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Full text of "The Shahnama;"

THE 

SHAHNiMA OF FIRDAUSl 



DONE INTO ENGLISH BY 

ARTHUR GEORGE WARNER, M.A. 

AND 

EDMOND WARNER, B.A. 



" The homes that are the dwellings of to-day 
Will sink 'neath shower and sunshine to decay, 
But storm and rain shall never mar what I 
Have built the palace of my poetry." 

FlEDAOSf 



VOL. I 




LONDON 
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO. L 

DEYDEN HOUSE, GERRARD STREET, W. 
1905 



The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved 



. '> Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON &* Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press 



(3) 



TRUBNER'S 

ORIENTAL SERIES. 



TO 

HIS SISTER 

CAROLINE WARNER 

THIS WORK IS DEDICATED BY HER 
SURVIVING BROTHER 



PREFACE 

THE interest with which I used to look forward to 
the publication of this work, the preparation of which 
afforded us innumerable happy hours, has been 
saddened for me of late by the death of my elder 
brother and senior partner in the undertaking. It 
was begun some twenty years ago when he was the 
Incumbent of St. Mary's, Tothill Fields, Westminster, 
and had but scanty leisure. It was continued and 
carried far toward completion in more favourable 
circumstances after his presentation by the Grocers' 
Company to the living of St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside, 
in 1887. 

From early days my brother was devoted to the 
study of Oriental languages. His proficiency in 
Hebrew won him at Oxford the Pusey and Ellerton 
Scholarship in 1862 and the Kennicott in 1863. 
He was also a good Arabic and Syriac scholar. 
During his twenty-one laborious years first as Curate 
and then Incumbent at Westminster he never , I 
think, forewent for long his favourite branch of study, 
and I may add that we were engaged in revising a 
passage in our joint translation almost to within an 
hour of his sudden death from a wholly unsuspected 
heart- affection in April 1903. 

He is, I think, fondly remembered by many. Such 



viii 'PREFA CB 

memories are in the nature of things but fleeting ; but 
the written word remains, and I am fain to hope that 
by the publication of this work I may be raising to 
him an inconspicuous perhaps but lasting monument. 

To the vast majority of English readers the Shah- 
nama seems hardly to be known even by name a 
fact not to be wondered at, considering how few 
references are made to it in current literature, and 
that this is actually the first attempt to give the 
subject-matter of the great Persian Epic at large in 
English. It has therefore seemed desirable that the 
translation should be accompanied by explanatory 
matter in the forms of Introduction, Note, and 
Argument. To prepare these has fallen to my lot, 
and I am accordingly responsible for the many faults 
of commission and omission that will be only too 
obvious to the eyes of scholars and experts in this 
branch of the subject. I am also responsible with 
my brother for the translation generally, and for its 
final form throughout. His share, had he lived, 
would have been larger and more important than mine, 
but his untimely death will tend to equalise our 
labours. On reviewing our work as a whole, I venture 
to hope that the English reader will gain from it 
a very fairly correct idea of the subject-matter of 
Firdausi's greatest achievement, and will at least learn 
from the Introduction and Introductory Notes where 
to turn for more scholarly and authoritative informa- 
tion on the subject. 

I take this opportunity of thanking the Delegates 
of the Clarendon Press for their kind permission to 



PREFACE ix 

make such illustrative extracts as I needed from 
those volumes of the Sacred Books of the East Series 
which contain the translations of the Zandavasta and 
Pahlavi Texts by the late Professor Darmesteter and 
the late Dr. E. W. West respectively. These transla- 
tions, with their introductions and notes, are most 
valuable to the student of the Shahnama. I have 
also to thank my sister, Caroline Warner, and my 
nephew, George Redston Warner, for occasional help. 

I hope to publish our translation a volume at a 
time, as circumstances permit. 

EDMOND WARNER. 

ELTHAM, February 1905. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

PREFACE vii 



INTRODUCTION 

CHAPTER I. : LAND AND PEOPLE . . . . . . 3 

CHARTER II. : POET AND POEM 23 

CHAPTER III. : TEXT AND TRANSLATION .... 76 

LIST OF PREVIOUS TRANSLATORS 87 

ANCIENT PERSIAN CALENDAR ' . . . . . .88 

GENEALOGICAL TABLES ' . 90 

ABBREVIATIONS 93 

NOTE ON PRONUNCIATION 95 



THE SHAHNAMA 

THE PRELUDE 

SECT. PAGK 

1. Invocation . . . 100 

2. Discourse in Praise of Wisdom 101 

3. Of the Making of the World 102 

4. Of the Nature of Man 104 

5. Of the Nature of the Sun 105 

6. Of the Nature of the Moon 105 

7. In Praise of the Prophet and his Companions . . 106 

8. On the Compilation of the Shahnaina . . . 108 

9. Of the poet Dakiki 109 

10. How the present Book was be^un .... 109 

11. In Praise of Abu Mausiir, Son of Muhammad . .no 

12. In Praise of Sultan Mahmud j 12 



CONTENTS 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HISTORY: THE 
PISHDADIAN DYNASTY 

GAltfMART 

SECT. PAGE 

1. The Greatness of Gaiiimart and the Envy of 

Ahriman ........ 1 1 8 

2. How Siyamak was slain by the Div . . . . 1 20 

3. How Hiishang and Gaiiimart went to fight the Black 

Div ..... . . . .121 

HtJSHANG - 

1. The Accession of Hiishang and his civilising Arts . 122 

2. How the Feast of Sada was founded * . . . .123 

TAHMfJRAS 

i. Tahmiiras ascends the Throne, invents new Arts, 

subdues the Divs, and dies . . . . .126 

J AMSHfD 

1. The Greatness and Fall of Jamshid . . . -131 

2. The Story ol Zahhak and his Father . . . -135 

3. How Iblis turned Cook ...... 1 37 

4. How the Fortunes of Jamshid went to Wrack . .139 

ZAHHAK 

1. The Evil Customs of Zahhak and the Device of Irma'il 

and Karma'il ........ 145 

2. How Zahhak saw Faridun in a Dream . . .147 

3. The Birth of Faridun ....... 150 

4. How Faridun questioned his Mother about his Origin 152 

5. The Story of Zahliak and Kawa the Smith . . .154 

6. How Faridun went to Battle with Zahhak . . . 159 

7. How Faridun saw the Sisters of Jamshid . . . 161 

8. The Story of Faridun and the Minister of Zahhak . 164 

9. How Faridun bound Zahhak ..... 166 



1. How Faridun ascended the Throne . . . .174 

2. How Faridun sent Jandal to Yaman . . . .177 



CONTENTS xiii 
(contimied) 

SECT. PAGE 

3. How the King of Yaman answered Jandal . . 181 

4. How the Sons of Faridiin went to the King of 

Yaman 183 

5. How Sarv proved the Sons of Faridun by Sorcery . 184 

6. How Faridun made Trial of his Sons . . .186 

7. How Faridun divided the World among his Sons . 189 

8. How Salm grew envious of Iraj 189 

9. How Salm and Tur sent a Message to Faridun . . 191 

10. Ho \v Faridun made Answer to his Sons . . . 193 

11. How Iraj went to his Brothers . . . . .197 

12. How Iraj was slain by his Brothers . . . .199 

13. How Faridun received Tidings of the Murder of 

Iraj 202 

14. How a Daughter was Born to Iraj .... 205 

1 5. The Birth of Miniichihr 206 

1 6. How Salm and Tur had Tidings of Miniichihr . . 208 

17. How Faridun received his Sons' Message . . . 209 

1 8. How Faridun made Answer to his Sons . . .211 

19. How Faridun sent Miniichihr to fight Tur and 

Salm 215 

20. How Minuchihr attacked the Host of Tur . . .218 

21. How Tur was slain by Minuchihr .... 220 

22. How Minuchihr wrote to announce his Victory to 

Faridun 221 

23. How Karan took the Castle of the Alans . . . 223 

24. How Kakwi, the Grandson of Zahhak, attacked 

the Iranians 225 

25. How Salm fled and was slain by Minuchihr . . 227 

26. How the Head of Salm was sent to Faridun . . 229 

27. The Death of Faridiin 232 

MlNfJCHIHR 

1. How Minuchihr ascended the Throne and made an 

Oration 237 

2. The Birth of Zal . . . . . . 239 

3. How Sam had a Dream touching the Case of his 

Son ......... 243 

4. How Minuchihr took Knowledge of the Case of * 

Sam and Zal 248 



xir CONTENTS 

MINUCHIHR (continued) 

SECT. PAOB 

5. How Zal went back to Zdbulistan . . . .251 

6. How Sam gave the Kingdom to Zal . . . -253 

7. How Zal visited Mihrab of Kabul . . . .256 

8. How Rudaba took Counsel with her Damsels . . 259 

9. How Rudaba's Damsels went to see Zal . . . 263 

10. How the Damsels returned to Rudaba . . . 267 

11. How Zal went to Rudaba . . . . ' . . 270 

12. How Zal consulted the Archimages in the Matter of 

Rudaba ........ 273 

13. How Zal wrote to Sam to explain the Case . . 275 

14. How Sam consulted the Archmages in the Matter of 

Zal 278 

15. How Sindukht heard of the Case of Rudaba . . 280 

16. How Mihrab was made aware of Ids Daughter's 

Case 284 

17. How Minuchihr heard of the Case of Zal and 

Rudaba 288 

1 8. How Sam came to Minuchihr ..... 289 

19. How Sam went to fight with Mihrab .... 292 

20. How Zal went on a Mission to Minuchihr . . . 295 

21. How Mihrab was wroth with Sindukht . . . 299 

22. How Sam comforted Sindukht 301 

23. How Zal came to Minuchihr with Sam's Letter . 306 

24. How the Archmages questioned Zal .... 308 

25. How Zal answered the Archmages .... 309 

26. How Zal displayed his Accomplishment before 

Minuchihr 311 

27. Minuchihr's Answer to Sam's Letter . . .314 

28. How Zal came to Sam 316 

29. The Story of the Birth of Rustam .... 320 

30. How Sam came to see Rustam 324 

31. How Rustam slew the White Elephant . . . 327 

32. How Rustam went to Mount Sipand .... 330 

33. How Rustam wrote a Letter announcing his Victory 

to Zal 332 

34. The Letter of Zal to Sam . . 334 

'35. Minuchihr's last Counsels to .his Son .... 335 



CONTENTS xv 
NAUDAR 

SECT. PAGK 

1. How Naudar succeeded to the Throne . . . 339 

2. How Pashang heard of the Death of Miniichihr . 342 

3. How Afrasiyab came to the Land of Iran . . . 345 

4. How Bdrman and Kubad fought together and how 

Kubdd was slain ....... 346 

5. How Afrasiyab fought with Naudar the second Time 350 

6. How Naudar fought with Afrasiyab the third Time . 352 

7. How Naudar was taken by Afrasiyab '. . -355 

8. How Wisa found his Son that had been slain . . 356 

9. How Shamasas and Khazarwan invaded Zabulistan . 358 

10. How Zal came to help Mihrab 359 

11. How Naudar was slain by Afrasiyab .... 362 

12. How Zal had Tidings of the Death of Naudar . . 364 

1 3. How Ighriras was slain by his Brother . . . 367 

ZAV 

i. Zav is elected Shah 370 

GARSHASP 

1. How Garshasp succeeded to the Throne and died, 

and how Afrasiyab invaded Iran .... 374 

2. How Rustain caught Rakhsh 378 

3. How Zal led the Host against Afrasiyab . . .381 

4. How Rustam brought Kai Kubad from Mount Alburz 382 

INDEX . . 39 



INTRODUCTION 



ERRATA 



Page 7, line 25 and elsewhere, for ' Tritd ' and ' Traitna ' read ' Trita ' 

and ' Traitana.' 

Page 9, line 16 and elsewhere, for ' Azarbijn ' read ' Azarbdijdn. ' 
Page 10, reference number 2, after R insert P. 
Page 13, bottom, for 'NESH ' read ' NSEH.' 
Page 17, delete lines 8-10, and read ' from the other side, we may add 

that Peter the Great gained temporary possession of Darband 

in A.D. 1722, but it was not finally annexed by Russia till A.n. 

1813.' 

Page 19, reference number 3, delete iii. 
Page 31, delete lines 13-16, and read ' that this minister is referred to 

on both occasions.' 
Page 34, five lines from bottom, delete ' While I sat looking on ' and 

read ' While I o'erlooked from far.' 
Page 37, line 22, for ' Arudi ' read ' 'Arudi.' 
Page 39, reference number i, delete i. and vii., and read ' The too 

spiritual conception of the Deity in i. and the references to 

'All in vii.' 

Page 43, note 2, for ' fakka ' read ' fakkd '.' 
Page 62, after reference number 7 insert DZA, i. 209. 
Page 68, line 9, end, add 'or identical with,' and add to reference 

number i, NIN, 15. 
Page 69, bottom, for ' 108 ' read ' 107.' 
Page 71, line 19, after ' Oxus ' insert ' Caspian.' 
reference number 6, end, add ' notes.' 
Page 88, lines 12 and 26, for ' Farvardin ' read ' Farwardin.' 
Page 89, line 4, for ' Din ' read ' Dai.' 
Page 90, for ' 3 generations ' read ' I generation.' 
Page 92, read thus : 'A female descendant or relative = KAi KAtis (12).' 

I 
Siydwush 

Page 106, line n, beginning, for 'The' read '/n.' 

Page 113, line 18, add full stop at end. 

Page 118, line 4, for 'mountain of the holy' read 'Mountain of the 

Holy.' 

Page 1 20, delete line I and read, ' How Siydmak was slain by the Div.' 
Page 126, line i6,for 'gold' read 'good.' 
Page 130, line n, after ' gallery' put . . . 



ERRATA 

Page 130, line 23, for ' have ' read ' find,' and add to reference 4, WPT. 

i. 142. 

Page 131, line 15, for ' They' read ' they.' 
Page 132, line n, add full stop at end. 
Page 138, line 29, delete ' thou my ' and read ' any.' 
Page 142, 5 lines from bottom, for ' downstricken ' read ' down-stricken.' 

,, ,, 4 lines from bottom, for ' Aspik&n ' read ' Aspikan.' 
Page 143, line 7, for ' i ' read ' 2.' 

,, ,, line 15, /or '2' read '3.' 

,, ,, line 31, for ' 3 ' read '4.' 

,, ,, line 33, for '4' read ' 5.' 
Page 175, line 13, for ' He ' read ' Be.' 

Page 227, line 21, delete 'Slain by the Hand of and read ' slain by.' 
Page 239, line 21, for ' made ' read ' make.' 
Page 293, add to end of note, 309, 346. 
Page 307, line 7 from bottom, after 'lasso' add 'V 
Page 325, line 1 1, for ' Sam ' read ' Zal.' 

Page 342, line 3 from bottom, for ' Knowhow ' read ' Know how.' 
Page 351, side reference, read '259.' 
Page 354, line 21, for ' Guzhdaham ' read ' Gazhdaham.' 
Page 355, line 4 from bottom, delete comma at end. 
Page 366, line 12, delete 'not.' 
Page 381, line 4 from bottom, for ' plants' read ' plans.' 



INTRODUCTION 



CHAPTER I 

LAND AND PEOPLE 

IRAN, the chief scene of Firdausi's Shahnama, is 
bounded on the north by the Steppes, the Caspian 
Sea, and the Kiir and Rion rivers, on the south by 
the Indian Ocean, on the east by the valley of the 
Indus, and on the west by that of the Tigris and 
Euphrates, and by the Persian Gulf. At present it 
includes Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, and small 
portions of Russia and Turkey. 

It is a lofty and for the most part a rainless table- 
land traversed by numerous mountain-ranges divided 
from each other by flat plains and falling away toward 
the centre, which is a desert white with salt scurf 
or dun with powdery dust. The mountains are 
highest round the edges of the tableland and intercept 
most of the rainfall. Some moisture, however, finds 
its way even into the rainless region, where it gathers 
during winter on the higher hills in the form of snow. 
This snow-water is carefully husbanded, and distributed 
by means of underground water-courses. The interior 
is, however, drying up, and city, village, and cultivated 
field are being gradually overwhelmed in dust and 
shifting sands. 

Possibly as late as early historical times very 



4 INTRODUCTION 

different conditions prevailed. The lower plains and 
depressions once formed a series of lakes that 
suggested the appearance of an inland sea, and such 
names as island, port, lighthouse, &c., are said to still 
survive in places as a relic and indication of the old 
state of things, 1 while a considerable body of water 
is still to be found in the eastern half of the central 
depression on the frontier between Persia and Afghanis- 
tan. This region is now known as Si'stan, but in ancient 
times was called Drangiana or the lake-country, a 
name which survived much later in its former capital 
Zarang, and as " Zirih " is still used in connection with 
its lake. 

From April till late in the autumn the sky, save 
for an occasional thunderstorm among the mountains, 
is an unclouded azure, in winter a good deal of snow 
falls, and in spring the thunderstorms are heavy and 
frequent. The air is, as a rule, remarkably healthy, 
but on the borders of the deserts the inhabitants 
have sometimes to live shut up for weeks together to 
avoid the pestilential blasts. 2 

The favoured regions are those that front west and 
north respectively. They are splendidly wooded and 
extremely fertile, all the ordinary flowers and fruits 
of Europe do well, while in the district between the 
Alburz Mountains and the Caspian, and known as 
Mazandaran, the climate is semitropical and the 
vegetation most luxuriant. Here rice, the sugar-cane, 
the vine, the orange, and the olive flourish. 3 In the 
few watered valleys of the long southern coast the 
climate is tropical in character. The tamarisk and 
mimosa are largely represented, and here and there 
are groves of date-palms. 

1 E.g., near Kasbin, on the road between Tihnin and Hamad.in, and at 
Barchin, a village near Maibud to the north of Yazd. GHP, i. 13; 
KA, ii. 473. 

2 MHP, ii. 367. 3 DHA, v. 9. 



INTRODUCTION 5 

The immediate neighbourhood of the salt-deserts is 
the haunt of the wild ass or onager and of the antelope, 
the slope of the mountain-ranges of the wild sheep or 
argali, and their summit of the wild goat or ibex. The 
tracts artificially reclaimed and watered are the 
favourite home of the sandgrouse, and the highlands 
of the eagle, the vulture, the falcon, the raven, the 
crow, and the nightingale the bulbul of the poets. 
The acorns of the western slopes attract the wild 
swine, which in turn tempt the lion from the reed-beds 
of the Tigris and the cover of its tributaries. 1 Swine, 
too, abound in Mazandaran and afford food for the 
tiger which flourishes there, the dense undergrowth 
and vegetation of that region affording it as good 
shelter as an Indian jungle. 2 Here, too, are found 
deer, buffalo, swan, waterfowl, woodcock, and pheasant. 
Speaking of the country more generally we may add 
to this list leopards, wildcats, wolves, bears, hyaenas, 
foxes, snakes, scorpions, vipers, lizards, the partridge, 
and the lark. The chief domestic animals are the ox, 
the sheep, especially the fat-tailed variety, the horse, 
the camel, and the mule. 

{ ran is a land of sharp contrasts, of intense heat and 
cold, of sudden and abnormal changes of temperature, 
of dead level and steep ascent, of splendid fertility hard 
by lifeless desolation, of irrigation and dust. Its 
natural characteristics find expression in the ancient 
cosmogony of its people. We are told that Urmuzd 
the Good Principle created earth as a lovely plain 
bathed in a mild perpetual radiance, fanned by soft 
temperate airs, bounteously provided with fresh sweet 
waters, and clad in a smooth and harmless vegetation. 
Here the First Man and the First Ox dwelt in peace 
and happiness. Ahriman the Evil Principle broke 
into this fair scene and all was changed. Gloom 
minged with light, the seasons' difference began, the 
1 EP, ii. 30. 2 id. 34. 



