FIFTY-THREE -- [Bahman betrays the Amir, but is put to flight by the young Qubad.]
        Hamzah conquered *Bahman Jasip, who accepted Islam.  Since Naushervan and Zhopin had taken refuge with Bahman, they had no choice but to accept Islam as well--since Hamzah swore to kill them with his own hands if they didn’t.  After their conversion, Hamzah restored the throne to Naushervan and treated him and his companions most honorably.  But Naushervan eventually grew weary of the cares of the kingdom.  Making over the throne to his young grandson Qubad, he began to live a life of retirement and piety.
        Hamzah received a call for help from his father:  an army of Abyssinians had looted Madina and was attacking Mecca.  Leaving Bahman behind as his deputy, Hamzah went to the rescue, routed the enemy army, then overpowered and (as he thought) converted the Abyssinian king, *Shaddad bu ‘Amr.  This king, who had been incited by Naushervan, blamed him for the outcome, and took revenge for his defeat:  he kidnapped Naushervan, took him home to his own palace, and hung him up in his court in a giant iron cage.
Please hear about the Amir.  After staying for some days, when he asked his father’s leave to depart, Khvajah ‘Abdul Muttalib said, “Oh my very dear son, I’ve seen you after such a long time that my heart isn’t yet satisfied.  If you stayed one more year, it would be better.”  The Amir agreed.  The news reached Bakhtak that Khvajah ‘Abdul Muttalib had not given the Amir leave to depart, he had not allowed him to go away from his side, and the Amir would remain for one year more in his father’s service.  Bakhtak reflected that the field was clear, he ought to make use of the chance and practice some deceit on the Amir.

Writing a forged letter, purporting to be from Naushervan, to Zhopin and Hurmuz, Bakhtak confided it to a messenger.  He instructed the messenger to say that he came from Ctesiphon, bearing this letter from Naushervan.  In the letter Bakhtak wrote, “You should be aware that I sent Shaddad bu ‘Amr the Abyssinian, and had him destroy Mecca and kill and ruin all the Muslims, and show all the people of Mecca an evil day.  Shaddad captured Hamzah and ‘Amar, took them away to his own country, and hanged them; he dealt with them like that.  So kill Hamzah’s Muslims without hesitation--don’t by any means spare them!  And give Mihr Nigar to Bahman.”

It happened that on the way the messenger met Zhopin, who had gone out riding for pleasure.  The messenger confided the letter to Zhopin:  he gave it to him right there in the road.  Zhopin read it and at once went to Bahman.  Bahman, reading the letter, said to Zhopin, “This is some trick of yours--I know you very well!  When did I ever trust your word?”  Zhopin began swearing, “I know nothing about it!  Rather, this letter came to me through a messenger, it came from his hands into mine.  Whether it’s true or false, time will tell.”  In any case, Bahman was convinced of the Amir’s death, he was convinced that the Amir had departed this world.  He said, “Alas, a thousand times alas, that Hamzah didn’t take me with him!  He went off leaving a great sorrow in my heart.”

After a time, Bahman began to say, “Well, what God willed has happened!  What refuge is there against the command of God?  Who has the power to draw a single breath of rebellion against His decree?  Now I’ll consider the Amir’s two sons and his grandson to be in his place; I’ll render obedience to them.”  With these words, he asked the messenger, “Tell the truth--what’s going on, what’s really behind this affair?”  The messenger had been instructed and coached by Bakhtak, he had come with his lessons of deceit well learned.  He swore, “Hamzah was hanged before my eyes; this deed was definitely done to him.”

Bakhtak said to Bahman, “If you chose to render obedience to Hamzah, that was proper.  But to obey these boys is not becoming to a champion and warrior like you; to remain under their authority is not at all proper for a man of renown like you!  Moreover, Naushervan has accepted you as his son-in-law--what a high rank he has given you!  So isn’t it better for you to be known as Naushervan’s son-in-law, than to obey those boys?”  Finally, with the thought of being Naushervan’s son-in-law, Bahman’s heart was somewhat swayed.  He replied to Bakhtak, “If this is your counsel, then how is it to be carried out?”

Bakhtak said, “For the present, keep the matter secret; don’t by any means tell anyone about it!  That way we can easily get our hands on Mihr Nigar, and assure ourselves of accomplishing this great task.”  Zhopin said, “Today I will go to court and say to Hurmuz and Prince Qubad, ‘Tomorrow is my father’s death anniversary.  If you will bring the *Amir’s son and the champions to my house, it will be an honor for me.’”  Bahman replied, “That’s good counsel.”  When Zhopin went that night to the gathering, he invited Hurmuz and Prince Qubad and ‘Amr bin Hamzah to the feast.  They all accepted.

Accordingly, the next day Prince Hurmuz and Prince Qubad and ‘Amr bin Hamzah, with the high-headed champions, went to Zhopin’s house.  Zhopin gave them all dinner, he treated them all very well.  Then he sent for wine.  When they were all feeling elevated, Zhopin rose and petitioned the Amir’s son and Prince Qubad, “Just as Your Excellencies have honored me, if Princess Mihr Nigar would set foot in my house, and graciously be pleased to come, then it would be an additional honor for me, it would increase my prestige in everyone’s eyes.”  Both sons of the the Amir sent to tell Princess Mihr Nigar, “If you would be pleased to come, it would be no discredit to you, it would be an honor for Zhopin.”

