Page:Arabiannightsent07burtiala.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
3
The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib.

bared blade and fell upon them and slew of them more than fifty braves; after which he cut his way out, though bathed in blood, and won back to Gharib, who said, "What is this case, O Sahim?" And he told him what had passed, whereat he grew livid for rage and crying "Allaho Akbar—God is most great!"—bade the battle-drums beat. So the fighting-men donned their hauberks and coats of straitwoven mail and baldrick'd themselves with their swords; the footmen drew out in battle-array, whilst the horsemen mounted their prancing horses and dancing camels and levelled their long lances, and the champions rushed into the field. Ajib and his men also took horse and host charged down upon host. ―And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

 Now when it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Gharib and his merry men took horse, Ajib and his troops also mounted and host charged down upon host. Then ruled the Kazi of Battle, in whose ordinance is no wrong, for a seal is on his lips and he speaketh not; and the blood railed in rills and purfled earth with curious embroidery; heads grew gray and hotter waxed battle and fiercer. Feet slipped and stood firm the valiant and pushed forwards, whilst turned the faint-heart and fled, nor did they leave fighting till the day darkened and the night starkened. Then clashed the cymbals of retreat and the two hosts drew apart each from other, and returned to their tents, where they righted. Next morning, as soon as it was day, the cymbals beat to battle and derring-do, and the warriors donned their harness of fight and baldrick'd[1] their blades the brightest bright and with the brown lance bedight mounted doughty steed every knight and cried out, saying, "This day no flight!" And the two hosts drew out in battle array, like the surging sea. The first to open the chapter[2] of

  1. This "Taklíd" must not be translated "girt on the sword." The Arab carries his weapon by a baldrick or bandoleer passed over his right shoulder. In modern days the "Majdal" over the left shoulder supports on the right hip a line of Tatárif or brass cylinders for cartridges: the other cross-belt (Al-Masdar) bears on the left side the Kharízah or bullet-pouch of hide; and the Hizám or waist-belt holds the dagger and extra cartridges. (Pilgrimage iii. 90.)
  2. Arab. "Bab," which may mean door or gate. The plural form (Abwáb) occurs in the next line, meaning that he displayed all manner of martial prowess.