Sadak and Kalasrade/Part One
When Amurath gave peace to the earth, Sadak retired with his beloved Kalasrade to the palace of his ancestors, which was situated on the banks of the Bosphorus, and commanded one of the most beautiful prospects in the world.
Sadak, though furious and impetuous in the field, was elegant and amiable in his happy retreat, where fancy and delicacy preserved their pre-eminence over the richest productions of unrestrained nature.
The palace of Sadak stood upon a wide-extended terrass, which overlooked the sea and the opposite shores of Europe; a deep and noble grove sheltered it behind, and on each side hills and vallies diversified the rural scene.
The gardens of the palace, though wild and irregular, yet afforded the most delightful retirement; and Sadak found in it's bosom pleasures far superior to the splendid pageants of the Othman court.
To increase the bliss of this earthly paradise, his favourite fair has blest him with a numerous progeny; and as Sadak and Kalasrade sat under the shade of the lofty pines, their children wantoned and sported on the plains before them.
The spirit of their father was in the lively contests of his sons; and maternal delicacy dimpled on the cheeks of the daughters of Kalasrade.
The happy pair saw their own virtues reflected from their children, and Sadak having already earned his elegant retreat by the toils of war, was resolved to dedicate the rest of his days to the improvement of his beauteous offspring.
Kalasrade, though her charms were as yet undiminished by age, harboured not a wish in which her noble Sadak was unconcerned; all her joy was centered in Sadak: her heart rejoiced not but when Sadak appeared; and her soul, uneasy at a moment's absence, panted after Sadak her lord. The love of Sadak equalled the affections of his beloved; he gazed every hour with new transports upon her charms; none but Kalasrade engaged his thoughts, none but Kalasrade shared in his affections.
Time, which impairs the impetuous sallies of lust, increased the holy flame of their love, and their retirement grew more and more agreeable, as they more and more experienced the purity of it's joys. But Sadak indulged not wholly on the sophas of pleasure; his sons required his presence with them in the chace; he led them forth to manly sports, and trained them to the exercise of arms.
His four sons followed their father Sadak daily to the plains of Rezeb, where they strove for mastery in the race, and pointed their arrows a the distant mark.
"O my father," said Codan, the eldest of his children, as they were on the plain, where Sadak was drawing the bow-string to his breast, "a black cloud arises from the grove, and flames of fire burst through it's sides!"
Sadak quickly turned his eyes toward the wood which sheltered his palace, and saw the sparks and the flame ascending over the tops of the trees.
"My children," said Sadak; "continue your sport on the plain till I return: I will leave four slaves with you, the rest shall follow your father to this grove of fire."
Though Sadak was unwilling to terrify his children, he knew full well the misfortune which had befallen him. His palace was in flames, and the doating husband hastened with his slaves to the relief of his beloved Kalasrade and her daughters.
Sadak first reached the burning palace. The slaves of the house, terrified at the fire, were flying into the woods. He commanded them back, and asked if Kalasrade and her little ones were safe.
Seeing their consternation, he flew toward the apartment of his beloved, which as situated in one of the inner courts; and though the devouring flames endeavoured to bar his passage, the firm Sadak pressed through the fire into the apartments of Kalasrade.
"Kalasrade!" said Sadak, "my beloved Kalasrade, where art thou?"
Kalasrade answered not.
Sadak lifted up his voice still higher.
"Kalasrade, my beloved Kalasrade, where art thou?"
Kalasrade answered not.
Sadak, though terrified at not discovering his beloved, yet searched every part of the haram, till he came to the apartments of his daughters; who, with their female servants, were fallen on the earth, every moment expecting to be devoured by the flames.
"Arise, my children," said Sadak, "and be comforted at the presence of your parent. But where is your mother? Where is my beloved Kalasrade?"
"Alas!" answered the children of Sadak, "we know not; some slaves forced our dear parent from her apartments, as she was hastening to our relief."
"Then," answered Sadak, "blessed be my prophet, she is safe! But come, my daughters," continued their father, "you must not delay your escape, the fire makes hasty strides upon us. Come, my children, to my arms, and I will bear you through the flames; but first let us dip in the bath, lest the fire seize on our garments."
As they passed the female baths, they dipped themselves in the bason, and the slaves followed their master's example.
Sadak arriving at the entrance where the flames had reached, resolutely took up his two eldest children, and carried them through the flames; then again returning—"I will either," said he, "rescue my youngest, or perish with her."
His youngest fainted with fear as soon as her father had left her, and Sadak found her stretched on the ground, with but little signs of life.
All the female slaves following their master Sadak, had escaped out of the haram, except one faithful creature, who rather resolved to die with her young mistress, than leave her exposed to the flames.
Sadak snatched up his dear treasure in his arms, and commanded the faithful slave to take hold of his garment, and follow him through the flames.
Happily the wind had turned the fire toward a different part of the palace, so that Sadak had less danger to encounter in the second effort than in the first.
The resolute Sadak having rescued his children, enquired of his slaves where they had conveyed his dear Kalasrade, but none could give answer to the questions of their lord.
