Battle of Kipchak, in which the King was severely wounded. A. H. 957.—A. D. 1550.

The King having again entered the city of Kabul remained there for three months, when intelligence was brought to him that the Prince Kamran was still wandering about the country with bad intentions. His Majesty therefore having collected a few of his troops marched from Kabul. On the first day he halted at Cara Bag; the next he proceeded to Charehkaran, and on the third reached the bank of the river Baran: he continued his march to the pass of Kipchak, and came to a river, over which he swam his horse. On this occasion not one of the chiefs followed him, but went up the bank till they found a ford; on which his Majesty, being angry, said, “Oh ye blockheads! when Shah Ismael of Persia threw his handkerchief down a precipice, twelve thousand of his followers immediately precipitated themselves after it, and were dashed to pieces: you have allowed me your king, to pass the river alone, and not a single soldier has followed me; what good can I expect from such troops?”

The king then consulted with Caraja Khan what was next to be done: the Khan replied, “there are several passes in this part of the country; I advise your Majesty to secure them, by which means we may seize the Prince Kamran, and put an end to all further commotion and disturbance.”

In consequence of this advice the king sent off Hajy Muhammed, his foster brother, with a division of the army to secure the pass of Syrtun, while he with the remainder of the troops crossed the pass of Kipchak, and encamped about a coss on the other side of it.

While in this situation, intelligence was brought that the Prince Kamran was in the rear of his Majesty, and was forcing the pass. On this the King re-entered the pass, and in a few hours was opposed by the Prince: in a short time several of the loyal chiefs were cut down; the horse of Muhammed Amyn was also rendered unserviceable; but the King presented him with one of his own led horses, and said to him, “as I know your father is one of Kamran’s confidential followers, you had better go and join him;” Amyn replied, “I care not for my father; I will never quit your Majesty.”

About this time one of the scoundrels of the enemy approached the King, and struck him on the head with his sword, and was about to repeat the blow, when his Majesty looking at him, said, “you wretch! how dare you?” upon which the fellow desisted, and some other officers coming up, led the King out of the battle; but he was so severely wounded, that he became weak from loss of blood, and therefore threw off his Jubba,* and gave it in charge of an Abyssinian servant; but the ser­vant being obliged to make his escape from the battle, threw away the Jubba, which having been found by some of Kamran’s followers, it was brought to the Prince, who immediately proclaimed that the King was killed.

At this time there only remained with his Majesty eleven persons, including servants, and the author of these pages. We therefore took him out of the battle; and as his own horse was unquiet, we mounted him on a small ambling steed, two of the chiefs supporting him on either side, and endeavouring to console him by anecdotes of former Princes who had suffered similar adversity, and encouraged him to exert himself, as it was probable the enemy might pursue him. On hearing this, he resumed his fortitude, and proceeded towards the pass of Syrtun.* On the march we were joined by some of the chiefs, and at nightfall reached the entrance of Syrtun. As it was then very cold, and his Majesty suffered much from weakness, a sheep-skin cloak was brought and put on him.

In the morning we reached the top of the pass; and as it was then getting warm, the King dismounted on the bank of the river, performed his ablutions, and washed his wound; but as there was no carpet for prayer to be found, the humble servant, Jouher, brought the cover of a stool of scarlet cloth, and spread it for his Majesty, who knelt thereon, and performed his devotions, and sat down facing the Kibleh (Mecca).

While in this situation Sultan Muhammed came up, and having made his salutation, walked round the king, and said, “he was willing to offer his own life for the preservation of his Majesty’s.”

The king then enquired if he had any news of the other division of the army? he replied, “that Hajy Muhammed, with his division, was coming, and would very shortly join him: just as his Majesty had again mounted his horse the Hajy arrived, followed by three hundred well equipped cavalry, had the honour of paying his respects, and of con­gratulating the king on his narrow escape.

The king was at this time suspicious of Sultan Muhammed and some other chiefs; he therefore resolved upon returning to Kabul. After riding for some time, we arrived at Zohakmaran; his Majesty then dismounted under a tree, and calling for pen and ink, he wrote a letter to his family, explaining the circumstances of the battle, and his fortunate escape: several of the followers also wrote to their families. He then sent off the letters by Hajy Muhammed and Shah Muhammed, with orders that as soon as they had delivered them at Kabul, they should proceed to Ghizneh, and secure that fortress against the attacks of the Prince Kamran.

