Mir Amman of Dihli.

Bagh O Bahar, or Tales of the Four Darweshes online

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of such princely buildings by degrees reached the king, the shadow of
Omnipotence, who was the princess's father. On hearing it, he became
greatly surprised, and asked every one, 'Who is this person who has
begun to erect such edifices?' No one knew anything of the matter to
be able to give a reply. All put their hands on their ears and said,
'No one of your slaves knows who is the builder of them.' Then the king
sent one of his nobles with this message, 'I wish to come and see those
buildings, and to know also of what country you are the princess, and
of what family; for I wish much to ascertain all these circumstances.'

"When the princess received this agreeable intelligence, she was
greatly pleased in her mind, and wrote the [following letter]: 'To
the protector of the world, prosperity! On hearing the intelligence of
your majesty's visit, to my humble mansion, I am infinitely rejoiced;
and it has been the cause of respect and dignity to me, the meanest
[of your slaves]. How happy is the fate of that place where your
majesty's footsteps are impressed, and on the inhabitants of which
the shadow of the skirt of your prosperity is cast; may they both be
dignified with the look of favour! This slave hopes that to-morrow,
being Thursday, is a propitious day, and to me, it is more welcome than
the day of _Nau Roz_, [228] your majesty's person resembles the sun;
by condescending to come here, be pleased to bestow, with your light,
value and dignity on this worthless atom, and partake of whatever
his humble slave can provide; this will be the essence of benevolence
and courtesy, on the part of your majesty: to say more would exceed
the bounds of respect.' To the nobleman who brought the message she
made some presents, and dismissed him [with the above reply.]

"The king read the letter, and sent word, saying, 'We have accepted
your invitation, and will certainly come.' The princess ordered the
servants and all the attendants to get ready the necessary preparations
for an entertainment, with such propriety and elegance, that the king,
on seeing [the banquet] and eating thereof, might be highly pleased;
and that all who came with the king, great and little, should be well
entertained and return content. From the princess's strict directions,
the dishes, of every kind, both salt and sweet, were so deliciously
prepared, that if the daughter of a _Brahman_ [229] had tasted them,
she would have become a _Musalman_. [230] When the evening came, the
king went to the princess's palace, seated on an uncovered throne; the
princess, with her ladies in waiting, advanced to receive him; when
she cast her eyes on the king's throne, she made the royal obeisance
with such proper respect, that on seeing it, the king was still more
surprised; with the same profound respect she accompanied the king
to the throne, set with jewels, which she had erected for him. The
princess had prepared a platform of 125,000 pieces of silver; [231] a
hundred and one trays of jewels and of gold pieces, and woollen shiffs,
shawls, muslins, silk and brocades; two elephants and ten horses, of
_'Irak_ and _Yaman_, with caparisons set with precious stones, were
likewise prepared [for the royal acceptance]. She presented these to
his majesty, and stood before him herself with folded arms. The king
asked with great complacency, 'Of what country are you a princess,
and for what reasons are you come here?'

"The princess, after making her obeisance, replied, 'This slave is
that offender who in consequence of the royal anger was sent to this
wilderness, and all these things which your majesty sees are the
wonderful works of God.' On hearing these words, the king's blood
glowed (with paternal warmth), and rising up, he pressed the princess
fondly to his bosom, and seizing her hand, he ordered her to be seated
on a chair that he had placed near the throne; but still the king was
astonished and surprised [at all he saw], and ordered that the queen,
along with the princesses, should come thither with all speed. When
they arrived, the mother and sisters recognised [the princess], and,
embracing her with fondness, wept over her, and praised God. The
princess presented her mother and sisters with such heaps of gold
and jewels, that the treasures of the world could not equal them in
the balance. Then the king, having made them all sit in his company,
partook of the feast [which had been prepared].