6 INTRODUCTION 

seas turned salt, the streams dwindled, the vegetation 
grew rough and thorny, dronght came and dust and 
desert; mountain-ranges sprang up from the plain, 
and the man and ox were stricken with disease and 
died; but from the body of the former sprang the 
first human pair from whom all the earth was over- 
spread, and from the body of the latter all other 
harmless, useful, and beautiful animals, while Ahriman 
in opposition to these created all noisome and hideous 
insects, reptiles, and creatures sharp of fang or claw. 

Let us now turn from the land to the people. For 
us there is no occasion to discuss questions of race 
from any very modern standpoint. For us it is rather 
what ethnical views obtained in ancient Iran and 
moulded its traditions. As to these there is happily 
little room for doubt, Darius Hystaspis, the founder 
of the Persian empire and the greatest of its historic 
Shahs, having decided the matter for us. On the 
rock of Bihistiin he recorded his great achievements 
in a trilingual inscription, the languages employed 
being ancient Persian, Babylonian, and Scythian. The 
obvious explanation of his proceeding is, that he 
recognised in the population of his vast empire three 
distinct races of mankind, and, regarding language as 
distinctive of race, used it to emphasise that great 
political fact. In thus distinguishing he followed a 
true philological instinct, and his distinctions still 
largely obtain at the present day. Each of his three 
languages represents a great division of human speech. 
His view, as we shall see, agrees with the traditions 
and legends of his race, and if some modern Shah were 
to restore the empire of Darius, and wished to imitate 
the example of his great predecessor, he would still have 
to choose languages typical of the same three divisions. 
In what follows, therefore, language is made the basis 
of classification, and the divisions thus classified are 
commonly called the Indo-European, the Semitic, and 



INTRODUCTION 7 

the Turanian respectively. It is with peoples of the 
"first division that we are chiefly concerned, and only 
so far as these came into contact with peoples of the 
other two divisions are we concerned about the 
latter. 

At the dawn of history we find peoples speaking 
languages which, theoretically at all events, may be 
traced back to one primitive tongue, holding similar 
religious notions and organised politically as inde- 
pendent self-governing tribes, in possession of large 
geographical areas both in Europe and Asia. They 
thus fall into two great divisions an European and an 
Asiatic and are generally known as the Indo-European 
race. The Asiatic branch seems to have occupied in 
early times the neighbourhoods of Balkh, Harat, Marv, 
and possibly. of Samarkand. It described itself as 
Aryan or noble, as opposed to all those with whom it 
came into contact, much as the Greeks divided man- 
kind into Hellenes and Barbaroi. It was organised 
into three orders or castes priests, warriors, and 
husbandmen. Its religion was a frank worship of 
personified natural forces. Its priests were fire-priests, 
and fire was an especial object of adoration along with 
the other beneficent powers of nature Mitra or 
Mithra, Yama or Yima, Trita, Traitana, and others. 
Opposed to these were the malignant spirits of drought 
and darkness, as, for instance, Azi or Azhi, also known 
as Dahaka the biter, the serpent-fiend. Water was 
ever growing scarcer, and drought or plenty turned in 
the imagination of a primitive people on the struggle of 
the good and evil spirits for its possession. The former 
appeared in the lightning-flash, while the gloomy con- 
volutions of the thunder-cloud suggested the idea that 
fiends in serpent-form were striving to carry off the 
precious fluid the heavenly waters as distinguished 
from the earthly waters and hinder it from descend- 
ing to the help of man. The cloud the rain-bringer 



8 INTRODUCTION 

was perversely regarded as the rain-stealer. The good 
spirits hastened to the rescue, the lightning-flash clove 
the cloud, and the demons dropped their booty. The 
serpent-fiend had to be combated for other reasons too, 
for his bite brought fever, disease, and death. Accord- 
ingly the divine physician appeared side by side with 
the divine hero, Trita with Traitana, and became, as 
we shall see later on, merged into a single personality 
in Iranian legend. Sacrifices were offered, and the 
drink-offering of the juice of the Soma or Horn a plant 
was poured forth. The plant is usually identified as 
being the Asclepias acida or Sarcostemma viminale. 1 
The Aryans also worshipped the spirits of their 
ancestors, and were believers in what is called sym- 
pathetic magic. They thought that injury done to 
anything in the remotest way connected with their 
own persons would affect themselves injuriously. Even 
the knowledge of their name might be turned to their 
hurt, and we shall find instances in the poem of children 
being brought up unnamed to avoid that contingency. 

At a period which cannot be put at less than four 
thousand years ago the Aryans themselves divided, and 
while a portion descended to the Indus and became the 
dominant race in India, the rest remained and gradually 
took possession of all that was habitable in the vast 
region that consequently became known as the land of 
the Aryans or Iran. The Aryans thus became separated 
into two branches an Eastern and a Western. With 
the former we are but little concerned ; the legendary 
story of the latter is the theme of the Shahnama. 

Of these Western Aryans the two most famous 
peoples have ever been the Medes and Persians. 

1 The plant grows in the regions about Samarkand and Balkh in the 
north and in Kirmiln in the south. The shoots were pounded in a 
mortar, and water being added a greenish liquid was produced, which 
having been strained was mixed with milk and barley or wild rice and 
allowed to ferment. The product was intoxicating. See GHP, i. 36 ; 
DHA, iv. 53. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

The Medes, whose modern representatives, if any, 
seem to be the Kurds, appear in ancient times to have 
been a loose confederation of kindred tribes broken up 
into numerous settlements, each under its local head- 
man or chief. 1 They seem to have had no supreme 
political head or king to unite the race under one 
central authority. Their common bond, if any, was a 
religious one under their priests, the Magi. According 
to their own traditions the original seat of the race was 
Iran-vej, i.e., " Iranian seed," and this has been well 
identified with the district of Karabagh, the ancient 
Arran, the 'Apiavia of the Greeks, between the Kur 
and the Aras, where the Anti-Caucasus forms the true 
north-western scarp of the tableland of Iran. 2 In 
historical times, however, we first find the Medes in 
possession of the province of Aza.rhffi.Ti nr , to give it 
its ancient title, Atropatene. The Pers'ians occupied 
from time immemorial the country on the eastern 
shores of the Persian Gulf, now represented by the 
modern provinces of Farsistan and Laristan, and were 
ruled by kings of the house of Achaemenes. These 
two peoples, closely connected as they were by language 
and race, became in the days of Darius Hystaspis 
dominant in Iran, and to this domination the Medes 
appear to have contributed the religious, the Persians 
the political, element. Between the Medes and the 
Persians lay in ancient times, as we learn from Assyrian 
and Babylonian records, other kindred peoples the 
kingdom of Elam, with its capital at Susa, some twenty- 
five miles west of the modern Shuster, and the kingdom 
of Ellipi, in the neighbourhood of the modern Hamadan. 
The Iranians as a whole were bounded on the west by 
Semitic and on the north by Turanian peoples. On the 
east they were conterminous with the Aryans of India, 
and ultimately they came into contact with the Western 

1 The " kings of the Medes" of Jer. xxv. 25. 

2 DZA, i. 3 and notes; KA, i. 45. 



io INTRODUCTION 

Indo-Europeans as well, notably with the Greeks and 
Romans. As the cosmogony and religion of the 
Iranians were largely derived from their physical, so 
was their tradition from their ethnical, environment. 
We are concerned with all three, but especially with 
the last their tradition. The remainder of the present 
chapter will therefore be devoted to a brief, and 
necessarily dry, summary of their historical relations 
with the Semites as represented by the Assyrians in 
early and the Arabs in later times, with other Indo- 
European races represented by the Greeks and Romans 
in the west and by the Hindus in the east, and with 
the Turanians as represented by the Kimmerians, 
Scythians, _Parthians, Huns and Turks,, 

The Irdnians and the Semites. --In the numerous 
contemporary records of the Assyrians we find many 
references to the Iranians. The whole of the western 
frontier of f ran, from the Medes in the north to the 
Persians in the south, seems to have been subjected at 
one point or another to almost constant aggression, 
at first by mere raids but later on by attempts at 
permanent conquest, at the hands of the great warrior- 
monarchs of Nineveh Shalmaneser II. (B.C. 858-823), 1 
Samas Rimmon II. (B.C. 823-8io), 2 Rimmon-nirari III. 
(B.C. 8IO-/83), 3 Tiglath Pilesar III. (B.C. 745-727),* 
Sargon (B.C. 72 2-705 ), 6 Sennacherib (B.C. 705-68 1), 6 
Esarhaddon I. (B.C. 68i-668), T and Assurbanipal (B.C. 
66S-626). 8 The attempts at permanent conquest 
date from the reign of Sargon. The long reign of 
Assurbanipal falls into two periods, a former of great 
extension and conquest, and a latter when the tide 
began to turn and the Assyrian empire, overstrained 
and exhausted, showed signs of decay. Finally, in the 
reign of Esarhaddon II., Nineveh fell (B.C. 606), over- 

1 RPNS, iv. 38-51. 2 R, i. 11-22. 3 DHA, ii. 326. 

4 Id. iii. 3-5. 5 RP, ix. 3-20. RPNS, vi. 83-101. 

7 RP, iii. 103-124. 8 Id., ix. 39-64. 



INTRODUCTION 11 

whelmed by a confederacy which included the Medes. 
Probably no empire was ever less lamented by the 
world at large, for we have the Assyrians' own word 
for it that their warfare was attended with every 
circumstance of cruelty and horror. They hold indeed 
a bad pre-eminence in that respect over all the other 
nations of antiquity. 

With the fall of Nineveh serious Semitic aggression 
ceased, so far as the Iranians were concerned, till after 
the Christian era had begun. Arabia was at that epoch 
extremely prosperous, and carried on a vast caravan 
traffic in native produce and imports from India with 
the west and north. When, however, Rome had 
become recognised as the centre of the world, her 
merchants soon hit upon a less circuitous and conse- 
quently cheaper route. They started a direct traffic 
between India and the Red Sea, whereby merchandise, 
instead of being landed in Southern Arabia and thence 
conveyed northwards by land, was discharged at 
Arsinoe, Cleopatris (Suez), and other Egyptian ports. 
As a result, Southern Arabia the most fertile and 
populous region of the peninsula was ruined, and in 
time, both there and along the lines of the old caravan- 
routes, only massive remains of cities, canals, dams, and 
aqueducts were left to witness to a lost prosperity. A 
vast population was thrown out of employment, and the 
Arabs began to emigrate northward as early, it would 
seem, as the first century A.D. The Azdites in this 
way founded the cities of Hira and Anbar on the 
Euphrates, and were lords of Damascus till the days 
of the Khalifa 'Umar. Other tribes from the south 
settled in the mountains of Aja and Salma, to the 
north of Najd and Al Hajaz. These Northern Arabs 
were divided in their allegiance between the Roman 
and Sasanian empires; and their quarrels among 
themselves, their restlessness and inconstancy, made 
them thorns in the sides of both, and led to many 



12 INTRODUCTION 

difficulties. The defeat of Julian by Sapor II. is said 
to have been largely due to the defection of the Arab 
allies of the former, while on the other hand the 
western frontier of Iran was always liable to be over- 
run by them as far north as and including Azarbijan. 
The havoc caused was often great, and the retaliation, 
on occasions, ferocious. 

With the rise of Muhammad the Arabs became 
a great religious and political power. After his 
death in A.D. 632 he was succeeded in turn by Abu 
Bakr anH~T5TnafTin the course of the ten years of the 
latter's rule Iran was conquered by his generals after 
the three great battles of Kadisiyya and J alula in A.D. 
637, and Nahavand, A.D. 641. A dynasty of high officials 
of the Sasanian empire still held out and maintained 
the ancient faith in the fastnesses of Mazandaran, 1 but 
Iran as a whole was both from a religious and a 
political point of view submerged. The religious 
conquest proved to be permanent, but after a time 
national feeling began to re-assert itself against the 
political, as the following brief summary of events 
may serve to show. 'Umar appointed a committee 
of five to select the next Khalifa after his death. 
After long debate they chose 'Uthman, but subsequently 
repenting of their choice three of the five brought 
about his assassination after a reign of twelve years, 
and nominated 'All as Khalifa (A.D. 656). 'Uthman 
was of the Umayj^ad family, and its head Mu'awiya, 
then governor of Syria, took up arms to avenge him. 
Neither had any direct claim to the Khilafat, but 
'Ali was the son of Muhammad's uncle Abu Talib, and 
had married the prophet's daughter Fatima, known as 
" the maiden." Muhammad had said of him : " 'Ah' 
is for me, and I am for him ; he stands to me in the 
same rank as Aaron did to Moses; I am the town 
in which all knowledge is shut up, and he is the gate 
1 NSEH, 139. 



INTRODUCTION 13 

of it." l 'Ali carne to be regarded as associated in a very 
special way with the prophet, and was known as his 
executor or mandatary, and also as the Lion of God, or 
simply as the Lion. Mu'awiya, on the other hand, was 
the son of one of Muhammad's bitterest opponents, 
and had nothing but his own abilities to recommend 

o 

him. In the heat of the contest which ensued some of 
'All's followers in their zeal for him went too far. They 
not only claimed the Khilafat for him by divine right, 
but actually denied that Abu Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman 
had any title to be regarded as legitimate Khalifas at 
all. This shocked and drew a good many of the 
faithful into Mu'awiya's camp, and the two parties 
became known as Shi'ites (partisans) and Sunnites 
(orthodox). In the event an extreme Muhamrnadan 
"se'ctT Tmown as Kharijites (dissenters), which arose at 
that time, denied the rights of both candidates, 
advocated the bestowal of the Khilafat on " the best," 
and came to the conclusion that the true course out 
of the difficulty would be to remove both. 'Ah' was 
accordingly assassinated, but Mu'awiya escaped and 
became Khalifa without further dispute. 2 The wrongs 
of 'Ah', however, as many thought them, had taken hold 
on the popular mind, especially in Iran, and were 
intensified when his son Husain the grandson of 
Muhammad himself was slain by Mu'awiya's son and 
successor Yizid, A.D. 68 1. The Umayyads, whose chief 
support lay in Syria, had necessarily to rule from 
Damascus, and this tended to slacken their hold over 
their Eastern possessions. Taking advantage of this 
fact, and exploiting the feeling about 'Ah' to their own 
advantage, the descendants of 'Abbas, one of Muham- 
mad's uncles, gradually undermined the position of 
the reigning house, till at length in the year A.D. 750, 
with the assistance of the Persians, they supplanted 
the Umayyads everywhere except in Spain. The 

1 OHS, 331. 2 NESH, 80. 



14 INTRODUCTION 

triumph of the 'Abbasids was a half triumph for 
Persian nationality, and the fact was recognised by the 
abandonment of Damascus as the seat of empire, and a 
return to the old state of things that had prevailed 
under the Sasanians by the building of Baghdad and 
the transference to it of the seat of government. 
Another triumph was won when, after the death of 
Harumi'r-Rashid, his son Mamiin, whose mother was 
a Persian slave, overcame with Persian help his brother 
Amin, who was supported by Syria. Mamun was the 
last great 'Abbasid Khalifa (A.D. 8 1 3-833). Decline soon 
followed. In A.D. 86 1 the Khalifa Mutawakkil was 
murdered by his own son, and the 'Abbasids became 
thenceforth insignificant, having little power outside 
the walls of Baghdad and dependent chiefly on the 
forbearance of their mayors of the palace, if the expres- 
sion may be applied to Eastern history, who preferred 
to veil their own supremacy behind the reverence still 
inspired by the Khalifas in their religious aspect as 
Commanders of the Faithful. In the tenth century this 
office was held by the Dilamids, who claimed descent 
from the ancient Persian kings and were fervent Shi'ites. 
They ruled over Western and Southern Iran, posing 
the while as the Khalifas' most obedient slaves. In 
the north and east the Samanides, who claimed to 
be descended from the famous Iranian hero Bahram 
Chubina, but were in reality of Turkman descent, were 
supreme. The political supremacy of the Arabs in 
i ran was at an end. 

The Iranians and the Greeks and Romans. The 
historic strife between Persian and Greek is so familiar 
to us that it is hard to realise that the only portion of 
it in Iranian legend that in any way coincides with 
authentic history is that which deals with the invasion 
of the East by Alexander the Great ; and even this is 
mostly based not on native but Greek tradition, so modi- 
fied by Iranian patriotism as to gloss over or explain 



INTRODUCTION 15 

away the great overthrew of the East by the West. 
A genuine native tradition dating from those times 
would be extremely interesting, and it is very dis- 
appointing not to have it. Nothing survives of 
Alexander the Great in native Iranian legend except 
a conviction that he was one of the great persecutors 
and destroyers of Zoroastrianism^ This will be referred 
to later on, when we have to touch upon the preserva- 
tion of Iranian tradition in general. It would seem as 
if the long predominance of the Roman empire on the 
stage of history had obliterated the memory of most of 
the great events of earlier ages and distorted that of 
the rest. We should expect, however, that at least the 
Roman empire itself during its greatest period would 
receive some recognition, especially an event so glorious 
for the East as the overthrow of Crassus at Carrhae 
(B.C. 53), but again we are disappointed. The explana- 
tion seems to be that during the whole period of the rise 
and greatness of Rome, f ran was under foreign domina- 
tion, first Grecian and then Parthian. At all events 
it is not till a native dynasty rules again in Iran that 
we begin to find common ground in Iranian and Roman 
history, and this is not till the third century of the 
Christian era. Till then Rome obliterated Greece only 
to be ignored itself in all but the name. Iranian tradi- 
tion knows of Ruin but of nothing behind it. 

The frdnians and the Aryans of India. In this 
case the interest for us is chiefly a religious one. 
From the date (B.C. 250) of the conversion of the 
Indian king, Asoka of Magadha, to Buddhism that 
faith began to extend rapidly. Asoka, like all 
sincere converts, was an enthusiast, and in his reign 
Buddhism was preached not only in India itself but in 
Eastern f ran, and even so far west, it is said, as the 
shores of the Caspian. 1 It prospered much and con- 
tinued to hold its own in Kabulistan till A.D. 850, 

1 DHA, iv, 543 ; Gray, " At the Court of the Amir," 143 ; HIE, 149. 



16 INTRODUCTION 

when a Brahman dynasty replaced the Buddhist. It 
was probably not much before the eleventh century 
of the Christian era that Muhammadanism finally 
triumphed in those regions. 1 To the Zoroastrian, 
however, no less than to the Muhammadan, Buddhism 
and Brahmanism were alike idolatry, and this view has 
left, as we shall see, its mark on Iranian legend. The 
fierce wars carried on against the idolaters of India by 
the Muhammadans of Eastern f ran at the end of the 
tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century have 
also left^ their mark. 

The Irdnians and Turdnians. Savage, barbarous, 
and uncouth, the nations of the North have always 
been notorious for the disgust and terror with which 
they have inspired the higher civilisations of the South. 
The Turanians were little better than the Assyrians in 
their treatment of vanquished foes, and decidedly worse 
in aspect. In the most ancient times of which we have 
any record, the great highway for these nations south- 
ward lay between the Caspian and Euxine Seas. They 
had therefore to cross the barrier of the Caucasus, which 
is said to be only passable, save by expert Alpine 
climbers, in three places, one at each end and one near 
the centre. Of these the most practicable for large 
bodies of men lay along the flat shores of the Caspian. 
The Caucasus stops short of that sea, and only one spur 
of the range running in a north-easterly direction 
nearly approaches it. Between this spur and the sea, 
where the passage is narrowest, stands the town of 
Darband. Here, according to the legend, Sikandar, i.e. 
Alexander the Great, built a mighty barrier to restrain 
the incursions of Gog and Magog, i.e. of the Turanians. 
Such a wall extending across the Pass of Darband was 
actually built for that purpose by the great Sasanian 
Shah Niishfrwan, the contemporary of the Emperor 
Justinian, and those two rulers agreed to share the 
1 EHI, ii 415, &c. 



