FIFTY-NINE -- [The Amir is
carried off by one woman, and marries another.]
The narrator writes that when the Amir camped
at a distance of eight miles from the city,/1/
the ‘ayyars reported to *Kayumars, they ran to inform him, that Hamzah,
with a fierce army, had camped near the city, that each of his rank-shattering
champions was prepared for fighting and combat. Kayumars said to
Naushervan, “Please have the war-drum sounded, and array your own army
too in its ranks.” The Amir heard that Kayumars had come with an
army into the field, he had arranged his army in the field of slaughter.
The Amir too, arming himself, set out with his army for the battlefield.
Kayumars saw that a black, dark, ominous cloud
of dust had arisen. Eventually the shears of the wind cut open the
collar of the dust. The banner of ‘Adi Ma’dikarab came into view,
as if the Banner of Kava/2/
had appeared. Beneath the standard he saw a young man, extremely
tall of stature and powerful of body, mounted on a horse. His face
inspired awe and terror. Forty-five champions surrounded his horse,
and behind him were fourteen thousand riders dressed in chain mail, each
one as large and powerful as Rustam and Isfandyar./3/
Kayumars asked Naushervan, “Is this Hamzah, whose valor is famous in the
whole world?” Naushervan said, “This is the vanguard commander of
Hamzah’s army, his name is ‘Adi Ma’dikarab; his heroism is on the lips
of great and small. The forty-five champions around his horse are
all his full brothers.”
After that a young man mounted on an elephant
came into view, in the midst of a circle of seven hundred elephants, with
one hundred twenty royal umbrellas over his head, and in his hand a mace
with a striking force of thirty thousand pounds; with all this pomp and
splendor he came into the field. Kayumars asked, “Is this Hamzah?”
Bakhtak replied, “Hamzah and his entourage are still very far off.
This is the Emperor of India, King Landhaur bin Sa’dan, the champion.
He is the king of fourteen thousand islands, he is a mighty and glorious
After this two brothers, princes of Greece,
appeared with great magnificence. Kayumars asked, “Who are these?”
Bakhtak said, “These are both princes of Greece--look how grand they are!
One is named Istafta Nosh, and the other is named Istifo Nosh.” Behind
them two more champions appeared. Bakhtak told him, “These also are
both princes.” Then seven brothers from Zabul/4/
came into view with great pomp and circumstance. Kayumars asked,
“Who are these?” Bakhtak said, “All seven brothers are princes of
Aleppo.” After them Sher-mar of Shirvan/5/
came out. Bakhtak told him, “This is the prince of Shirvan, and the
brother of Naushervan’s wife; he has the most striking accoutrements of
After this came Misqal Shah of Egypt,/6/
and Raihan Shah, and the venerable Farkhari, and Qunduz Sar-e Shubban,
and Sarkob the Turk,/7/
prince of Turkestan. After them, Bareheaded Tapishi and Madman Tapishi,
the princes of Tapish, and after them Aljosh the Ninety-yards-high, and
Sa’d the Golden, before the brightness of whose face the embarrassed sun
veiled himself in clouds, came with their armies. Bakhtak told him
all their names and origins, and said, “This last one of all, who wears
a collar of gold around his neck, is the son of Hamzah. His bravery
is beyond all description, in praising him the speaking tongue grows entirely
In short, in this way whenever the various
champions in their ranks passed by, Bakhtak told Kayumars their names and
Eventually the entourage of Rustam Pil-tan
and Sa’d bin ‘Amr appeared. Kayumars saw two champions, handsome
and powerful of body, who rode on two thrones so radiantly beautiful as
to put the sun and moon to shame. Hundreds of royal umbrellas, adorned
with various kinds of valuable jewels, shaded their heads, and thousands
of champions wearing chain mail and suits of armor rode on horseback around
the thrones. Kayumars asked Bakhtak, “Who are these?” He replied,
“On one throne is a son of Hamzah’s named Rustam Pil-tan, and on the other
is Sa’d bin ‘Amr, Hamzah’s grandson, the king of the army of Islam.”/8/
Afterwards Qimaz Shah of Khavar came out,
and a cry of “Make way!” was raised; his army was so numerous that the
wind couldn’t even manage to blow through it. Kayumars asked, “Who
is this?” Bakhtak said, “The first one who appeared was Qimaz Shah
of Khavar; his nature is full of courage and hardihood. Behind him,
the one with the retinue of twelve thousand slaves with gold robes and
gold turbans, mounted on horses, calling out ‘Make way!’ and clearing people
off the road--he is the ‘Ayyar and King of ‘Ayyars, the brander of slave-marks
on the princes of the age, the unwavering deceiver, the one who seizes
forts without a fight, Khvajah ‘Amar bin Umayyah Zamiri, head ‘ayyar over
all Hamzah’s ‘ayyars; his great abilities have made him supreme chief over
all Hamzah’s officers.”
