Now listen to a couple of words about Haider Beg. When they brought the bridegroom to the women's apartments he stole along behind them, saying to himself: "Let me see what happens," so he went, and with his dagger excavated a hole in the back of the fireplace of the room they were in, and then hid himself in it and listened to all that they said. All of a sudden the bridegroom threw Samamber down and kicked her and began beating her, and Samamber remembered Haider Beg and cried out: "O Haider Beg, where are you? I fought with you and you spared me in the combat, nor did you trample me under your horse's hoofs. Now I would pay heed to whatever you might say. I have fallen into the clutches of a cowardly ruffian. Where are you, that you may deliver me out of his hands?"

"Samamber has a lover in Iran."

Samamber has a lover in Iran

Hearing this, Haider prayed to God for help, and in the meantime he had stolen away the bridegroom's sword and hidden it with himself. The bridegroom went about looking for his sword, but he could not find it. "Never mind," said he, "the women, no doubt, have taken it away." All of a sudden Haider sprang out of the fireplace like a flash of fire, and when Samamber saw him she cried out: "Strike off the head of this foul-mouthed beast," and he smote him on the neck like a dog and his head flew off.

Then they made fast the end of a rope, and let it down from the window and escaped out of the castle, and he brought a horse from the stable for Samamber and himself mounted his own and they rode away hard by night and day.

When morning broke the bridegroom's mother came to see why her son was so long in coming out. "He must be still asleep," she said; "he and his wife must have got on well together." By mid-day, however, when he had still not appeared, she said: "I must go and see why he hasn't come out," and she went into the women's apartments and found that her son had been killed and wrapped up in a quilt, and his wife was nowhere to be seen. The women began to wail, and people gathered round and they buried the dead body.

LVII The Story Of Haider Beg And Samamber 61

When they had travelled for some time, Samamber and Haider Beg arrived at Ispahan, and Haider Beg went to Shah Abbas and said: "I have brought her." The Shah presented him with a robe of honour and said: "Bring her to the women's apartments." So he came to Samamber and said: "O Samamber, we must go to the Shah's harem." "Why?" said she. - "Shah Abbas has something to say to you."

They got up and went to the women's apartments in the palace, and when Shah Abbas arrived he inquired, saying: "Samamber, do you want me, who am the Shah, or do you want Haider Beg, who has suffered so much on your account?" "O Qibla of the Universe," said she, "it would not be just that a man should endure so much for me and that I should wound him without offence on his part and now say: 'I do not want you, I want the Shah.'" Then the Shah kissed her on the forehead and said: "You are my own child and I have bestowed you on Haider Beg, and whatever you want of all that I possess, take it and spend it."

Samarriber was overjoyed, and rose up and came to the house of Haider Beg, and they sent for the Qazi, and he came and married them. And they carried on the wedding celebrations for seven nights and seven days. And after the seven days they brought her to the women's apartments, and she and Haider Beg became husband and wife.

Now it chanced that Haider Beg had a friend in another town with whom he had become a sworn brother, and they had made a covenant on the Quran that they would ever be to each other as brothers. The name of this friend was Mahmud. He came one time to Isfahan and lived in the house of Haider Beg, and he stayed there some months. One day Samamber had gone to the baths and was coming along the street on her way back. Mahmud was also coming along on his way home. The wind blew up Samamber's veil, and Mahmud looked and saw her. He saw that God had never before created so lovely a woman, and he was so smitten with a passion for her that he was scarce able to make his way to the house, and the colour of his face turned yellow like saffron.

When he reached the house, Haider Beg looked at him and said: "Brother, what is wrong with you that your colour has so changed?" "Nothing," said Mahmud. "Come now, don't be shy," urged his friend, "tell me so that I can think of something to do for you." Then Mahmud said: "Brother, I went out and passed along in front of the baths, and my eye fell on a woman - such a beautiful woman as she no one has ever seen. And my heart has passed out of my control and my colour has changed, and I can find no peace."

Now Haider Beg knew that Samamber had been at the baths, and guessed that it must have been she that Mahmud had seen, and he said: "Brother, do not fret, I'll think of something for you. In fact, I know who the woman is, and I shall get her for you. Do not be disturbed." When he heard this, Mahmud recovered his spirits, and Haider Beg went into the house.

He saw that Samamber had just come back from the baths, and he said: "O Samamber," and she answered: "Yes," and he said: "I have made a present of you to some one." - "Why?" - "Because I wanted to." Samamber saw that he was speaking the truth, and she tore her face and began to wail and lament, saying: "What have I done wrong?" "You have done nothing wrong," said he, "but I have a brother, and as you were returning from the baths the wind blew aside your veil and he saw your face, and he fell in love with you. Now I cannot bear to grieve him, and if you love me you must say nothing, and I shall tell him: 'This is my brother's daughter,' and give you to him in marriage as my niece."

Immediately he sent for the Qazi, and the Qazi annulled her marriage bond and married her anew in the name of Mahmud Beg. Then Haider went to Mahmud and said: "I have procured her for you and have had her married to you." Mahmud was delighted, and they celebrated the nuptials for seven nights and seven days. Then they decked out Samamber, and took her to the baths and brought her to the women's apartments. But her tears poured down like the rain in spring-time, and she said: "What calamity is this which has fallen upon my days?" And they brought the bridegroom and put his hand in Samamber's, but she ceased not from weeping.

"Wife," said Mahmud Beg, "why is this? People who marry are full of joy and gladness, but you make mourning. Tell me what is on your mind, for my heart is grieved for you." "It is nothing," replied she. "Nay," said he, "I adjure you by that God who created all the world, and who created you, tell me that I may know why you weep and what is the cause of your sorrow." - "Well, since you adjure me by an oath, hear then: I was the wife of your brother, and when you had seen me he could not bear to grieve you, but put me away and married me to you, and now my heart is consumed away because of the misery that Haider Beg endured for me."

Now when Mahmud heard these words he rent the collar of his coat, and he rose up and kissed her on the forehead, and said: "You are my sister." Then he went to Haider Beg and began to shed tears, and Haider Beg said: "Brother, what's the matter with you?" and he said: "You have put me to shame - you have given your own wife to me." - "Well, when you told me of how you had seen her and of your love, I could not bear to make you unhappy." "She shall be my sister in this world and the next," said Mahmud Beg, and again they annulled her marriage and married her afresh to Haider Beg. Some time later Mahmud married another wife, and settled down in Isfahan, and they all abode there together until they died.