Mihr Nigar entered her palanquin and came to Zhopin’s house, she graciously came as she had been begged to.  Suddenly the words fell from somebody’s lips, “Right now the Princess is happily sitting on her throne--pretty soon, we’ll see what happens, what mischief will be afoot!”  When this murmur reached Mihr Nigar’s ears, she at once, through an attendant, sent for Prince Qubad, and said, “Order my conveyance at once; have my palanquin, etc., attend me.  I don’t like the mood of this place, I think that trouble is about to break out.”  Prince Qubad sent for her conveyance, and this was the best thing to do.  The Princess entered it, and reached the fort.  Word was brought to Zhopin and Bahman that Mihr Nigar had come--and gone back.  Both began to wring their hands in regret:  their hearts were chewed up by frustration and disappointment, that their prize had actually come to them, then had slipped out of their hands.  Bakhtak, hearing this, consoled Bahman:  “Don’t worry about it.  Where can she go?  Finally one day she’ll fall into your hands!”

Bahman, at Bakhtak’s advice, wrung his hands and said, “It’s a pity that Crown Prince Hurmuz, the rightful heir to the kingdom, does not sit on the throne, while Qubad, who is only a maternal grandson, wields power, and reigns without right!”  ‘Amr bin Hamzah said, “Oh Bahman, what harm does it do you, what loss does it cause you?”  Bahman said, “I speak the truth!  This son of an Arab is not worthy to sit on the throne, he has no rightful claim on the kingship.”  King Landhaur, who heard this speech, grew annoyed and said to Bahman, “Oh you rustic from the hills, for shame!  The Amir seated you in his own chair, he raised you to such a high rank!  Why didn’t he leave you in your low station?  Since he didn’t, today you’re saying such offensive things, you’re making such pompous, boastful remarks!”

Bahman, growing angry, struck a blow with his sword at Landhaur.  Landhaur lifted his mace and brought it down so forcefully on Bahman that Bahman’s arm became useless, and he suffered a great shock.  Swords began to be wielded in the gathering.  Many Arabs and followers of Bahman were wounded.  Bahman’s people took him up and bore him away, they carried him off and saved his life.  It happened that the news reached *Nur Bano, Bahman’s sister, who was in love with ‘Amr bin Hamzah, that the infidels, by trickery and deceit, had captured and wounded the Muslims; with their treachery and unscrupulousness they had given the Muslims much grief.

Leaving her house, Nur Bano wielded her sword so well that she piled up heaps of the infidel dead; this man-killer, with great courage, killed thousands of men with her well-tempered sword.  *Homan approached her and said, “Have you gone mad?  Go, and sit at home!”  She struck such a sword-blow at Homan that he was cut in half and fell to the ground; the breath of life left him.  His younger brother, when he saw Homan lying cut in half, drew his sword and rushed at Nur Bano.  Nur Bano warded off his blow, and gave him such a sword-blow in return, that he went to join his older brother.  Thus Nur Bano killed them both.

Taking the Arab champions along, Nur Bano entered the fort; by causing water to be poured into the moat, she had the moat filled to the brim.  The infidel army besieged the fort.  The Arab champions’ wounds gradually healed.  From above the gate of the fort, they began to kill the infidels; with the greatest valor and hardihood, they began to kill that group of evil sinners.  The infidels retreated to a point out of range of the fort.

One day the infidels stormed the fort.  Prince Qubad said to his mother, “The infidels are numerous and powerful.  If you permit me, I’ll go and kill them.”  Mihr Nigar said, “May I be your sacrifice!  You’re still a child.  How can I give you leave, at your age how can I send you off to battle?”  Qubad replied, “My father subdued so many great champions in his youth--after all, I’m his son!  And if you don’t give me leave to go, I’ll shed my own blood, I’ll die before your eyes!”  Nur Bano said to Mihr Nigar, “What’s the harm?  Please allow Qubad to go, give him leave cheerfully.  I am with him!  I’ll be ready and prepared to assist him, I’ll be alert and helpful under all circumstances.”  Mihr Nigar gave Qubad leave to fight.

Qubad, girding on his weapons, went before the infidels and challenged them, “Oh you infidels, who among you is eager for death?  Let him come before me, let him show me his valor!”  Bahman, seeing Qubad, said to himself, “This is lucky!  Qubad has come to fight, he’s gotten his mother’s permission to come onto the field.  If I capture him and keep him with me, then out of maternal love Mihr Nigar will certainly come to me; she’ll never be able to bear his absence.”  With this thought, he went before Qubad and said, “Oh little Arab kid, come on, show me what kind of attack you can make!”

Qubad replied, “My father never makes the first attack.  So I won’t make the first attack either, I won’t step outside my father’s path.  Make your attack!  If I come out of it alive, I’ll kill you--I’ll relieve your shoulders of the weight of your head!”  Bahman struck with his mace at Qubad’s head.  Qubad caught the blow on his shield, and struck a sword-blow that fell with extreme force on Bahman’s body.  Bahman, having received a deep wound, fled; he ran off to save his life.

Qubad followed after, slaughtering Bahman’s army, for eight miles.  When he saw that the infidels flew away from him like the wind, he was forced to turn back.  He went to his mother, and told her the whole story of the battle.  Mihr Nigar gave much cash and many jewels in charity for her son’s sake, she gave a large amount of gold and jewels and goods to the poor.

== on to Chapter 54 ==

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