FIFTY-FOUR -- [The Amir is wounded by Bahman, but recovers in a goatherd’s hut.]
        Zhopin, Bakhtak, Bahman, and their armies took advantage of Hamzah’s absence to press the Muslims hard.  While still in Mecca with his father, Hamzah dreamed of the dangerous situation Bahman’s treachery had brought about.  He sent ‘Amar to verify the dream.  When ‘Amar returned and reported its truth, Hamzah and ‘Amar at once went to the rescue.  A great battle ensued.
Zhopin urged seven hundred elephants forward against ‘Amar.  ‘Amar began to hurl naphtha-bottles at them.  Bahman, going behind him, took a two-handed sword and struck such a blow at the Amir’s head that the sword penetrated four fingers deep into the Amir’s skull.  And that very moment he ran off from the Amir’s presence, saying, “Comrades, I’ve finished Hamzah off!  Look what a great task I’ve achieved!  I struck him such a blow that my sword cleaved down to his throat--what a wonderfully deft blow it was!”  When the Amir’s friends heard these words, they were extremely grieved and worried.

The Amir realized that he had received a deep wound, and that faintness was overpowering him.  He said to Ashqar in the language of the Jinns, “Take me out of the battle, get me out of this encirclement however you can.”  With these words, he wrapped his arms around Ashqar’s neck.  Ashqar took the Amir away from there.  Attacking those in front of him with his teeth, and kicking out at those behind him, he came out of the battle, and set off for the forest.

After going for many miles, Ashqar saw a river.  Since he was thirsty, he drank from it.  As he came out, the Amir fell into the water at the edge of the river; the water grew red with blood.  Ashqar dragged the Amir onto the bank, he saved him from drowning.  It happened that a goatherd named Siyah Sher/1/ brought his herd of goats there to drink.  He saw a strange scene before him:  the water of the river was red, and a wounded man lay fallen at the bank of the river.  His horse lay beside him, pulling him with its teeth, dragging him with great strength toward itself.  The horse wanted to mount him on its back, but the young man was unconscious; he had fainted from the shock of his wound.

Siyah Sher, seeing all this, said to himself, “This man is certainly the king of some country--his grandeur suggests that he’s a great and powerful lord.  He’s been wounded in a battle somewhere; his horse brought him here, and saved him from the hands of his enemies.  If I care for him, and make him comfortable, then when he’s restored to health I’ll get a reward, I’ll get a great profit in return for it.  With this thought, he approached the Amir, and with the greatest difficulty loaded the Amir onto the horse’s back.  Tying the Amir into the saddle with a rope, he took him to his house; thinking it was to his own advantage, he conveyed him there.

His mother said, “Son, who is this that you’ve brought, what kind of person has come with you?”  He told his mother the whole story, and informed her all about the Amir’s situation, and said, “If he gets well, then he will certainly reward me very generously; if he dies, his horse and weapons will come to me.  Whatever happens, I won’t be the loser for his staying here.”  With these words, he removed the weapons from the Amir’s body, and tied a bandage over his wound.  Ashqar stood by the head of the bed and watched, he didn’t move one step away from the Amir.  When Siyah Sher wanted to take him outside, the horse glared at him.  Siyah Sher, out of fear, moved away from him and didn’t come near him again.

In short, on the seventh day the Amir opened his eyes.  He saw that Ashqar and a strange man were standing beside his bed.  The Amir asked Siyah Sher, “Who are you, and whose house is this?  What is it called, and what is your name?”  He replied, “Siyah Sher is my name, I’m a herdsman.  I watch over herds of animals in the forest.  Seeing you lying on the riverbank, I took pity on you, so I picked you up and brought you to my house.  If God heals you, then my fortune too will look up--through your grace I’ll attain some position, I’ll enjoy a few days of the pleasures of life.”  The Amir commanded, “Take the saddle off the horse.”  And he said to Ashqar, “Go out into the meadows nearby and graze.”

He assured Siyah Sher, “The pains you have taken will not be wasted, the service you have done will be of great benefit to you.  When I get well, I’ll make you very happy--be of good cheer, I’ll give you a great deal!  Bring a goat from your herd, so I may kill it, so I may slaughter it properly according to the command of the Lord.  Then boil it down into rich broth for me.  In return for one goat, I’ll give you twice as many; don’t think I’ll take it for nothing!”  Siyah Sher brought a goat for the Amir to slaughter, then boiled it down into rich broth, and fed it to the Amir.  The next day, he prepared broth from one more goat and gave it to the Amir; the third day too, he did the same.

