OH love, destroyer of wisdom, the lion of the hunting ground of the world: thy business is strife, thy home is the wounded heart. Thou art the flood that overflows the world: he on whom thou fallest must wander over a hundred lands, he wanders far, he wanders alone; he whose peace thou hast taken away, he rests no more.

And such a one was Valeh: he wandered over a hundred ways, seeking rest as a lion seeks his prey: they say that when the bolt of love struck him, his whole look and air was altered: his woe was manifest in his bloodshot eyes: he had no thought but of his love; he went on his way not knowing head from foot: and as he went his love leapt upwards like sparks of fire. His heart was shattered like a broken wave: he sought solitude: his ragged garments gave forth his shame like the scent of a flower when the bud opens. The town was full of talk of his misfortune: every one fell on his name, all blamed him: his brothers and his friends reproached him.

And Hadijeh likewise was overwhelmed with the reproaches of her kin. And for all her untouched purity evil tales were rife. Her hidden secret was the talk of great and small; they said, “She scorns her husband and she loves her cousin. Alas for her who was the light of her father's house and has now become a destroying fire! In her eyes is no spark of shame; she is a traitor to the law of chastity, the honour of her tribe she throws to the wind, alas for the shameless daughter!”*

And when her husband heard the tale he twisted with rage like a serpent; his hand was not stretched out to battle, but his heart was heavy with spite.

So was Hadijeh's fame made a mock of by great and small, and she who was robed in chastity became a byword in the city. And wounded by cruel tongues she fell sick with sorrow: her cheeks turned from red to saffron, sorrow was added to sorrow and calumny to love.

And when Valeh knew it he became as one distraught. When he saw her miserable state, his own honour, his good name, his happiness and his life became as nothing. All other grief was as nothing to that faithful heart. And he resolved that to save her good name he must abandon her and his native land, and say good-bye for ever to her dear presence. Parting was as death: but he looked it in the face like a brave man, and with death in his eyes he went to say farewell. And when he came into her presence he said: “Oh you who are my yoke-fellow in sorrow, you who, chaste as an angel, have endured sorrow through me, and have suffered from evil tongues and have become the mock of the world, if dishonour falls on me, what fear have I? The lover loves the world's dishonour: but if dishonour falls on you, I cannot bear it. If but a grain of dust falls on your heart, on mine there is a mountain of pain. To see you weep but one tear is very death to me. Better to die than see you suffer: and parting is death, and I am come to say farewell. I will trouble your peace no more. Though absence from you be death I must prepare to leave you. Think only that in your garden one little weed is missing. I must go or die: on my heart, God knows, weary enough already, I will bind the burden of parting: poor dying beast, it must bear it! Oh, Hadijeh, stay not my hand. For if you forbid me to leave you, I must slay myself for sorrow.”

When Hadijeh heard his words wisdom fled from her heart, and from the spark that fell from his lips there ran a fire through brain and bones. Her heart's blood leapt to her eyes: her cheeks were clothed with the red of the morning. And she said: “Oh you who are dearer to me than my own soul, all my sorrows become light in your presence* : oh wealth of my happiness, seeing you is my life, dear companion in pain. I am the bud, you are the morning-breeze* : how can I open if you breathe not on me? If the breeze comes no more to my garden what shall I do? what shall I do? Though all my people pelt me with slander I care not, if only you do not leave me: save parting nothing is harder than I can bear, neither the bolts of calumny nor the sword of the tongue, far or near: though my heart be sore, I can bear it; if my love be true, I can bear it: I can bear it all, but not to lose you, no, by heaven, not that!”

Such were the words she poured out, the magic spells she tried: but when she saw that it availed nothing, she strove no more: she made sweet to her lips the poison of endurance, helpless and hopeless she consented to his going, she bade sorrow like a guest to the table of her heart, she bade farewell to her love as if it were to life itself.