Humai & Darab
How Humai cast away her son Darab on the River Farat in an Ark
Bahman died of his malady and ceased
To be concerned about the crown and throne.
Humai came, set the crown upon her head,
And ordered things anew, admitted all
The army to her court and, opening
The portal of her treasures, gave dinars.
In rede and justice she excelled her sire
The whole world prospered through her equity.
She said: " Be this crown glorious, our foes' hearts
Uprooted, our profession every good,
And may none see distress and care through us.
I will enrich all mendicants and those
Who earn their own subsistence by their toil,
And harass not the great possessed of treasure."
Whenas the time of her delivery came
She kept it from the people and the host,
Because she loved the throne of sovereignty,
And found it profit to possess the world.
She bare a son in secret, kept it close,
And had the little Treasure hid away,
Procured for nurse a woman of free birth,
Pure, full of modesty, and other virtues,
And privily made o'er to her the babe,
That Shoot so flourishing and full of promise,
And, when they asked Humai about her son,
She used to say: " The noble child is dead."
Moreover she assumed the royal crown,
And held the throne in triumph and in joy.
She sent her hosts where'er were hostile chiefs,
And was apprised of everything that passed
For good or evil in the world around.
She only sought for what was just and good,
And ordered all the world aright; her justice
Safeguarded it; it spake of her alone.
Thus eight months passed away, but when the boy
Began to favour the departed Shah
She ordered that a skilful carpenter
Should choose material for fine joinery,
And make a goodly ark of seasoned wood.
They smeared it with a coat of pitch and musk,
And lined it softly with brocade of Rum,
Bedaubing it without with lime and wax.
She placed within a pillow for a bed,
And filled it full of pearls of splendid water.
They poured in quantities of ruddy gold,
Mixed with cornelians and emeralds.
They bound one jewel, such as kings might wear,
Upon the arm of that unweanèd child
And, when the little one was fast asleep,
His nurse, so deft of hand, went wailingly,
Disposed him tenderly inside the ark,
Enwrapped him warmly in fine silk of Chin,
And then they made the cover water-tight
With lime, pitch, wax, and musk. When midnight cam
They carried forth the ark, without a word,
And, hasting from Humpi, set it adrift
Upon the stream of the Farat. Two men
Ran after it to notice how the suckling
Fared on the stream. The ark went like a boat,
And those that watched had to bestir themselves.
Now when the morning rose above the mountains
The ark brought up beside a watercourse,
Where was a laundering-place; the workers there
Had made with stones the channel's inlet narrow.
A launderer beheld the little ark,
Ran up, and drew it from the laundering-place.
When he had oped the ark, and had removed
The coverings, he stood in wonderment,
Wrapped it in heaps of clothes and hurried off,
All eager expectation and delight,
Whereat a watcher ran to tell the mother
Of ark and launderer. Said that shrewd queen:-
"Thou must keep hidden that which thou hast seen."
How the Launderer brought up Darab
Now when the launderer came back from the stream
At that untimely hour his wife exclaimed:-
"Is this thy husbandry to bring the clothes
Half dried? Whoe'er will pity thee for such work?"
The launderer, heart-withered then by grief
Because his own bright little one was dead,
For whom his wife was all disconsolate
With lacerated cheeks and darkened soul,
Replied: "Cheer up ! Henceforth for thee to wail
Will be but scurvy, for if my good wife
Can keep a secret I will tell a thing
Upon the watercourse, against the stone
Whereon I beat the clothes and rinse them out
When I have finished cleaning them, I spied
An ark, and hidden in it was a babe -
A little one that thou wilt love at sight
As soon as ever I uncover it.
'Tis true that we have had one of our own,
Though for a little while and he is dead,
But now thou hast one unawares - a son
All furnished with dinars and jewelry!"
With that he set the clothes upon the ground,
And lifted up the cover of the ark.
The launderer's wife beheld and in her wonder
Exclaimed: "God bless it ! " for she saw a cheek
Aglow amid the silk - Bahman's own image!