"As long as the king lived, the time passed in this manner; sometimes
the king came [to visit the princess], and sometimes carried the
princess with him to his own palaces. When the king died, the
government of the kingdom descended to this princess; for, except
herself, no other person [of her family] was fit for this office. O,
youth, the history [of the princess] is what you have heard. Finally,
heaven-bestowed wealth never fails, but the intentions of the possessor
must [at the same time] be just; moreover, how much soever is spent
[out of this providential wealth] so much also is the increase: to be
astonished at the power of God, is not right in any religion." The
female servant, after finishing this narrative, said, "Now if you
still intend to proceed to the country of _Nimroz_, and if you are
determined in your mind to bring the requisite intelligence, then
depart soon." I replied, I am going this moment, and if God pleases
I shall be back very soon. At last, taking leave [of the princess]
and relying on the protection of God, I set out for that quarter.

In about a year's time, after encountering many difficulties, I
arrived at the city of _Nimroz_. All the inhabitants of that place
that I saw, noble or common, were dressed in black, and whatever
I had heard, that I fully perceived. After some days the evening
[232] of the new moon occurred. On the first day of the month, all
the inhabitants of the city, little and great, children, nobles,
prince, women and men, assembled on a large plain. I also, bewildered
and distracted in my condition, went along with the vast concourse;
separated from my country and possessions, in the garb of a pilgrim,
I was standing to behold the strange sight, and to see what might
result from the mysterious scene. In the meantime, a young man
advanced from the woods, mounted on a bull, foaming at the mouth,
and roaring and shouting [in a frightful manner]. I, miserable, who
had undergone such labour, and overcome so many dangers, and had come
there to ascertain the circumstances, yet on seeing the young man I was
quite confounded and stood silent with astonishment. The young man,
according to his usual custom, did what he used to do, and returned
[to the woods]; and the concourse of people from the city likewise
returned thither. When I had collected my senses, I then repented
[saying to myself], "What is this you have done? Now it is your lot to
wait anxiously for another whole month." Having no remedy, I returned
with the rest; and I passed that month like the month of _Ramazan_,
[233] counting one day after another. At last the new moon appeared,
and was hailed by me as _'Id_. [234] On the first of the month, the
king and the inhabitants again assembled on that same plain; then I
determined, that this time, let what will happen, I would be resolute,
and propound this mysterious circumstance.

Suddenly the young man appeared, mounted, according to custom, on a
yellow bull, and, dismounting, sat down [on the ground]; in one hand
he held a naked sword, and in the other the bull's halter; he gave
the vase to his attendant, who, as usual, showed it to every one,
and carried it back [to his master]. The crowd, on seeing the vase,
began to weep; the young man broke the vase, and struck such a blow on
the slave's neck as to sever his head from his body, and, he himself
remounting the bull, returned [towards the woods]. I began to run
after him, with all speed, but the inhabitants laid hold of my hand,
and exclaimed, "What is this you are going to do? why, knowingly, art
thou about to perish? If thou art so tired of life, there are a great
many ways of dying, by which thou mayest end thy existence." How much
soever I beseeched them [to let me go], and even had recourse to main
force, in order that by some means I might escape from their hands,
yet I could not release myself. Three or four men clung fast to me,
and having seized me, led me towards the city. I again suffered for
another whole month in a strange state of disquietude.

When that month passed also, and the last day of it had elapsed, all
the inhabitants assembled on the plain on the following morning in
the same manner. I, apart from all, arose at the hour of [morning]
prayer. I went before all the others [were astir] into the woods,
and there lay concealed, exactly on the road by which the young man
was to pass; for no one could there restrain me [from executing my
project]. The young man came in the usual manner, performed the same
acts [already described], re-mounted, and was returning. I followed
him, and eagerly running up, I joined him. The young man, from the
noise of my steps, perceived that some body was coming after him. All
at once, turning round the halter of his bull, he gave a loud shout,
and threatened me; then drawing his sword, he advanced towards me,
and was about to strike. I bent down with the utmost respect, and
made him my _salam_, and joining both my hands together, I stood in
silence. That person being a judge of respectful behaviour [restraining
his blow], said to me. "O pilgrim, thou wouldest have been killed for
nothing, but thou hast escaped - thy life is prolonged; get away. Where
art thou going?" He then drew a jewelled dagger, having a tassel set
with pearls, from his waist, and threw it towards me, and added, "At
this moment I have no money about me to give thee; carry this [dagger]
to the king, and thou wilt get whatever thou askest." To such a degree
did my fear and dread of him prevail, that I had not power to speak
or ability to move; my voice was choked, and my feet became heavy.

