Page:Arabiannightsent07burtiala.djvu/25

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9
The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib.

of the Kafirs and made other thirty thousand prisoners, and the rest of Ajib's army dispersed over the length and breadth of earth. Then the Moslems returned in victory and triumph, and Gharib rode out to meet his uncle, whom he saluted and thanked for his help. Quoth Al-Damigh, "I wonder if that dog Ajib fell in this day's affair." Quoth Gharib, "O uncle, be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear: know that he is with me in chains." When Al-Damigh heard this he rejoiced with exceeding joy and the two kings dismounted and entered the pavilion, but found no Ajib there; whereupon Gharib exclaimed, "O glory of Abraham, the Friend (with whom be peace!)," adding, "Alas, what an ill end is this to a glorious day!" and he cried out to the tent-pitchers, saying, "Woe to you! Where is my enemy who oweth me so much?" Quoth they, "When thou mountedst and we went with thee, thou didst not bid us guard him;" and Gharib exclaimed, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" But Al-Damigh said to him, "Hasten not nor be concerned, for where can he go, and we in pursuit of him?" Now the manner of Ajib's escape was in this wise. His page Sayyar had been ambushed in the camp and when he saw Gharib mount and ride forth, leaving none to guard his enemy Ajib, he could hardly credit his eyes. So he waited awhile and presently crept to the tent and taking Ajib, who was senseless for the pain of the bastinado, on his back, made off with him into the open country and fared on at the top of his speed from early night to the next day, till he came to a spring of water, under an apple tree. There he set down Ajib from his back and washed his face, whereupon he opened his eyes and seeing Sayyar, said to him, "O Sayyar, carry me to Cufa that I may recover there and levy horsemen and soldiers wherewith to overthrow my foe: and know, O Sayyar, that I am anhungered." So Sayyar sprang up and going out to the desert caught an ostrich-poult and brought it to his lord. Then he gathered fuel and deftly using the fire-sticks kindled a fire, by which he roasted the bird which he had hallal'd[1] and fed Ajib with its flesh and gave him to drink of the water of the spring, till his strength returned to him, after which he went to one of the Badawi tribal encampments, and stealing thence a steed mounted Ajib upon it and journeyed on with him for many days. till they

  1. The Anglo-Indian term for the Moslem rite of killing animals for food. (Pilgrimage i. 377.)