His pillow was all pearls of finest water,
With emeralds and cornelians for his footstool;
Upon his left hand there were red dinars,
And on his right hand jewels in profusion.
The woman suckled him immediately,
Rejoicing over that entrancing babe,
Whose beauty and whose wealth consoled her heart.
The launderer said to her: "We must be ever
Prepared to give our lives up for this child,
Because he is the son of some great man,
May be a king himself."
The launderer's wife
Cared for the child as it had been her kin,
As it had been her very son indeed,
And on the third day named the babe Darab,
Because they found his cradle in the stream.'
It happened that one day the careful wife
Was talking to her lord of many things,
And said to him: "How wilt thou use these gems?
Let wisdom be thy counsellor therein."
"Good wife !" the launderer answered, "hoarded jewels
And dust are one to me. 'Tis best for us
To quit this city, move out to the plains,
Relieved from straits and hardship, and reside
Within some city, where folk know us not,
Content and affluent."
At morn he packed,
Departed, and forgot those fields and fells.
They bore Darab with there and earried naught
Beside except the gold and jewelry.
They journeyed from the place for three score leagues,
They made their home within another city,
And there within that alien city lived
Like wealthy folk. A famous magnate dwelt
Therein, and unto him the launderer sent
One of the jewels, taking in return
Apparel, gold, and silver. Thus he did
Until he had exchanged them nearly all,
And there remained one ruby in the house
Of what the ark had held for good or ill.
One day the wife, who was the manager,
Said to her master: "We need work no longer.
Since thou hast made thy fortune give up trade."
He answered her: "Good wife and guide! thou speakest
Of trade. Well, what is better? Trade is ever
The first concern. Tend well Darab and mark
What time will yet produce for thee through him."
They cherished him so dearly that he felt
No ill from any blast. When heaven had wheeled
Above him for some years he grew to be
A youth of stature and of Grace divine,
And wrestled with his playmates in the street,
Where none could match him as to bulk and strength,
Yea, all combined against him and were worsted !
The launderer grumbled at these escapades,
Which made the outlook gloomy for the shop,
And said: "Now beat these clothes upon the stone;
'Tis no disgrace to thee to learn a craft,"
And when Darab, as usual, left the work,
And ran away, the launderer used to weep
In tears of blood and wasted nearly all
His time in searching countryside and city,
And coming on the boy with bow in hand,
His breast extended and his thumbstall on,
Would seize the bow and cry indignantly:-
"0 thou destructive and pugnacious Wolf!
Why dost thou hanker after bow and arrows?
Why art thou set on evil while so young? "
Thereat Darab would answer: "O my father !
Thou turn'st the brightness of my life to gloom.
Provide me first of all with men of lore,
That I may get by heart the Zandavasta,
And then command my toils for trade and stream,
But do not yet require this drudgery."
The launderer, having often rated him,
At last consigned him to the care of teachers.
He learned accomplishments, grew masterful,
And wholly past fault-finding and reproach.
"My father," said he to his foster-sire,
"This laundry business is not fit for me;
Be not at all concerned on mine account,
But bring me up to be a cavalier."
The launderer thereupon selected one
Of good repute and skilled in horsemanship,
And long committed to his charge the youth,
Who learnt from him whate'er was requisite -
The way to handle rein and lance and buckler,
And wheel his charger on the battlefield,
To play at polo, shoot with bow and arrow,
And outwit foes, till he attained such might
That leopards would not close with him in fight.
How Darab questioned the Launderer's Wife about his
Parentage, and how he fought against the Rumans
One day Darab said to the launderer:-
"Albeit that I never mention it
Affection stirreth not in me for thee,
Nor is my face like thine. I feel astounded
Whene'er thou call'st me son and seatest me
Beside thee in the shop."
The launderer said:-
"What words are these? Alack for all the pains
Bestowed on thee ! If then out-classest me
Seek for thy sire; thy mother hath thy secret."
