Khaled and Djaida part 8
Khaled began by complimenting his uncle on his fortunate return from war, but no one could be more astounded than Zahir at this second visit, particularly when he saw his nephew with all the chieftains of his family. It never occurred to him that his daughter Djaida had anything to do with Khaled’s return; he thought that his nephew simply wished to persuade him to return to his native land.
He offered them every hospitality, provided them with tents and entertained them in great magnificence. He ordered camels and sheep killed, and offered a banquet, furnishing his guests with all things needful and proper for a period of three days. On the fourth day Khaled arose, and after thanking his uncle for all his courtesy, asked him for his daughter’s hand, and begged him to return to his own land.
Zahir denied that he had any child except his son Djonder, but Khaled told him all that he had learned, and all that had passed between himself and Djaida. On hearing these words Zahir was overcome with shame and cast his eyes to the ground. He remained for some time plunged in thought, and after reflecting that the affair must needs proceed from bad to worse, he addressed those present in the following words: “Kinsmen, I can no longer delay acknowledging this secret; therefore, she shall be married to her cousin as soon as possible, for of all the men I know, he is most worthy of her.”
He offered his hand to Khaled, who at once clasped it in presence of the chiefs who were witnesses to the contract. The dowry was agreed upon at five hundred brown black-eyed camels, and a thousand camels loaded with the choicest products of Yemen. The clan of Saad, among which Zahir had lived, were excluded from all part in this matter.
Djaida was overwhelmed
When Zahir had asked his daughter’s consent to this arrangement, Djaida was overwhelmed with confusion at the course her father had taken. Since he let the girl clearly understand that he did not wish her to remain unmarried, she at last replied: “Father, if my cousinjdesires to have me in marriage, I shall not enter into his tent until he undertakes to slaughter at my wedding a thousand camels, among those which belong to Gheshem, son of Malik, ‘The Brandisher of Spears.’ Khaled agreed to this; but the sheiks and warriors did not leave Zahir before he had collected his possessions for transportation to his own land.
No sooner were these preparations finished than Khaled marched forth at the head of a thousand horsemen, with whose assistance he conquered the clan of Aamir. Having thrice wounded “The Brandisher of Spears,” and slain a great number of his champions, he carried off their goods and brought back from their country a richer spoil even than Djaida had demanded.
Loaded with booty he returned, and was intoxicated with his success. But when he asked that a day should be fixed for the wedding, Djaida begged him to approach and spoke these words to him: “If you desire me to become your wife, fulfil first of all my wishes, and keep the engagement I make with you.