INTRODUCTION 17 

expense of preventing barbarism from penetrating south 
of the Caucasus. 1 Two centuries later, when the Khazars, 
a Turkish race from what is now Southern Russia, 
captured Tiflis and wrought great havoc, the 'Abbasid 
Khalifa Mansiir erected defensive works and secured 
the whole region up to the great mountain-barrier. 2 
Coming down to later times, and regarding the matter 
from the other side, we may mention that one of Peter 
the Great's first acts after his accession to the throne 
was to make sure of Darband. 

The first historical invasion by a Turanian race is 
that of the Kimmerians of Homer and Herodotus, the 
Gomer of the Bible and the Gimirra of the Assyrian 
inscriptions, who appear to have dwelt in early times 
on the Dniester and the Sea of Azof, whence they were 
driven by the pressure of kindred races whom the 
Assyrians called Manda. Traversing the Pass of Dar- 
band they settled for a time north of the Aras, where 
undoubtedly they must have come into contact with 
the Medes. Being still pressed upon from the north, 
they made an unsuccessful attempt to invade Assyria 
in B.C. 677, and then turned westward into Asia Minor. 3 

In the wake of the Kimmerian invasion came the 
cause of it the Sacae or Scythians, who seem to have 
forced the line of the Aras, to have overrun the terri- 
tory of the Medes and the kingdom of Ellipi, and to 
have established as their capital the famous city of 
Ekbatana, the modern Hamadan, in what has always 
been known in ancient history as Media Magna. It 
seems to have been this domination of the Sacae at 
Ekbatana that has been recorded for us in history as 
the Empire of the Medes. The confusion appears to 

1 GDF, v. 87-89. In RSM, 352, this arrangement is said to have 
begun in the reigns of Yazdagird II. and the younger Theodosius. 
The reader will find a picture of Darband (Derbent) and its wall in 
KA, i. 76. 

2 NSEH, 138. 

3 SHC, 124. 

B 



1 8 INTRODUCTION 

have arisen from the similarity between the Assyrian 
words for Medes and nomads respectively, the former 
being Mada and the latter Manda, coupled with the fact 
that the Mada and Manda both formed part of the 
confederation which, under the leadership of Kastarit, 
the Kyaxares of the Greeks, overthrew Nineveh. 1 The 
empire of the Manda at Ekbatana the so-called Median 
Empire continued till themiddle of thesixth century 
B.C. It shared the dominion over Western Asia with 
Babylon and Lydia, and was no doubt the cause of the 
elaborate defensive works with which Nebuchadnezzar, 
mindful of the fate of Nineveh, sought to make his 
capital impregnable: it held the overlordship of 
Western fran. In the year B.C. 550, however, Cyrus, 
king of Elam, rebelled against his overlord, Istuvegu of 
Ekbatana, the Astyages of the Greeks, and overthrew 
him in the following year. 2 Cyrus then subjugated the 
Persians, entered Babylon in B.C. 544, conquered Asia 
Minor and all the tableland of f ran, united its tribes for 
the first time in history under one government, and 
became known to TateF times as Cyrus the Great. He 
is said to have extended his conquests to the Jaxartes, 
on the borders of which he erected fortresses to hold 
the nomad tribes in check, 3 and the Greek historians, 
with the exception of Xenophon, represent him as 
perishing in a war with the Scythians. The legend of 
Cyrus and Tomyris, the queen oF fEe' Massagetae, told 
by Herodotus, is well known. 4 Cyrus' second successor, 
Darius Hystaspis, the false Smerdis being left out of 
the question, also carried the war into the enemy's 
country, and advanced beyond the Danube in B.C. 513, 
though not very successfully, to avenge, as Herodotus 
tells us, 5 the Scythian invasions which preceded the fall 
of the Assyrian Empire. 

In the century after the death of Alexander the 

2 Id. 499. 3 DHA, v. 22 ; vi. 103. 

5 Id. iv. I. 




INTRODUCTION 19 

Great the Parthians, reinforced by another Turanian 
tribe known as the Dahae, rebelled against the 
Seleucids (B.C. 250), and became the dominant race in 
Iran, till a successful revolt (A.D.2 26^ placed the native 
Sasanian dynasty on the throne. During their long 
domination the Parthians in their turn suffered from 
the incursions of kindred races from the North, in 
much the same way as the English settlers in Britain 
suffered from the Danes. The second century before 
the Christian era was marked by great activity on the 
part of the Turanians, and the whole border of fran 
from the Hindu Kush to the Caspian was overrun 
by them. Two Parthian monarchs in succession 
Phraates II. and Artabanus II. were defeated and 
slain, and the Parthian Empire was only saved from 
overthrow by Mithridates II. Foiled by him the 
Turanians turned to the East and permanently settled 
in Eastern fran, in the region which has ever since 
been called after one of their peoples, Sacaestan or 
Si'stan, the stead or home of the Sacae (c. B.C. 100). 

Another Turanian people, known as the Alans or Alani, 
who first appear, it is said, 1 in Chinese annals, were on 
the Volga in the first century of the Christian era. 
Pressed upon by the Huns, who had defeated them in a 
great battle, they overran Media and Armenia, some of 
them finding their way into the Caucasus, where their 
descendants, it is said, still exist. 2 Thence in A.D. 133, 
at the invitation of Pharasmanes, king of Iberia, they 
invaded Azarbijan and Armenia, ravaged the country, 
and had to be bought off by Vologeses II., the Parthian 
monarch of the time. 

The Huns, who had been instrumental in precipitating 
the Alani on Iran, were themselves in flight before other 
hordes. A large contingent of them seized and settled 
upon the oasis of Samarkand or Sughd. Here, im- 
proved by long settlement both in aspect and manners, 3 

1 GDF, iii. 315-316, and note. a Id. 3 Id. iii, 312. 



20 INTRODUCTION 

they became known as the White Huns; or to the 
Iranians, who carried on many wars with them, as the 
Haitalians. 

Lastly, in the middle of the sixth century of the 
Christian era the name of the Turks begins to appear 
in history. Spreading from Mount Altai, or the Golden 
Mountain, in Central Asia, they extended themselves 
over the northern half of the continent, subjugating 
among other nations the Haitalians. The empire of 
the Turks only lasted about two centuries, 1 but the 
tribes and nations of which it was composed were 
spread over the north of Asia from China to the Oxus 
and the Danube, and under the name of Turkmans 
have proved a permanent menace to the northern 
frontiers of Iran. 

The 'Abbasids soon learned to avail themselves of the 
services of Turkman chiefs in the administration of 
their empire. It was thus that the Samanids first 
rose to power under the Khalifa Mamiin, only, as 
we have seen, to make themselves independent under 
his degenerate successors. About the year A.D. 961 
a disputed succession occurred among the Samanids. 
The rightful heir in the direct line was a boy only 
eight years old, and for that reason, as the times were 
troublous, a party among the nobles declared in favour 
of his uncle, his father's brother. The matter was 
referred for settlement to the Samanid governor of 
Khurasan a man of Turkman descent named Alptigm 
but before his decision arrived the dispute had been 
settled and Mansur had succeeded to the throne. 
Alptigin had given his decision in favour of the uncle, 
and being fearful of Mansur's vengeance he with- 
drew from Khurasan and carved himself out a small 
principality at Ghazni. He died in A.D. 969, and after 
two short reigns the troops elected Subuktigin to be 
their chief. He was a Turkman, had been brought up 
1 GDF,.v. 175 



INTRODUCTION 21 

in the household of Alptigin, had subsequently acted 
as his general, and was a man of great ability and 
courage. He speedily enlarged his dominions and 
began those raids into India which became so frequent 
in the days of his more famous son. In the meantime 
the Samanid ruler Mansiir had died, and his son, the 
Amir Nuh II., was driven from his capital at Bukhara 
by a Turkman invasion instigated by two of his own 
nobles, who subsequently, however, were compelled to 
flee for their lives. They appealed for aid to the 
Dilamids the rivals of the Samanids and obtained 
it. On this the Amir Nuh II. himself appealed for 
help to Subuktigin, who marched to his assistance. 
A great battle was fought at Harat, and Subuktigin 
gained a decisive victory. The Amir in his grati- 
tude bestowed on him the title of Nasiru'd-Din, 
or Defender of the Faith, and on his eldest son 
Mahmud, who had greatly distinguished himself, that 
of Saifu'd-Daula, or Sword of the State, as well as 
the governorship of Khurasan. This happened in A.D. 
994. Three years later Subuktigin died. He left three 
sons, Mahmud, Isma'il, and Nasr, and appointed Isma'il 
to succeed him. Mahmud seems to have behaved well, 
but after vain attempts at conciliation and compromise 
he was compelled to assert himself against his brother, 
who was speedily overthrown and ended his days in 
internment as a state-prisoner. The other brother, 
Nasr, supported Mahmud. Shortly afterwards the 
Samanid dynasty flickered out after the death of the 
Amir Nuh II., and in A.D. 999 Mahmud formally 
assumed the sovereignty, an event which is duly 
noted on his coins by the prefix of Amir to his own 
titles, and the omission of the name of the Samanid 
overlord which previously had been retained by the 
rulers of Ghazni. 1 Mahmud was then twenty-eight 
years old. His career as a great conqueror and 

1 EHI, ii. 479. 



22 INTRODUCTION 

religious fanatic is well known. His domination ex- 
tended from the Punjab to the Tigris, and from 
Bukhara to the Indian Ocean. He has, however, 
another claim upon our memories. His name was 
to become for ever associated with that of the poet 
of the Shahnama who had despaired in those troublous 
times of obtaining any adequate royal patronage for 
his long formed design of moulding into song the epic 
history of his land and people. It was a moment of 
high hopes for many, for the young and ambitious 
prince, for the ambitious but no longer youthful poet, 
and for all who either by birth or adoption had the 
welfare of Iran at heart. The Arab yoke had been 
shaken off, Persian was reviving in the literature, old 
Iranian names were being resumed, and there seemed 
the fairest prospects for the establishment of a third 
Persian empire with Mahmiid for its first Shah. It 
is true that religious differences remained. Half Iran 
was Shfite and the other half Sunnite, 1 but save for 
that it seemed a stroke of fair fortune that made the 
great king and the great poet contemporaries. 

1 The Turkman element was strongly Sunnite. Persia did not 
become thoroughly Shi'ite till the sixteenth century. NSEH, 101. 



CHAPTER II 

POET AND POEM 

THE most trustworthy materials for the life of Firdausi 
are to be found in his own personal references, there 
being probably no poem of considerable length in 
which the writer keeps himself so much in evidence 
as Firdausi does in the Shahnama. Next in authority 
to his own statements we must place the account 
given of him by Nizami-i-'Arudi of Samarkand in 
his work entitled " Chahar Makdla," i.e. " Four Dis- 
courses." ] They are on Secretaries, Poets, Astrologers, 
and Physicians respectively, and consist chiefly of 
anecdotes. One of these, in the " Discourse on Poets," 
gives the valuable account of Firdausi. Unfortunately 
it throws doubt on the authenticity of the extant 
version of one of his compositions the Satire on Sultan 
Mahmiid, only a few lines of which, if Nizami is to be 
believed, can be regarded as Firdausi's own. They 
suffice, however, to indicate one good reason for the 
poet's difference with Mahmiid and the general line 
that he took in his literary revenge, though that Sul- 
tan, it is pretty evident, never even heard that the 
poet had written the Satire at all ! In addition to the 
above-mentioned sources of information there are two 
formal biographies of the poet. One, which dates 
about A.D. 1425, was compiled by order of Baisinghar 
Khan, the grandson of Timur the Lame, and is prefixed 
to the former's edition of the text of the Shahnama. 
It is apparently based on an older metrical life of which 

1 BCM. 

23 



24 INTRODUCTION 

it preserves some extracts, and is itself the basis of 
most of the biographical notices of the poet, including 
that in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The other, which 
dates about A.D. 1486, is in Daulat Shah's "Lives of 
the Poets, " and is preferred by the writer of the article 
" Ferdoucy " in the Biographic Universelle. Both are 
used by Mohl in the preface to his edition of the text 
and translation of the Shahnurna, and both are full of 
mythical details. 

Let us first confine ourselves to the statements in 
the poet's undoubted writings and to legitimate deduc- 
tions therefrom. He calls himself Abu '1 Kasim, and 
we gather, that he was born about A.D. 941. We 
arrive at this in the following way. In the whole 
Shahnama there is only one definite date that on 
which he finished the poem. This, mixing up the 
Muhammadan era with the Zoroastrian calendar, he 
tells us he did on the day of Ard in the month of 
Sapandarmad of the year 400 of the Hijra. This par- 
ticular year, for the Muhammadan years are lunar and 
vary accordingly, began on August 25th, A.D. 1009, and 
ended on the I4th day of that month in the year 
following. Therefore Firdausi finished the Shahnama 
on February 25th, A.D. 1010. He gives his one date 
in the concluding lines of the poem, where he also 
says : 

When erne and seventy years had passed me by 
The heavens bowed down before my poetry. 1 

This we may fairly interpret as meaning that he 
finished his work when he was seventy-one years old, 
i.e. about sixty-nine, as we reckon, since thirty-four 
Muhammadan years go to about thirty-three of ours. 

The poet was a Muhammadan of the Shi'ite sect. 
This is clear from his reference to 'All in his Pre- 
lude. 2 

1 C, 2095. * In this volume 7. 



INTRODUCTION 25 

Moreover, he was not a strict Muhammad an in 
the matter of wine-drinking : 

The time to quaff delicious wine is now, 
For musky scents breathe from the mountain-brow, 
The air resoundeth and earth travaileth, 
And blest is he whose heart drink gladdeneth, 
He that hath wine and money, bread and sweets, 
And can behead a sheep to make him meats. 
These have not I. Who hath them well is he. 
Oh ! pity one that is in poverty ! * 

And again : 

Bring tulip-tinted wine, Hashimi ! 

From jars that never need replenishing. 
Why seek I who am deaf at sixty-three 

The world's grace and observance ? 2 

He soon after has a fit of repentance : 

Old man whose years amount to sixty-three ! 

Shall wine be still the burden of thy lay ? 
Without a warning life may end with thee ; 

Think of repentance then, seek wisdom's way. 
May God approve this slave. May he attain 
In wisdom riches and in singing gain. 3 

He owned or occupied land ; at least the following 
passages suggest that conclusion : 

A cloud hath risen and the moon's obscured, 

From that dark cloud a shower of milk is poured, 

No river plain or upland can I spy, 

The raven's plumes are lost against the sky, 

In one unceasing stream egg-apples fall : 

What is high heaven's purpose in it all ? 

No fire-wood salted meat or barley-grain 

Are left me, naught till harvest come again ! 

Amid this gloom, this day of tax and fear, 

When earth with snow is like an ivory sphere, 

All mine affairs in overthrow will end 

Unless my hand is grasped by some good friend. * 

1 V, 1630. 2 C, 1457. 3 Id. 1460. 

4 Id., 1487. Reading last line with P. 



26 INTRODUCTION 

And again : 

The hail this year like death on me hath come 
Though death itself were better than the hail, 

And heaven's lofty far extending dome 

Hath caused my fuel sheep and wheat to fail. ! 

In some verses, complaining of the advance of old age, 
he alludes to a calamity that befell him when he was 
fifty-eight, or it may be that an escape from drowning, 
which he seems to have had about that time, had a 
sobering effect upon him. This accident will be re- 
ferred to in another connection later on. He says : 

Since I took up the cup of fifty-eight 

The bier and grave, naught else, I contemplate. 

Ah ! for my sword-like speech when I was thirty, 
Those luscious days, musk-scented, roseate ! 2 

At the age of sixty-five he lost his son : 

At sixty-five 'tis ill to catch at pelf. 
Oh ! let me read that lesson to myself 
And muse upon the passing of my son. 
My turn it was to go yet he hath gone. 

Seven years and thirty o'er the youth had sped 
When he distasted of the world and fled. 

He hurried off alone. I stayed to see 
The outcome of my labours. 3 

In the year following his son's death he speaks of 
himself as being much broken : 

While three score years and five were passing by, 
Like Spring-winds o'er the desert, poverty 
And toil were mine ; next year like one bemused 
I leaned upon a staff, my hands refused 

1 C, 2089. 2 V, 680. 

3 C, 1951- 



INTRODUCTION 27 

The rein, my cheeks grew moon-like pale, my beard 
Lost its black hue and camphor-like appeared, 
Mine upright stature bent as age came on 
And all the lustre of mine eyes was gone. 1 

He never speaks of himself as having any profession 
or official position, but if we may hazard a conjecture it is 
that he or his son or both were educated for the office of 
scribe. He puts the following glorification of that pro- 
fession into the mouth of Buzurjmihr, the famous chief 
minister of the still more famous Shah Nushirwan : 2 - 

Teach to thy son the business of the scribe 

That he may be as life to thee and thine, 

And, as thou wouldest have thy toils bear fruit, 

Grudge not instructors to him, for this art 

Will bring a youth before the throne and make 

The undeserving fortune's favourite. 

Of all professions 'tis the most esteemed, 

Exalting even those of lowly birth. 

A ready scribe who is a man of rede 

Is bound to sit e'en in the royal presence 

And, if he be a man of diligence, 

Will have uncounted treasure from the Shah, 

While if endowed with fluency and style 

He will be studious to improve himself, 

Use his endeavours to be more concise 

And put his matter more attractively. 

The scribe hath need to be a man of wisdom, 

Of much endurance and good memory, 

A man of tact, accustomed to Court-ways, 

A holy man whose tongue is mute for evil, 

A man of knowledge, patience, truthfulness, 

A man right trusty pious and well-favoured. 

If thus endowed he cometh to the Shah 

He cannot choose but sit before the throne. 3 

However this may be, from the time when he be- 
came his own master he appears to have devoted him- 

1 V, 1274. 

2 The poet also represents this Sh^h as being highly indignant when 
a wealthy cordwainer, in return for valuable services, ventures to ask 
as a favour that his son may be made a scribe. C, 1778. 

