FIFTY-SEVEN -- [The Amir finally learns the identity of the Veiled One.]

Now please hear about Naushervan.  He had run off, and was in full flight to Ctesiphon, when on the way he saw a great and glorious army encamped, he saw tents and pavilions standing everywhere.  He sent ‘ayyars to find out whose army this was, where it was going, and from which land the lord of the army came.  The ‘ayyars brought word that two brothers were the commanders in chief of the army, and were very brave and fierce.  One was named *Bareheaded Tapishi and the other was named Madman Tapishi, and they had come to the king’s assistance, bringing their whole army with them.

Naushervan camped there and, meeting with them, showed them many kinds of grace and favor; he told them the whole story from beginning to end.  Bakhtak said, “Now Hamzah cannot survive--we have never had such champions before!”  Both brothers said with folded hands, “We are utterly devoted to the King of Kings, we are your servants in every way.  Why, Hamzah is nothing--if all the high-headed ones in the Seven Realms come against us, we will tear off their heads!”  The king, pleased with these words, bestowed on them valuable robes of honor; he gave them many gifts and rewards, and had them drink wine in his company.

Now please hear about the Amir.  He married Farzanah Bano at an auspicious hour, and for forty days and nights gave himself up to the claims of luxury and enjoyment.  On the forty-first day, he held court, and said, “Does anyone know anything about Naushervan?”  ‘Amar submitted, “Two princes from the land of Tapish, with a numerous army, have joined Naushervan, and are waiting for you on the road.”  The Amir commanded ‘Adi, “Send off our vanguard, and order the army to prepare as well.”  ‘Adi at once obeyed him.  The next day, the Amir set out from there.

On the third day, he camped opposite the army of the princes of Tapish, leaving space for a battlefield in between.  He had the attack-drum sounded, and announced his presence.  And in the field he arrayed his army in fourteen lines.  The princes of Tapish arrayed their army as well.  First Bareheaded Tapishi galloped his horse into the field; after proclaiming his martial prowess, he challenged them to combat.  Landhaur brought Shabrang out into the field.

Bareheaded Tapishi said, “All right, eunuch, tell me your name, so you won’t be nameless when you’re killed!”  Landhaur said, “Oh animal, my name is Landhaur bin Sa’dan.  Come on, what kind of an attack can you make?”  He struck a blow with his mace at Landhaur’s head.  Landhaur caught the blow on his shield, and gave him so forceful a blow with his own mace, which had a striking force of seventeen thousand pounds, that if it had fallen on a mountain, the mountain would have been reduced to dust.  But not a hair of Bareheaded Tapishi’s head was disarranged.  Both went on fighting with their maces till the evening, they struggled together without pause.  Finally the retiring-drum was sounded.  Both armies went back to their camps.

The Amir asked Landhaur, “How did you find Bareheaded Tapishi?”  Landhaur said, “Oh Sahib-qiran, not to speak of men, even in Qaf I never saw a Dev to equal him!/1/  My mind is perplexed by him--what substance can he be made of?”  The Amir smiled and said, “Oh Landhaur, his body is made of steel--spear, sword, mace can have no effect on him, he will never die of blows from these weapons.”  The next day, Bareheaded fought with ‘Adi, they encountered each other.  When ‘Adi struck with his mace, Bareheaded caught the blow on his head.  ‘Adi struck and struck until he grew tired, but Bareheaded’s head didn’t feel it at all.

Meanwhile, a cloud of dust arose from the forest.  The ‘ayyars of both armies brought word that *Aljosh the Berber, with forty thousand horsemen, had come to Naushervan’s aid, he had brought picked and chosen champions with him.  Naushervan sent a number of kings to welcome them.  Eventually Aljosh presented himself.  They saw that he was ninety yards in stature:  he was hardly a man, he was a small mountain!  Naushervan showed him extreme honor and respect, and told him in detail about Amir Hamzah and ‘Amar ‘Ayyar.  And having the retiring-drum sounded, he brought him into the camp, and arranged a party for him with wine and meat, music and dance; he provided him with every comfort and luxury.

In the morning, Bareheaded Tapishi came into the field and challenged them, with great force and power he gave a battle-cry:  “Hamzah, why don’t you come out to confront me?  You seek to prolong your life by sending such weakling champions against me!  Is this manly behavior, is this the way the chivalrous act?”  Before the Amir had emerged from the lines, a curtain of dust arose from the forest.  When the shears of the wind had cut open the skirts of the dust, forty standards with orange pennants could be seen.  ‘Amar, when he saw them, said to the Amir, “Oh Sahib-qiran, this is the same Veiled One Dressed in Orange who used to come to our aid when you were gone, in our dire need, and who saved me from the hands of enemies.”

Meanwhile, the Veiled One came and arrayed his army’s ranks nearby, he assigned suitable places to all the champions.  And addressing the infidel army he said, “Whoever is proud of his courage, let him first fight with me, and afterwards make war on the people of Islam!”  The Amir sent word through ‘Amar, “From all that I’ve heard about your virtues, I have been longing night and day for you to come so I could meet you.  Your valor and courage and compassion are known to me in full measure.  Now I want you to watch the spectacle of my battle, for this fire-worshiper has already challenged me, he has called on me by name.  When the retiring-drums sound, please don’t go away without seeing me, please do be so kind as to meet me without fail.”  When ‘Amar gave him the Amir’s message by word of mouth, he agreed most wholeheartedly.

