*When the messengers of the Rāī came before the red canopy, the honoured harbinger of victory and triumph, they rubbed their yellow faces on the earth till the ground itself acquired their colour; next they drew out their tongues in eloquent Hindī, more sharp than the Hindī sword, and delivered the message of the Rāī. The idol-breaking Malik comprehended the gilding of the Hindūs and paid no regard to their glozing speech. He would not even look at the golden statue, which he wished to throw back at their faces. But he communicated to the army the command of the Second Alexander, which is more firm than seven walls of steel and the garden of Shaddād.* The Imperial officers swore by the head of Khiẓr Khān, the emerald in the ring of the kingdom, that they would accept the gold and raise the siege. As the mountain-rending troops were unable to violate the oath, and the coin of forgiveness had also been repeatedly issued from the Imperial Court, the decision arrived at was to the effect that they would subject the Rāī to a tribute, but as a charitable offering for the life of the forgiving Emperor, they would spare his life in exchange for the golden statue. They would take away and deliver at the Court all animals, vegetables and minerals which the Rāī’s territory contained; and if there was the slightest deficit in handing over the treasures agreed upon, they would render the Rāī as lifeless as the golden image and reduce the fort to a heap of ashes like a goldsmith’s forge. On this condition, the fort-conquering Malik stretched forth his right hand, placed his sword in its scabbard, and struck his open hand, by way of admonition, so forcibly on the backs of the ambas­sadors that they bent under the blow. Though the agreement was permanent and not provisional, yet the poor ambassadors trembled like quicksilver; and thus trembling and impatient, they hurried back to the fort. Their influence fell on the Rāī and he too began to shake like a gold-leaf. The ambassadors ornamented their speech, but the Rāī could not regain his stability, and wished to turn into mercury and run away. With some difficulty they ran this quicksilver into a vessel, and through soft speech put a little wax on its mouth.* Next they busied themselves with alchemy in order to pay the gold they had promised.

* The Rāī’s council spent the night in collecting their precious stones and valuables in order to present them next morning to the Imperial officers. When next day the sun showed its face through the enamelled fort, the ambassadors proved their promises to be as truthful as the dawn. With their elephants, treasures and horses, they arrived before the red canopy which is the roof of the eastern sun. The Malik summoned the leaders of the army and took his seat at the high place to which he had been appointed by the Emperor; the other great officers took their seats according to their positions, while the nobles and commons collected round like stars. Then the ambassadors were called. They placed their heads on the ground before the canopy of the ‘Shadow of God’ and presented their elephants to the assembly.* The ‘Maliks’ sat while the elephants passed; you would have thought the planets had become stationary while the constellations had begun to move.

* The elephants were such as neither the brush of the artist can portray nor the pen of the panegyrist describe. Every one of them was a throne fit for a king, and an ivory factory inside. It moved without props and yet stood on four columns. Its back was adorned by a jewelled litter; it sometimes carried a litter and sometimes a load. Its banner (trunk) rose from its back like a spear into the air, while its feet cast their shields (foot-prints) on the ground. It wore a dress of living velvet. Its furious onslaught could uproot a tree. Its tusks came out of either side, and in spite of their strength, had been plaited over with gold. Contented to live on rice, in its anger it could, nevertheless, drink up a whole pond. It threw forward its trunk like a rope, while its eyes remained behind as if in ambush. It would sit down respectfully when its driver wished to climb to its back. Entrusting the guardianship of its eyes to its ears, it had surrounded its two lamps (eyes) with soft cartilage and fed them with a gentle breeze by the movement of its ears. Its teeth were set firmly inside; its tusks rose like ivory pillars surrounded by gold. A tall building on four columns, it raised its head into the air, while its nose came to the ground; there was a crescent on its forehead, and its tail rested on its buttocks. It looked like a hill with a long sash for a nose, or else like a camel with a crocodile stuck to its front. It carried its wine-glass in its head, and liquor was distilled from its ears. Without any particular sorrow, it scattered dust over its head; without any weakness, its body felt heavy. It looked like a cloud arisen out of the sea-shore, wearing vermilion tulips on its forehead and green leaves in its ears. Every one of them had these qualities, and yet each was better than the other—for each was like the mountain and yet like the wind; soft to walk and firm to stand; Hindū-slayer and yet infidel property; baggage-carrier as well as warrior; it carried a load on its back and its face looked towards the Court, for if strong-necked, it was also obedient; the ebony-coloured manufacturer of ivory, it carried its head high and at the same time kissed the ground; a meet seat for the king, and a servant of the Court, its body was heavy and its paces were gentle; it could break the enemy-lines, and yet fight in ordered ranks. And when they move together in a row, there is an earthquake of Fad! Fad! and Saf! Saf!

* After the elephants had passed, the treasures they carried on their backs were displayed. The boxes were full of valuables and gems, the excellence of which drove the onlookers mad. Every emerald (zabarjad) sparkled in the light of the sun, or, rather, the sun reflected back the light of the emerald. The rubies (yāqūt) dazzled the eye of the sun and if a ray from them had fallen on a lamp of fire, the lamp would have burst into flames. The ‘Cat’s eye’ (‘ainul hirrat) was such that a lion after seeing it would have looked with contempt at the sun; and the ‘Cock’s eye’ (‘ainud dīk) were so brilliant that the ‘Cat’s eye’ was afraid to look at it. The lustre of the rubies (la‘l) illuminated the darkness of the night and the mine, as you might light one lamp from another. The emeralds had a fineness of water that could eclipse the lawn of paradise. The diamonds (ilmās) would have penetrated into an iron heart like an arrow of steel, and yet owing to their delicate nature, would have been shattered by the stroke of a hammer. The other stones were such that the sun blushed to look at them. As for the pearls, you would not find the like of them, even if you kept diving into the sea through all eternity. The gold was like the full moon of the twelfth night; it seemed that in order to ripen it, that alchemist the sun, had lighted its fire, and the morning had blown its breath, for years.