3 C, 1676. 



28 INTRODUCTION 

self to poetry. Referring to the completion of the 
Shahnama he says : 

My life from youth to eld hath run its course' 
In hearing other and mine own discourse. 1 

We have already had an allusion to his " sword-like 
speech " when he was thirty, and we know that between 
the ages of thirty-five and sixty-nine he was occupied 
on the Shahmima. He tells us in a passage that will 
be quoted later on that he spent thirty-five years on 
that poem, i.e. about thirty-four years as we reckon. 
The prose materials for this, he informs us, already 
had been embodied in book-form, 2 and the idea of 
turning them into verse had suggested itself to the 
poet Dakiki, a young man of brilliant parts but of 
vicious habits, who was murdered by the hand of one 
of his own slaves. 3 Dakiki had only just begun his 
great task when he was cut off, but Firdausi admits 
his priority: 

Although he only rhymed the veriest mite 
One thousand couplets full of feast and fight 
He was my pioneer and he alone 
In that he set the Shahs upon the throne. 
From nobles honour and emolument 
Had he ; his trouble was his own ill bent. 
To sing the praises of the kings was his 
And crown the princes with his eulogies.* 

Dakiki seems to have died about A.D. 976, for 
Firdausi took up the work and it employed him for 
the next thirty-four years as we reckon. At first he 
found himself hampered through lack of the necessary 
materials. What those were will be explained later 
on in the present chapter. He made countless in- 
quiries and began to despair, fearing that like Dakiki 
he should not live to complete his undertaking. He 

1 C, 2096. a See Prelude, 8. 3 Id. 9. 
4 V, 1555- 



INTRODUCTION 29 

also suffered from lack .of patronage and encouragement. 
The times were troublous and men's minds were other- 
wise occupied. At length both the needful materials 
and the patron were vouchsafed him. The former 
were obtained for him by a friend and fellow-towns- 
man. 1 The latter he found somewhat later in the 
person of Abu Mansiir bin Muhammad, probably a 
local magnate, who warmly encouraged him and 
treated him with the greatest kindness and generosity. 
This, we may venture to assume, was one of the 
happiest epochs in the poet's life. He was in the 
first flush of a great and enduring enthusiasm ; the 
means of gratifying it were in his possession ; he held 
the field, and his material future seemed assured : his 
noble, rich, and generous patron would see to that. 
Alas ! that patron died murdered like Dakiki, but by 
whom and in what circumstances we know not. The 
poet was overwhelmed for a time, but he persevered 
and kept in mind his patron's counsel that the Book of 
Kings (Shahnama) when completed should be dedi- 
cated to kings. 2 In course of time the poet found 
other patrons, notably one Ahmad ibn Muhammad 
of Chalandshdn, to whom in A.D. 999 he dedicated a 
complete Shahnama. Firdausi was staying with 
Ahmad when he had the escape from drowning already 
referred to, and he seems to have been rescued 
either by Ahmad himself or by Ahmad's son. This 
passage is not in our printed texts. 3 The poet, how- 
ever, had never forgotten the advice of his former 
patron, the beloved Abu Mansur, and in this same year 
his opportunity came. The last king of the Samanid 
dynasty died and Mahmiid became supreme in Eastern 
Iran. Henceforth it was to Mahmiid that the poet 
looked for patronage, and he appears to have left 

1 Prelude, 10. 2 Id. 1 1. 

3 NIN, 23, 24. 



3 o INTRODUCTION 

no stone unturned to gain it. If adulation could 
have achieved his end he ought to have succeeded. 
The reader will find a specimen in the present 
volume. 1 Elsewhere in another elaborate panegyric 
he says : 

God bless the Shah, the pride of crown and throne 
And signet-ring, bless him whose treasuries groan 
With his munificence what while the fame 
Of majesty is heightened by his name. 

O'er all the world one carpet hath been placed 
His token nevermore to be effaced 
And on it are a cushion and a seat 
For Fazl, son of Ahmad, a man replete 
With justice, prudence, rede, and godly fear ; 
No Shah before had such a minister. 
In his hands is the peace of all the state 
For he is good and chief of all the great, 
Frank-spoken, with clean hands and single heart ; 
To serve God and his sovereign is his part. 
With this wise upright minister for friend 
My far-extending labour reached its end. 
I framed this story of the days of yore, 
Selected from the book of men of lore, 
That it in mine old age might yield me fruit, 
Give me a crown dinars and high repute, 
But saw no bounteous worldlord ; there was none 
Who added to the lustre of the throne. 
I waited for a patron patiently 
One whose munificence required no key. 



When I was fifty-eight, and when in truth 

I still felt young though I had lost my youth, 

A proclamation reached mine ears at last 

Whereat care aged and all my troubles pass'd. 

It ran : " Ye men of name who long to find 

Some trace of Faridiin still left behind ! 

See bright-souled Faridiin alive again 

With earth and time for bondslaves. He hath ta'en 

1 Prelude, 12. 



INTRODUCTION 31 

The world by justice and by largessings, 
And is exalted o'er all other kings. 
Bright are the records of his earlier day, 
And may he nourish, root and fruit, for aye." 
Now since that proclamation reached mine ear 
I wish not any other sound to hear ; 
In his name have I fashioned this my lay, 
And may his end be universal sway. 1 

The reader will note that both in 12 of the 
Prelude and in the passage just quoted Firdausi 
couples Mahrmid and his minister in eulogy. As the 
Prelude is retrospective, we may venture to assume 
who that minister was, because as it was written last the 
reference if inopportune would not have been inserted. 
There can hardly be a doubt that in both passages the 
same minister is referred to Fazl, son of Ahmad. 

The passage from which the above extracts are 
taken is a very important one. It seems to have 
been penned a few years before the completion of the 
Shahnama, for the poet was over sixty-five at the time. 
The extracts suggest that he had lately received some 
definite encouragement, some promise of patronage or 
reward from Mahmiid or his minister or both, where- 
upon he wrote this panegyric and prefixed it to the 
section that he had been engaged on or had taken in 
hand when the announcement of Mahmiid's accession 
first reached him. If Mahimid, who was of Turkman 
descent, had strong racial proclivities, the section in 
point hardly seems to be well chosen, for it tells of the 
final overthrow of Afrasiyab, the great protagonist of 
the Turkman race, at the hands of the Iranian Shdh 
Kai Khusrau. Perhaps Mahmud had become more 
Iranian than the Iranians. Such cases are not un- 
known in history. At all events we know that his 
minister Fazl, son of Ahmad, or to give him his full 
title Abu'l 'Abbas Fazl bin Ahmad, had franian 

1 V, 1272-1274. 



32 INTRODUCTION 

leanings, for he changed the official language for state 
documents from Arabic to Persian. After -his fall his 
successor, Ahmad Hasan Maimandi, returned to the old 
arrangement. 1 At the time when the poet wrote the 
above passage Abii'l 'Abbas Fazl must have been at 
the height of his power, say about A.D. 1 006. We are 
told on the authority of Al 'Utbi that he was one of 
the most celebrated of book-students, and Al 'Utbi, 
who was Mahmiid's secretary, ought to have known. 2 
It is very hard to resist the inference that Abii'l 
'Abbas Fazl had given the poet encouragement, and 
that the latter looked to him to secure a fitting re- 
ception by Mahmud of the poem when finished. The 
poet's idea seems to have been that the Shahnama 
was to be regarded as Mahmud's memorial, while the 
profits of his great work were to be devoted to some 
special object which was to be regarded as his own 
memorial : 

Of all the tilings that earn our monarch's praise, 
The things of chiefest profit in his days, 
This will best serve to keep his memory rife 
And live as part and parcel of his life, 
And I am hoping to live too till I 
Receive his gold that when I come to die 
I too may leave my monument with things 
Drawn from the treasury of the king of kings. 3 

If the poet put his faith in Abii'l 'Abbas Fazl he was 
doomed to disappointment. In the meantime we have 
a lamentation over hopes deferred, royal neglect which 
may have been intentional or merely unwitting, and 
active opposition : 

| Six times ten thousand couplets there will be 
i! Well ordered banishers of misery. 
For thrice a thousand couplets one may look 
In vain as yet in any Persian book, 
And if thou cancellest each faulty strain 
In sooth five hundred scarcely will remain. 

1 NIN, 25, note. 2 KUR, 396. 3 V, 1730. 



INTRODUCTION 33 

That one a bounteous king and of such worth 

And lustre mid the monarch s of the earth 

Should disregard these histories is due 

To slanderers and mine ill fortune too. 

They have maligned my work, my marketing 

Is spoiled through lack of favour with the king, 

But when the royal warrior shall read 

My pleasant histories with all good heed 

I shall be gladdened by his treasures here, 

And may no foeman's ill approach him near. 

My book may then recall me to his mind 

And I the fruitage of my labours find. 

Be his the crown and throne while time shall run, 

And may his destiny outshine the sun. 1 

At another time he is plunged in despair : 

The dear delights of earth, the sovereign sway, 
What boot they 1 Soon thy rule will pass away. 
Blest is the pious mendicant and wise, 
Whose ears oft feel the world's rough pleasantries, 
For when he passeth he will leave behind 
A good name and a good conclusion find. 
His portion is in Heaven and in God's sight 
He will have honour. Such is not iny plight 
Who am in wretched case, calamitous, 
With all that I possess sent Hellward thus 
Beyond recall ! No hope in Heaven I see, 
My hand is void, both worlds have ruined me ! 2 

In moments of disappointment, too, and at periods 
probably years apart, the poet gives vent to his feelings 
not only in respect to his own times but even to 
Mahmiid himself. The expression of them is put into 
the mouths of some of his characters, but the prophe- 
cies are of the sound type made after the event and 
evidently the poet's own handiwork : 

A time is coming when the world will have 
A king that is devoid of understanding, 
A king whose gloomy spirit will work woe ; 
The world will darken 'neath his tyranny 

1 C, 1998. 2 Id. 1587. 



34 INTRODUCTION 

And good will ne'er be found among his treasures. 
He will be ever gathering fresh hosts 
To win his crown new fame but in the end 
This monarch and his hosts will pass away, 
And there will be a change of dynasty. 1 

And again : 

The warrior will despise the husbandman, 
High birth and dignity will bear no fruit ; 
Then men will rob each other, none will know 
A blessing from a curse, and secret dealing 
Prevail o'er open, while the hearts of men 
Will turn to flint, sire will be foe to son 
And son will scheme 'gainst sire ; a worthless slave 
Will be the Shall, high birth and majesty 
Will count for nothing ; no one will be loyal. 
There will be tyranny of soul and tongue ; 
A mongrel race Iranian, Turkman, Arab 
Will come to be and talk in gibberish. 2 

These passages, in Professor Noldeke's opinion, 3 
clearly refer to Mahmud and to the circumstances of 
the poet's own time. The latter occurs nearly at the 
end of the poem, and is put into the mouth of the 
commander of the Persian host just before the fatal 
battle of Kadisiyya, A.D. 637. 

At length the great work is finished, but the poet's 
mood is still one of despondence : 

When five and sixty years had passed me by 
I viewed my work with more anxiety, 
But as my yearning to achieve it grew 
My fortune's star receded from my view. 
Great men and learned Persians had for me 
My work all copied out gratuitously 
While I sat looking on, and thou hadst said 
That I was toiling for my daily bread. 
Naught but their praises had I for my part 
And, while they praised, I had a broken heart. 
The mouths of their old money-bags were tied, 

1 C, 1294. 2 Id. 2064. 3 NIN, 26. 



INTRODUCTION 35 

Whereat mine ardent heart was mortified. 

'AH Dilam and 'bu Dulaf these two 

Helped me to bear mine undertaking thro' ; 

Theae ardent souls, my fellow townsmen, they 

Were kind and sped my work in every way. 

Ha'iy son of Kutib, a Persian he, 

Would not take from me and withhold my fee, 

But furnished gold and silver, clothes and meat ; 

From him I got incitement, wings and feet. 

Taxation, root and branch, I know not, I 

Loll on my quilt at ease. When seventy 

And one years of my life had passed me by 

The heavens bowed down before my poetry. 

For five and thirty years I bore much pain 

Here in this Wayside Inn in hope of gain, 

But all the five and thirty years thus past 

Naught helped ; men gave my travail to the blast, 

And my hopes too have gone for evermore 

Now that mine age hath almost reached fourscore. 

For ever lusty be Mahmud the king, 

His heart still glad, his head still flourishing. 

Him both in public and in private I 

Have praised so that my words will never die. 

Of praises from the great I had my store, 

The praises that I give to him are more. 

For ever may he live, this prudent king, 

And see his undertakings prospering. 

I have bequeathed as his memorial 

This book, six times ten thousand lines in all. * 

There are other references by the poet to his work 
and his hopes concerning it, but it is believed that the 
most important passages have now been set forth. If 
then we had no other sources of information than 
these, what should we gather from them ? That the 
poet in the prime of life succeeded to the work and 
materials of Dakiki, and laboured at his task for many 
years under various patrons but not receiving such 
recognition as in his own opinion his deserts merited ; 

1 C, 2095. The readings of the names of the poet's friends are 
taken from Nizdmi's quotation of this passage. BCM, 79. 



36 INTRODUCTION 

that he thought he saw his opportunity in the accession 
of Mahmud and did his best to avail himself of it ; 
that he received some encouragement if not from the 
Sultan himself at least from Abii'l 'Abbas Fazl, the 
chief minister, and achieved his task early in A.D. 
i o i o ; that for some years before that date there had 
been opposition to him at Court, his work vilified 
and his character misrepresented ; that these intrigues 
ultimately prevailed, and that he never received the 
reward for his labours that a perhaps somewhat too 
fervid temperament had led him to hope for or expect ; 
that for years after the completion of the poem he 
still hoped on, was nearly eighty when he finally 
despaired, but to the last continued to praise Mahmud. 
Now if we seek to look further into the causes of 
Firdausi's disappointment we have at hand a plausible 
and even probable explanation, but one for which we 
have, at present at all events, no direct evidence. Just 
about the time when the Shahnama was completed 
Mahmud's chief minister, Abii'l 'Abbas Fazl, fell into 
disgrace. He had once been in the service of the 
Samanids, but when Mahmud became governor of 
Khurasan in A.D. 994, his father, Subuktagin, applied 
to the Samdnid prince, Nuh bin Mansur, for the 
services of Abii'l 'Abbas on behalf of his son. Ac- 
cordingly he became the steward of Mahmud's house- 
hold at Nishapur, and, after Mahmud's accession, 
chief minister. He is said to have made use of his 
position to enrich himself, and his administration is 
stated to have been so oppressive that Khurasan was 
devastated and depopulated, but this of course need 
not be taken too literally. The Sultan, however, 
became concerned with regard to the diminution of 
the levies and the falling off in the revenue, and 
remonstrated with Abii'l 'Abbas, who threatened to 
resign. In A.D. i o 1 1 , after long negotiations, the 
Sultan, enraged at his conduct, imposed a fine of 



INTRODUCTION 37 

100,000 dinars upon him, and, as he still deferred 
payment, had him imprisoned and put to the torture. 
His enemies availed themselves of his disgrace, and 
of the Sultan's displeasure and absence on one of his 
numerous campaigns, to have the fallen minister done 
to death in A.D. IOI3. 1 

The suggestion then is that the poet lost his chance 
owing to the troubles in which the minister became 
involved just about the time when the Shahnama 
would be ready for presentation to Mahiniid ; and 
when we picture to ourselves the remorseless intrigues 
of an Oriental court intrigues sticking at no atrocity 
and shrinking from no meanness we can well imagine 
that if the unfortunate minister really had taken an 
interest in the poet's work, there would not be wanting 
those who would only be too willing out of mere spite 
to strike at the patron through the poet. 

However this may be, the latter, indignant at the 
treatment he had undergone, or smarting under the 
sense of unmerited neglect, set about writing a Satire 
on Sultan Mahmiid, of which, according to Nizami-i- 
Arudi, only the following five couplets survived in his 
days. They run as follows : 

" Yon prater hath grown old," they flung at me, 
" In love toward the Prophet and 'AH." 
That love, if I shall speak of it, implies 
Five score Mahmuds for me to patronise. 
The slave-girl's brat is but a worthless thing 
Although its father came to be a king. 
Had e'er the Shah a turn for goodness shown 
He would have seated me upon the throne. 
Because his kindred is of mean estate 
He cannot bear to hear about the great. 

In the extant version of the Satire that we follow, 2 
which consists of 102 couplets, the above couplets 

1 KUR, 396. Cf. too EHI, ii. 486 ; iv. 148. 
2 C, 63. 



38 INTRODUCTION 

appear not in this order but separately as the 1 1 th, 
27th, 83rd, y2nd, and 76th respectively, with some 
differences of reading. Here they read rather discon- 
nectedly, but have an appropriate context in the 
extant version of the Satire. We learn from them 
that one of the charges brought against the poet was 
that he was a heretic of the sect of the Shi'ites, and 
this may have weighed with the orthodox Mahmud. 
The poet for his part develops the old taunt of the 
slave who became a Shah. If now we turn to the 
extant version of the Satire, and accept it as genuine 
in spite of what Nizami says, we get additional and 
interesting information. The poet speaks of himself 
as Firdausi of Tus. Tus was formerly a city of much 
importance in Khurasan, and its ruins are still to be 
seen some seventeen miles N.N.W. of Mashad. He 
tells us that he spent thirty years over the Shalinama, 
that it was presented to Mahmud, who had promised 
a worthy but gave him a very inadequate reward 
little more than one-seventh of what he expected 
and that he publicly gave away the whole of it to a 
street sherbet-seller in payment for a drink. He also 
informs us that Mahmud threatened to have him 
trampled to death by elephants, and he ends by 
cursing the Sultan. 

We now pass on to what Nizami has to tell us 
more than a hundred years after the death of the 
poet. 

Abu'l Kasim Firdausi was one of the landed pro- 
prietors of Tus. He was a native of a village called 
Bazh, which formed part of one of the quarters, dis- 
tricts, or suburbs of the city. He was a man of 
importance and of independent means, which were 
derived from the income of his land. He had one 
daughter, and the sole object of his labours on the 
Shahnama was to obtain the funds necessary to pro- 
vide her with a dowry. When he had completed the 



INTRODUCTION 39 

work it was transcribed by 'Ali Dilam and recited by 
Abu Dulaf. He was much in favour with Ha'iy, son 
of Kutiba, the governor of the city, who treated him 
with all consideration in the matter of taxation. 

'Ali Dilam transcribed the Shahnama in seven 
volumes, and Firdausi set off for Ghazni with Abu 
Dulaf. Ahmad Hasan Maimandi, Mahmiid's chief 
minister, befriended him, and the poem was duly 
presented to the Sultan, who accepted it. The 
minister, however, had enemies, who pointed out that 
Firdausi was a heretic, as some of the verses in his 
Prelude to the Shahnama showed, 1 and the result was 
that the poet got much less than he expected. He 
went to the bath in deep chagrin, and on coming out 
divided the sum that he had received between the 
bath-man and a sherbet-seller of whom he had bought 
a drink. Then fearing the wrath of Mahmud he fled to 
Harat, where he lay hidden for six months. Mahmud 
sent messengers after him to Tus, but not finding him 
they turned back, on which the poet ventured to go 
there himself, taking the Shdhnama with him. 2 Thence 
he journeyed on to Tabaristan, whose ruler treated 
him kindly. There Firdausi wrote his Satire on 
Mahmud, read it to the chief, and offered to dedicate 
the Shahnama to him instead of to the Sultan. The 
chief of Tabaristan, however, was himself one of 
Mahmud's vassals, and he persuaded the poet to let 
the dedication stand, and bought the Satire of him 
for one hundred thousand drachms a thousand for 
each couplet. He then destroyed it, and Firdausi 
himself destroyed his own rough copy, only five verses 
remaining extant the five already given. We here 
append our version of the Satire. Assuming that it 

1 i and 7. 

2 If Mahmtid was really seriously offended with Firdausi it seems 
strange that the latter's estate at Tus was not confiscated on this 
occasion. 



40 INTRODUCTION 

is in essentials the poet's handiwork the reader pro- 
bably will agree with the prudent chief of Tabaristan 
in his opinion that the sooner it was suppressed 
the better. 



SATIRE ON SULTAN MAHMUD. 

Ho ! Shah Mahmud who hast as victor trod 

The climes! if man thou fearest not fear God, 

For there were many Shahs ere thou hadst birth 

Who all were crowned monarchs of the earth 

And all of them pre-eminent o'er thee 

In treasure, host, throne, crown, and dignity. 

They did no act that was not good and right, 

Went not about to swindle and to spite, 

Dealt with their subjects justly and were naught 

If not God's worshippers. They only sought 

From time an honoured name and thus to gain 

An honoured end ; but all good folk disdain - 

Shahs that are bound in filthy lucre's chain. 

