Give me back this one, my only son; think how my heart will burn with grief, the whole length of my life. What crime have I committed? Even tyranny must have a pretext, and I am an innocent man, a blacksmith. You must render count to me for what you have done, and the world will be astonished thereby. It will see, by the account you will render to me, what my lot on earth has been, and how I have been compelled to give my sons to feed your serpents.”
The king looked harshly upon him on hearing these words, gave back the man’s son, and strove to soothe him with words. Lastly he asked Kawa to sign the declaration of the nobles, but he, trembling with rage, tore and trampled on it and emerged shouting with a mighty anger.
The crowd in the market-place gathered round him, and to them and the whole world he appealed to aid him in obtaining justice. He took off the apron which blacksmiths wear, tied it to a lance and marched through the bazaars crying: “Illustrious men, you that adore God, who desire to be delivered from the clutches of Zuhak, let us go to Faridun and let us rest in the shadow of his sovereignty.”
Having ascertained where Faridun lay hiding, he set out with a great troop of men, and after no long time reached his abode. The young prince saw the standard made of the blacksmith’s apron, and accepted it as a good omen.
City of Baghdad
Then, tarrying only while a suit of armor was made for him, he began his march at the head of his army, which moved as speedily as the wind. Soon they reached the Tigris River and the city of Baghdad. Arrived there, Faridun sent his greeting to the guardian of the crossing, and said: “Send me-boats and ships, that I and my army may cross.” But the guardian sent back answer: “The king has given me secret command that no man may cross without his sealed order.”
Faridun heard the messenger with anger. The swift stream inspired him with no fear, and he with his warriors tightened girdle and plunged into it with their horses. Having crossed, they made their way to the royal city of Zuhak. On coming within a mile of it Faridun saw a palace whose walls were raised higher than Saturn, as if it had been built to tear the stars from the sky. It shone like Jupiter in the celestial sphere. From its vastness and magnificence Faridun knew it to be the palace of the monster-king, and, turning to his companions, he said: “I fear one that has been able from dust and stones to rear so mighty a structure.