SIXTY-ONE -- Dastan of the birth of Prince Badi’ uz-Zaman from the womb of Geli Savar daughter of Ganjal, and the prince’s being shut up in a box and floated down the river, and his rescue and upbringing by Quraishah daughter of Asman Pari, at Hazrat Khizr’s order.
        Hamzah restored Naushervan to his throne.  Then he presented himself with his hands bound before the king, demanding Mihr Afroz in marriage as promised.  Naushervan wavered.  Bakhtak urged that Hamzah be killed at once.  Hamzah had Bakhtak whipped by Sa’d for his treachery.  Naushervan then agreed to the marriage, but later was persuaded by Bakhtak to set out for Mount Alburz instead, and take refuge with the king of that land.  Naushervan set out with his army, and Hamzah pursued him.
        As the two armies met and prepared for battle, an unknown champion appeared between them and challenged both to single combat.  He killed a couple of Naushervan’s champions, then fought Rustam and Sa’d bin ‘Amr to a draw.  Only Hamzah could conquer him; as Hamzah was about to kill him, he revealed his identity as *Qasim of Khavar, son of Rustam and Khurshid of Khavar.  He was then warmly welcomed, and joined the ranks of Hamzah’s army. x 
The narrator writes that when the Amir had set out for Mount Alburz, he had confided Geli Savar, who was pregnant, to Ganjal, so that she was a trust he had left with him.  Ganjal, that ingrate, ordered the maidservants and midwives, and made them promise, that when Geli Savar’s child was born, they would bring it to him just as it was, and by no means delay in this.  They thought, “He is the grandfather; he must have arranged some propitious ceremony.  Some astrologer must have told him something about auspicious or inauspicious times.”  The moment the baby was born, they presented him before Ganjal.

That pitiless one, who to save his life had become a Muslim in outward appearance, ordered them to kill the baby at once, to slay him immediately.  The midwife, seeing his sweet sweet little face, took pity on him, she did not at all approve of Ganjal’s words.  She said to King Ganjal, “If you give me the order, I’ll bury him alive; if you command, that’s what I’ll do.”  He replied, “That’s a very good idea.”  The midwife, shutting the baby up in a box, floated him off down the river, she confided the child to God’s care.

It happened that that day Asman Pari and Quraishah had come for an excursion on the river.  The box, drifting along, floated over to the bank on which they stood, and lodged there.  When they took the box out of the water and opened it, they saw a baby boy, who would rouse the sun to envy, who would put the moon to shame, sucking his thumb.  Love for the baby sprang up in their hearts.  When they saw a black mark shining on his forehead, Asman Pari said, “This mark is the sign of Abraham, the Friend of God; this child is high in God’s favor.”  Meanwhile, Hazrat Khizr appeared and said to Asman Pari, “This boy is Hamzah’s son.  Bring him up very carefully.  When he grows up, send him to Hamzah.  And name him *Badi’ uz-Zaman.”  With these words, Hazrat Khizr disappeared.

Quraishah lifted Badi’ uz-Zaman into her lap and took him to Qaf.  Nursing him with the milk of Paris, she began to bring him up with great care and attention.  When he reached the age of seven years, Quraishah, making him a master of the military arts, gave him weapons; she taught him all the skills of soldiery.  And when she had to go somewhere on some military expedition, she took him with her as well, and had him witness the battle.  When he entered his eleventh year, he asked Quraishah, “What are my parents’ names, and where are they?  In which city do they live?  Tell me where they are!”  Quraishah replied, “You have the same father as I do; he rules in the Realm of the World.  He is the Sahib-qiran, World-conqueror, Earthquake of Qaf, Younger Solomon, Father of Greatness--that is, Amir Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib.  As for the rest, I don’t know your mother’s name--who she is, or where she is, where to find her or what her origins are.”  And she told him the whole story of the box in detail, she informed him about the whole matter.

Badi’ uz-Zaman said, “Send me to my father, do me this much of a kindness.”  Asman Pari, sending many gifts of Qaf with him, confided him to the Paris and Quraishah:  “Take him with the greatest care to Mount Alburz, to the army of Islam; see that he encounters no hardships on the way.”  When he was leaving she explained to him and told him, “All your brothers have fought with the Amir at their first meeting.  You too must fight him, before you attend upon him; don’t neglect the custom of your family.”  And she told him the names of all his relatives.

In short, Badi’ uz-Zaman took leave of Queen Asman Pari, and went to Mount Alburz.  He saw that the armies on both sides were arrayed in ranks; the young men had come into the battlefield to test their swords.  The Paris told Badi’ uz-Zaman about the banners of both sides, they showed him how the camps were arranged:  “This is your father’s army, and that is the enemy’s army.”  They themselves, hidden from everyone’s gaze, began to watch the spectacle.