After saying this, the brave young man, roaring aloud, went on. I said
to myself, "let what will happen, to remain behind now is, in thy case,
folly thou wilt never again get such an opportunity [to execute thy
project]. Regardless, therefore, of my life, [235] I also went on. He
again turned round and forbade me in great wrath [to follow him],
and seemed determined to put me to death. I stretched forth my neck,
and conjuring him [by all that was sacred], I said, "_O Rustam_ [236]
of these days, strike such a blow that I may be cut clean in two;
let not a fibre remain together, and let me be released from this
wandering and wretched state; I pardon you my blood." He replied,
"O demon-faced! why dost thou for nothing bring thy blood on my head,
and makest me criminal; go thy own way; what! is thy life become a
burden to thee?" I did not mind what he said, but advanced; then he
knowingly appeared not to regard me, and I followed him. Proceeding
on about two _kos_, we passed the wood, and came to a square building;
the young man went up to the door and gave a frightful scream; the door
opened of itself; he entered, and I remained altogether outside. O God,
[said I] what shall I now do? I was perplexed; at last, after a short
delay, a slave came out and brought a message, saying, "Come in, he
has called you to his presence; perhaps the angel of death hovers
over your head; what evil fortune has befallen you?" I replied,
"Verily it is good fortune;" and without fear, I entered along with
him into the garden.

At last, he led me to a place where [the young man was sitting]; on
seeing him, I made him a very low [237] _salam_; he beckoned me to sit
down; I sat down with respect. What do I see but the young man sitting
alone on a _masnad_, with the tools of a goldsmith lying before him;
and he had just finished a branch of emeralds. When the time came for
him to rise up, all the slaves that were around the place concealed
themselves in [different] rooms; I also from fear hid myself in a
small closet. The young man rose up, and having fastened the chains
of all the apartments, he went towards the corner of the garden, and
began to beat the bull he usually rode. The noise of the animal's
roaring reached my ear, and my heart quaked [with fear]; but as I
had ran all these risks to develop this mystery, I forced the door,
though trembling with fear, and under the screen of the trunk [238]
of a tree, I stood and saw [what was going on]. The young man threw
down the club with which he was beating [the bull], and unlocked
a room and entered it. Then, instantly coming out, he stroked the
bull's back with his hand, and kissed its mouth; and having given
it some grain and grass, he came towards me. On perceiving this,
I ran off quickly, and hid myself in the room.

The young man unfastened the chains of all the rooms, and the whole
of the slaves came out, bringing with them a small carpet, a wash-hand
basin, and a water pot. After washing his hands and face, he stood up
to pray; when he had finished his prayers, he called out, "Where is the
pilgrim?" On hearing myself called, I ran out and stood before him;
he desired me to sit down; after making him a _salam_, I sat down;
the dinner was served; he partook of it, and gave me some, which I
also ate. When the dishes were removed, and we had washed our hands,
he dismissed his slaves and told them to go to rest. When no one
[except ourselves] remained in the apartment, he then spoke to me,
and asked, "O friend, what great misfortune has befallen thee that
thou goest about seeking thy death?" I related in full detail all the
adventures of my life, from beginning to end, and added, that, "from
your goodness, I have hopes of obtaining my wishes." On hearing this,
he heaving a deep sigh, went raving mad, and began to say, "O God! who
except thee is acquainted with the tortures of love! He whose chilblain
has not yet broken out, how can he know the pains of others? he only
knows the degree of this pain who has felt the pangs of love!

'The anguish of love, you must ask of the lover,
Not of him who feigns, but of the true lover.'"