What though the kingship of the world is thine, 

Dost ask what boot these whirling words of mine ? 

Thou hast not seen my heart in its fierce mood, 

Thou reck'st not of my sword a-drip with blood 

But term'st me faithless, heretic ! I am 

A lion, and thou callest me a ram ! 

" Yon ribald hath grown old," men flung at me, 

" In love toward the Prophet and 'All." 

But is there, tell me this, one viler yet 

Than he whose heart against 'AH is set ? 

These two I serve till Resurrection-morn 

E'en if the Shah should have my body torn 

Asunder. I will love these two kings though 

The Shah's sword be above, my head below. 

I serve the Prophet's slaves, the dust revere 

Upon His mandatary's J foot. No fear 

Have I for all thy threats : " Thou shalt be brayed 

By elephants and have thy body made 

A river Nile," for mine enlightened mind 

Place for the love of these two souls shall find 



'AH. 



INTRODUCTfON 41- 

Within my heart. What said the inspired Lord 

Of bidding and forbidding Heaven's own word ? 

"I am the City of the Doctrine, he 

That is the gateway to it is 'All." 

I witness that His heart is in that word 

As though, as thou may'st say, His voice I heard. 

If thou bast mind and wit and rede to hand 

By Prophet and 'All take up thy stand. 

If ill result to thee mine is the breach ; 

Thus is it, and I practise what I preach. 

Thus have I done from birth, thus will I die ; c - 6 4 

The dust upon the Lion's l foot am I. 

What others say can make no difference 

To me ; I never speak but in this sense, 

And if the Shah adopt another strain 

His wisdom weigheth not one barley-grain. 

When God shall set the Prophet and 'Ali 

On royal thrones I, if my poetry 

Came from my love to them, shall in the skies 

Have five-score like Mahmiid to patronise. 

While earth remaineth it will have its lords, 

And all that wear the crown shall hear these words : 

"Firdausi I of Tiis your friend, disclaim 

Mahmud as patron. I wrote in the name 

Of the Prophet and 'Ali ; for their sake I 

Have pierced so many gems of fantasy." 

So long as there was no Firdausi here 
The fortune of this world of ours was sere, 
Yet on this tale of mine thou wouldst not look 
Misled by one who vilified my book, 
But may all those that vilified my strain 
Expect revolving heaven's help in vain. 

These stories of the sovereigns of old 
Had I in mine own charming language told, 
And when my years had almost reached fourscore 
My hopes were scattered to the wind. I bore 
Here in this Wayside Inn the toil so long 
Because I hoped for treasure through my song * 
Of sixty thousand noble couplets spent 
On warlike topics, and their argument 
The lasso, scimitar, artillery, 
The battle-axe, the falchion brandished high, 

J 'Ali. 



42 



INTRODUCTION 



The casque, the mail, the charger's armature, 
The wilderness, the ocean, stream and shore, 
Wolf, dragon, elephant, and crocodile, 
Pard, lion, and 'Afrit, the cunning wile 
Of Ghiil, the sorcery of divs whose cries 
Reached heaven, the heroes famed for enterprise 
Upon the day of battle (these I sing), 
The heroes combating and glorying, 
Men too of no mean rank or name obscure 
But such as Salm Afrasiyab and Tiir, 
Shah Faridun and Kai Kubad and fell 
Zahhak the tyrant and the infidel, 
Garshasp and Sam whom Nariman the bold 
Begot world-paladins of mighty mould 
Hiishang and Tahmuras the Div that bound, 
With Minuchihr, Jamshid that Shah renowned, 
Kaus and Kai Khusrau with crown upon 
His head, and Rustam, and that famous one 
Of brazen form, 1 Giidarz and his delight 
His eighty sons, those Lions of the fight 
And horsemen of the plain great Shah Luhrasp, 
Zaiir the captain of the host, Gushtasp, 
Jamasp who shone among the host on high 
More brightly than the sun doth in the sky, 
Dara son of Darab, Bah man, the great 
Sikandar chief of all that ruled the state 
Withal too Shah Ardshir, Shapur his son, 
Bahrain and Nushirwan the virtuous one. 
Such is the famous and exalted throng 
That I have made the subject of my song, 
All dead for ages but my poetry 
Hath caused their names to live again, for I 
Have raised these dead, as Jesus did, and made 
Their names live, one and all, and I have laid 
A servitude upon myself for thee, 
O king ! to keep thy name in memory. 
The homes that are the dwellings of to-day 
Will sink 'neath shower and sunshine to decay, 
But storm and rain shall never mar what I 
Have built the palace of niy poetry. 
This story shall be read by every one 
Possessed of wisdom while the ages run ; 



1 Asfandiydr. 



INTRODUCTION 33 

But that was not thy promised recompense, 

Nor did I hope reward in such a sense. 

A slanderer (my curse upon his head !) 

Extracted evil out of what I said 

For good, destroyed my credit with the king 

And made my glowing coal a frigid thing. 

If thou~Ea3st been a judge of honest ways, 

And hadst bestowed a thought upon my lays, 

Thou wouldst have said that I have paid my dues 

The talent that was given me to use 

In full. My words have made the world to grow 

Like Paradise. Before me none could sow 

The seed of words. Unnumbered folk no doubt 

Flung them in countless multitudes about, 

But, though they were so many, up to nou- 

No one hath ever mentioned them, I trow. 

For thirty years exceeding toil I bore 

And made the Persians live in Persian lore. 

Unless the worldlord had close-fisted grown 

I should have had a seat upon the throne ; 

He would have placed me there, but common sense 

Hath never been the monarch's excellence. 

Had he himself been royal by descent 

He would have heeded royal precedent, 

For, had his sire been Shah, he would ere now 

Have set a crown of gold upon my brow, 

Or had his mother been a lady I 

Had stood in gold and silver coin knee-high ; 

But since his kindred are of mean estate 

He cannot bear to hear about the great. 

The bounty of this Shah of high degree 

Hath altered nine times nine to four times three ! l 

The travail of this Book of Kings I bore 

For thirty years that from his treasury's store 

The Shah might recompense me, set me free 

From worldly needs and give me high degree 

Among my peers. He oped his treasury's door 

And gave a sherbet-seller's 2 fee, not more, 

1 Mohl, who has a slightly different text, translates " rien et moins que 
rien," which he admits to be pure conjecture. To us it seems a reference 
to the amount expected and the amount received by the poet. 

2 In the original a " fakka "-seller. " Fakka " seems to have been 
barley-water flavoured with raisins, or else some sort of beer. Cf. the 
Greek 0oOcr/ca (Latin posca, sour wine). 



44 INTRODUCTION 

On whom I spent it in the public way 

A fit recipient of such royal pay ! 

A king devoid of honour, sense of right, 

And faith as this is, is not worth a mite. 

The slave-girl's brat is but a worthless thing 

Although it may be fathered by a king. 

To raise the vile that good from them may flow 

Is but to lose our thread's end when we sew 

Or put a viper in our pouch to grow. 

If thou shalt plant a tree of nauseous fruit 

In Paradise itself and drench the root, 

When moisture is required, from Heaven's own rill 

Of purest honey, the old nature still 

Will show itself at last ; thou wilt procure 

Fruit no less nauseous than the fmit before. 

If by perfumers' .stalls thy steps are bent 

Thy clothing will catch somewhat of the scent, 

And if thou visitest a charcoal Jack 

Thou wilt get naught from him that is not black. 

That miscreants should do ill is no strange case ; 

Hope nothing then from one whose birth is base, 

For none can furbish off the gloom of night, 

And washing will not make an Ethiop white. 

To look for good from an ill stock to rise 

Is but to throw the dust in one's own eyes. 

The worldlord, if an honoured name he bore, 

Would have esteemed right dear this branch of lore 

And listened to such various tales as these 

Of ancient ways and royal usages, 

Would not have met my wishes with disdain 

Or let the labour of my life be vain. 

I have a purpose in these lofty rhymes 
The Shah perchance will be advised betimes, 
Will recognise what words are, will pay heed 
To this his hoary old adviser's rede, 
Do to no other poets wrong henceforth 
But hold his reputation something worth, 
For men will quote till Resurrection-morn 
The injured poet's recompense of scorn. 

A suppliant at the Court of God most high 
I shall throw dust upon my head and cry : 
" Lord, cause Thy faithful servant's heart to dwell 
In light, and burn this miscreant's soul in Hell." 



INTRODUCTION 45 

Before resuming our summary of Nizarni's account 
we should mention that later on the indomitable poet 
wrote his second great poem, " Yusuf and Zulikha." 
This work is still extant in MS., and a printed edition 
is understood to be in preparation. He tells us in his 
Introduction that he wrote it at the suggestion of 
a high official of the Dilamids with a view of dedi- 
cating it to the ruling Dilamid prince. The poet 
seems to have quitted Tabaristan, where a prolonged 
stay might have been not without risk both to himself 
and to his friendly entertainer, and to have journeyed 
further to the west, where beyond the reach of 
Mahmud's wrath (if Mahmiid really concerned him- 
self about the matter at all) he wrote the above- 
mentioned work. 1 Ultimately he returned to his 
native city of Tiis, and we may conclude this account 
of the calamity of an author by summarising the rest 
of what Nizami has to tell us. He no doubt gives us, 
as he professes to do, the received tradition of the 
time. Sultan Mahmiid, induced by the representa- 
tions of his chief minister (Hasan Maimandi ?) ulti- 
mately repented of his treatment of the poet. He 
accordingly gave directions that sixty thousand dinars' 
worth of indigo should be carried to Firdausi at Tiis 
with a suitable apology. This was done and the 
indigo arrived safely, but as the caravan that bore 
it entered by one gate the poet's corpse was being 
borne out to burial by another, outside which was a 
garden belonging to him, and there he was interred, 
because in the orthodox view of a local preacher he 
was a heretic, and therefore must not be suffered to 
lie in the Musulinan Cemetery. He left a daughter 
a high-spirited lady who refused to accept the 
Sultan's gift, and the money was therefore spent in 
repairing the hostelry of Chaha, on the road between 
Marv and Nishapiir. The poet seems to have died 

1 NIN, 27. 



46 INTRODUCTION 

A.D. 1020-1021, at the age of about eighty. Nizami 
visited his tomb, A.D. 1116-1117. 

It has not seemed necessary to the present writer 
to enter more fully into the interesting subject of the 
poet's biography. The reader will find ampler details 
in Professor Noldeke's invaluable " Iranische National- 
epos," and in Professor Browne's most useful translation 
of Nizami, both of which works are obtainable in a 
convenient form. It is not worth while to reproduce 
here the accounts of later biographers those men- 
tioned at the beginning of the present chapter and 
of other writers. Some of their anecdotes will, how- 
ever, be inserted in appropriate places in the course 
of this translation. A word of warning should be 
added. The present writer has confined himself, 
except where otherwise stated, to the figures given, 
as to the poet's age, &c., in the two texts from which 
our translation of the Shahnama has been made. 
They seem to be generally consistent, but other MSS. 
give other figures, and if their readings are adopted 
other conclusions naturally follow. 

The present writer, as far as he is concerned, would 
gladly terminate the history of the writing and re- 
ception of the Shahnama at the point where the poet 
himself left it in concluding that work ; at all events 
pains has been taken to distinguish Firdausi's own ac- 
count from that given by others. It only remains to 
add that late in life when writing " Yiisuf and Zulikha " 
he affected to condemn his greatest achievement as 
a pack of idle tales. Old age, disappointment, and 
other circumstances may well have contributed to 
warp his judgment, but we cannot doubt that in his 
heart of hearts he was as conscious of what con- 
stituted his best title to fame as when he penned the 
concluding words of the Shdhnama : 

I shall live on, the seed of words have I 

Flung broad-cast, and henceforth I shall not die. 



INTRODUCTION 47 

The Shdhnama of Firdausi is one of the great >/ 
epic poems of tHcT world. The author has left on j 
record that it originally consisted of sixty thousand . JL ( 
couplets. All existing MSS., however, even when \ A 
eked out by obvious interpolations, fall short of that 
number, by several thousand. Part has therefore been 
lost or else the poet spoke in round numbers. At all 
events enough remains, and to all appearance pretty 
much as he wrote it. The authorship, so far as the 
present writer is aware, has never been disputed. 

The poem is in rhymed couplets, and its metre 
the typical heroic metre of the language in which it is 
written may thus be indicated : 

Such a line as 

The Pharaohs of Egypt, the Cresars of Rome, 

represents the metre of the original. 

The poet wrote in almost pure Persian. The ad- 
mixture of Arabic is slight, and in all probability 
would be slighter if we had the Shahnama precisely 
as Firdausi left it. Some Arabic the poet was bound 
to use terms, for instance, in connection with his 
religion but copyists, it seems probable, are respon- 
sible for most of the rest. 

The poet's theme is the story of his fatherland and 
folk, from the Creation to the Muhammadan conquest, 
set forth in the form of a metrical chronicle. His 
subject-matter he derived from many sources, mythical, 
religious, historical, and popular a classification which 
of course involves many cross-divisions. 

His method, as might be expected, differs widely from 
Homer's. The contrast is in fact striking. Homer 
effectually hides his own personality. He plunges into 
the middle of his subject, and makes the period of 
his action as brief as possible. Selecting one central 



48 INTRODUCTION 

motive he weaves round it only so much of the 
subject-matter at his disposal as he can employ with 
tolerable consistency. His web is closely woven, and 
the workmanship so exquisite that comparatively few 
indications are left to betray the nature of the raw 
material. 

Firdausi, on the other hand, takes us into his con- 
fidence from the first. In direct violation of the 
Horatian precept he begins from Leda's egg and 
earlier, and the period of his action extends over 
thousands of years. He uses all the epic material, 
good, bad, and indifferent, on which he can lay hands. 
His web is open-work and its design unsymmetrical. 
He makes no secret of his method, but tells us what 
his materials are and how he obtained them. He 
shows us in fact his loom in action, and calls our 
attention to the bright, many-coloured threads of 
myth, romance, and history which are being woven 
therein. 

It will be readily understood that the method of 
the Eastern poet leads to inconsistencies and difficulties, 
chronological and otherwise, for which the reader 
should be prepared. He will find, for instance, in the 
mythical portions of the poem at least, the chief 
heroes living on through successive ages; described 
as old and yet fighting with all the vigour of early 
manhood ; dropping out of sight and apparently 
forgotten only to reappear in their pristine vigour 
later on. The explanation is twofold. In the first 
place several of the characters of the poem were 
originally divine or semi-divine beings, and though 
introduced to us as human have in some cases not 
wholly lost their superhuman attributes. And in the 
second place the popular mythology was not, and was 
not designed to be, consistent. It told legends of the 
same hero, assigning them to different reigns, ages, 
and localities. A Western poet would have taken 



INTRODUCTION 49 

them all and forced as much as suited him into the 
mould of a brief action ; the Eastern poet takes them 
at full length, and inserts them where he finds them, 
wholly regardless of the fact that by so doing he 
extends life far beyond the span of mortals. 

The poem is divided into reigns. Of these there 
are forty-nine, and they with one dynasty, which is 
reckoned as a single reign, make up the fifty heads 
under which the subject-matter of the poem is dis- 
posed. The reigns are those of the mythic or historic 
Shahs or kings of Persia, who are divided into four 
dynasties : I. The Pishdadian, of ten Shahs, and lasting 
2441 years. II. The Kaidnian, of ten Shahs, and last- 
ing 732 years. III. The Ashkdnian, which is reckoned 
as one reign, lasting 200 years. IV. The Sdsdnian, of 
twenty-nine Shahs, and lasting 501 years. The space 
of time covered is therefore 3874 years. 

The poem may also be divided into two periods 
a mythic and a historic. This distinction is based not 
so much on the nature of the subject-matter as on the 
names of the chief characters. At a certain point in 
the poem the names cease to be mythic and become 
historic. The Mythic Period extends from the be- 
ginning of the narrative down to the reigns of the last 
two Shahs of the Kaidnian dynasty. These and the 
remainder of the poem form the Historic Period. The 
Shahs in question are Dard, son of Ddrab, better known 
as Darius Codomanus, and Sikandar Alexander the 
Great. 

The chief characters of the poem are : 

I. The personified powers of good and evil. The 
religion of the ancient Persians, from which they became 
converted to Muhammadanism, was that known as Fire- 
worship, Dualism, or Zoroastrianism. These may be 
taken to represent roughly three aspects of its growth 
and development. It was called Fire-worship from its 
chief visible object of adoration a very ancient cult ; 

D 



50 INTRODUCTION 

Dualism from its chief tenet the belief that the 
universe owed its existing form to the opposing 
creations and ceaseless conflicts of two supernatural 
beings, a good and an evil, Urmuzd and Ahriman ; l and 
Zoroastrianism from its legendary prophet, who may 
be taken to typify its priestly or ceremonial element. 
Urmuzd and Ahriman pervade the whole poem, and 
all that happens for good or ill is attributed either 
directly or indirectly to the one or the other. They 
are assumed to be constantly engaged in strife with 
each other, and especially on the battlefield of the 
world, where the struggle is carried on chiefly by means 
of the forces, principalities, and powers which they 
have called into being, or whose actions they inspire. 

If the poet had confined himself to the use of the 
names Urmuzd and Ahriman this antagonism would 
have been much more marked. He was probably 
placed, however, in a very difficult position, not only as 
a Muhammadan himself but also as a poet eager for 
recognition at the hands of a fanatically Muhammadan 
Sultan. The result is a compromise. He seldom 
uses the word Urmuzd, but in its place such terms 
as Maker of the world, World-lord, the All-mighty, 
the righteous Judge or simply God, but hardly ever 
the Muhammadan Allah. On the other hand he 
employs the expression Ahriman with great frequency, 
often substituting for it, however, the word Div, which 
may be rendered Fiend, and occasionally the name of 
the Muhammadan evil principle Ibh's. Practically his 
conception of the good principle is Muhammadan in 
all but the name, while his evil principle is no longer 
the formidable Zoroastrian Ahriman, but approximates 

1 There is a tendency among modern Zoroastrians and some scholars 
to modify or even deny the dualism, but to do this is to deprive Zoro- 
istrianism of its most characteristic feature, and its best title to be 
considered one of the great religions of the world. See DFKHP, ii. 
187; HEP, 303-305. 



INTRODUCTION 51 

rather to the Muhamrnadan Ibli's, or to the Devil of 
the Bible. This being premised, however, it is pro- 
posed to retain the expressions Urmuzd and Ahriman 
in the Introduction, as being on the whole the most 
suitable and convenient, and of course in the poem 
itself wherever they occur. 

II. The Shahs and other kings or heroes. These, 
so far as they are historical, may be left to speak for 
themselves, but those that are mythical need a word 
of explanation. The dualistic conception of the 
universe, while it tended to exalt Urmuzd and Ahriman, 
did so at the expense of the other deities of the ancient 
nature-worship who gradually became grouped in in- 
ferior capacities, according to the popular conceptions 
of them, round one or other of the two great principles, 
the beneficent round Urmuzd and the maleficent 
round Ahriman. In the course of time many of them 
came to be regarded as ancient earthly rulers and 
heroes, and as such they are represented in the poem, 
the good for the most part as Iranian and the 
evil as those of other races. All the chief mythical 
characters were once themselves gods or demigods, or 
were credited with such ancestors in tradition. 

