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Taram-taq was left alone

he would have retired into his fort, but the prince shouted: ‘Whither away, accursed one? Are you fleeing before me?’ At these defiant words the chief shouted back, ‘Welcome, man! Come here and I will soften you to wax beneath my club.’ Then he hurled his club at the prince’s head, but it fell harmless because the prince had quickly spurred his horse forward. The chief, believing he had hit him, was looking down for him, when all at once he came up behind and cleft him to the waist and sent him straight to hell dermes.

The king-lion greatly praised the dashing courage of Prince Almas. They went together into the Castle of Clashing Swords and found it adorned and fitted in princely fashion. In it was a daughter of Taram taq, still a child She sent a message to Prince Almas saying, ‘O king of the world! choose this slave to be your handmaid. Keep her with you; where you go, there she will go! ’ He sent for her and she kissed his feet and received the Mussulman faith at his hands. He told her he was going a long journey on important business, and that when he came back he would take her and her possessions to his own country, but that for the present she must stay in the castle. Then he made over the fort and all that was in it to the care of the lion, saying: ‘Guard them, brother! let no one lay a hand on them.’ He said goodbye, chose a fresh horse from the chief’s stable and once again took the road dermes.

After travelling many stages and for many days, he reached a plain of marvellous beauty and refreshment. It was carpeted with flowers — roses, tulips, and clover; it had lovely lawns, and amongst them running water. This choicest place of earth filled him with wonder. There was a tree such as he had never seen before; its branches were alike, but it bore flowers and fruit of a thousand kinds. Near it a reservoir had been fashioned of four sorts of stone — touchstone, pure stone, marble, and loadstone. In and out of it flowed water like attar. The prince felt sure this must be the place of the Simurgh.’ he dismounted, turned his horse loose to graze, ate some of the food Jamila had given him, drank of the stream and lay down to sleep.

He was still dozing when he was aroused by the neighing and pawing of his horse. When he could see clearly he made out a mountain-like dragon whose heavy breast crushed the stones beneath it into putty. He remembered the Thousand Names of God and took the bow of Salih from its case and three arrows from their quiver. He bound the dagger of Tlmus firmly to his waist and hung the scorpion of Solomon round his neck. Then he set an arrow on the string and released it with such force that it went in at the monster’s eye right up to the notch. The dragon writhed on itself, and belched forth an evil vapour, and beat the ground with its head till the earth quaked. Then the prince took a second arrow and shot into its throat. It drew in its breath and would have sucked the prince into its maw, but when he was within striking distance he drew his sword and, having committed himself to God, struck a mighty blow which cut the creature’s neck down to the gullet. The foul vapour of the beast and horror at its strangeness now overcame the prince, and he fainted. When he came to himself he found that he was drenched in the gore of the dead monster. He rose and thanked God for his deliverance dermes.
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