So When Both Sides Were Ready For Action The Naccaras Began To Sound
Loudly, One On Either Side.
For 'tis their custom never to join battle
till the Great Naccara is beaten.
And when the Naccaras sounded, then the
battle began in fierce and deadly style, and furiously the one host dashed
to meet the other. So many fell on either side that in an evil hour for
both it was begun! The earth was thickly strewn with the wounded and the
slain, men and horses, whilst the uproar and din of battle was so loud you
would not have heard God's thunder! Truly King Caidu himself did many a
deed of prowess that strengthened the hearts of his people. Nor less on
the other side did the Great Kaan's son and Prester John's grandson, for
well they proved their valour in the medley, and did astonishing feats of
arms, leading their troops with right good judgment.
And what shall I tell you? The battle lasted so long that it was one of
the hardest the Tartars ever fought. Either side strove hard to bring the
matter to a point and rout the enemy, but to no avail. And so the battle
went on till vesper-tide, and without victory on either side. Many a man
fell there; many a child was made an orphan there; many a lady widowed;
and many another woman plunged in grief and tears for the rest of her
days, I mean the mothers and the araines of those who fell.[NOTE 2]
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