Badi’ uz-Zaman, standing between the two armies, turned his face toward the army of Islam and challenged, he called out in a loud voice, “Oh my dear friends, whoever longs for union with the beautiful beloved Death, let him come before me, let him show his courage and hardihood!”  Both armies, seeing Badi’ uz-Zaman’s beauty and radiance, and his clothing and weapons, were astonished:  “We have never seen a young man like him, and we have never beheld such weapons and clothing.  From what country does he come, and where did he get his equipment?”  Meanwhile, Badi’ uz-Zaman again challenged, “Oh Muslims, I’ve been seeking battle for so long, and no one among you has come forth, no one has dared to confront me!  If you hold your lives so dear, why have you armed yourselves and come into the field?  Why don’t you wrap yourselves in shawls, and sit in a corner?”

Hearing these words, Kayumars the spear-fighter took leave of the Amir, and went to encounter Badi’ uz-Zaman; he galloped his horse into the battlefield.  Badi’ uz-Zaman asked his name.  He replied, “They call me Kayumars.”  Badi’ uz-Zaman called on him to attack.  Kayumars excused himself:  “In our religion we are not permitted to make the first attack.  First you make your attack; if I am alive, I will reply to it, I will make my attack after yours.”  Badi’ uz-Zaman reached out his hand and lifted him up from his horse.  Spinning him around, he deposited him very gently on the ground.  He said, “Go, send someone else to encounter me.”

Qimaz of Khavar came and encountered him.  The prince lifted him too, like Kayumars, up from his horse, spun him around, and said, “Go, send another.”  Landhaur came and confronted him.  The prince asked him his name, lifted him up from his horse like a toothpick, and hurled him to the ground; he subdued him as he had the others and said, “Send one of Hamzah’s sons.  I’ve heard that they are very powerful, full of courage and hardihood.”  Landhaur came and said to the Amir, “The young man wants to fight one of your sons.”  Qasim of Khavar sought the Amir’s permission to do battle.  The Amir said, “I commend you to the Lord’s care.  Be sure to fight very vigilantly, this young man seems quite unusual to me; it seems that it will be difficult to conquer him.”

At length Qasim went into the field and confronted him.  He laid down his weapons and put his hand to Qasim’s belt.  Qasim too seized his belt; both began to exert their strength on each other.  When their horses sank into the ground up to their knees, they both got down from their horses, and prepared to wrestle.  Finally Badi’ uz-Zaman broke Qasim’s wrestling-stance, lifted him above his head, spun him around, and put him down on the ground; he treated him as he had the others.  And he said, “Go, send Rustam Pil-tan--for I am very eager to meet him, so that he too can see my prowess.”  Rustam came and did battle with Badi’ uz-Zaman.  After three hours of struggle, Badi’ uz-Zaman subdued Rustam as well, and said, “Send Sa’d bin ‘Amr.”  Sa’d bin ‘Amr came and fought with him, and was subdued by Badi’ uz-Zaman.  He said to Sa’d, “Send your grandfather Hamzah, so I can have some pleasure in fighting!”  Sa’d came and told this to the Amir.

The Amir came into the field, he set forth to confront him.  Badi’ uz-Zaman, spurring his horse, galloped like lightning to the Amir’s side, and instantly seized the Amir’s belt.  The Amir too put a hand to his waist.  Both exerted so much strength that their horses almost collapsed; if they had not gotten down, their horses’ backs would certainly have broken.  When the Amir felt himself in a sweat, he gave a battle-cry and strove to dislodge Badi’ uz-Zaman’s wrestling stance, he strove to lift him up above his head.  But even then Badi’ uz-Zaman was not moved.  The Amir gave another battle-cry, but this one had no effect either.  Bakhtak began to say, “It wouldn’t be surprising if Hamzah were killed at this young man’s hands, if he were defeated today by this young man!”

The narrator writes that that day the Amir gave repeated battle-cries, but Badi’ uz-Zaman was not affected by the terrifying power of the battle-cry:  he hardly even heard it.  Finally the Amir, infuriated, drew Samsam and Qamqam from their scabbards, and wanted to strike at Badi’ uz-Zaman, he wanted to attack that young man with his well-tempered sword--when Quraishah appeared and seized the Amir’s hand, and made him aware:  “Dear father, this is your son, my brother!”  The Amir was astonished:  “Whose womb is he from?”  Quraishah told the whole story of the box, and of what Hazrat Khizr had said, to the Amir in full detail; she bared that hidden secret before the Amir.

The Amir, with complete delight, embraced Badi’ uz-Zaman; love for him flowed warmly in his heart.  He called ‘Amar and said, “This noble son is mine, the Creator has sent him to help me.”  With these words, having the celebration-drums sounded, he entered his camp.  And ordering a forty-days’ celebration, he became absorbed in luxury and enjoyment; all the requisites for pleasure were provided.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .
In the morning, as usual, the ranks were arrayed.  *Zhopin Iron-body, entering the battlefield, began to challenge, he began to call out to everyone by name, “If the time has come for any one among you to die, let him appear before me!  It’s not possible for anyone to fight me and come away alive!”  The Amir spurred Ashqar Devzad forward from the center of the ranks.  And Zhopin, the moment the Amir emerged, seized his waist.  The Amir grabbed Zhopin’s waist as well, and they began to exert their strength on each other.  When both of their horses sunk in the ground up to their knees, both warriors dismounted and began to wrestle; for a long time they tried their holds on each other.  Finally the Amir, giving a battle-cry, lifted Zhopin and spun him around; hurling him to the ground, he flung himself onto his chest.  ‘Amar bin Umayyah bound him with a noose; he at once took him captive.  The Amir, having the celebration-drum sounded, turned back toward his camp, and went straight to the ladies’ apartments.