* When the horses were brought, the prestige of all that the ambassadors had previously displayed flew away like the wind. Lest the struggle should be further prolonged, every horse in the Rāī’s palace and stables had been brought; even the wind of them was not left in his hands. The sight of these fleet-footed animals captivated every heart—the heart of the Mussalmān was broken, and the soul of the Hindu flew away from his breast; for the horses were such as their eyes had never seen.

* When the Rāī had sent through his clever ambassadors all that he had received by way of inheritance from his ancestors, the ‘Arīz-i Mumālik went to examine the jewels. He divided them into ‘genus’ and ‘species’, ‘class’ after ‘class’, and had everything written down. He then stood up and turned to the ambassadors. It was clear to his perfect judgment that the wealth and property of the Rāī had been wholly confiscated, and that no jewel had been kept away from its proper place. Yet as a diplomatic formality, he propounded ‘propositions’ before the wise ambassadors, and ultimately unfolded to them the ‘major’ and the ‘minor premises’. In an address, full of a variety of meaning, he put it to them: ‘You are acquainted with every “species” (of this treasure). If on investigation a single item is found missing, though your life is “indivisible”, yet will I destroy it; and with the stroke of the sword, I will divide your parts (limbs) into indivisible “atoms”. Take care and state the true premises! Tell me, as all the gems of the Rāī are excellent, has he sent the best of them hither? How has he classified “talking” and “neighing animals” (men and horses) and what portion of them has he retained?’*

‘By the God, who has created man, the finest of “substances”’!* swore the philosophic ambassadors, ‘Each of these jewels is of a “kind” of which no man can calculate the value. And among them is a jewel, unparalleled in the whole world, though according to perfect philosophers such a substance cannot exist.* Before this time we had been advising the Rāī to send a part of the jewels, that had never been cut or divided,* to the Imperial Court. “This jewel (treasure) is unique according to the opinion of all men,” and he would reply, “Let him who wishes to cut and divide (share) it, attempt the task. It is impossible for such a jewel (treasure) to be divided; he who talks of doing so is in a great error”. Thus was he accustomed to speak, but then the sword of the Imperial officers began its lecture; the Rāī understood that its stroke would divide up those singular “substances,” and has sent all his jewels to the Imperial muster. There is no stone left in the Rāī’s treasury that can be considered “precious”; nor is there any neighing creature in his stables that can be designated a “horse”. As for the elephant, it is a famous “body” and a large animal; if man is superior to it in dignity, he is also smaller in size. If there had been another “species” of the same “genus,” the Rāī, with the sense he possesses, would have sent it to the muster along with other “varieties” and “kinds”. The affair is as we have represented. For the rest, your exalted judgment is higher, and even wiser.’

(The Malik) saw from the propositions of their speech, that their logic was clear of all confusion. He applied to them such ‘terms’* as had never been applied to them in ancient times, and that, too, in a way never to be forgotten. But if any of their premises had been wrong, the conclusion would have been drawn with the sword.

When the singular Sah-kash had fixed on the Hindū a tribute that surpassed all computation, the latter made a straight figure and put ten ciphers beside it,* and below it he wrote promising to send untold wealth to the treasury of the Emperor (May God preserve him to the Day of Reckoning!). When the account of the jazia had been settled, the ‘Ariẓ-i Ḥāsib* ordered the Amīrs and the Kātib-i Moḥāsib* to take the roll of those who were present in, or absent from, the army. On the 16th Shawwāl, the Sah-kash, having achieved his object, turned his horse towards the meadows of the Capital, and guided it in such a way that its feet went on making half-ciphers* on the ground. This figure indicated that in comparison to the spoils he was searching for, the untold treasures he had obtained were less than even half-a-cipher. And since a cipher means absolute non-entity, you can well see how much less than non-entity half-a-cipher is.* The month of il Ḥijjah was spent in crossing the extensive forest. On 11th Muḥarram, A.H. 710 the Imperial officers reached Delhī, the deputy of the sacred Mecca. ‘And whoever enters it shall be secure.’ On Tuesday, the 24th Muḥarram, a black pavilion was erected on the Chautra-i Nāṣirī, like the Ka’ba on the navel of the earth. The kings and princes of Arabia and Persia took up their places around it. The Maliks, who had been sent on the expedition from the Capital, came before the Emperor, and after moistening the ground with the sweat of their brows, presented the spoils. Elephants of the size of Marwa, Safā, Tūr and Bū Qabīs,* horses that raised a dust (cloud) out of the sea like western winds, and treasures under which a thousand camels would have groaned, were all displayed. The day looked like a second ‘Īd for the people, when the pilgrims, after wandering through many valleys, had at last reached the sacred precincts of the Imperial Court, and their wishes, compared to which the ambitions of Ḥajjāj Yūsuf* were slavish longings, had been realized. The spectators went round and round the Court; everyone present was allowed, without any hindrance, to see the display and obtain the reward of his pilgrim­age. But the reward, that could not have been obtained by the labour of a life-time, was that the Emperor’s eyes should suddenly fall on one with favour.