The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Delgosha palace garden - Samarkand

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The entrance to this garden was very broad and high, and beautifully adorned with glazed tiles, in blue and gold. At this gate there were many porters, who guarded it, with maces in their hands. When the ambassadors entered, they came to six elephants, with wooden castles on their backs, each of which had two banners, and there were men on the top of them The ambassadors went forward, and found the men, who had the presents well arranged on their arms, and they advanced with them in company with the two knights, who held them by the arm pits, and the ambassador whom Timur Beg had sent to the king of Castille was with them; and those who saw him, laughed at him, because he was dressed in the costume and fashion of Castille. They conducted them to an aged knight, who was seated in an ante-room. He was a son of the sister of Timur Beg, and they bowed reverentially before him. They were then brought before some small boys, grandsons of the lord, who were seated in a chamber, and they also bowed before them. Here the letter, which they brought from the King to Timur Beg, was demanded, and they presented it to one of these boys, who took it. He was a son of Miran Meerza, the eldest son of the lord. The three boys then got up, and carried the letter to the lord; who desired that the ambassadors should be brought before him. Timur Beg was seated in a portal, in front of the entrance of a beautiful palace; and he was sitting on the ground. Before him there was a fountain, which threw up the water very high, and in it there were some red apples. The lord was seated cross-legged, on silken embroidered carpets, amongst round pillows. He was dressed in a robe of silk, with a high white hat on his head, on the top of which there was a spinal ruby, with pearls and precious stones round it. As soon as the ambassadors saw the lord, they made a reverential bow, placing the knee on the ground, and crossing the arms on the breast; then they went forward and made another; and then a third, remaining with their knees on the ground. The lord ordered them to rise and come forward; and the knights, who had held them until then, let them go. Three Meerzas, who stood before the lord, and were his most intimate councillors, named Alodalmelec {Abdulmalec-'Servant of the king.'} Meerza, Borundo Meerza, and Noor Eddin {Noor-ud-deen-'Light of the faith.'} Meerza, then came and took the ambassadors by the arms, and led them forward until they stood together before the lord. This was done that the lord might see them better; for his eyesight was bad, being so old that the eyelids had fallen down entirely. He did not give them his hand to kiss, for it was not the custom for any great lord to kiss his hand; but he asked after the king, saying, 'How is my son the king ? is he in good health ?' When the ambassadors had answered, Timur Beg turned to the knights who were seated around him, amongst whom were one of the sons of Toktamish, the former emperor of Tartary, several chiefs of the blood of the late emperor of Samarkand, and others of the family of the lord himself, and said, 'Behold! here are the ambassadors sent by my son the king of Spain, who is the greatest king of the Franks, and lives at the end of the world. These Franks are truly a great people, and I will give my benediction to the king of Spain, my son. It would have sufficed if he had sent you to me with the letter, and without the presents, so well satisfied am I to hear of his health and prosperous state.' The letter which the king had sent was held before the lord, in the hand of his grandson; and the master of theology said, through his interpreter, that no one understood how to read the letter except himself, and that when his highness wished to hear it, he would read it. The lord then took the letter from the hand of his grandson and opened it, saying that he would hear it presently, and that he would send for the master, and see him in private, when he might read it, and say what he desired. The ambassadors were then taken to a room, on the right hand side of the place where the lord sat; and the Meerzas, who held them by the arms, made them sit below an ambassador, whom the emperor Chayscan, lord of China, had sent to Timur Beg to demand the yearly tribute which was formerly paid. When the lord saw the ambassadors seated below the ambassador from the lord of China, he sent to order that they should sit above him, and he below them. As soon as they were seated, one of the Meerzas of the lord came and said to the ambassador of China, that the lord had ordered that those who were ambassadors from the king of Spain, his son and friend, should sit above him; and that he who was the ambassador from a thief and a bad man, his enemy, should sit below them; and from that time, at the feasts and entertainments given by the lord, they always sat in that order. The Meerza then ordered the interpreter to tell the ambassadors what the lord had done for them.