Meanwhile, the champions went in a body to ‘Amar bin Umayyah and said, “Zhopin has disgraced and humiliated us all in battle, he has given us all a great shock.  If he remains alive, we’ll never be able to look him in the eye! If by some means he were to be killed, then our trouble would disappear.”  ‘Amar said, “The Amir will never have a champion like Zhopin killed!  Rather, he’ll hold him dearer than all the rest, since champions of such magnificent strength are not easy to find.  Brave warriors who know men’s worth would never even dream of killing such a valiant young man!”  When they bribed ‘Amar and appealed to his greed, ‘Amar said to *Hardam, “You melt some lead and pour it down Zhopin’s throat.  If the Amir should be displeased, I’ll be answerable, I’ll reconcile him somehow.”  Hardam, having some lead melted, poured it down Zhopin’s throat; Zhopin’s heart and liver immediately melted.

When the Amir came out of the palace, he sent for Zhopin.  He was informed that Hardam had poured molten lead down his throat and taken his life, he had treated him in such an improper way.  The Amir was very angry at Hardam.  Hardam petitioned, “I did it on ‘Amar bin Umayyah’s say-so, on his instructions I poured the lead down his throat.  I haven’t committed any offense in this--I could never have dared to do such a thing on my own!  His blood will be on ‘Amar bin Umayyah’s head.”  The Amir, displeased, asked ‘Amar, “What did he ever do to you, that you killed him?”  ‘Amar replied, “Oh Amir, that gallows-bait deserved to be killed, so that the people could be free of his tyrannous hand.”  The Amir said, “What can I do?  If it had been anyone other than ‘Amar, then, by the Lord of the Ka’bah, I would have poured molten lead down his throat too and killed him!”  Nevertheless, he gave ‘Amar seven lashes with a whip, and commanded, “If you ever again do such a thing without my order, I’ll punish you very severely, I’ll bring down a great disaster on your head!”

‘Amar said, “If I don’t give the Amir seventy lashes, in revenge for those seven lashes, then I’m no son of Umayyah Zamiri!”  With these words, he went straight off into Naushervan’s presence, and said, “Oh King of Kings, what troubles I took upon myself for that Arab, how many times I risked my life!  And in return for it all he has given me seven lashes for the sake of an infidel, he’s disgraced and humiliated me in the eyes of all the champions.  If Your Majesty will take me into your service, I’ll remain in attendance upon you, I’ll serve you with my whole heart and soul.”  Naushervan happily said, “Oh ‘Amar, you’ll be the light of my eyes.”  With these words, he exalted him with a resplendent robe of honor, and raised him above all his companions.  He gave him a chair to sit in, he showed him much respect and honor.

When the Amir heard this news, he was so fearful that he stayed awake all night, he practiced every sort of vigilance.  And ‘Amar, every night, watched and waited for his chance against the Amir--but, finding him awake, he stole away.  At last one night the Amir went to sleep; in the grip of human weakness, he was deep in slumber.  ‘Amar was just waiting for this chance.  Finding the Amir lost in sleep, he blew knockout powder into his nostrils with a blowpipe, and made him unconscious.  Binding him with a noose, he carried him off into the firest, tied him tightly to a massive tree, and revived him; in revenge for those lashes, he humiliated him like this.

The Amir, finding himself tied to a tree, was very much astonished; he felt thoroughly ashamed.  ‘Amar cut off a branch from the tree and gave the Amir seventy blows with it, counting every one.  The Amir smiled and said, “All right, you trickster and thief!  If I don’t shed your blood, then my name isn’t Hamzah!  Now I will have no rest or peace until I kill you!”  With these words, he exerted his strength and broke the noose that bound him.  ‘Amar fled from the Amir like a runaway camel.  The Amir took his bow and arrow in hand.

‘Amar realized, “The Amir’s arrows never go astray.  I’ll be killed for nothing, I won’t escape from his hands!”  He ran over to the Amir and said, “Oh Amir, pardon my offense!”  The Amir said, “I have sworn an oath that I’ll shed your blood, that I’ll punish you for this!”  ‘Amar said, “If that is your pleasure, then I’m at your service--please strike off my head, don’t hesitate to separate my head from my body!”  The Amir, in order to fulfill his oath, pulled out a razor and caused a bit of blood to flow from ‘Amar’s veins.  Afterwards, taking ‘Amar, he went back to his camp. 

== on to Chapter 62 ==

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