SIXTY-THREE -- The Amir sets
out toward Nayastan, and kills Sang-andaz the Bloodthirsty of Nayastan,
the lord of that place.
The cannibal champion Marzban caused a magician to make a beautiful
magic horse, set the horse up in the wilderness, and hid nearby until Sa’d
bin ‘Amr found and mounted it. The horse carried Sa’d off into Marzban’s
clutches. But Sa’d was aided by the chivalrous Ga’olangi. Ga’olangi
arranged a fair fight between Marzban and Sa’d, in which Sa’d overcame
his captor; Ga’olangi himself then killed Marzban. Sa’d remained
in the friendly custody of Ga’olangi. Hamzah, learning of this, went
to rescue him.x
After some days, the Amir arrived near Alabaster.
Ga’olangi, hearing of the Amir’s arrival, dressed Sa’d in resplendent clothing
and sent him, with gifts and presents, to the Amir. Sending cash
and goods for the Amir’s companions as well, he pleased them very much.
The Amir embraced Sa’d; hearing how well Ga’olangi had treated him, he
was very pleased and grateful. In the morning Ga’olangi, having the
attack-drum sounded, came into the field, he arrayed the ranks of his army
in the field of slaughter. The Amir too armed himself and went onto
Ga’olangi, seeing how short in stature the
Amir was, suspected that it was some other champion. He said, “Oh
champion, I have business with Hamzah, I have nothing to do with you.
It’s not my practice to fight with mediocre champions! Go and send
Hamzah, let him come and confront me.” The Amir said, “I myself am
Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib.” Ga’olangi replied, “Oh Amir, I thought
you would be taller of stature and more powerful of body than I!
With a stature like this, did you really defeat and subdue thousands of
high-headed champions, and bring high-handed Devs under your hand in Qaf?”
The Amir said, “If I am insignificant in size, what of it? My Helper
is very powerful, compared to Him the earth and sky are insubstantial.
Come on, what kind of an attack can you make? Come ahead, confront
me and show me your chivalry and prowess!”
Ga’olangi said, “You make the first attack,
let me see what your strength is like.” The Amir replied, “We worshipers
of the Lord don’t attack first.” Ga’olangi immediately made three
attacks on the Amir, without a break. Sweat came out from the root
of every hair on the Amir’s body, but he held his position before him like
a man, he didn’t take a single step backwards. Ga’olangi was extremely
surprised: “He has so much strength--it’s a miracle!” Finally
the Amir took a mace with a striking force of twenty-six thousand pounds,
and launched such a blow with it at Ga’olangi that the bullock on which
Ga’olangi was riding died from the shock, and Ga’olangi too was affected.
Ga’olangi wanted to kill the Amir’s horse as well. The Amir leaped
down and confronted him. Ga’olangi struck two sword-blows at the
Amir. Although the Amir’s shield was slashed to a depth of four fingers,
Ga’olangi’s sword broke as well, his sword-blade fell out of its hilt.
Ga’olangi, throwing away the hilt, placed his hand on the Amir’s waist.
The Amir seized his belt. Until evening, they exerted their strength
on each other.
Ga’olangi said, “Oh Amir, the night was meant
for rest. Please rest now, please excuse me for the present.
In the morning, whatever is to happen will happen.” The Amir said,
“I won’t turn away without settling this.” Food was sent from both
their kitchens. They sat together and ate their dinner. After
drinking some cups of wine, by the light of torches they again began to
exert their strength. The narrator writes that for twenty-one days
and nights the Amir and Ga’olangi continuously fought together. Both
of them stood very firm in the field. There was no technique of fighting
which was not tried by both sides.
Finally, on the twenty-second day the Amir
said to Ga’olangi, “There are no techniques of fighting left untried.
Now you try to dislodge my wrestling-stance, and I’ll try to dislodge yours.
Whichever of us dislodges the other’s stance, has placed the other under
the obligation of serving him.” Ga’olangi agreed to this most willingly.
He laughingly answered the Amir, “Oh Amir, you blundered when you made
this condition, you made a big mistake when you proposed this condition
between us! I uproot huge, large, splendid trees, I pull them up
by their roots and fling them away, I pluck them out of the ground like
straws. Your wrestling-stance is not stronger than a tree!”
The Amir said, “All right, what’s the harm? We’ll soon find out!”
Ga’olangi exerted so much strength that his
fingers split open and began to bleed, and blood began flowing from his
nose and ears as well. He was on the verge of fainting. But
the Amir’s wrestling-stance could not be dislodged. The Amir sank
into the ground up to his waist. Ga’olangi, growing weak, said, “Oh
Amir, I’ve already used all the strength I had.” The Amir commanded,
“Be warned--I’m going to give a battle-cry!” He replied, “You can
make as much noise as your heart desires! I’m not a boy, to tremble
at the sound of your voice, or feel afraid of it.” When the Amir
gave the battle-cry “God is great!”, the desert shook for thirty-two miles
all around. Lifting Ga’olangi above his head, he spun him around
and put him gently on the ground; he proved all his claims to be false.