After that, the sound of the serpent-shaped
banner was heard, which struck terror into the hearts of all those who
heard it. Kayumars asked Bakhtak, “What kind of sound is this?”
Bakhtak replied, “This is the sound of Hamzah’s banner. It seems
that Hamzah is coming. His is the grandeur and glory which makes
the whole of Mount Qaf tremble.” Kayumars asked, “Who made that banner,
how did that peerless standard fall into his hands?” Bakhtak said,
“Buzurchmihr prepared it; he is the one who gave him this wondrous device.”
Kayumars said to Buzurchmihr, “Make me a banner like it too, prepare such
a standard for me as well.” Buzurchmihr replied, “When you triumph
over Hamzah, then I’ll make you a banner, I’ll carry out your orders.”
While this conversation was taking place,
the serpent-shaped banner appeared, and in its shadow the sun of the world,
the renowned Hamzah, mounted on Ashqar Devzad, appeared. Fifty thousand
slaves with gold robes and gold turbans--Turkish, Tartar, Abyssinian, Chinese,
Khotanese, Syrian, Byzantine, Egyptian, Balkhi, Bukhari, Indian, Arab,
Assamese, Aleppan, Zanzibarian--walked in his retinue around his horse.
King Kayumars said to Bakhtak, “I didn’t know that Hamzah had such a force
with him, that he had an army of such strength!” The beholders spontaneously
began to praise the Amir.
. . .
. . . .
‘Amar came and confronted Kayumars.
Kayumars, seeing his appearance, said, “Oh jester, what kind of madness
has seized you, that you’ve come to fight me? It seems that the Angel
of Death has brought you here to me! If you wanted to come before
me, you should have come in a gathering, and entertained me, and received
a reward! Here, what else will you receive but blows? You’ll
be killed for nothing.” ‘Amar said, “If you escape alive, I’ll attend
upon you in the gathering as well, and be at your service--you’ll see what
an ‘ayyari I’ll do, I won’t fail to perform up to my full capacity on that
occasion either!” Kayumars laughed and said, “You’ve gone mad.
Go, and send someone else!” ‘Amar replied, “What success have you
had with me, that you are calling in others?” Then Kayumars grew
angry. Brandishing his spear, he launched it at ‘Amar. ‘Amar,
putting his paper shield before his face, made a leap and landed near Kayumars’
head, and hit him so forcefully with his cudgel that he felt giddy; in
the same motion ‘Amar struck a blow to Kayumars’ hand, so that his spear
fell from his hand.
‘Amar quickly dashed forward and picked up
the spear; since the spear was set with many valuable jewels, he took possession
of it. Kayumars said, “Come on, ‘Amar, give me the spear--I won’t
fight with you now, I won’t do battle with you again.” ‘Amar replied,
“It seems that you don’t know me! Oh my good man, when anything falls
to the ground, I become its owner!” However much Kayumars cajoled
and pleaded, it did no good; ‘Amar wouldn’t agree at all. Meanwhile
both armies, sounding the evening drum, went to their camps. ‘Amar
brought the spear and presented it in the Amir’s service. The Amir
commanded, “Remove the poison from it and give it to Sa’d of Yemen, for
he too is a spear-thrower, and excels above all the spear-throwers.”
That night, an ‘ayyar came and told Naushervan,
“King Tasavvuran has sent his daughter, who has no equal anywhere for beauty
and radiance, for you to marry. Please send for her to come to you,
please give her leave to arrive here.” Naushervan, hearing this good
news, was very happy, and sent Khvajah Buzurchmihr to bring her.
The Khvajah brought her and caused her to enter the ladies’ apartments.
Naushervan was very much delighted at her arrival.
The narrator writes that that princess had
previously seen a picture of Hamzah, and longed with her whole heart and
soul to see him. After some days, one night she found herself at
liberty. Putting on a thief’s dress, she entered Hamzah’s camp; uprooting
a tent-peg from the back of Hamzah’s tent, she entered the tent.
She saw that the Amir was deep in slumber. When she placed a knockout
drug in the Amir’s nostrils, the Amir sneezed and fell unconscious.