On the fourth day he asked his mother, “This wounded man in three days has already eaten broth made from three goats!  Today is the fourth day.  What do you say now--shall I feed him the same way today, or make some excuse?”  His mother came to the Amir and asked, “Oh stranger, who are you, and what is your name?”  The Amir said, “My name is Sa’d of Syria, and I am Hamzah’s cousin on my father’s side.  If you care for me, I’ll reward you very generously, I won’t forget your help.  Until I get well, give me the broth of one goat every day.  In return for each goat of yours, I’ll give you ten goats, and other rewards in addition.”

The old lady, hearing Hamzah’s name, said, “May I be your sacrifice!  My goats are at your service, and I too am here to serve you, I am very ready to care for you and nurse you with my whole heart and soul.”  She began to feed the Amir the broth of one goat every day, and to cook for him whatever food he wished.

Now please hear about the Amir’s army.  When ‘Amar didn’t see the Amir in the camp, he searched through all the bodies of the martyred heroes and emerged from the camp, he came out of it extremely worried and distraught.  Following the drops of blood that had fallen from the Amir’s head on the way, he arrived at the riverbank.  He saw that the water of the river was red.  He realized that the horse had brought the Amir here, and conveyed him as far as this river, and the water had been reddened by his blood.  He began to cast about here and there.  Searching and searching, he came upon Ashqar.  Ashqar took ‘Amar to Siyah Sher’s house, and showed ‘Amar where he lived.

‘Amar, seeing the Amir, kissed his feet.  When he saw the wound in his head, he felt extremely sorry.  But, thanking the Lord that he was alive and safe, ‘Amar said, “Oh Amir, please come to the camp, for the whole army and Princess Mihr Nigar are grieving for you--they are extremely distraught, with tears flowing from their eyes!”  The Amir commanded, “Khvajah, go and bring them all here, escort them all to me.”  ‘Amar at once went back to the camp and brought the good news of the Amir’s safety, and informed them that he was well.  And he took Princess Mihr Nigar and the army to the Amir, he escorted all the Amir’s followers there.

Every friend kissed the Amir’s feet, and Princess Mihr Nigar flung her arms around his neck and began to sob bitterly; when she saw his condition she wept uncontrollably.  The Amir, reassuring them all, commanded, “This goatherd has done me great service, he has given me great comfort by sheltering me in his house.  Let everyone reward him as much as he wishes, let everyone give him as much as he can.”  All the officers rewarded the goatherd according to their capacities, and Princess Mihr Nigar too caused the Amir to give much cash and many jewels and robes of honor to the goatherd and his mother--so much so that all the gifts wouldn’t fit in his house!  And the Amir, calculating the accounts, in return for every goat that he had given, sent for and gave him ten goats.  And he said, “You are my brother in faith.”/2/  The goatherd became a rich lord, and began to live very comfortably.

Eventually, the Amir’s head wound healed.  The Amir set out from there and went to the battlefield.  Then he positioned his army for battle, and ordered the war-drum sounded.  The infidel army too arrayed its ranks.  The Amir commanded his comrades, “Bring the infidel army within your circle, fall on them from all sides, so that these eunuchs don’t manage to escape, they don’t manage to get out of your hands alive!”  ‘Amr bin Hamzah said, “It’s between me and Bahman!”  Landhaur said, “The fight with Zhopin is my concern.”

In short, the army of Islam fell on the infidels as a tiger falls on a herd of goats.  During two watches of the day, countless infidels were sent to Hell.  Finally, whoever found any possible chance to escape in any direction ran head over heels away.  But the Muslims continued to pursue them, and did not cease to slaughter them; they followed along and and slaughtered them for a whole day’s journey.  A remnant of the infidel army escaped and were saved.