It happened that the launderer one day
Went from the house and hastened to the stream.
Darab made fast the door and then approached
The goodwife, took in hand his scimitar,
And said to her: "Attempt not to deceive me,
And to obscure the issue; speak the truth
In answer to my questions. How am I
Related to you both and wherefore dwelling
Thus with a launderer?"
In fright the woman
Begged for her life And called on God for succour.
She said: "Seek not my blood, and I will tell thee
All as then biddest."
She recounted all,
With neither reticence nor subterfuge,
About the ark, the infant yet unweaned,
About the golden coins and royal jewels,
And said: "We were but simple working-folk
Quite unrelated to the quality.
What wealth we have is all derived from thine;
Through thee we rose froth low to high estate.
We are but slaves and thine is to command
What wilt thou? We are thine both soul and body."
Darab stood in amaze on hearing this,
Plunged in profound surmise. He said to her:-
"both anything remain of all that wealth,
Or hath the launderer spent the whole of it?
Is there enough still left to buy a horse
In this our day of lowliness and want?"
The woman said: "There is and more than that,
And there are money, land, and fruitful gardens."
She gave him all the money that she had,
And showed to him the precious uncut gem.
He spent the money on a noble steed,
A lasso, mace, and saddle of low price.
There was a prudent marchlord, one of weight,
A magnate well approved and well advised,
To whom Darab betook himself with soul
O'erclouded and perturbed. The marchlord held him
In highest estimation; no disaster
Befell him any whit.
Now as it chanced
An army marched from Rum to levy war
Upon that prosperous land, that frontier-chief
Was slain in battle and his army worsted.
In those days when the tidings reached Humai:-
"The Ruman hath set foot upon our border,"
There lived a warrior hight Rashnawad -
A captain of the host and sprung from such.
She ordered: "Let him lead a host toward Rum,
And waste the country with the scimitar."
To that end Rashnawad assembled troops,
Assigned the mustering place and gave out rations;
Darab heard, joyed, went, and enrolled his name.
When many troops had gathered, and the muster
Had been completed, glorious Humai,
Accompanied by well affected chiefs,
Came from the palace to review the host,
To count the numbers, and go through the names
Upon the registers. She tarried long
On that broad plain while many troops marched past,
And when she spied Darab, his Grace divine,
His bearing, and the steel mace on his shoulder,
When thou hadst said: "He filleth all the plain,
And earth is subject to his prancing steed,"
When too she marked his breast and lovesome face,
The mother's milk stirred in her, and she asked:-
"Whence is this cavalier who is possessed
Of such great limbs and is so tall and straight?
Me seemeth that he is a Ulan of name,
Discreet and yet a warlike cavalier,
A gallant heart, illustrious and mighty;
But his equipment is not worthy of him."
When narrowly she had surveyed Darab,
And had approved of all that host, she chose
A favourable season by the stars
Upon the captain of the host's behalf,
As was the fitting course. What time the leaders
Were of one mind they led the army forth
And left Humai. She sent out watchful spies
To keep her well informed and certified
About thu army's case for good and ill,
And cut short all surmises of mishaps.
Thus stage by stage the army marched on Rum;
Its flying dust-clouds filled the heavens with gloom.
How Rashnawad learned the Case of Darab
It happened that one day a mighty tempest,
With thunderings and lightnings, rain and turmoil,
Brake o'er the host and troubled Rashnawad;
The earth was flooded and the welkin roared;
Men everywhere were fleeing from the downpour,
And making for some shelter on the waste.
Darab, like others, was discomfited,
And sought to escape the storm. He looked around,
Beheld a heap of ruins, and observed
A lofty vault, though old and ri.nnous,
One that had borne the brunt of wind and weather,
Still standing in their midst. He slept perforce
Therein for he was all alone and friendless.