Tying the Amir into a bundle, she went out the way she had come in; she
took him into a trench, she brought him away without letting anyone see
her. Giving the Amir an antidote to the knockout drug, she
told him how she had come to love him; she revealed the hidden secret of
The Amir asked, “Who are you?” She said,
“My name is *Zar Angez, daughter of King Tasavvuran; in beauty and radiance,
who is my equal? And now I am the wife of Naushervan.” The
Amir said, “He is my father-in-law. Furthermore, you already have
a husband. I will never commit such a sin; such a deed is forbidden
in our religion.” However much she said provocative things to him,
the Amir paid her no attention at all, he absolutely didn’t pay her any
heed. When she saw that the Amir would not be persuaded, she threatened
him, and told him, “If you don’t accept me, then, Hamzah, I’ll kill you.”
The Amir said, “If that fate is to befall me, then how can I prevent it?
But your doing this evil deed will achieve no purpose.” During this
argument, morning came. She left the Amir imprisoned in that place,
and went to her own tent.
In the morning, tumult broke out in the Amir’s
camp: the Amir had disappeared from his tent! They all began
to search for him everywhere. Gradually the news reached the infidels’
camp also, and they too were astonished. Kayumars began to put on
airs before Naushervan: “Hamzah has run off to save his life.
From fear of my poisoned spear, he has fled and hidden himself, to escape
death!” With these words, he had the battle-drum sounded, and arrayed
his army’s ranks in the field.
Then the combat between the two armies began
again. The army of Islam, appointing Rustam Pil-tan to command in
the Amir’s place, formed their ranks. Landhaur bin Sa’dan, obtaining
the prince’s permission, went to oppose Kayumars. Kayumars, cleverly
wheeling his horse, flung a spear at Landhaur’s head. Landhaur blocked
it on the boss of his shield; he deftly warded off his attack, and wanted
to strike him with his mace. Kayumars, turning his horse, made another
attack on Landhaur, and wounded him. Landhaur, wounded, reached his
tent and lost consciousness; the depth of his wound caused him to faint.
‘Amar at once put on Landhaur’s wound a bandage impregnated with a special
ointment, so that he was relieved from the pain he suffered.
Farhad bin Landhaur, seeing his father wounded,
did battle with Kayumars. He too returned, wounded. After him
Sarkob the Turk went to fight with Kayumars; he too was wounded.
Whoever went to fight with him came back wounded. Meanwhile evening
came. In both armies the retiring-drums sounded; all the soldiers
went to their proper camps.
That night, that whore again went to the Amir,
and informed him, “Today such-and-such three champions from your army were
wounded at Kayumars’ hands. I felt very sad, to see such champions
in such a state.” The Amir said, “Alas, that at such a time you keep
me captive! Release me, so I can make Kayumars taste the fruits of
spear-fighting; with my well-tempered sword I’ll make him taste the sherbet
of death!” That whore replied, “Until I get what I want, I’ll never
release you--I’ll never give up pursuing my purpose!” The Amir said,
“Release me or don’t release me--I’ll never do such a vile deed, I’ll never
do this deed forbidden by religious law.” In short, that night too
came to its end in discussion like this. That madwoman, leaving the
Amir there as she had before, went to her own tent.
Kayumars again entered the field and challenged
them, he raised a powerful battle-cry, “Whoever has Death playing dice
with his head, let him come before me, let him spur his horse into the
field of battle!” Sa’d of Yemen, obtaining Prince Rustam’s permission,
went and confronted Kayumars. Kayumars hurled a spear at him, he
made an attack on him. Sa’d parried it. After four or five
spear-exchanges, Kayumars, catching Sa’d off his guard, wounded him too.
Meanwhile, evening came; both armies returned from the battlefield.
That night, that adulteress again came to
attend upon the Amir, and began to avow her passion with a thousand tears
and laments; she placed her head on his feet. It happened that ‘Amar
bin Umayyah, searching for the Amir, passed by that way. Hearing
the words of that deceiver, he went and confronted her. The moment
she saw ‘Amar’s face, she fled. ‘Amar asked the Amir, “Who was that?
If you give the command, I’ll kill him, I’ll spill his brains out of his
head!” The Amir commanded, “Let her go, don’t kill her. She’s
a woman; let it pass. The bitch is a new wife of Naushervan’s, he
feels great affection for her.”
‘Amar wanted to unfasten the Amir’s bonds.
The Amir himself exerted his strength: all the bonds snapped in an
instant. ‘Amar said, “Why didn’t you exert your strength and free
yourself from captivity two days ago, why didn’t you break your bonds before?”