Direct supernatural agency is, however, infrequent 
in the Shahnama. On one side we have Urmnzd, who 
sometimes intervenes by his messenger and agent the 
angel Suriish, and on the other Ahriman, who acts by 
means of his instruments the divs, or his adherents 
the warlocks and witches. We have instances of white 
magic as well as of black. The fabulous Si'murgh too 
a bird somewhat resembling the roc of the "Arabian 
Nights," but endowed with wisdom and articulate speech 
plays an important part. Dreams, especially those in 
which the dead appear, are regarded as veridical, and 
the evil eye is much dreaded. Presentiments are held 
to be authentic, and use is made of amulets, elixirs, 
and divining-cups. The most potent agent throughout 



52 INTRODUCTION 

is destiny, which is represented as God's purpose with 
respect to man as revealed in the heavens by the 
aspects of the stars and planets. There is no more 
impressive picture in the poem than that which the 
poet gives us of the remorseless process of the sky, 
whose revolutions gradually grind down the strongest, 
and fill the vulgar with amaze at what they term the 
turns of fortune. To the sage and reader of the stars, 
however, the future is spread out like a book, and 
the astrologer, with his planispheres, astrolabes, calcula- 
tions of nativities, and predictions generally, plays a 
considerable part in the poem. Destiny, as repre- 
sented to us by the poet, is made up of two distinct 
elements which he does not attempt to reconcile the 
Muhammadan and the Zoroastrian. The former may 
be summed up for the reader in two texts from the 
Bible : " I am the Lord, and there is none else. I 
form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, 
and create evil; I am the Lord, that doeth all these 
things ; " l and " Shall we receive good at the hand of 
God, and shall we not receive evil ? " 2 

The Zoroastrian conception is entirely different. 
Urmuzd and Ahriman are as distinct as light from 
darkness, and a hard and fast line is drawn between 
good and evil, whether physical or moral. Light, 
immortality, health, and all that is good in the worlds 
of mind and matter proceed from Urmuzd ; darkness, 
death, disease, and all that is evil from Ahriman. 
Urmuzd created man and fashioned the twelve houses 
of the heavens that they might pour down their 
kindly influence upon him ; Ahriman broke into the 
creation of Urmuzd and created the planets to run 
counter to the stars and cross their purposes. Destiny, 
therefore, from this point of view, being the resultant 
of two opposing forces, is an extremely logical deduc- 
tion well borne out by the events of history and the 

1 Isaiah xlv. 7. 2 Job ii. 10. 



INTRODUCTION 53 

incidents of life to an Eastern eye, but corresponds 
rather to what we should call fortune than to absolute 
fate. The Zoroastrian view, which is that of the poet's 
authorities, predominates over the Muhammadan, which / 
is that of his religion. The practical result is that in/ 
the poem the sky is looked upon as the ultimate 
arbiter of human affairs, and often as acting wantonly 
and capriciously with the ruthlessness of a celestial 
Juggernaut. Yet the poet and his characters never 
fail to appeal to destiny proper on occasions when it 
suits them so to do, he to justify the ways of God to 
man, and they to make excuse for evil done or the 
doing of it. " It was so decreed," pleads the evil- 
doer ; " And so was the penalty," replies the avenger. 
At other times again the poet seems to hold that all is 
hopeless confusion, and that we cannot tell head from 
tail or top from bottom. 

The leading motive of the Shahnama, so far as it 
can be said to have one, is Ahriman's envy of man 
the creation of Urmuzd. The first attempt of the 
evil principle to destroy mankind once for all, in the 
person of their great progenitor, having failed, his next 
is to seduce them from their allegiance to their Creator, 
and in this he is largely successful; race becomes 
opposed to race, the faithful followers of Urmuzd are 
persecuted by the perverts of Ahriman, and recurring 
acts of provocation or revenge form a series of 
subsidiary motives which serve to keep alive the 
ancient feud. These are most prominent in the 
earlier portion of the Mythic period, towards the end of 
which a new motive is introduced by the advent of 
the great prophet of Urmuzd Zarduhsht or Zoroaster. 
Side by side with this outward visible struggle there 
is the inward invisible one going on in the mind of 
the individual. This is more insisted on in the 
Historic period where the moral aspects of the struggle 
are discoursed on at large, and the deadly sins are 



54 INTRODUCTION 

personified in accordance to Zoroastrian theology as 
divs or fiends in the service of Ahriman, who strive to 
get the mastery over the soul of man. 

The historical relations of the Iranians with other 
Indo-European peoples, with the Semites and with 
the Turanians, as sketched briefly in the previous chapter, 
are indicated in the poem by the mythical legends of 
Zahhak and of the three sons of Faridun and their 
descendants. Zahhak represents the idolatrous element 
in the poem, and therefore the Semites in particular, 
who were the most idolatrous race with whom the 
Iranians came into contact. The Assyrians were 
notoriously idolatrous, and so were the Arabs up to 
the days of Muhammad. In the poem all idol- 
worshippers, whether of Semitic race or not, are 
regarded as descendants of Zahhiik. The eldest son 
of Faridun Salm represents the western division 
of the Indo-European race, the second son Tiir the 
Turanian, and the youngest son traj the Western 
Aryan or Iranian. The legendary accounts in the 
poem of Zahhak's conquest of fran, of his overthrow 
by Faridun, of the partition of the world by the latter 
between his three sons, of the murder of Iraj by his 
two elder brothers, and of the great feud which thus 
originated, really set forth the historical relations of 
three of the great races of mankind as seen, from the 
point of view of the descendants of Iraj, through the 
haze of myth and legend. As to the comparative 
importance of these relations to the frdnians, native 
tradition has no hesitation in assigning the first place 
to the representatives of Tur, the second to those of 
Zahhak, and the third to those of Salm ; and accord- 
ingly in the poem the struggles of the Iranians with 
the Turanians occupy more space than those with all 
other races combined. Yet the bitterest feud is with 
Zahh&k. In other cases it is a family quarrel, but 
Zahhak is of another stock a man forbid. However, 



INTRODUCTION 55 

all the greatest heroes of the poem spring from unions 
between members of races thus antagonistic. The 
three sons of Faridun marry the daughters of an Arab 
king, and their supposed descendants are therefore of 
mixed race. Rustain is from Zahhak upon his 
mother's side. Siyawush and Kai Khusrau both have 
Turanian mothers. Asfandiyar and Sikandar have 
Human mothers. 1 

We have also to note that, according to Iranian 
tradition, Urmuzd did not leave himself altogether 
without witness even in the lands and peoples most 

f 

given over to Ahriman. In the case of the Arabs we 
have the dynasty of Al Munzir, which is always repre- 
sented as being friendly to the Iranians. This dynasty 
ruled at Hira. In the case of the Hindus we have 
the dynasty of Kaid, which is always kindly and help- 
ful. In the case of the Turanians the tendency to 
goodwill is very marked in some of the characters. 
One of Afrasiyab's own brothers becomes an arrant 
traitor in his zeal for the Iranian interest, and suffers 
for it at the hand of his justly indignant sovereign. 
The most striking instance, however, is that of the 
great and good Piran, Afrasiyab's cousin, counsellor, and 
commander-in-chief. Though his loyalty to his own 
master is absolutely stainless and unimpeached, he 
always shows himself most friendly and generous to 
the Iranians, striving for peace and for a better under- 
standing between the two races. He lives to see his 
honest endeavours foiled and his well-meant counsels 
turn out ill, but his honesty is so transparent and 
recognised that even the fierce tyrant whom he serves, 

1 History and legend alike throw considerable doubt on the paternity 
of Alexander the Great (Sikandar). Iranian patriotism avails itself of 
this fact to explain that Philip married his daughter to SMb. Ddrdb, 
that Ddrdb took a dislike to her and sent her back to her father, at 
whose court she gave birth to Alexander, who was brought up as Philip's 
own son. Iranian amour propre is thus saved, as the great conqueror 
is made out to be an Iranian himself the eldest born of Shh D.irdb. 



56 INTRODUCTION 

and who suffers most for having followed his advice, has 
hardly a word to say against him, and he only gives up 
the leadership of the host with death. It is a well paid 
compliment by the poet to the Turkman race. It was 
no doubt his own contribution toward a good under- 
standing, and happily he could not foresee the horrors 
which the eleventh and subsequent centuries held in 
store for Iran at the hands of the nations of the North. 
For the preservation of the subject-matter of the 
Shahnama we are chiefly indebted to two of the 
classes into which Firdausi tells us ancient franian 
society was divided the priestly class and the agri- 
cultural class in other words the Magi and the 
Dihkans. The Magi were the priests of the true 
Medes or Madd, among whom they formed a caste or 
tribe. Originally fire-priests, as their own name for 
themselves Athravans, literally " fire-men " shows, 1 
they became closely associated with, even if they did 
not originate, the Dualism and Zoroastrianism of 
later times. Antiquity, which liberally credited them 
with all the attributes of ancient priesthood, knew 
them as the Magi the great or mighty, 2 and later 
ages are indebted to them for the potent words 
" magic " and " magician." In their historical seat 
in Atropatene, or in the modern form of the word 
Azarbijan (which has been variously explained to mean 
the land of the seed, of the descent of, or that guards 
the fire), and still more in their legendary home in 
Karabagh, they dwelt in the neighbourhood of scenes 
of natural marvel. Earthquakes are frequent there, 
mud-volcanoes, hot springs, and naphtha wells abound. 
Flames issuing from clefts in the rocks have been 
ablaze from time immemorial, and in autumn the ex- 
halations from the soil form a phosphorescence that at 
night wraps whole districts in sheets of harmless flame. 
Even in parts of the Caspian the vapours bubble up, 

1 DZA, i. li, ist ed. 2 Skeat, Etym. Diet., s.v. 



INTRODUCTION 57 

may be ignited and will go on burning, over several 
square yards of water till a gust of wind extinguishes 
them. The scene from all accounts is at times suffi- 
ciently impressive even to the modern eye, and we 
can easily imagine what fire in its purest form and 
highest expression clear, smokeless, lambent flames, 
burning on unfed apparently and self-sustaining 
century after century must have been to the un- 
rationalistic gaze of primitive antiquity. In the 
presence of those flames all other fires must have 
seemed but "broken lights." Elsewhere they were 
hard to kindle, needed constant care, and were 
dimmed by smoke and vapours, but here they burned 
as in the Burning Bush. It was no wonder that the 
place came to be looked upon as " Holy Ground," and 
that a Cult of Fire grew up there in the dim and 
distant past. We can well imagine too how famous 
the priesthood of such a Cult would become amid 
such surroundings. The priest of ancient times was 
the man of letters, the sage, the leech, the astro- 
loger and the man of occult lore and grammarye, 
and this priesthood dwelt in a region which is not 
even now robbed of all its ancient glamour by the 
fact that it is the scene of the greatest petroleum 
industry in the world. Here Prometheus stole the 
fire from heaven and paid the penalty in some 
Caucasian gorge. Along it from north to south 
lay a great highway of the nations, across it from 
east to west ran one of the great trade routes, and 
the riches of India were borne from Kdbul to Balkh, 
from Balkh down the Oxus to the Caspian, 1 and thence 
through the land of Medea and of the Golden Fleece 
to the Euxine and the west. It is of course impossible 
to affirm that so widespread a cult as Fire-worship 
had its origin in one particular locality, but we shall 

1 The Oxus in ancient times flowed into the Caspian instead of into 
the Aral Sea as at present. 



58 INTRODUCTION 

be safe in stating that here was a most important 
centre of it, and in claiming for its priests a pro- 
portionate status and sanctity. 1 We have already 
seen that f ran is a land of sharp contrasts of physical 
good and evil. There the kindly reticences and con- 
cealments of nature, the blue haze of distance and 
the melting of line into line, are absent, there is no 
neutral territory, no common meeting-ground ; all is 
clear, sharp, well defined and recognisable beyond the 
possibility of mistake and at a glance as good or evil. 
In the regions south of the Caucasus these contrasts 
are accentuated, and there, it would seem, grew up 
Dualism suggested and justified by its surroundings. 

The doctrines of the Magi, which it is beyond 
our scope to enter into except incidentally and by 
way of illustration, appear in early times to have 
been restricted, if not to the Magi themselves, at all 
events to the Medes whose priests they were. It was 
not until nearly the end of the sixth century before 
the Christian era and after the suicide of Cambyses, 
the son of Cyrus the Great, that the Magi first became 
supreme in the vast empire which the latter had 
founded, for now we have evidence that neither he 
nor his son was the enthusiastic proselytiser of Zoro- 
astrianism, that they were both formerly supposed to 
be, but at most tolerated it along with the other 
faiths of their world-wide empire. 2 After the death 
of Cambyses, however, the Magi rose to power in the 
person of the Magus Gaumata the false Smerdis of 
the Greeks who seized the vacant throne and began, 
as we learn from the inscriptions of Darius Hystaspis, 
his slayer and successor, to overthrow the temples of 

1 For an account of the natural phenomena of these regions see KA, 
i. 44, and Marvin, " The Region of the Eternal Fire," ch. xi., where many 
interesting passages are collected. The phenomena are most striking 
to the north of Karabagh at Baku, the peninsula of Apsheron and the 
island of Sviatoi (Holy Island) lying off it. 

2 SHC, 497. 



INTRODUCTION 59 

the gods in his iconoclast zeal. 1 As Darius further 
informs us that he restored these temples, and also 
at the same time describes himself as a worshipper 
of Urmuzd, 2 we may assume that it was in the course 
of his reign that Zoroastrianism became the state- 
religion of the Persian empire. He also appears about / 
B.C. 505 to have adopted the Zoroastrian calendar in 
the place of the old Persian one that he had used up 
till then, and this fact goes to support the assumption 
made above. 3 The Magophonia or slaughter of the 
Magi mentioned by Herodotus, 4 which has sometimes 
been adduced as a proof that they could not have 
been supreme in Persia so early as the times of Darius 
Hystaspis, 5 is not really opposed to this view. It is 
pretty evident that the Magophonia was not aimed 
against the Magi in general, but was merely an annual 
celebration of the overthrow of one particular Magus 
the impostor and usurper Gaumata and his personal 
followers. 6 Whether the Magi, in spite of the high 
position they had gained, ever succeeded in making their 
doctrines popular with the masses of the first Persian 
empire may well be doubted. One at least of the 
successors of Darius Artaxerxes II. (B.C. 404-361) 
seems to have relapsed into something very like idol- 
atry/ and with the conquest of Persia by Alexander 
the Great the power of the Magi waned for a time. 

Rightly or wrongly Zoroastrian tradition couples r" 
Alexander with Zahhdk and Afrdsiyab as one of the 
three arch enemies of the faith. 8 With the intro- 

1 RP, vii. 89-92. 2 Id. 3 WPT, v. xliv. 

4 Herod, iii. 79. 5 RSM, 636, note. 

6 DHA, v. 194. 7 DZA, ii. 53. 

8 Id. i. xlviii. This notion seems to have been firmly fixed in the 
minds of the faithful. We are told that in the year A.D. 1511 Zoroas- 
trians resident in Persia wrote to co-religionists in India a letter in 
which they stated " that never since the rule of Kaiomars had they 
suffered more than what they were then undergoing. In sooth, they 
declared that they were more oppressed than their race had ever been 
at the hands of the tyrants Zohak, Afrasiab, Tur and Alexander." 
DFKHP, i. 56. 



60 INTRODUCTION 

duction of Greek ideas, Greek science and Greek 
polytheism, there can be no doubt that the bulk of 
the population relapsed into idolatry, if indeed it 
had ever emerged. During the next five centuries 
the Magi must have had much ado to keep alive the 
doctrines, ritual, and sacred traditions of their faith. 
The seductions of Greek civilisation were followed by 
the brutalities of Parthian barbarism, and any modifi- 
cation of these was, during the first centuries at all 
events of Parthian rule, in the direction of Greek 
culture. The Parthian monarchs describe themselves 
as philhellenic on their coins. The Magi, however, 
were well equipped .for the struggle. They had a 
great reputation. They held a faith in many respects 
much in advance of their times, and one too that 
found its justification in the strange natural pheno- 
mena and sharp contrasts of physical good and evil 
that characterise fran. They had kept alive too, at 
a time when ancient Persian was passing into rapid 
phonetic decay, the ancient language of their race 
the Median with its inflections and archaisms, as 
will appear later on. Lastly, they were a priesthood 
practising the peculiar custom of Khvaituk-das, or 
next of kin marriage, which, though most repugnant 
to the sentiments of mankind at large, must certainly 
have tended to preserve their faith from the dangerous 
external and foreign influences which an indiscrimi- 
nate practice of marriage would have entailed. That 
the Magi practised Khvaitiik-das in the days of the 
Parthian monarchy we may learn from Catullus. 1 
The three principal seats of the Magi seem to have 
been at Shiz, Rai, and Balkh. Shiz, the Persian Gazn, 

1 Nascatur Magus ex Gelli matrisque nefando 

conjugio, et discat Persicum haruspicium. 
Nam Magus ex matre et gnato gignatur oportet, 
si vera est Persarum impia relligio. 

Carmen, Ixxxix., ed. C. H. Weise. 
For Khvaitdk-das see WPT, ii. 389. Cf. GHP, i. 89. 



INTRODUCTION 6r 

is to be looked for at Takht-i-Sulaiman near the 
southern frontier of Azarbijan. It contained the 
famous fire-temple of Azarakhsh, which appears to be 
a contraction of Azar-i -Zarduhsht, or the fire of 
Zarduhsht, who is sTipposed to have instituted it. To 
this temple it was the custom of the Shahs of Persia 
in pre - Muhammadan times to make pilgrimages 
afoot. 1 Rai, which was near Tihran, seems to have 
been the centre of a priestly principality of great 
antiquity, whose priest - prince was known as the 
Zarduhsht. It was finally destroyed by the Muham- 
madans. 2 Balkh was the scene of Zarduhsht or 
Zoroaster's most successful missionary effort, which 
led to the conversion of Shah Gushtasj)._ Here, too, 
the prophet is said to have beerf slain when the city 
was taken by the Turanian king Arjasp. Internal 
evidence seems to show that Firdausi used traditions 
emanating from each of the above centres in the 
Shahnama. 