The general was going on his rounds,
And passing by the vault, when from the waste
A voice fell on his ear and rrlade him quail
For his own life; it was a voice that said:-
"O ruined vault! be very circumspect
Be careful of the monarch of Iran.
He had!not any shelter, friend, or mate,
And so he came and slumbered under thee."
Thought Rashnawad: "'Tis thunder on the blast."
Then from the desert came the voice again
"O vault! " it said, "close not the eye of wisdom,
For 'neath thee is the son of Shah Bahman.
Fear not the rain and keep these words in mind."
A third time that same voice came to his ear;
His heart was strangely straitened at the sound.
He asked a counsellor: "What thing is this?
Some one must needs go thither. Ascertain
Who is reposing there in such concern
They went and saw a youth
Of prudent aspect and heroic mien,
His charger and his garments wet and worn,
And he was couching on the darksome dust.
They told the general, whose heart was stirred,
And he commanded: "Summon him forthwith,
And make him hear."
They cried: "Awake, thou sleeper!
Arouse thee from thy slumber on the dust."
He mounted, and at once the vault fell in!
The leader of the army of the Shah,
On witnessing a portent such as that,
And having scanned Darab from head to foot,
Went with him quickly to the camp-enclosure,
Exclaiming: "0 just Judge, the only God I
None hath beheld this wonder heretofore,
Or heard of such from the experienced chiefs."
Then garments were supplied at his behest,
And a pavilion got in readiness.
They made a fire huge as a hill and burned
Much aloe-wood and musk and ambergris.
Whenas the sun rose o'er the mountain-tops
The general made all ready for the march.
He bade an archimage - his chief adviser -
To bring a change of raiment, Arab steed
With golden trappings, mail, and gold-sheathed sword.
These he presented to Darab, and asked
"0 lion-hearted man and warrior !
Who art thou? Of what country and what race I
'Twere well that thou shouldst tell me all the truth."
DArAb, on hearing this, narrated all,
Disclosing every secret of his past;
Just as the goodwife had acquainted him,
So told he everything to Rashnawad,
About the ark, the ruby on his arm,
The money and brocade that lay beside him,
And of his rest and slumber in the vault.
Then Rashnawad dispatched a man forthwith,
And to that messenger he said: "Bring hither,
As swift as wind, both Mars and Venus, bring
The launderer, his wife, and signet-ring."
How Darab fought against the Host of Rum
This said, he broke up camp and marched on Rum.
He made Darab the leader of the scouts,
And issued to them lances tipped with steel.
The scouts drew near to Rum, and from that side
The warden of those marches came to meet them.
All unawares they countered. Battle's dust
Arose forthwith. They mixed in fight and shed
Blood like a river. When Darab beheld
That warrior-host he came like flying dust,
And slew so many of the troops of Rum
That thou badst said: "The world hath grasped its sword."
He went forth like a lion, under him
A Dragon, in his hand a Crocodile.
Thus fared he till he reached the Rumans' camp,
And rushed upon it like an angry lion.
Earth seemed a sea of Ruman blood; wherever
His falchion led him went the atheling.
Returning from his triumph o'er the Rumans
He came to Rashnawad, the noble leader,
And had from him much praise: "May our Shah's host
Ne'er lack thee. When we quit the land of Rum,
And when the host is home, thou shalt receive
Such favours from the Shah that thou wilt be
The richer both by treasure and a crown."
They spent the night in ordering the troops,
And furbishing the weapons of the horsemen;
Then as the sun rose o'er the gloomy dales,
And. earth became as 'twere a lamp agleam,
The two opposing armies met again,
And darkened with their dust the rising sun;
But when Darab advancing led the charge,
And gave his fleet steed rein, there tarried not
A single man before the Ruman lines,
While of the warrior-swordsmen few survived.
He came upon the centre like a wolf,
And scattered utterly that great array.
Assailing then the right wing of the foe
He carried off abundant arms and spoil,
And cut in pieces all the troops of Rum
None of their champions seemed himself at all
The warriors of Iran came with a rush,
Like lions, in his wake right valiantly,
And slew so many of the Ruman host
That all the field was puddled into clay.