The Amir said, “All actions depend upon their proper time. And it
was the Lord’s will that a worthless woman should bind me.” With
these words, he came out of the trench, and gave thanks to the Lord.
Sending for his weapons and Ashqar, he mounted and went from there straight
to the battlefield.
. . .
. . . .
That same day Naushervan had the battle-drum
sounded. Taking the army of Gilan and Mazindaran,/9/
he arrayed his ranks in the field. The Amir too arranged his army
to confront him. As yet no one from either army had come onto the
field, when a cloud of dust arose from the forest. Both armies began
looking to see who was coming to help whom, whose friend had brought such
a numerous army to whose assistance.
The moment the dust cleared, a horseman, spear
in hand, could be seen, whose powerful appearance impressed everyone.
At a sedate and easy pace, he entered the field. Looking over the
armies of both sides, he challenged the army of Islam to battle; they were
all astonished at his courage and hardihood. Sher-mar of Shirvan,
obtaining the Amir’s permission, came and fought with him. The horseman
from the forest, in the very first attack, struck him with his spear and
knocked him down from his horse; with his great strength, he wounded him.
He said, “You are not worth killing. Go, and send someone else!”
Taz Turk came and confronted him. Putting a hand to Taz Turk’s waist,
he threw him to the ground and said, “Go, send another.” Ka’us of
Shirvan went and confronted him. The same thing happened to Ka’us,
and meanwhile evening came, the fighting was ended. Ka’us turned
back to his tent, and the horseman turned back toward the forest.
The Amir, taking ‘Amar with him, set out after
the horseman to find out who he was. The horseman, hearing their
approach, turned to look back, and saw two horsemen, who seemed very fit
and alert young men. Quickly he went into a garden. The Amir
too, following him, entered the garden. He found the garden arranged
with the greatest sophistication; it was extremely attractive. Standing
in a corner, he began to look around. He saw that the horseman had
gotten down from his horse and was standing at the edge of an ornamental
pond. From all sides heralds, messengers, and servants ran to attend
upon him. But they were all women; there was no sign at all of a
man. The Amir said to ‘Amar, “It seems that this horseman is a woman!”
Suddenly the horseman’s eye too fell on the
Amir. He sent a eunuch: “Find out who those two horsemen are,
and what their names are; what intentions they have, and why they have
come here.” The eunuch asked the Amir, “What is your name, and why
have you come here?” The Amir said, “Hamzah is my name, and this
companion of mine is called Khvajah ‘Amar ‘Ayyar bin Umayyah Zamiri; who
can fathom his trickery? But, oh eunuch, tell me, what is your princess’s
name?” He replied, “They call my princess *Geli Savar.” With
these words, he ran back to the princess, told her what had taken place,
and described the situation to her.
The princess, going into the pavilion, took
off her weapons and men’s clothing, and put on women’s clothing.
Welcoming the Amir, she brought him into the pavilion and seated him on
a cushion, and showed him great respect and honor. Having joined
the Amir in an elegant dinner, she summoned the silver-faced cupbearers.
First filling a crystalline cup with rose-colored wine, she gave it with
her own hands to the Amir. She made him intoxicated with the wine;
afterwards, she herself drank. When they had drunk three or four
cups, the princess grew happy and elevated. Lifting aside the veil
from her face, she came and sat in the Amir’s lap, she abandoned all shame
When the Amir looked into the eyes of that
moon-faced one, the arrows of her eyelashes, shot by the bows of her eyebrows,
buried themselves in the Amir’s heart and made deep wounds there.
Eagerly he begged her to marry him, he clearly proposed a marriage between
them. After all, the feeling was already there in her heart:
she agreed. Khvajah ‘Amar immediately read the marriage ceremony,
he married them most willingly. Both, in a canopied bed, paid due
heed to the claims of pleasure; the Amir had great luxury and enjoyment
Unexpectedly King *Ganjal received word of
all this. Immediately he came with four thousand horsemen and surrounded
the garden, he besieged it with a large party. The princess said
to the Amir, “If you wish, I’ll go and cut off his head and bring it here,
I’ll send him at once to the realm of Nothingness!” The Amir said,
“Whatever he has done, still he is your father; you will not be able to
lift your hand against him. But I will go and make him taste the
fruits of his rashness.” With these words, he went out of the garden.