Having despatched these officers, the king again mounted, and rode on to Purwan, where he alighted. At this place the only tent that could be procured was a small Shamianeh (canopy), sufficient only to skreen one person; under this his Majesty lay down and slept. In the morning the author of these pages awoke his Majesty, and told him it was the hour of morning prayer. He said, “my boy, as I am so severely wounded, I cannot bear to purify myself with cold water;” I represented that I had got some warm water ready for him: he then arose, performed his ablutions, and said his prayers. He afterwards mounted his horse, but had not ridden far when he complained that the clotted blood on his clothes hurt him, and asked of the servants if they had no Jameh (coat) they could lend him: Behader Khan replied, “he had a Jameh, but it was one his Majesty had discarded and given to him, and he had worn it;” the king said, “never mind that, bring it:” he then put it on, and gave the dress which was stained with blood to his humble servant Jouher, the Aftabchy, and said, “take care of this dress, and only wear it on holy days.”

From Purwan we proceeded to Kehemrud, where Taher Muhammed had the honour of paying his respects; he had pitched an old tent for the king, and had prepared an entertainment for him; but the blockhead did not bring any present, not even a spare dress. His Majesty ordered his followers to partake of the dinner, but went himself to the edge of a fountain, where they pitched an old tent, grimed with smoke and soot, for him; but as there was no necessary tent, the humble servant went and procured two hurdles, which he fixed up as a privy. At this time an old woman came and offered his Majesty a pair of silk trowsers; he said, “although these are not proper for a man to wear, yet, as my own are defiled with blood, I will put them on.” He then enquired what the woman had for her support; and on being informed, wrote an order to the Collector not to demand any tribute from her in future.

Intelligence was now brought that a caravan of three hundred horses had arrived; the king there­fore ordered two of the chiefs to bring the horses to him to look at: they went and returned, saying, “there were seventeen hundred more horses come;” his Majesty said, “I will go and settle the business myself:” he then mounted, and having given orders to secure the end of the pass, which prevented the merchants from attempting to escape, they respectfully waited on the king, and the senior of them having presented a bow and nine arrows, offered up prayers for his success. After that the horses were valued, and his Majesty gave the owners his bond for the amount saying, “if it please God to give me the victory, I will immediately pay you.”

The next day we marched to Alenjek, which was then the residence of one of the wandering tribes, and remained there for seven days, during which period the chief of the tribe daily presented his Majesty with sixty goats or sheep, and sixty skins of buttermilk, which was distributed among the fol­lowers: the king also gave one or more of the horses to each of them.

We then marched, and encamped on the banks of the river Bengy. Soon after we were halted, a person came and called out, “O, people of the caravan! can you give me any information respect­ing the king Humayun?” On hearing this, his Majesty desired that no answer should be given; but that they should enquire who he was, who had sent him, and what news he brought: the man replied, “that he was sent by Besal Alenky, of the tribe of Beshy; that it was reported there had been a battle between the king and the Prince Kamran; that the former had been wounded, and compelled to retreat; that the king’s Jubba had been found in the jungle, and had been brought to the Prince, who was thereby convinced that the king was no more.”

His Majesty then ordered the man to be brought to him, and asked him, “do you know me?” the man replied, “yes, I do;” the king said, “go and give my compliments to Besal Alenky, and tell him, when I come back this way to wait on me.”

About mid-day his Majesty said to Hajy Muham­med, his foster brother, “as we have a number of spare horses with us, I wish you to search for a ford; go, and when you have found it, return and take me with you.” The aforesaid person went, and having found a ford, sent a message by his ser­vant that he had done so, then crossed the river, and requested the king to follow; but as he did not return himself as he was ordered, his Majesty began to suspect that he also had deserted: he, however, mounted his horse, and seeing me, made a signal for me to follow him; after which we were joined by Allah Kuly Khan. Nearly a watch of the night had passed when we crossed the river, and were there met by Hajy Muhammed, and the remainder of the night was spent in conversation.