Then he commanded ‘Amar, “Bind him, and don’t
give him any chance to escape.” Ga’olangi replied, “Amir, why should
you bind me? I am bound by my pledge of obedience to you!”
The Amir commanded, “Then accept Islam.” He at once, with a sincere
heart, said the profession of faith. The Amir embraced him, and told
everyone the good news of his becoming a Muslim. And taking him into
his tent, he introduced him to all the champions. Ga’olangi took
the Amir, together with his companions, into his city, and kept the Amir
absorbed in celebrations for forty days.
. . .
. . . .
In Ga’olangi’s company, Hamzah sought further adventures. He attacked,
overcame, and killed two kings, Kakh of Bakhtar and Ir’ash, who ruled nearby
The narrator writes that after exterminating
Ir’ash, the Amir asked Ga’olangi, “Now what city lies ahead of us?”
Ga’olangi submitted, “It is Nayastan, a large and splendid city.
The ruler of the city is named *Stonethrower the Bloodthirsty of Nayastan,
and his army too is very fierce and full of hardihood. His height
is one hundred ninety yards. His eyes glow like ovens, and his soldiers
are innumerable. The way there is so narrow that two men can’t walk
abreast, not even birds can enter there. And on both sides of the
road flames of fire shoot out of the ground, so hot that they melt even
The Amir paid no heed to his words, and set
out for Nayastan. When the Amir reached that place, his army couldn’t
bear it, they couldn’t stand the hardship; people began to die from the
heat of the flames. Then the Amir placed the noose of Khvajah Khizr/1/
on the ground, and commanded, “Take hold of the end of this, and come ahead,
don’t have any doubt now in your hearts.” The narrator writes that
the Amir’s whole army, with their mounts, burned up. One champion
mounted on a camel, and three hundred foot-soldiers, seized the rope and
crossed that river of fire; all the rest of his soldiers set out for the
land of Nothingness.
At length, with the greatest difficulty, the
Amir arrived near the city. Stonethrower the Bloodthirsty of Nayastan,
who was its king, heard of the Amir’s arrival and came out of the city
with his soldiers, he brought his whole army to confront him. The
Amir saw that around each soldier’s neck hung a bag filled with stones.
Seeing the Amir, they all with one accord began to hurl stones. Among
the Amir’s companions seventy-one men survived; all the rest were stoned
to death by the enemy. The Amir, seeing this, felt sorely helpless
and under pressure.
The Amir, drawing his sword, rushed into their
army the way a tiger enters a herd of goats. He began to wield swords
in both hands, he began to strike off their heads from their necks.
So many bloodthirsty soldiers were killed that their blood began to form
a river. Finally Stonethrower the Bloodthirsty of Nayastan came and
struck a sword-blow at the Amir’s head. The Amir warded it off.
When he began to lift his mace, the Amir made a leap and struck him such
a sword-blow that both his legs were cut off at the knees and sank into
the ground. The Amir struck a second sword-blow that sent him off
to Hell. And the surviving enemy soldiers, who had shut themselves
up in their fort, he caused to be burned to death by fire, he reduced them
all to ashes.
And he said, “I’ve heard Buzurchmihr say that
I would emerge from the Dark Regions with seventy friends, that I would
defeat and subdue all those enemies. Now seventy-one men are with
me. It remains to be seen which one of them is fated to die, which
one’s name is erased from the page of life.” With these words, he
fell into deep grief. The narrator says that the Amir said to Ga’olangi,
“Oh my friend, a hundred thousand horsemen and footmen were with me, and
out of all of them only these seventy-one men have survived, all the rest
have been finished off! I am very much grieved at their death!
Now tell me, what city lies ahead of us?”
. . .
. . . .
Hamzah and his sadly diminished band of companions continued their adventures.
They killed enemy champions, and overcame a tilism. Finding that
the magician who had made the tilism lay dead, they burned his body and
his magic book; but ‘Amar saved a few pages. They traveled on, keeping
The Amir had assigned the first watch to ‘Adi,
the second watch to *Malik Ashtar, the third watch to King Landhaur, and
the fourth to himself; thus he enjoined them to remain awake and alert.
As ‘Adi began his watch, he saw a deer nearby. Killing it, he cleaned
it and began to cook its meat. When the meat was ready, an old crone
appeared, and began to grind her teeth at ‘Adi. ‘Adi said, “Oh old
woman, tell me truly who you are, and why you have come here. Why
have you undertaken the hardships of travel, and why do you grind your
teeth at me? Tell me, or I’ll kill you right now--give me a true
account of yourself, or I’ll punish you at once!”
Then she said meekly, “Oh son, I’m the wife
of a merchant. A tiger killed my husband. I’ve been wandering
in this forest, perplexed and anxious; with no friends or helpers, I’ve
been wandering around in confusion. Today is the fourth day that
I haven’t set eyes on a single grain of wheat. If you give me a little
meat, I will eat it and invoke blessings on you, I will thank you with
my whole heart and soul.” ‘Adi took pity on her. He began to
take meat out of the pot to give to her. That old woman leaped up,
and gave ‘Adi such a slap that he lost consciousness and fell to the ground.