DArAb slew forty of the Christian prelates'
Among the magnates and bare off the Cross=
At those great deeds the heart of RashnawAd,
The paladin, swelled with delight. He blessed
And greatly praised Darab, and favoured him
The more while blessing him. Night came, the world
Grew pitch-like, and the host returned from fight.
The general rested in the Rumans' camp,
And loosed the girdle from his loins. He spent
The night apportioning the ample spoil,
And all the army was enriched thereby.
He sent DdrAb a messenger to say:-
"0 man of lion-heart and good at need!
Consider now what thou wilt please to take,
And of this spoil what is of use to thee
Whatever doth not please thee give away;
Thou art more glorious than the lord of Rakhsh.
Darab, on seeing this, was well content,
And for form's sake retained a spear himself,
Dispatching all the rest to Rashnawad,
And said: "Mayst thou be conquering and happy."
Whenas the sun's orb left the darksome west
The sky donned black brocade and when one watch
Had passed, and all the sentinels were set,
Their challenges ascended in a roar
As 'twere of lions loose.
Now when the sun
Took up its golden shield, and when the troops
Awoke, the warriors of Iran girt up
Their loins, were instant to pursue the Rumans,
Made sparks flash from their trenchant scimitars,
And gave up all the cities to the flames.
They sent the dust up both from land and people;
None e'er recalled to mind those fields and fells.
A miserable wail went up from Rum,
For men abandoned that delightful land,
While Caesar had not wherewithal for vengeance,
And all the faces of his chiefs were wan.
An envoy came to Rashnawad to say:-
"If thou, the just, hast not abandoned justice
Our warriors have had enough of war;
The head of Rum's good fortune is brought low.
If thou desirest tribute we will do
Thy bidding and will make new terms with thee."
Moreover Caesar sent abundant gifts,
With purses, captives, and all manner of wealth,
And Rashnawad received them as enough,
The money and the jewels in the rough.
How Humai recognizes her Son
Thence they departed homeward joyfully,
Darab, the worshipful, and Rashnawad,
Who halted when he reached the ruined vault,
Whereunder he had seen Darab asleep.
The launderer, with his goodwife and the jewel,
Were there already, fearful of disgrace.
The general summoned them forthwith; they prayed
To God for succour arid appeared before him.
When Rashnawad beheld the man and wife
He questioned them; they called the facts to mind,
And told him all the truth about the matter,
About the ark, about the uncut gem,
Their toils, their nurture of the sucking-child,
Their troubles, and the process of events.
Then Rashnawad said to the man and wife:-
"Success and gladness be for ever yours,
For none on earth hath seen so strange a thing,
Or even heard of such from archimages."
Immediately that man of upright mind
Indited an epistle to Humai
About Darab, the storm, his sleeping-place,
His prowess on the battlefield withal,
And also what the launderer had told
About the ark, the infant, and the treasures.
He told about the voice that he had heard,
How he was troubled by the sound, and how,
Just when Darab had mounted on his steed,
The vault had fallen in. He told it all,
Dispatched a courier like the blast for speed,
Gave to his charge the ruddy gem, and said:-
See See that thou art the waymate of the wind."
Like wind he went and bare Humai the ruby.
He gave the letter and repeated all
The words of Rashnawad. When she had read
The letter, and beheld the gem, she wept;
She knew that, on the day when she reviewed
The troops, the gracious youth, whom she had marked
Of mighty stature and with cheeks like spring,
Could be none other than her son indeed -
A noble and a fruitful Branch of hers.
Humid said weeping to the messenger:-
"There hath arrived a master for the world.
I was not free from care, but was concerned
About the question of the sovereignty.