The slaves were now all gathered together in a body; but four of their number were missing, besides those who continued with the sons of Sadak on the plain.
As little more could be rescued from the flames, Sadak left only ten slaves about the palace to recover what they were able; the rest he sent into different parts of the grove, and to the villages around, to seek for their mistress Kalasrade and her slaves; six he dismissed with his daughters to the plains of Rezeb, commanding them, with their attendants, to join his sons, and seek some shelter and refreshment in a neighbouring village, and leaving orders for his beloved Kalasrade, if she was found, to retire to her children.
Sadak then went through the most unfrequented paths, and into the loneliest parts of the wood, to seek his beloved, calling upon her as he passed along, and pronouncing the names of the slaves that were missing. This he continued till Night had thrown her sable garments on the earth, and he had compassed his palace every way around for several miles, when he resolved to turn again to his palace and enquire of his slaves concerning his beloved Kalasrade.
He passed through the woods, guided by the red glare of light, which the clouds reflected from the fire that had nigh consumed his dwelling, and entered the farther part of the terrass, whereon stood the few remains of his once elegant building.
The flames, unsatiated with their former cruelties, seemed to rekindle at his presence. His slaves came weeping toward him, but could give no tidings of their amiable mistress; and Sadak, who in the morning had looked with utmost satisfaction on the lively scenes around him, now saw the melancholy face of nature enlightened with the dusky gleams of his own unexpected ruin.
But yet the wreck of nature could not have disturbed Sadak more than the loss of his beloved; he doubted not but that the fire was kindled by those slaves who had torn Kalasrade from his arms; and though he felt within himself the deepest affliction, his blood curdled with horror, when he reflected on the tenfold distresses which encompassed the pure and spotless partner of his affections.
"O Alla," said the trembling Sadak, "fortify my faith, and teach me, even in the horrors of this night, to believe that mercy triumphs over evil, and that the paths of destruction are controuled by the All-seeing Power! To me all is confusion! misery! and terror! But thou seest through the dark abyss, and guidest the footsteps of the just in the vallies of desolation! Nevertheless, O thou Just One, forgive the sinking of my soul, and pour the virtuous balm of hope into the wounded spirit of thine afflicted servant!"
The bounteous Alla heard the voice of his servant, and the heart of Sadak was fortified and strengthened with religious hope.
Having disposed of what effects his slaves had rescued from the flames, in a place of security, Sadak hastened to the village where his children were assembled, and disguising the severer pangs he felt himself, endeavoured to assuage the grief of his fond family for the loss of their mother.
Several of Sadak's friends soon joined him in the village, and the relations of his wife offered to take care of his children, while he went in search of Kalasrade, and his villainous slaves.
Sadak with thankfulness embraced the offer of Mepiki, the father of his beloved, and having tenderly embraced his children, directed his steps toward the sea-side, and crossed in one of his feluccas, to the city of Constantinople.
No sooner was Amurath seated on his throne in the divan, than Sadak fell prostrate before him.
"My brave soldier," said Amurath, "arise."
"The world, Sadak," continued the prince, "talk largely concerning your happiness; and those who envy not the Othman crown, yet pant after the elegant and peaceable retirements of the fortunate Sadak. Has Sadak, then, a wish ungratified, that he comes thus an humble suppliant at a monarch's feet?"
"The smiles of his prince," answered Sadak, "are a sodier's joy: and in the sunshine of those smiles, did Sadak live an envied life; till one dark cloud interposed, and blasted the ripe fruit of Sadak's joy."
"What means my Sadak?" answered Amurath.
"While I led my sons to the plain," replied Sadak, "to teach them the duties which they owed their prince, the flames seized my peaceful dwelling, and ere I could return to the rescue of my beloved Kalasrade, four slaves had dragged her away, and I and my attendants have in vain been seeking her in woods and plains that surround my habitation; wherefore, O Amurath! I come a suppliant to thy throne, to ask redress of thee."
"That," answered Amurath, "brave soldier, thou shalt have; my Hasnadar Baski shall pay thee twice the value of thine house. Thou shalt have twenty of my slaves; and as to thy beloved, go where fancy leads thee, and seek a new Kalasrade."
The words of Amurath were as the arrows of death in the heart of Sadak; and he said—"Let the hand of justice overtake the robbers, and let the power of my lord restore Kalasrade to my arms."
"Kalasrade," answered Amurath, "has doubtless been so long in your slaves possession, that she is, ere this, contented with her lot; instead of being the slave of one, she is now the mistress of four. But why should a weak female trouble the brave soldier's heart! The chance of war gives them to our arms; and as they change their lords, our females change their love."
As the blasted oak is torn by the thunderbolt, so was the heart of Sadak rent by the words of Amurath; but he concealed the storm that shook his breast, and bowing to the earth, departed from the divan.
He applied himself that day to enquire in the Bisisten and publick market-places, concerning Kalasrade and his four slaves; and hearing no tidings of them there, he went to the water-side, among the Levents or waterman; but none could give him the least account of the fugitives.