After a time, he came to his senses. When he had recovered from the
shock, he saw that the pot lay empty.
Meanwhile, the first watch of the night was
over. ‘Adi woke Malik Ashtar, and prepared to go to sleep.
Malik Ashtar, seeing the empty pot, said, “Oh you with the potbelly, you
cooked meat and ate it all by yourself, you didn’t save any for me!”
‘Adi replied, “I was hungry, so I ate it all. If you’re hungry, then
you kill an animal too, and cook and eat it; don’t suffer from hunger!”
After a little while, a deer came by near
Malik Ashtar too. Malik Ashtar killed it, and cooked its meat.
At length the meat was done. The same old woman again came and, weeping
and lamenting, began to beg for meat. Malik Ashtar too, taking pity
on her, wanted to take out meat from the pot and give it to her, to do
the virtuous deed of feeding a hungry person. The old woman leaped
up and gave him a slap; he lost consciousness and fell. The old woman
ate the meat and went off. Malik Ashtar came to his senses.
King Landhaur came to take the next watch.
Landhaur, seeing the empty pot on the fire, said, “Well, Malik Ashtar,
you cooked meat and ate it all yourself, you didn’t save me even a bite!”
Malik said, “My friend, there was only a little meat, my own stomach wasn’t
even filled! How could I have saved any meat for you? There’s
lots of game here, you should kill an animal yourself, and cook and eat
it. The deer in this forest have delicious meat, you must taste it.”
Landhaur too killed a deer and cooked its
meat. Then the old woman came and slapped Landhaur and made him lose
consciousness, and took the meat, ate it, and went off. When Landhaur
came to his senses, and recovered from the shock, ‘Adi and Malik Ashtar
said, “What you had was just the kind of solitary dinner that we had as
well!” Landhaur replied, “If you had told me about it, then I wouldn’t
have been tricked, I would have used some scheme.” ‘Adi and Malik
replied, “Well, what was to happen has happened. Now keep quiet,
don’t by any means say a word. Wake the Amir. Let’s see how
the Amir and the old woman get along!” Landhaur said, “I don’t want
the Amir to be deceived.” ‘Adi replied, “The Amir will never be caught
by any trick!” After holding this conversation among themselves,
they woke the Amir.
The Amir too, during his watch, killed an
animal and began cooking its meat. The old woman had tasted meat,
and wanted more. When the meat was done, she appeared before the
Amir and began to sing the same old tune, she brought the same words to
her lips. When the Amir smelled the scent of meat coming from her
mouth, he said to himself, “This is some tilism. The Lord knows what
kind of evil monster this old woman might be! Undoubtedly she is
a demon. It’s proper for me to save myself from her.”
Taking a sword in one hand, with the other
hand he began to take out meat from the pot. The old woman sought
to give the Amir too a slap. When the Amir gave her a blow with his
sword, her head was separated from her body, and as soon as it fell to
the ground it began rolling rapidly in one direction. The Amir pursued
it. He saw the head, rolling and rolling along, go down into a well.
The Amir pursued the head down the well, where
he encountered a beautiful young female magician whom he brought out and
held captive. When she refused to reveal her magic, ‘Amar eventually
killed her, and thwarted the revenge of her two magician sisters.
. . .
. . . .
For some days the Amir remained occupied in
hunting and pleasure excursions in that area. One day he asked Ga’olangi,
“Now you must tell me what further evil menaces remain, you must give me
some fresh news!” Ga’olangi replied, “All the mischiefs and menaces
from Bakhtar to the Dark Regions have been wiped out. Now please
come to Alabaster and rest for a while, please come along with me.
Let us go from this place to Alabaster, let us enter that noble city.”
Ga’olangi arranged a celebration for the Amir, with the greatest elegance;
he ordered his attendants to prepare all the requisites for the feast.
After the celebration was over, they went
out of the city to hunt--when suddenly Badi’ uz-Zaman saw a deer.
He wanted to kill it. The deer, bounding along, went on ahead.
Badi’ uz-Zaman urged his horse after it, he prepared his gun to shoot it.
After it had gone a little way, the deer leaped into a large ornamental
pond. Badi’ uz-Zaman too urged his horse into the pond. The
Amir too, with his comrades, leaped into the pond.
When they opened their eyes and looked, they
saw a wide plain, they found a strange kind of wilderness. However
much they searched here and there for Badi’ uz-Zaman, they found no trace
of him. The Amir, with tears in his eyes, said to his comrades, and
told them with great, great grief and pain, “Now seventy men are left;
the seventy-first was Badi’ uz-Zaman, who has disappeared. Alas,
that one more fresh hole has been made in my heart! I am ravaged
by grief.” His comrades comforted the Amir in their own way:
“Oh Amir, no one can fight against fate. Except for the balm of patience,
there’s no cure for this deep wound. The Amir didn’t say a word except
of patience and gratitude to God. He saw no refuge except in silence.
this is the noose sent to ‘Amar by Bibi Asifa Basafa, Khizr’s mother.
See Chapter 48.
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