I quailed before the world's Judge, having shown
Ingratitude to Him, for He had given me
A son whom I renounced and cast away
Upon the waters of Farüt. 'Twas I
That bound this jewel on his arm, misprising
The child because his sire was gone. Now God
Hath given him back to me through Rashnawad,
And with victorious fame."
They showered a treasure
Of gold, and mingled jewels, musk, and wine.
Humai gave largess to the indigent,
And the next sennight oped her hoarded drachms.
Where'er she knew there were a Fane of Fire,
The Zandavasta, and the Sada I feast,
There she bestowed her treasure in like wise,
And lavished gifts through all the provinces.
Upon the tenth day, early in the morning,
The general appeared before the Shah,
And with him were the chieftains and her son,
But they concealed the case from every one.
How Humai seated Durab upon the Throne
The Shah let down the curtain of the court,
And for one sennight gave no audience.
She caused a golden throne to be prepared,
With two seats made of lapis lazuli
And turquoise, with a crown all royal gems,
A pair of armlets, a bejewelled torque,
And an imperial robo of cloth of gold,
Wherein were woven divers kinds of jewels.
Before the Shah there sat astrologers
To search the stars to find a lucky day.
So on the Shahrivar of month Bahman,
At dawn, the Shah gave audience to Darab.
She filled a cup with rubies and another
With ruddy gold, and, when Darab approached
The hall of audience, went afar to meet him,
Did him obeisance, showered on him those jewels
Fit for a king, and wept blood on her breast,
Embraced him, kissed him, and caressed his face,
Then brought and set him on the golden throne,
And scanned him wonderingly. When he was seated
She came, gold crown in hand, kissed him and crowned him,
Assuring all men that the crown was his.
When he was thus illustrate with the crown
Humai began to profler her excuses,
And said: "As touching what is past, know this
That all hath turned to wind. 'Twas brought about
By youth, access to treusure, woman's way,
A sire deceased, a Shah without a guide.
If still she wrongeth thee yet let it pass,
For mayst thou have no seat except the throne
He made answer to his mother:-
"Thou hast the royal temperament, and 'tis
No wonder if thy heart be moved, but why
Still harpest thou upon a single fault?
May He that made the world approve of thee,
And anguish fill the hearts of all thy foes.
This story shall be my memorial,
And ne'er grow obsolete upon the roll."
The blest Humai did reverence, and said
"Thou shall endure as long as crown endureth."
She gave command to the high priest to call
The men of learning out of every province,
And further bade that of the troops all those
Of name, the illustrious Lions wielding swords,
Should homage that famed world-lord as the Shy:
As they called blessings down upon his crown,
And scattered jewels thereupon, Humai
Described what she had done in secrecy,
And all the anguish that her act had caused her.
"Know ye," she added, "that of Shah Bahman
This is the sole memorial on earth.
Ye all must walk according to his bidding,
For he is shepherd, warriors are his flock;
His are the majesty, the diadem,
And kingship: all must look to him for succour."
Then from the palace rose a shout for gladness
Because they saw a glorious Branch sprout forth;
The Shah himself was hidden under jewels,
The world was filled with justice and with joy,
And no one reeked of sorrow and of care.
Then was it that Humai addressed the chiefs,
And said: "Ye noble and accomplished sages
I give my son the treasure and the throne -
To me a toil of two and thirty years.
Rejoice ye then, submit to his commands,
And breathe but at his bidding."
Joyed in the crown of majesty, and donned
The diadem in peace, the launderer
Came with his wife apace. They said to him:-
Blest be thy sitting on the Kaian throne,
0 monarch of the world! and be the hearts
Darab bade bring
Ten purses filled with gold, a goblet rich
With gems, five bales of raiment of all kinds,
And gave them to the folk that had so toiled
For him. "O busy launderer!" he said,
"Be still engrossed in business. It may be
Thou yet mayst light upon another ark,
And on another infant like Darab !"
They went away invoking with their lips
God's blessing on the monarch of Iran.
Then set the launderer's star; he sought again
His shop and carried lye upon the plain.
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