way at seven doors Asman Pari took seven things from him for Mihr Nigar.  He gave without arguing.  Then she allowed him to set foot in the inner chamber.  The Amir saw Mihr Nigar in bridal attire among a group of moon-faced Pari-like women.  He saw her seated on a throne.  Then, like a rose when it blooms, he could hardly contain himself.  He gave thanks to the Lord that he had obtained this bride who would captivate even a Houri.  After the bride had fed sugar-crystal to the groom, and the groom had looked at the bride’s face in a concealed mirror,/1/ the Amir took the bride in his arms and carried her to the canopied bed.

Like Majnun, dying with love for this Laila-like one,/2/ he pressed her breast against his own and began to suck the red fruit of her lips.  After some time, as happens in such cases, the bride and groom struggled playfully together.  The Amir, cajoling and seducing her, obtained from that ocean of beauty the pearl he sought, with perfect composure and satisfaction he achieved his desire.  And through the power of the Lord, that pearl of the ocean of belovedness became heavy with a rare pearl.

In the morning the Amir bathed and changed his clothes; glowing and smiling, he entered the Pavilion of Solomon.  All the courtiers had the honor and pride of attending upon him.  He spent the whole day celebrating.  That night he went to the bed of Queen Asman Pari.  The following night, he took Princess Raihan Pari to lie in his arms, and took his pleasure with her as well.  And the third night he slept with Saman Sima Parizad,/3/ he took her to bed too.  In this way the Amir enjoyed himself with one wife every night, with them all he found the pleasure of life.  For forty days the kings of Qaf and the princes of the World remained absorbed in celebrating with the Amir.  All work was suspended except luxury and enjoyment.

One day, after the celebrations were over, the Amir rode out to enjoy the Four Arcades.  In his entourage were all his heralds and attendants.  They had just left the drum-house, when suddenly out of the sky came a Dev--the brother of Ra‘d the Deceitful whom the Amir had killed.  He landed on the earth and, seeing that the Amir was alone, struck a blow with his mace at the Amir’s head.  The Amir, dismounting from his horse, warded off the attack and, catching hold of the Dev’s waist, spun him around above his head three times, and hurled him to the ground with such force that he was ready to cry for his mother, all his senses were scattered.  He wanted to get up and run away, but the Amir, holding down one of his feet under his own foot, took the Dev’s other foot in his hand and easily ripped him in half and flung him aside like a worn-out piece of cloth, he tore him in two like a scrap of paper.

The onlookers were dumbfounded, they were all amazed; many great heroes and warriors stood with their mouths hanging open.  Naushervan too, seeing this strength and power, fainted.  The Amir, after his stroll, entered the Pavilion.  Everyone was delighted at this victory.  ‘Amar, sprinkling Naushervan with rose-water and musk-willow perfume, brought him to his senses, he restored him to his right mind.  And he escorted him to the Amir so that Naushervan could take leave of him, and spoke sweetly and politely to him.

The Amir, seeing Naushervan dressed as a wandering faqir, said to him by way of counsel, “Oh lord of all the princes of the Seven Realms, repent of your idol-worship and know that the Lord is One!  I’ll be obedient to the lowest of your servants, I’ll always follow and serve you.”  But Naushervan did not agree, and gave a plain refusal:  “I don’t want to change my religion; this is not the custom in my family.”  Finally the Amir, having no choice, presented Naushervan with much gold, and many jewels and gifts of Qaf, and gave his companions robes of honor of Solomon.  Naushervan, taking his leave, went to his own camp.  He ordered the whole army to collect itself, and the next day he set out for Ctesiphon.

Queen Asman Pari, presenting the Amir with the gifts of Qaf she had brought especially for him, asked leave to depart.  The Amir embraced her and said, “As much as I was unhappy with you before, I am now that much pleased with you and obliged to you, I am indebted to your kindness.  Any time you send for me, if I’m not involved in some battle I’ll set out at once to go to you, I won’t delay at all.  And this is your house, after all--any time you wish, come and adorn it with your presence, and enjoy the pleasure of my company.”  And embracing Quraishah, he kissed her several times on the forehead, and gave her leave to depart, and he presented her with whatever gifts were suitable for her.  Raihan Pari and Saman Sima Pari too took leave of the Amir, and went with the queen.

The Sahib-qiran gave the whole region of the West to the King of the  Western Dominion, and made him ruler of that realm.  But he, appointing a viceroy to govern the land, accompanied the Amir.  The next day the Amir sent the vanguard on toward Mecca the Great.  And turning over authority to his son named *‘Amr bin Hamzah--who was born from the womb of Princess Nahid Maryam, daughter of Shah Faredun of Greece--he became absorbed in luxury and enjoyment with Mihr Nigar.  He himself abandoned all the work of governing, and gave the entire authority to his son.

One day ‘Amr bin Hamzah was seated in a gathering, drinking wine.  Suddenly ‘Adi, frowning, said to Landhaur, “Oh you skinny beanpole, have you dared, have you become so mad as to make yourself comfortable in my chair?”  Landhaur replied, “With only four cups you’ve become so drunk and rowdy!  You’re making a false charge.  Oh you with the pot-belly, have you the gall to speak so insolently to me?  Have you no fear of my power and grandeur?  If I sit in this chair, it’s with the permission of the Amir.”  ‘Adi again said in a loud voice, “The Amir never at all told you to occupy my chair!  You’re making a false and improper claim.”  Landhaur replied, “Oh ‘Adi, with only four cups you’ve become so drunk and rowdy--finally you’ve shown your real nature!”  ‘Adi rose and hit Landhaur with his fist.  Landhaur laughed and said, “’Adi, why have you gone mad?  Just come to your senses a bit, don’t forget yourself!”