Of the early literature of the Magi we can only 
assume that the theogonies or sacred hymns which 
they chanted in the days of Herodotus 3 were such 
as we find in their extant scriptures, just as we find 
the peculiar rites and ceremonies, which he describes 
as being practised by them, 4 still in operation at a 
much later date. The tradition with regard to the 
literature is as follows: The original scriptures were 
revealed to Zoroaster by Urrnuzd. Zoroaster preached 
them to Shah Gushtasp, whose capital was at Balkh. 
Gushtasp ordered the original to be deposited in the 
treasury of Shapigdn and copies to be made and dis- 
seminated, one of which was laid up in the fortress 
of documents. When " the evil destined villain 
Alexander" invaded fran the copy in the fortress 
of documents was burnt ; that in the treasury of 

1 DZA, i. xlix, ist ed. 2 Id. xlviii. 

3 Herod, i. 132. 4 Id, 140. 



62 INTRODUCTION 

Shapigan fell into Alexander's hands and was trans- 
lated by his command into Greek. 1 King Valkash 
ordered a collection to be made of the scriptures, 
which in his days existed in' Iran in a scattered state 
owing to the disruption caused by the Macedonian 
conquest. 2 Ardshir, the son of Papak, who overthrew 
the Parthians and restored the Iranian monarchy, also 
made a collection of the scriptures. He employed 
for that purpose the high-priest Tausar, who repro- 
duced a similitude of the original as it had existed 
in the treasury of Shapigan. 3 Shdpur, the son of 
Ardshir, made a collection of writings of a non-re- 
ligious character dealing with medicine, astronomy, 
and other scientific subjects that had been scattered 
among the Hindus and Riirnans, and ordered them to 
be incorporated with what had already been brought 
together, which was done. 4 Shapiir, the son of 
Hurmuzd, instituted a tribunal for the determination 
of all points of disputed doctrine. These points 
were settled by ordeal, and thenceforth the Shah 
proclaimed and insisted on uniformity. 6 

With regard to this account legend places the birth- 
place and home of Zoroaster in iran-vej. 6 Here on 
the Mountain of the Holy Questions he met Urmuzd 
face to face, and received from him in a series of dia- 
logues the tenets of the faith. Here too the prophet 
was assailed by the demon Buiti sent by Ahriman, and 
subsequently tempted by the latter in person. Both 
were, however, worsted, and Zoroaster began his mission- 
ary career. 7 His great success seems to have been at 
Balkh, one of the chief centres of Aryan civilisation. 
This we may interpret as meaning that Zoroastrianism 
spread from West to East along the line of the great 
trade-route. The extant portions of the Zoroastrian 

1 WPT, iv. xxxi. 2 Id. 413. 3 Id. xxxi. 

4 Id. 414. 8 Id. 6 DZA, i. 3, notes. 

7 WPT, i. 141. 






INTRODUCTION 63 

scriptures have many allusions to Balkh and Eastern 
Iran generally, and in the later part of the Mythic 
period of the poem the scene is shifted thither. 
With regard to Alexander the Great the legend is 
that he burnt these scriptures, which were written 
on twelve thousand ox-lube's- ni. Persepolis. 1 During 
the domination of the Parthians fran was broken up 
into a number of small tributary principalities under 
native chiefs, some of whom seem to have main- 
tained a Magian priesthood and sacred fires of their 
own. 2 

It is possible that it may have been the rise of 
local Zoroastrian cults with divergent doctrines and 
ritual that led King Valkash, in his capacity of over- 
lord, to make a collection of the scriptures with a 
view to the establishment of a canon and uniformity. 
Valkash himself has been well identified with the 
Parthian king Vologeses I. (A.D. 50-78), whose 
brother Tiridates is known to have been a Magus. 3 
A letter written by Tausar to explain and justify his 
proceedings in regard to the reform of the faith is 
still in existence. 4 Ardshir, the son of Papak, who 
employed him, was fhe first Shah (A.D. 226240) of 
the Sdsanian dynasty and was himself a Magus. 5 
The legendary destruction of the original scriptures 
was of course the excuse for adding to the canon in 
the reign of Shapur I. (A.D. 240-271) by restoring 
to their proper place the translations made under 
Alexander. With Shapur II. (A.D. 309-379) about 
A.D. 330 the canon was traditionally closed, 6 but 
as a matter of fact there was some amount of 
addition and revision as late as Chosroes I. (A.D. 
531-579), after the disturbance to the faith caused 
by Mazdak. 7 

The language of the scriptures is commonly but 

1 D7 '., i. xliii. 2 Id. xliv. 3 Id. xxxix. 

4 Jd. xli. 6 Id. 6 Id. xlvii. WPT, iv. xlii. 



64 INTRODUCTION 

incorrectly known as Zend. It seems almost certain 
that really it should be known as Median. 1 Zend, 
i.e. Median, as preserved in its scriptures, and ancient 
Persian, as preserved in the inscriptions of the 
Achaemenids, are two sister-languages collaterally re- 
Tated TcPSanscrit. How and when Zend became ex- 
tinct, whether it still survives in a modified form in 
some modern dialect such as the Kurd, does not seem to 
have been yet determined ; but the existence of the 
Zandavasta indicates that it remained known to and 
used by the Magi in its inflectional form long after 
its sister-language the Persian had lost most of its 
inflections and had become greatly simplified. Zend 
may thus be regarded as being during the five cen- 
turies and a half which elapsed between the death 
of Darius Codomanus and the accession of Ardshir 
Papakan the sacred language of the Magi one known 
only to themselves and holding with them very much 
the same position as Sanscrit did among the Brahmans 
of India. During this period ancient Persian was 
itself being converted into middle Persian or Pahlavi. 2 
Pahlavi, it should be explained, is the same word as 
Parthian, and in this connection means not the lan- 
guage spoken by the Parthians themselves, but that 
used under their rule by their Persian or Iranian 

1 " La comparison," says the late Professor Darmesteter in the work 
in which he seems to have expressed his clearest views on the subject, 
" des textes avesteens avec ce que les anciens nous disent des croyances 
et des pratiques des Mages prouve que 1'Avesta nous pre"sente la croy- 
ance des Mages du temps d'He"rodote, d'Aristote, de Theopompe ; 
d'autre part, les anciens sont unanimes a entendre par Mages les 
pretres de la Medie. II suit de la, par le temoignage externe des 
classiques joint au temoignage intrinseque des livres zends et de la 
tradition native, que 1'Avesta est 1'oeuvre des Mages, que le zend est la 
langue de la Medie ancienne, et que 1'on aurait le droit de remplacer 
le nom impropre de langue zende par le terme de langue me'dique." 
DEI, i. 12.* 

2 WPT, i. xi. 

* The italics are Professor Darmesteter's. 



INTRODUCTION 



65 



subjects. 1 To the people at large in Sasanian times 
the language in which the inscriptions of Darius 
Hystaspis and his successors had been written, 
and that of the Zoroastrian scriptures compiled by 
Tausar and others, were alike unintelligible. It ac- 
cordingly became the custom in making copies to 
append a Pahlavi version, paraphrase, or comment on 
the original text. The scriptures themselves were 
known as the Avasta, and all comments thereon, 
whether in the original language or in Pahlavi, were 
known as the Zend or Zand. The chief Zand was 
of course the Pahlavi version of the Avasta, and the 
two combined became known as the Avasta and Zand, 
or more commonly as the Zandavasta. 2 Like the 
Bible it preserved in a literary form all that survived 
in the traditions of a race, and these were grouped 
round and told in connection with a line or lines of 
demigods or heroes, whose names show that they 
were originally those of the beneficent and maleficent 
impersonations of the ancient nature-worship of the 
Aryan people, before it broke up into its Indian and 
Iranian divisions. The names referred to are common 
in a somewhat altered form both to the Zandavasta 
and to the ancient Sanscrit hymns of India the 
Vedas. 3 We may regard the traditions of the Zan- 
davasta as essentially Magian ; they were destined, 
however, to undergo a remarkable development and 
expansion in other hands. 

The triumph of Zoroastrianism, the translation of 
the Zandavasta into Pahlavi, i.e. into the vernacular, 
and the consequent diffusion of the traditions of the 
Magi throughout Iran occurred at an epoch when five 
and a half centuries of alien rule (B.C. 33I-A.D. 226) 

1 WPT, i. xii. Persians of all times seem always to have known their 
own language as Parsi. DEI, i. 38. 

2 DZA, i. xxxi, note 2. 

3 See for instance DHA, v. chapters 5 and 10. 

E 



-\ 



66 INTRODUCTION 

had obliterated all but the vaguest reminiscences of 
the first Persian empire and the house of Achaemenes. 
The consequence was that the mythical demigods of 
the Zandavasta came to be regarded in Sasanian times 
as the historic Shahs of the Iranian race. These and 
"what was recorded of them in the Zandavasta formed 
a convenient epic framework whereon to hang legends 
of Assyrian oppression, Arab raids, Turanian invasions, 
wars with the West, the deeds of national or local 
heroes, and all the miscellaneous products of popular 
tradition and imagination. The development of the 
legends of the Zandavasta accordingly went on apace, 
and the chief agents in the process were the Dihkdns. 
This was the name given to the rural landowners of 
Iran. Firdausi himself seems to have been the son 
of a Dihkan. All the world over the rural popula- 
tions are the depositories of national tradition. A 
notable instance occurred only so long ago as the last 
century when Dr. Elias Lonnrot, after years of wander- 
ing among the remotest districts of Finland, dwelling 
with the peasantry and taking down from their lips 
all that they knew of their popular songs, ultimately 
succeeded in collecting nearly twenty-three thousand 
verses which, arranged by him and divided into fifty 
runes, now form the national Finnish epic known as 
the Kalewala. 1 Much the same process went on in 
Iran at an earlier date. Traditions based on the Zanda- 
vasta were recited in the halls of the chiefs, at village 
festivals and at street-corners a custom still obtaining 
in Persia till in time the word Dihkan came to have 
a well recognised secondary meaning that of pro- 
fessional story-teller, rustic bard, or wandering minstrel. 
In the course of the Sasanian dynasty these traditions 
were collected and put into writing. The result was 
variously known as the Bastan, Khudai, and Shah 
Nama, with the respective meanings of History of 

1 Ency. Brit. ix. 219. 



INTRODUCTION 67 

the Past, of the Lords, and of the Kings. In 
Baisinghar Khan's Preface already referred to there 
is an account of the Bastan-naina which may thus 
be summarised. Shah Niishirwan collected the tradi- 
tions and deposited the MSS. in his library. 
Yazdagird, the last of the Sasanians, employed the 
Dihkan Danishwar to catalogue and supplement these 
histories and arrange them in chronological order from 
the reign of Gaiiimart to that of Khusrau Parwiz. 
At the time of the Muharnmadan conquest of Persia 
they were sent to 'Umar, the commander of the faith- 
ful, who had them translated and only partially 
approved of their contents. In the general division 
of the Persian spoil the books fell into the hands of 
the Abyssinians, who presented them to King Jasha, 
who had them translated and highly commended 
them. They became well known in his dominions 
and in Hind, whence they were brought by Ya'kiib 
Lais, who commanded Abii Mansiir, son of Abdu'r- 
Razzak, to transcribe into Persian what Danishwar 
the Dihkan had told in Pahlavi, and complete the 
history from the time of Khusrau Parwiz to the end 
of the reign of Yazdagird. Abu Mansiir instructed 
an officer of his father's, Su'iid, son of Mansiir Alma- 
'mari, in conjunction with four others Taj, son of 
Khurasan! of Harat, Yazdandad, son of Shapiir of 
Sistan, Mahwi, son of Khurshid of Nishapiir, and 
Shadan, son of Barzin 1 of Tiis to undertake the 
task. When the house of the Sdmanids came into 
power they took the greatest interest in the work 
thus translated, and entrusted it to the poet Dakiki 
to put into verse. When he had written one or two 
thousand couplets he was murdered by his slave, and 
thus the matter remained till the days of Mahmiid, 
who encouraged Firdausi to complete the work. 

1 C has Sulaiman son of Nfirin a mistake or misprint. Cf. 
NT, xxv. 



68 INTRODUCTION 

As Baisinghar Khan's preface dates from the first 
quarter of the fifteenth century, and contains much 
that is obviously romantic, it is needful to receive the 
above account with all caution. Even when we have 
rejected the story of King Jasha and the Abyssinians 
we are still confronted by a chronological impossi- 
bility. Ya'kiib, the son of Lais the coppersmith, died 
in A.D. 878. Abu Mansiir, who had the work of 
the Dihkan Danishwar translated, was a brother of 
Muhammad, son of Abdu'r-Razzak, and this Muham- 
mad was prince of Tiis in the middle of the tenth 
century, 1 in the days when Firdausi was growing 
up. Ya'kiib and Abu Mansiir were therefore not 
contemporaries. Ya'kiib had worked in his father's 
shop as a youth, he then became a robber-chief, 
and finally fought his way to what was practically 
the lordship of Iran. As a native of Sistan, the 
home of a race whose warlike proclivities were 
symbolised in the legendary exploits and character 
of the national hero of Iran, Rustam, or as the founder 
of a new dynasty, for political reasons he may have 
taken an interest in the old traditions ; but he could 
not have commissioned Abii Mansiir to do the work 
for him, and it will be safer to dismiss the notion 
that he interested himself in the compilation of the 
Dihkan Danishwar as highly problematical. On the 
other hand, the statement in Baisinghar Khan's pre- 
face that Abii Mansiir did have a Shahnama compiled 
is confirmed by the learned Abii Raihan Muhammad bin 
'Ahmad Albiriini (A.D. 9731048) in his " Chronology 
of Ancient Nations." 2 Again we may be somewhat 
sceptical as to whether a Dihkan named Danishwar 
ever existed, but we may concede that the ancient 
traditions were collected and edited by some learned 
(danishwar) Dihkdn and indeed by many such. 

1 NT, xxiv. 
2 Eng. trans, by Dr. E. Sachau, 119. 



INTRODUCTION 69 

The names of the five men employed by Abu 
Mansiir are all Persian, and the men themselves were 
in all probability Magi, for none but they would be 
likely to know Pahlavi in the tenth century. One of 
the five, Shadan son of Barzin, is mentioned by Fir- 
dausi as his authority for the story of the introduction 
into Persia of Bidpai's Fables in the reign of Nushir- 
wan. 1 Dakfki, the poet who was first entrusted with 
the task of versifying the Shahnama, was a fire- 
worshipper, as four lines of his bear witness : 

" Of all of this world's good and ill 
Four things Dakiki chooseth still 
Girl's ruby lips, the sound of lyre, 
The blood-red wine, the Faith of Fire." 

Firdausi tells us in his Prelude, 10, that when on 
Dakiki's murder he determined to carry on the work 
himself he had great difficulty in obtaining the needful 
materials for the purpose, and was for a while non- 
plussed by want of them. His statement seems to 
require some explanation, for, in addition to the con- 
siderable Pahlavi literature then extant, the collections 
made by learned Dihkans had been translated into 
Arabic, and were obtainable in numerous histories in 
that language. Albiriini tells us that the poet Abii- 
'Ali Muhammad bin 'Ahmad Albalkhi in his Shahnama 
refers to the authors of five such separate histories as 
his authorities. 2 If, however, we accept Noldeke's 
view that Firdausi, in spite of his apparent assertions 
to the contrary, knew no Pahlavi, was as good as 
ignorant of Arabic, and used only authorities written 
in the Persian of his own day, 3 we can understand his 
difficulty about his materials. He could make no 
progress till he had obtained a copy of Abu Mansiir's 
Shahnama, perhaps the identical copy used by Dakiki. 
The poet in fact seems to speak of his Pahlavi 

1 C, 1746. 2 Eng. trans., p. 108. 3 NT, xxiii. 



70 INTRODUCTION 

authorities as we might speak of the Hebrew Scriptures, 
meaning the Old Testament, though we may know 
them only in the English version. His chief authority 
was doubtless the Shahnama of AbuMansur, which as 
we have seen had been translated into modern Persian 
directly from Pahlavi originals. He also used, as it 
would seem, translations into modern Persian of 
Arabic histories themselves translated from Pahlavi 
originals. Certain passages in the Shahnama, where 
Iblis is substituted for Ahriman as the name of the 
evil principle, may be attributed with confidence to 
such secondary authorities. Pahlavi originals l and 
Arabic versions have alike disappeared, and the Shah- 
nama of Firdausi, which alone survives of all the many 
Shahnamas that once existed, has now become the 
principal storehouse of Iranian legend, and the leading 
authority on the subject. The Sbahnama of Firdausi 
then is a true epic, not a great poet s invention, and 
the proof is to be found in the nature of his subject- 
matter and in his own words. He expressly disclaims 
all originality, telling us that the tale had all been told 
before, and that all the fruit that had fallen in the 
garden of knowledge had been already garnered. His 
share was to mould into song the epos of his native 
land, scorning no tale, however lowly, and putting the 
best and purest interpretation on all that he found. 2 

1 With a few exceptions which will come up for notice in due course. 

2 The Zandavasta as we possess it is a Bible in ruins. Of the twenty- 
one Nasks or Books of which it is said to have consisted only two are 
extant in their entirety, and these two are precisely those which the 
Magi would know best the law of ceremonial observances, and the 
hymns and litanies most frequently used in public worship. In addi- 
tion we have fragments of most of the others, and certain summaries, 
paraphrases, and comments on them in Pahlavi which enable us to 
form a fair notion of the general contents of the Zandavasta as a 
whole. Thus the Dinkard or " Acts of the Faith " contains a summary 
of nineteen of the twenty-one Nasks, while the Bundahish or " Original 
Creation " preserves for us the account of the creation as it was told 
in the lost Dstmddd Nask or " Creatures produced." 



INTRODUCTION 71 

The cosmogony of the poem assumes the earth to 
be flat and to be supported on the horns of a bull 
which stood on the back of a fish which swam in the 
great ocean. 1 The earth was environed by the gigantic 
Alburz Mountains which reached to heaven. 2 The 
range was pierced by 1 80 apertures in the East, and 
1 80 in the West. Through these the sun made its 
daily entrance and exit, travelling round the outside 
during the night from the West back to the East. 3 
The apertures were intended to account for the changes 
of place in the rising and the setting of the sun 
throughout the year. The earth was divided into 
Seven Climes, the central being fran, which was sur- 
rounded by the other six and was as large as all 
the rest put together. It was divided from them 
by vast mountain ranges.* The Central Clime was 
also surrounded by the Eastern equivalent of the 
Homeric Oceanus or Ocean-stream, for the Indus, 
Oxus, Aras, Euxine, Bosphorus, Sea of Marmora, 
Dardanelles, Nile, and Indian Ocean were regarded 
as a chain of rivers, lakes, gulfs, and seas all in 
connection with each other. 5 This confusion, especi- 
ally as regards the Oxus and the Aras, frequently 
seems to have misled the poet himself. He was a 
native of Eastern Iran, and naturally supposed that 
the river so constantly referred to in the poem as 
the boundary between fran and Tiiran was the Oxus. 
He shaped matters accordingly, but it can hardly be 
doubted that the river of his authorities was the 
Aras. 6 The substitution of Aras for Oxus throws a 
flood of light upon the wars, campaigns, and political 
relations recorded in the Shahnama, especially during 
the first and longest portion of the Mythic Period. 

1 Cf. Lane, " Arabian Nights," i. 19, note 2, and Nicholas, " Le 
Quatrains de Kheyam," 168, and note. 

2 WPT, i. 35. " * Id. 22. 4 Id. 32-33 
5 WPT, i. 77, and notes. 6 DZA, i. 4 ; WPT, i. 80. 



72 INTRODUCTION 

The position of the Medes on the Aras explains 
how the incursions into Azarbijan of the Assyrians 
in early, and of the Arabs in later, times came to be 
embodied in the story, how we come to have the 
wars with the Turanians brought so prominently 
before us, why the arch-enemy Afrasiyab is recorded 
to have been taken prisoner in lake Urumiah, and 
why the writer of the Armenian history who passes 
under the name of Moses of Chorene couples the two 
great enemies of the Medes hi his account of Persian 
fable : " Quid autem tibi sunt voluptati viles ac vanae 
de Byraspe Astyage fabulae ? " Byrasp or Biwarasp 
is the Pahlavi term for Zahhak. Astyages was the 
great Turanian king of Ekbatana and sometime over- 
lord of Cyrus. The vast spaces and regions of the 
Oxus have always been a difficulty to the student of 
the Shahnama, but substitute the comparatively narrow 
area between the Caspian and the Euxine and much 
is explained. 2 

Thus far Firdausi follows the old Iranian cosmogony. 
In the case of the heavens he rejects it ; and its four 
heavens of the Stars, of the Moon, of the Sun, and of 
the Endless Lights, become nine in the poem those 
of the seven planets, of the angels, and of the throne 
of God. These heavens were supposed to be crystal- 
line spheres with independent motions and fitting one 
inside another like Chinese boxes. The seven planets 
are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and 
Saturn. 