The Amir took Ashqar Devzad’s reins, and said, “To fight you with weapons would be a waste of time.  Let there be a trial of strength between us.  If you lift my feet from the ground, then I will submit to you; if I lift you up, then you will be my follower.  Do you agree to this?”  Bareheaded Tapishi agreed most willingly, and gave a favorable reply.  The Amir leaped down from his horse, and Bareheaded Tapishi too got down to the ground.  Seizing the Amir’s waist, he began to exert his strength.  He exerted so much strength that he sunk into the ground up to his knees.  The Amir didn’t budge.  In defeat, he let go of the Amir, he proved helpless to lift him.

‘Amar called out to the army, “Get ready, comrades--in a few moments the Amir will give his battle-cry!”  Hearing ‘Amar’s words, all the infidels were astonished:  “What did that ‘ayyar mean?  If Hamzah will give his battle-cry, then let him give it!  All the champions give battle-cries.  As though champions would die from hearing a voice!”  Meanwhile, the Amir gave his battle-cry.  The greater part of the infidel army fell unconscious.  Many had their eardrums broken, thousands of men were rendered deaf.  From hearing this battle-cry men were stupefied, they all felt their senses leaving them.

In short, when the Amir put his hands on Bareheaded Tapishi’s waist and exerted his strength, in the very first attack he lifted him above his head, spun him around seven times in a circle, and, laying him down on the ground, bound him hand and foot and turned him over to ‘Amar.  Madman Tapishi, seeing his brother’s condition, drew his sword and rushed at the Amir.  The Amir, seizing his hand in mid-stroke, kicked his horse so that the horse was flung ten paces back, and Madman Tapishi landed on the ground.  The Amir gave him no time to recover:  he bound him hand and foot, and gave him into ‘Amar’s custody.

Naushervan, downcast, had the retiring-drum sounded, and entered his private apartments.  Both armies returned to their camps.  The Veiled One Dressed in Orange ordered his army, and showed them with gestures, to pitch their tents near the Amir’s camp.  And he himself went unheralded, by the most direct way, into the Amir’s tent; he went alone.  They had the delight of meeting each other.  The Amir treated him with honor and respect, and showed him many wonders from Qaf, and thanked him for his support of ‘Amar during his own absence.  The Veiled One Dressed in Orange begged, “Oh Amir, enough; please don’t embarrass me further!  Please don’t shame me beyond all bounds!  I wasn’t able to do anything worthy of thanks.  I myself am embarrassed and ashamed that you have been back from Qaf for so long, and during this time have endured so many hardships, and I was not able to come.”

The Amir suspected from the sweetness of the voice that perhaps the Veiled One was a woman.  At once, seizing his hand, he took him into another tent, and saying, “I can’s stand it any longer, nor can I reveal the secret openly--please forgive the impertinence, please don’t blame me,” he instantly opened the ties of the veil, and pulled it aside; he unveiled her face which was the envy of the moon.  The moment he saw her sun-like face, he fainted and fell to the ground.

‘Amar’s eyes too were dazzled, darkness spread over his vision.  But pulling himself together, he sprinkled the Amir’s face with musk-willow perfume and rosewater.  And he said to the Veiled One, “Please excuse the liberty--please just place your mouth against the Amir’s.  For the Lord’s sake, please do this without delay!  So that Your Excellency’s perfume may enter the Amir’s brain, and he will come to his senses and be soothed by the touch of your body.”  The one dressed in orange, who for a long time had been living day and night, night and day, with just this longing, at once bashfully pressed her mouth against the Amir’s mouth, she delighted him by embracing and kissing him.  The Amir opened his eyes.

‘Amar instantly brought the daughter of the vine, who is the only real matchmaker, and presented it.  When they had drunk just two cups, the curtain of reserve was lifted from between them.  The Amir, taking her in his arms, began to ask her about herself.  The Veiled One began to tell her story:  “*Naranj Pari is my name.  A long time ago I left Qaf to live in Mount Sailan.  I have endured a thousand griefs at being apart from you!  The day you fought with Gustahm, my throne was flying past in the air.  When I saw your sun-like face, I fainted.  Nairanj Pari,/2/ my confidante, was with me; seeing me in a faint, she took me to Mount Sailan.

“When I came to my senses, in my longing to see you I went again to the place where I had seen you before.  I took others with me as well, and sent my ‘ayyar-girls to inquire about you.  I discovered that just as my confidante was bearing me home in a faint, you were going with ‘Abdur Rahman the Jinn to the Realm of Qaf!  How can I describe all the griefs I’ve suffered this whole time in your absence, all the pains I’ve endured at being separated from you!  Helpless, I used to worry over your well-being and pray for your return, I was always occupied with these concerns and anxieties.

“When I learned that you had confided your fiancee to the care of ‘Amar ‘Ayyar, and that Naushervan wanted to snatch away your fiancee, his daughter, at the point of the sword, I posted some Parizads to keep watch in relays, so that when ‘Amar was hard-pressed, they would inform me, and let me know very quickly.  So in fact it happened thus:  when I heard that ‘Amar was about to be overpowered by the enemy, I rushed there and, through your victorious fortune, wiped the enemy out and saved ‘Amar from the hands of his foes; I came most quickly to his aid.”

The Amir, having heard these words, kissed Naranj Pari’s sweet lips and said, “Oh beloved, you slew the enemy with a harsh sword, and you’ve slain me with the sword of your kindness and virtue.”  With these words, he at once caused ‘Amar to perform the marriage ceremony, and took her as his wife.

/1/ During Hamzah’s own absence in Qaf, Landhaur too was lifted up into Qaf by Rashidah Pari, who begged him to subdue the White Dev.  She told him that she had been inspired by the example of Asman Pari, who married a mortal and obtained his protection.  Landhaur did subdue the White Dev, but the Dev escaped and tormented him and Rashidah Pari for years.  Nevertheless, the two married, and had a gallant son, Arshiyun.
/2/ [nairanj], “Mystery.”

== on to Chapter 58 ==

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