A moment after, coming to himself, he heaved a heart-burning sigh;
the room resounded with it; then I perceived that he was likewise
tortured with the pangs of love, and was suffering from the same
malady [as myself]. On this discovery, I plucked up courage and said,
"I have related to you all my own adventures; now do me the favour to
impart to me the past events [of your life]; I will then first of all
assist you as far as I can, and by exerting myself obtain for you the
desires of your heart." In short, that true lover, conceiving me his
companion and fellow-sufferer, began the relation of his adventures
in the following manner. "Hear, O friend! I whose heart is tortured
with anguish, am the prince of this country of _Nimroz_; the king,
that is to say, my father, at my birth, collected together all the
fortune tellers, astrologers and learned men, and ordered them to cast
and examine my horoscope, to fix my nativity, and to state in full
to his majesty whatever was to befall me every individual moment, and
hour, and _pahar_, and day, and month, and year, [of my life]. They all
assembled according to the king's order, and consulting together, they,
from their mystical science, ascertained my future fate, and said,
'By the blessing of God, the prince has been begotten and born under
such a propitious planet, and in such a lucky moment, that he ought
to be equal to Alexander in extent of dominion, and in justice equal
to _Naushirwan_. He will be, moreover, proficient in every science,
and every [branch of] learning, and towards whatever subject his
heart is inclined, he will accomplish it with perfection. He will
in generosity and bravery acquire such renown, that mankind will no
longer remember _Hatim_ and _Rustam_; but until [he attains] the age
of fourteen, he is exposed to great danger if he sees the sun or moon;
yea, it is to be feared he may become a mad demoniac, and shed the
blood of many; and restless [of living in society], he will fly to
the woods, and associate with beasts and birds; great and strict
pains must be taken that he should never behold the sun by day or
the moon by night, or cast a look even towards the heavens. If this
period [of fourteen years] pass away without danger and in safety,
then for the rest of his life he will reign in peace and prosperity.'

"On hearing this [prognostication], the king ordered this garden to
be laid out, and caused to be built in it many apartments of various
kinds. He gave an order for me to be brought up in a vault, lined
[on the inside] with felt, so that not a single ray of light from the
sun or moon might penetrate [into my apartment]. I had a wet nurse and
all other kinds of female servants and attendants attached to me, and
was brought up in this grand palace with this [imagined] security. A
learned tutor, who was skilled in public affairs, was appointed to
[superintend] my education; so that I might acquire every science
and art, and the practice of the seven varieties of penmanship; and
my father always looked after me; the occurrences of every day and
every moment were told to the king. I considered that same place as
the whole world, and amused myself with toys and flowers; and I had
procured for me every delicacy the world [could produce] for my food;
whatever I desired I had. By the age of ten years, I had acquired
every species of learning, and every useful accomplishment.

"One day, beneath that dome, an astonishing flower appeared from
the sky-light, which increased in size as I gazed upon it; I wished
to seize it with my hands, but as I stretched them towards it, it
ascended [and eluded my grasp]. I, having become astonished, was
looking steadfastly at it, when the sound of a loud laugh reached my
ear; I raised my head to look [towards the dome from which the noise
proceeded]. Then I saw that a face, resplendent as the full moon,
having rent the felt, continued issuing forth. On beholding it, my
reason and senses vanished. On coming to myself, I looked up, and
saw a throne of jewels raised on the shoulders of fairies; a person
was seated on it, with a crown of precious stones on her head, and
clothed in a superb dress; she held in her hand a cup made of ruby,
and seated, was drinking wine. The throne descended by slow degrees
from its height, and rested on [the floor of] the dome. Then the
fairy called me, and placed me beside her [on the throne]; she began
to make use of expressions of endearment, and having pressed her
lips to mine, she made me drink a cup of rosy wine, and said, 'The
human race is faithless, but my heart loves thee.' The expressions
she uttered were so endearing and so fascinating, that in a moment
my heart was enraptured, and I felt such pleasure as if I had tasted
the supreme joys of life, and thus I conceived that I had only on
that day entered the world [of enjoyment].

"The result is my present state! but no one [on earth] hath ever seen,
or heard such ecstatic pleasure! In that zest, with our hearts at
ease, we both were seated, when all at once our joys were dashed to
pieces! Now listen to the unlooked-for circumstance [which produced
this sudden change]. At the moment, four fairies descended from
the heavens, and whispered something in that beloved one's ear. On
hearing it, her colour changed, and she said to me, 'O my beloved,
I fondly wished to pass some moments with you, and regale my heart,
and to repeat my visits in the same manner, or to take thee with
me. But fate will not permit two persons [like us] to remain in one
place in peace and felicity; farewell, my beloved! may God protect
you!' On hearing these [dreadful words], my senses vanished, and my
bliss fled from my grasp. [239] I cried, 'O my charmer, when shall
we meet again? what dreadful words of wrath are these which you have
made me hear? If you will return quickly, then you will find me alive,
otherwise you will regret the delay; or else tell me your name and
place of residence, that I may from those directions, by diligent
search, conduct myself to you.' On hearing this she said, 'God forbid
[you should do so]; may the ears of Satan be deaf; may your age amount
to a hundred and twenty years; [240] if we live we shall meet again;
I am the daughter of the king of the _Jinns_, and I dwell in the
mountain of _Kaf_. [241] On saying this, she caused the throne to
ascend, [242] and it ascended in the same manner as it had descended.