It happened that Bahman ran from the Amir’s son, and the Amir’s son pursued him.  After going a little way, Bahman, thinking that this one could never rival him, turned on ‘Amr bin Hamzah.  The Amir’s son made a direct sword-thrust at him.  Bahman warded it off, but his horse was killed.  Bahman struck down ‘Amr bin Hamzah’s horse, Steed of Isaac.  Thus the Amir’s son too was unhorsed, and prepared to do battle with him.  Shifting his position, ‘Amr bin Hamzah made such a straight slash that Bahman fell to the ground in two pieces, he didn’t get a chance even to flee.

‘Amr bin Hamzah cut off Bahman’s head and brought it before the Amir, he showed the Amir his mettle and valor.  And he told him about the death of Steed of Isaac.  The Amir, regretting the loss of Steed of Isaac and Bahman, said, “Such a horse and such a champion are seldom to be found, one hardly finds such rarities anywhere.”  Afterwards, all the officers brought the heads of the infidel officers and placed them at the Amir’s feet; they rendered thousands of the infidels’ bodies headless.  The Amir, sounding the victory-drum, went back to his camp; the army of Islam sounded the trumpets of victory.

At the time when the Amir was wounded by Bahman, as fate would have it a Parizad passed by that way.  He went and told Queen Asman Pari of this, and reported to her that the Amir had been wounded and had endured much suffering.  Queen Asman Pari, taking Quraishah and the Parizads and Khvajah ‘Abdur Rahman the Jinn, with a fierce army of Devs and Jinns, set out from Qaf as quickly as possible, in order to see with her own eyes, and discharge the duties of sympathy.  At length she arrived; camping four miles away, she sent ‘Abdur Rahman the Jinn to the Amir.

When the Khvajah suddenly came and fell at his feet, the Amir was very much surprised:  “Why has the Khvajah come from Qaf, who told them there about my condition?”  He asked him if the Queen and Quraishah were well; he asked how and why he had come.  The Khvajah said, “The Queen and Quraishah, with a fierce army, are camped four miles from here.  A Parizad went and told the Queen that you had been wounded.  The Queen at once set out to come here--hearing of your condition, she has come here in extreme anxiety.”  The Amir mounted and, with his officers and champions, went in great state to the Queen.  He embraced Asman Pari.  And kissing Quraishah on the forehead, he seated her in his lap and treated her with great affection.

The Paris, seeing the Amir’s retinue and his pomp and splendor, were dumfounded, and began to say, “This is the reason that the Amir was always restless in the Realm of Qaf, and always wanted to leave Qaf for the World.”  They begged the Amir, “Your friends and companions we have seen, but we are very eager to see Princess Mihr Nigar.  Even without seeing her, we are all in love with her!”  The Amir said, “Just as you are eager to see Princess Mihr Nigar, my comrades too want to see you, they ask for this most earnestly and imploringly.  Therefore please remove the veil of concealment from your faces, or put the Kohl of Solomon in their eyes, so they can enjoy the sight of you, their eyes can be brightened by your peerless radiance.”

The Parizad ladies said, “Oh Amir, we are afraid that your companions might make trouble when they see us--they might become fresh, they might make advances toward us, they might have bad thoughts about us in their hearts!”  The Amir said, “How would they dare?  Set your minds at ease about this, don’t harbor any such doubts or anxieties in your hearts.”  The Paris pulled aside the veil of concealment from their faces, and delighted everyone with the sight of them.  When the champions saw them, every one was as if stunned.  When their senses returned to them, they began to thank the Amir:  “Thanks to you, we creatures of dust have seen the creatures of fire!  Otherwise how could we ever have had the good fortune to see Paris, how could we ever have gone to Mount Qaf?”

The Amir, with Queen Asman Pari and Quraishah and the Parizads, mounted and rode to Mihr Nigar’s palace.  They all enjoyed and delighted in each other’s company.  First Mihr Nigar embraced the Queen, and kissed Quraishah’s lips and forehead.  Afterwards, she met all the Paris, and fulfilled the duties of hospitality; she treated them with great kindness and consideration.  For three nights and days Queen Asman Pari and her companions remained absorbed in celebration, all other activities were suspended.  On the fourth day, giving Mihr Nigar the gifts and presents of Qaf she had brought with her, she took her leave.

/1/ Siyah Sher [siyaah sher], “Black Tiger.”  It could also be read as [siyaah shiir], “Black Milk.”  In either case, a piquant name.
/2/ It seems that Siyah Sher has accepted Islam.

== on to Chapter 55 ==

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