‘Amr bin Hamzah, seeing this situation, threatened ‘Adi, “Why are you being so rowdy, why are you acting so superior?”  ‘Adi was drunk, after all; he replied impulsively, “What business is it of yours?  It’s between Landhaur and me!  Keep quiet, and don’t meddle in this matter.”  The Amir’s son rose, and dealt ‘Adi a buffet, so that ‘Adi fell to the ground.  ‘Adi began to strike his forehead and say, “When Amir Hamzah’s son permits me to be dishonored like this, I’ve stayed too long at this court, I’ve put up with enough of this improper tyranny!”  Since this misdeed of the Amir’s son seemed very wrong to all the chiefs and champions, a remarkable tumult and commotion arose in the gathering.

The Amir, feeling anxious, came outside; seeing the situation, he was very much disturbed, and finding out the long and the short of it, he commanded his son, “Beware--don’t ever do such a misdeed to anyone again!  Landhaur and ‘Adi would have worked it out with each other--what right did you have to interfere between them?”  The Amir’s son grew furious and replied, “If ‘Adi ever treats me so disrespectfully again, I’ll cut off his ears, and throw him out of the city!”  The Amir, displeased, said, “Such impertinence is not right, I don’t like this kind of talk.  If you say such things again, I’ll pick you up and hurl you to the ground, so your brain will ooze out your ears, and you’ll forget all your boasting!”  The Amir’s son was in the flower of his youth.  He resented his father’s counsel.  He replied impulsively, “Who can strike me--who is strong enough, who has the power?”

The Amir, angered, seized ‘Amr’s hand and led him out to the field of combat.  Both father and son mounted their horses, and prepared to fight.  The beholders began to watch this combat of father and son, to see the skill of both their arms.  The Amir summoned ‘Amr to attack first.  But however much ‘Amr whipped his horse, the horse didn’t take a step forward.  The Amir said, “Oh you little fool, learn manners from a simple beast!”  ‘Amr leaped down from his horse.  The Amir too got down, and prepared to wrestle.  ‘Amr, seizing the Amir’s belt, used all the strength at his command, but he couldn’t dislodge the Amir’s wrestling-stance.  Feeling helpless, he released him, and separated himself from him.
But the Amir, grasping ‘Amr’s waist, lifted him above his head--then put him gently down on the ground, and kissed his forehead.  The Amir’s son too bowed his head at his father’s feet, and apologized very much for his insolence.  The Amir, embracing him, said, “Oh life of your father, one can only rule by means of champions; it is through people of this kind that every sort of thing gets done.  In all circumstances, it is necessary to pay them attention and respect their honor; in every way they must be shown courtesy and regard.”  The Amir’s son, feeling abashed, returned to the gathering and began to watch the dance, he was very much ashamed at heart over what had occurred.

The reporters of news write that in the ninth month sons were born from the wombs of Mihr Nigar and ‘Amr bin Hamzah’s wife.  The Amir, hearing this good news, was very happy.  While he named his grandson *Sa’d, he didn’t name his own son himself.  He commanded ‘Amar ‘Ayyar, “Go and inform Naushervan, and ask him to please name the child himself.”  ‘Amar, after some days, reached Ctesiphon, and after making obeisance to Naushervan, he submitted, “Congratulations--you have a grandson!  The Amir begs that Your Majesty will yourself name the boy, that you must certainly name him out of regard for the Amir.”

Naushervan was very happy at this good news, and bestowing on ‘Amar a resplendent robe of honor, he ordered a celebration on the fortieth day after the birth, and arranged the requisites for joyous festivities.  And he named the boy *Qubad.  Queen Mihr Angez, hearing this joyous news, summoned ‘Amar into her presence, asked him about Mihr Nigar’s and the Amir’s well-being and the appearance and form of her grandson, and gave ‘Amar a robe of honor and valuable jewels.  Giving him cash and goods, she pleased him very much.  ‘Amar, taking his leave, went very quickly and presented himself in the service of the Amir, and told him everything that Naushervan and Queen Mihr Angez had said, he reported the situation there in detail.

When Qubad and Sa’d were both four years old, the Amir entrusted both boys to ‘Amar, to be taught courtesy and refinement.  When they reached the age of five years, the beholders who saw them said that such beautiful, radiant, well-bred boys had never been seen or heard of before, the eye of the sky could never have seen their like.  Even at that age, the signs of valor were manifest in their faces, the marks of hardihood were visible in their forms.  The Amir, morning and evening, recited holy verses and blew them over the boys; out of love, he constantly made the gesture of warding off evil from them onto himself.

/1/ The bride’s feeding of sugar to the groom, and the mirror ritual, are characteristically Indo-Muslim.  In the latter, a copy of the Qur’an is held open above the bride and groom like a canopy.  A mirror is placed between the pair, and the groom is allowed to see the bride’s face in the mirror.
/2/ Laila, one of the great romantic heroines in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu story tradition, was loved by Qais, who became known as “Majnun,” or “Jinn-possessed,” because of the strength of his passion for her.
/3/ Saman Sima [saman siimaa], “Jasmine-browed,” makes only this one appearance in the text.  Perhaps she is Qamar Chahrah by another name?  See Chapter 48.

== on to Chapter 53 ==

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