King Ganjal, seeing the Amir, said, “Oh Arab,
so you have treated this one too like Naushervan’s daughter, and married
her by force! So you still cherish that kind of arrogance in your
heart! Just wait and see what kind of punishment I give you, what
kind of revenge I take on you for these misdeeds!” With these words,
he drew his sword and rushed at the Amir. The Amir seized his hand
and hit him so hard with his bow, that he fell from his horse. The
Amir, drawing his dagger, flung himself onto his chest and said, “Say that
the God of Might and Grandeur is without a partner, and the faith of Abraham
is the true one!” King Ganjal, with entire willingness, repeated
the Amir’s words. The Amir released him. King Ganjal went to
his daughter, and told her how he had become a Muslim. This news
became known in all directions and places, everyone, great and small, heard
One night the Amir was sleeping with Geli
Savar in the garden, when Zar Angez, the wife of Naushervan, who had kept
the Amir prisoner for three days in a trench, put on thief’s clothing,
took a bow and arrow in her hand, and entered the garden. There she
saw the situation: the Amir was sleeping, with Geli Savar in his
arms. It was as though a snake crawled over her heart. She said to
herself, “Hamzah refused me, and he has married Geli Savar. He has
caused me so much pain! I’ll kill them both at once, I won’t by any
means spare them!” She was about to make her attack. Geli Savar’s
eyes opened; seeing her, Geli Savar arose from the canopied bed.
Zar Angez leaped down from the edge of the
roof. Geli Savar too came down from the roof. Zar Angez mounted
her horse and hastily fled, out of fear. Geli Savar too mounted and
followed her. When they had both left the garden and entered an open
field, that whore turned and confronted Geli Savar, and said, “I fled from
the garden for fear of Hamzah. Why should I fear you, what threat
or danger could I find from you?” With these words, she shot an arrow
at Geli Savar. Geli Savar cut the arrow in half with her sword.
Spurring her horse, she galloped like lightning right up to Zar Angez,
until they were stirrup to stirrup. She struck such a sword-blow
at her, that Zar Angez was cut in half and fell to the ground; after that
one blow she never took another breath, she left this world for a visit
to the world of Nothingness.
The Amir too was watching the show from a
distance. When Geli Savar killed Zar Angez, the Amir called out,
“Oh Geli Savar, what have you done? Naushervan will think that I
killed her, and will be ashamed before me for no reason, he’ll be very
much embarrassed by this!” Geli Savar replied, “What was to happen
has happened, what can be done about it now?” The Amir, taking Geli
Savar, went back into the garden, and rested.
In the morning, word was brought to Naushervan
that Zar Angez was lying dead in a field, she was lying without shroud
or tomb in the wilderness. He sent ‘ayyars to take up the body and
bring it to him. And expressing great regret, he said, “It seems
that this bitch had gone to Hamzah, and he killed her.” With these
words, he said to his slaves, “I’ve reigned for a long time. Now
I want to wander around from country to country, seeing the sights.”
They replied, “We’re your servants, we’ll obey you in every way.
Whatever you order, we will carry out, we’ll do just as you command.”
Naushervan, at midnight, packed many goods
and jewels, and much cash, into saddlebags, took a thousand slaves with
him, left the city, and set out on the road for Khotan. If anyone
asked him, he said he was a merchant; he hid his true identity from everyone.
Meanwhile, in the morning a tumult arose in
the camp--Naushervan had disappeared! Some said that the Amir had
killed him, others maintained that ‘Amar had carried him off. But
Buzurchmihr said, “If Hamzah had killed him, or ‘Amar had carried him off,
why would a thousand horses be missing? Naushervan has been shamed
by this misdeed of Zar Angez’s, and has gone off somewhere.” Crown
Prince Hurmuz sent people off in all directions to search for him.
At the counsel of his friends and relations and the nobles of the court,
Hurmuz seated himself on the throne. He began to conduct the affairs
of the kingdom, he began to do everything in place of Naushervan.
is, the unnamed city ruled by Kayumars.
leather banner raised by a shoemaker who fought in ancient times for the
liberation of Iran described in the Shah namah (Levy 19-20).
[isfandyaar] was a legendary Persian king of the earliest dynasty.
is a region near Kabul or Ghaznah, supposed to be Rustam’s birthplace.
of Shirvan, “Tiger-killer of Shirvan.” Shirvan is the area of Medea,
last we heard of Egypt, Sarhang the Egyptian was ruling as regent for Zuhrah
of Egypt. Misqal Shah has appeared briefly as a king of the Western
Dominion who aided Naushervan and was conquered by ‘Amar.
was one of Naushervan’s vassal kings. He was overcome and converted
islaam kaa baadshaah]. It's not entirely clear what, if any, royal claims
is a city, and Mazindaran a region, in Iran.
== on to Chapter