"Whilst the throne was in sight, our eyes were fixed on each other;
when it disappeared from my eyes, my state became such as if the
shadow of a fairy had fallen on me; a strange sort of gloom was
spread over my heart, and my understanding and consciousness left
me; the world appeared dark under my eyes; distracted and confused,
I wept bitterly, and scattered dust over my head, and tore my clothes;
I became regardless of food and drink, nor cared for good or evil.

'What various evils result from this same love!
In the heart are produced sadness and impatience.' [243]

"My misfortune was soon known to my nurse and preceptor; with fear
and trembling they went before the king, and said, 'Such is the
state of the prince of the people of the world; we do not know how
this disaster has suddenly and of itself fallen upon him, so that
rest, food, and drink have all [on his part] been abandoned.' [On
hearing these sad tidings] the king immediately came to the garden
[where I resided], accompanied by the _wazir_, intelligent nobles,
wise physicians, true astrologers, learned _mullas_, holy devotees,
and men abstracted from worldly affairs. On seeing my distracted,
sighing, weeping condition, his mind became also distracted; he wept,
and with fond affection clasped me to his breast, and gave orders for
my proper treatment. The physicians wrote out their prescriptions, in
order to strengthen my heart and cure my brain, and the holy priests
wrote out charms [244] and amulets, some to be swallowed, and others to
be worn on my person, and having each repeated prayers [of exorcism],
they began to blow upon me; the astrologers said this misfortune had
happened owing to the revolution of the stars [for the averting] of
it, give pious donations. In short, every one advised according to his
science; but what was passing within me, my heart alone experienced;
no one's assistance or remedy was of avail to my evil destiny; day
after day my lunacy increased, and my body became emaciated from the
want of nourishment. There remained for me only to shriek and moan,
day and night. Three years passed away in this state. In the fourth
year, a merchant, who was on his travels, arrived, and brought with
him into the royal presence rare and valuable articles of different
countries; he met with a gracious reception.

"The king favoured him greatly, and after inquiries respecting
his health, he said to him, 'You have seen many countries; have you
anywhere seen a truly learned physician, or have heard of such from any
one?' The merchant replied, 'Mighty sire, this slave has travelled a
great deal; in the middle of the [Ganges] river in _Hindustan_ there
is a small mountain; there a _Jata-dhari Gusa,in_ [245] has built a
large temple to _Mahadev_, [246] together with a place of worship,
and a garden of great beauty, and in that [mountain-island] he lives;
and his custom is this, that once a year on the day of _Shevrat_,
[247] he comes out of his dwelling, swims in the river, and enjoys
himself. After washing himself, when he is returning to his abode, then
the sick and afflicted of various countries and regions, who come there
from afar, assemble near his door. Of these a numerous crowd is formed.

"'The holy _Gusa,in_ (who ought to be called the Plato [248] of these
days), moves along examining the urine, and feeling the pulse of each,
and giving each a recipe. God has given him such healing power,
that, on taking his medicines, their effects are instantaneous,
and the disease utterly vanishes. These circumstances I have seen
with my own eyes, and adored the power of God which has created such
beings! If your majesty orders it, I will conduct the prince of the
people of the world to that [wonderful man], and show the prince
to him; I firmly hope he will soon be completely cured; moreover,
this scheme is externally beneficial, for from inhaling the air of
various places, and from the diet and drink of different countries
[through which we shall pass], the prince's mind will be restored

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Online LibraryMir Amman of DihliBagh O Bahar, or Tales of the Four Darweshes → online text (page 8 of 22)