Firdausi took his imagery chiefly from the ancient 
cosmogony, or from the natural features of his native 
land. A Shah's dominion extends from the Moon to 
the Fish, or all the Seven Climes obey him. Armies 
stretch from mountain to mountain, or from sea to sea. 
The warriors' heads touch the Sun or Saturn. The 

1 Mosis Chorenensis, ed. Whiston, 77. 

2 DZA, i. Introd. 1. 



INTRODUCTION 73 

warriors themselves are, or are like, mountains, lions, 
elephants, leopards, and crocodiles, they level the hills 
with their battle-cries, and pierce with their spears 
the hearts of flints. Their palaces and castles bar the 
eagle's flight, rise above the clouds or hold converse 
with the stars. Troops throng like locusts and ants, 
and even gnats can find no room to pass them. In 
battle the field or even the whole world is a sea or 
stream of gore. A tiger bestrides an elephant and 
brandishes a crocodile, which being interpreted means 
that a cavalier waves his sword. Swords too are, or 
are like, diamonds ; while spears turn the earth to a 
reed-bed. One horse is so keen of sight that it can see 
an ant's foot on black cloth at night two leagues away. 
Kapid motion is compared to fire or to its spirit 
Azargashasp, who is often an equivalent for the 
lightning, to wind, smoke, or dust, the last being the 
commonest figure in the poem. The reader, like the 
poet, will find it ubiquitous, and will not fail to notice in 
the accounts of marches, battlefields, and single combats, 
&c., that the sky, sun, moon, &c., are said to grow like 
indigo or ebony, or to become veiled or to turn dark 
at noonday, &c. The allusion is to the dust. To say 
that the air darkened is often merely another way of 
saying that the dust rose ; and both, and kindred ex- 
pressions, are in constant use to indicate that hosts 
or individuals have set forth on some expedition, 
are approaching or engaging in battle, &c. Opposed 
to the dust the enemy, is water the friend. " Where 
land and water are my treasure is," says one of the 
Shahs in the poem, and the poet compares the joy 
of having one's work approved by the wise to that of 
seeing plenty of water in one's own canal. Conse- 
quently it is not the blue but the cloudy sky that 
delights the Persian eye, and spring, with its clouds 
and thunder- showers, flowers, and verdure, is the 
favourite season. " The hand of Mahrmid," says the 



74 INTRODUCTION 

poet, " is like a cloud in spring." Perpetual spring 
is the Persian's notion of a perfect climate. A king 
adorns his rose-garden like spring, i.e. he summons 
all his great men about him and holds a court. 
The Persian year began with the spring, and the 
beginning of the New Year was a season of rejoicing. 
The cheek in joy or health is like the rose, tulip, 
pomegranate, or Judas-tree blossoms, in fear or passion 
like those of jasmine or fenugreek, or as colourless 
as sandarach, the transparent gum of the Callitris 
Quadrivalvis, of which pounce is made. In passion, 
too, or fear, the body shakes like a willow-tree, the 
heart and liver become full of blood, the veins throb 
and the blood itself boils. The narcissus bedews the 
rose when beauty weeps. Stature is like the cypress, 
which is also the tree of the burial-ground, the tree 
of posthumous fame, or like the teak. In old age 
the straight-stemmed cypress stoops. A youth of 
promise is a sapling bearing its first fruits. To 
take any important step is to plant a tree it may 
be of revenge or of some prudent act of policy, 
and the fruit of the tree will according to circum- 
stances turn out to be either gems or colocynth. The 
poet is fond of moralising on life, its transient nature 
and vicissitudes. His favourite figure for the former is 
the wayside caravanserai or inn where as pilgrims or 
travellers we sojourn for a brief space, and then 
departing yield our room to others ; for the latter he 
appeals to the configuration of his native land the 
apparently endless alternation of ascent and descent 
with which all who have sojourned in those parts are 
well acquainted or by a bolder flight describes how 
a man is raised to Saturn or the Pleiades only to be 
flung into the ditch or to the Fish the mythological 
one referred to above. 

Like other poets Firdausi suffered from the con- 
straint of rhyme. When for instance we find " Balkh " 



INTRODUCTION 75 

at the end of one hemistich of a couplet, " talkh" is 
pretty certain to be at the end of the other, and as 
" talkh " means " bitter" the sense of such passages is 
apt to be strained. Similarly the changes are rung with 
great frequency on the words " nil " (indigo or the Nile), 
"mil" (a mile), and "pil" (an elephant) as verse- 
endings. The first of these three words is one of the 
translator's " thorns in the flesh," the poet using it in 
so many different connections that it is impossible to 
tind a formula of explanation that will cover them all. 
Relief from an English point of view is sometimes ob- 
tained by substituting, with Mohl, " blue sea " for " River 
Nile," but the best antidote, as Firdausi would say, for 
the bane of the word is Butler's couplet : 

"For rhyme the rudder is of verses, 
With which, like ships, they steer their courses." 

In other words, the poet uses " nil " for the sound more 
often than for the sense, and translator and reader 
alike must take the consequence ; but they are at all 
events exonerated from seeking in such passages for 
some recondite meaning which Firdausi himself never 
intended to convey. 



CHAPTER III 

TEXT AND TRANSLATION 

UP to the beginning of last century the Shahnama 
existed in MS. only. Since then five more or less 
complete editions have appeared in print : 

i. In 1808 Dr Lumsden undertook to superintend 
an edition of the poem, one volume of which was 
published at Calcutta in 1 8 1 1 , but the publication 
went no further. This edition will be referred to 
as L. 

ii. In 1829 Turner Macan, who must always 
hold the place of honour among the editors of the 
poem, after devoted labour in collation of MSS., 
published at Calcutta in four volumes the first and 
only complete edition, the earlier portion of the text 
being based on that of L. This edition will be referred 
to as C. 

iii. In 1838 Jules Mohl published the first volume 
of his most sumptuous edition at the expense of the 
French government. Six volumes have appeared ; 
but the work was never finished owing to the death of 
the editor. This edition is based on an independent 
collation of MSS., and includes a French prose transla- 
tion as well as the Persian text. 1 This edition will be 
referred to as P. 

iv. In 1850 a complete lithographed edition in one 
volume folio, edited by Muhammad Mahdi, a native of 

1 It should be added that the French translation has been completed 
by M. Bar bier de Meynard from the text of C, and the whole transla- 
tion has been published separately by the late Madame Mohl. 

76 



INTRODUCTION 77 

Ispahan, was published at Tihrdn. The text is a re- 
print of that of C, with occasional variations, * some of 
which are of value. This edition will be referred to 
as T. 

v. In 1 877 J. A. Vullers published the first volume 
of his edition, and two other volumes have since 
appeared. The publication of the third volume 
was interrupted by the lamented death of the editor, 
but has since been completed from the materials 
left by him by Samuel Lindauer. Even thus the 
edition contains only about the first half of the entire 
poem. This edition is based on the collation of the 
texts of C and P, with occasional readings from L 
and T, and other sources. This edition will be referred 
to as V. 

The only complete European translations of the 
Shahnama hitherto published are the French one 
above mentioned and an Italian one in verse by 
Signer Pizzi. Translations and summaries of portions 
of the poem have appeared in English and German. 
The indulgence both of the Persian scholar and of 
the English reader is asked on behalf of this the first 
English translation of the poem as a whole in view 
of the magnitude and difficulty of the undertaking. 
Our prime object has been to produce a clear and 
intelligible rendering, and with this end in view we 
have found it needful to dispense with certain re- 
dundances in the original. All these probably may be 
grouped under the following heads variant, corrupt, 
and spurious passages; repetitions, tautologies, and 
platitudes ; and idiomatic and grammatical construc- 
tions that proved intractable. Those who are ac- 
quainted with the original will readily understand 
what these omissions amount to ; those unacquainted 
with it may easily find out by comparing our version 
with that of M. Mohl. Both will, we think, admit 
that we have left the fable absolutely intact, that 



78 INTRODUCTION 

we have scrupulously avoided cutting to the quick 
and have done nothing to forfeit our claim to call 
this the first complete English translation of the 
Shahnama. 

Our version is metrical, partly rhymed and partly 
unrhymed. The rhymed portion consists of preludes, 
apologues, sayings of wise men, songs, terminal coup- 
lets, passages in which the poet speaks in his own 
person, and some others that seemed to lend them- 
selves to such treatment. These form a very small 
part of the whole, and are generally line for line with 
the original, though couplets or hemistichs may be 
sometimes inverted for convenience in rendering. We 
have changed the metre occasionally partly for the 
sake of variety, partly to suit the character of different 
passages, and partly for our own refreshment and 
amusement. The reader should, however, clearly 
understand that a change of metres implies no cor- 
responding change in the original, of which the metre 
is the same throughout. 

The unrhymed portion, which forms the bulk of 
the translation, and does not aspire to the dignity of 
being called blank verse, is more condensed than the 
rhymed, though the proportion of English to Persian 
is constantly varying ; sometimes a whole couplet in 
the original is best expressed by a single line in the 
translation; sometimes a line and a half, two lines or 
more in the translation go to the couplet in the 
original. The average may be roughly stated as three 
English lines to two Persian couplets. The result of 
these various economies is that our translation is some 
twenty-five per cent, shorter than otherwise it would 
have been. 

We have followed the text of V as far as it goes, 
silently incorporating with it all the changes and 
additions made by the editor himself in his notes 
and in his Apparatus Criticus at the end of his first 



INTRODUCTION 79 

volume, subject of course to the heads of omissions 
stated above and to the occasional adoption of read- 
ings from other texts. These, we hope, we have in- 
variably noted. 

When the text of V failed us Ave fell back upon 
that of C, as to which we reserve any remarks that 
we may find it necessary to make till the volume of 
our translation is reached in which the change of text 
occurs. 

The attention of the reader is called to the follow- 
ing points : 

1. It is hoped that the Introduction may prove 
sufficient for those who wish to read the Shahnama 
in its English dress but have no previous acquaintance 
with the subject. They will find notes prefixed to 
the principal divisions of the poem, but it has been 
thought desirable to avoid footnotes, as far as possible, 
to the translation itself. 

2. The passages that need the most constant eluci- 
dation are those of a descriptive, figurative, or meta- 
phorical character. An attempt has been made to 
explain the principal of these once for all in the 
previous chapter. Such passages often might have 
been made self-explanatory by a sufficient sacrifice of 
the imagery of the original. It has seemed to us, 
however, better to say that the Shah dropped the ball 
into the cup 1 or bestowed the kettledrums upon 
some one, than that the Shdh gave the signal for the 
host to move or appointed some one commander-in- 
chief. 

3. The structure of the Persian language is very 
loose grammatically. One form, for instance, stands 
for he, she, and it. For the sake of clearness we have 
often substituted the noun for the pronoun. Of 

1 The cup was attached to the side of the elephant on which the 
Shdh or commander-in-chief rode. Both cup and ball were made of 
what we should call bell-metal. 



8o INTRODUCTION 

course this involves a certain amount of interpreta- 
tion, and differences of opinion in some cases legiti- 
mately may exist as to who or what the person or 
thing referred to may be. On the other hand, we 
often find a noun where in English we should use a 
pronoun, and we have constantly made the substitu- 
tion in passages where no doubt can arise in the 
reader's mind. Again the couplet-form in which the 
poem is written has a tendency to break it up into 
a succession of short sentences, and this, added to the 
above-mentioned use of the noun where we should 
naturally use the pronoun and to the paucity of con- 
necting particles, frequently makes the transition from 
sentence to sentence somewhat abrupt and the line 
of thought difficult to follow. Often we have carried 
on sentences by the addition of connecting particles 
which are not in the original. 

4. We desire to make some explanations with 
regard to certain important words in the original. 

Bdj and Zamzam. By these terms is known a 
certain practice of Zoroastrians which may be para- 
phrased in English as " taking prayer inwardly." 
Before eating, washing, &c., it is customary to mutter 
the beginning of some sacred formula, to carry through 
the operation in complete silence, and then to utter 
the rest of the formula aloud. 1 We have employed 
such expressions as " muttering "or " muttered prayer " 
to describe the practice. It is sometimes used as 
a pretext for obtaining a few moments' private con- 
versation. 

Barsam. This was formerly a bundle of twigs, but 
now of metal wires varying in number according to 
circumstances, held in the hand during the perform- 
ance of certain religious rites of the Zoroastrians. 2 
The practice is clearly referred to in Ezekiel viii. 16, 
1 7. We translate " Barsam " by " the sacred twigs." 

1 WPT, ii. 134. 2 HEP, 397, &c. 



INTRODUCTION 81 

Dakhma. Firdausi does not use this word in its 
proper sense that in which it is still used by the 
Parsis at the present day but in that of mausoleum, 
charnel, or charnel-house, and we have so translated it. 1 

Dihk&n. The general sense of this word is that of 
countryman as distinguished from townsman. Owing, 
however, to the fact that the rural class in fran as 
elsewhere were the chief repositories of the traditions 
and folklore of their native land, which were handed 
down orally and recited at local gatherings by those 
best qualified for the task, the word came to have the 
secondary meaning of bard or minstrel, and we have 
rendered it according to its first or secondary meaning 
as the sense of the passage required. 

Dindr and Diram. Of these the dinar was a gold 
and the diram a silver coin. The Attic drachma was 
made the basis of his monetary system by Alexander 
the Great, and Persia possessed no native gold coinage 
till more than five centuries later. It then obtained 
one by accident. By the terms of peace between 
Ardawan (Artabanus), the last Parthian monarch, and 
the Emperor Macrinus, after the great battle of Nisibis 
hi A.D. 217, the latter agreed to pay to the former 
an indemnity of more than a million and a half of 
our money. The sum seems to have been chiefly 
paid in aurei. Consequently when Ardshir Papakan 
(Artaxerxes) became the first Shah of the new native 
Persian (Sasanian) dynasty in A.D. 226 he found the 
country flooded with two distinct coinages with no 
recognised relation between them except the rough 
and ready one of commerce. He seems to have 
left matters to settle themselves, and in his own 
coinage followed the type of the aureus for his gold 
coins and that of the drachma for his silver. 2 The 

1 A full account of the Dakhma in the proper sense of the word will 
be found in DFKHP, i. 192-213. 

2 RSM, 69. 

F 



82 INTRODUCTION 

expression "dindrs and dirams" is one frequently 
met with in the poem, and as it is rather an in- 
convenient one metrically we have substituted the 
older form " drachm " for " diram." 

Div. We retain this word as in the original. 
When spelt with a capital it is to be regarded as equiva- 
lent to Ahriman or Iblis, except in the collocations 
"Black Div" and "White Div." When spelt with 
a small letter it may mean either a demon or a 
member of some savage or outlandish tribe. 1 

Farr. The " farr " was regarded as the special 
divine endowment of the Iranian race the favoured 
people of Urmuzd and as an object of envy or ambi- 
tion to the neighbouring peoples. It was regarded in 
the Zandavasta as something material, that could be 
sought, seized, and carried off, and even in the Shahnama 
we find a few occasions when it assumes a visible 
form. Each of the three primitive castes into which 
the' Iranians were divided had its own special tl farr," 
while the Shah united all three in his own person, and 
the possession of the threefold " farr " constituted 
his title to the throne. There is an instance in the 
present volume where after the death of a Shah his 
two sons are both passed over in the succession as not 
being possessed of the " farr." Firdausi, it should be 
noted, gives himself great latitude in the use of this 
and many other expressions, but wherever the word 
appears to be used in its correct sense we render it 
by " Grace " or " Glory." 

Farsang. The farsang is a measure of length, and 
we have always translated it as " league," although it 
is about three-quarters of a mile longer than our 
English league. 

Khil'at. The word properly means a robe bestowed 
by a ruler from his own wardrobe on some one as a 
sign of special favour. As it was accompanied bj 

1 Cf. the Chinese expression " foreign devils." 



INTRODUCTION 83 

other gifts it came to mean gifts generally when 
bestowed by the ruler on a subject. We usually trans- 
late the word as " robe of honour." 

Maiddn. This word properly means a level piece 
of ground attached to palaces or cities and used for 
purposes of exercise or pastime. Hence it comes to 
mean any level stretch of country, the space between 
two hostile hosts on which opposing champions would 
ride out and contend, a battlefield, park, &c. We 
have adopted various translations of the word to express 
these various meanings. 

Miibid. The word properly means a chief priest of 
the Magi, but is often merely equivalent to " sage," 
and is sometimes used of priests of other religious 
denominations. When used in its proper sense we 
translate it by "archmage" or " archimage," when 
used generally by " priest." The expression " miibid-i 
miibi-dan," i.e. chief of the miibids, we always trans- 
late by " high priest." 

Pahlavi and Pahlavdn. The first of these two words 
has been already explained. 1 We render it by such 
phrases as " olden tongue," &c. The second is applied 
by Firdausi to all his chief Iranian characters other 
than the Shahs, for the Pahlavan was essentially a 
subject. The chief Pahlavdn was the protagonist or 
champion of the race for the time being but not 
necessarily commander-in- chief. Sometimes he was 
kept in reserve as a last resort when matters were 
going very badly. The office was hereditary in the 
heroic family of Garshasp, and Rustam, with whom its 
mythic glory becomes extinct, was its chief exponent. 
We translate by " paladin." 

Pari. It is hard to realise that this word, which in 
Arab lips would become " Fari," is not connected with 
" fairy," but it appears that for the etymology of the 
latter we must go to the Latin " Fata." In meaning, 

1 p. 6 4 . 



84 INTRODUCTION 

however, our " fairy " and " fay " are the nearest English 
equivalents, and we have so rendered the word. 

Sardparda. We translate this word by " camp en- 
closure." The saraparda was a screen of canvas or 
other material encircling an encampment. 

5. Some of the chief characters in the poem are 
known in the original by several titles. Zal, the 
father of Rustam, is also called Zal-i-Zar, Dastan-i- 
Zand, Dastan-i-Sam, or simply Dastan ; Rustam him- 
self is frequently referred to as the son of Zdl, the 
Elephant-bodied, the Matchless, &c., and there are 
other instances of duplicate names. To follow the 
original in this respect would involve the English 
reader in hopeless confusion, and we have therefore 
in such cases selected one name for a character and 
kept to it, or if we employ a duplicate we only do it 
in such a context that no doubt is possible as to the 
identity of the person referred to. 

Again, the poet uses the word Shah in a very wide 
connection, but we employ it only when one of the forty- 
nine rulers of Iran or the Sultan Mahmiid is referred 
to. Where the word is applied to others than the 
above we translate it by king or monarch, &c. We 
have carried out the same principle in other cases 
where it seemed to us that obscurity might arise. 
The above are merely given as instances. 

6. With regard to the spelling of proper names we 
have followed the original with a few exceptions. We 
have kept Caesar instead of Kaisar, Riiman instead of 
Riimi, Indian instead of Hindi, and there may be a 
few more instances. 1 

For Khakan we invariably substitute the shorter 
form Khan, as the expression " the Khdkdn of Chin " 
is inconvenient metrically. 

1 In the transliteration of proper names the best rule seems to be 
to retain the thoroughly familiar in their familiar forms. For the 
English reader "Caesar said" is better than " Kaisar said," or, more 
correctly, " Qaisar said." 



INTRODUCTION 85 

In the Persian the letter k in the word Kabul for 
instance is a different letter from that beginning the 
name of the hero Karan, which in accord to present 
usage should be spelt Qaran. Similarly the z in the 
word Zabul is a different letter from that in Azargashasp, 
but we thought that on the whole it was better not to 
make such distinctions. 

7. In cases in which it seemed to us that ambiguity 
might arise we have spelt words used metaphorically 
with a capital letter. 

8. Those who desire to compare our translation 
with the original will find on the pages of the former 
references to the corresponding pages of the latter. 
For instance, V. 233 against a line indicates the 
beginning of that page in Vullers' edition of the 
text. 

9. A note on pronunciation will be found im- 
mediately preceding the translation in each volume. 

i o. The headings of the reigns, parts, and sections 
are reprinted at the end of the volume to serve as a 
Table of Contents. 

1 1 . A list of some previous translations, the old 
Persian calendar, some genealogical tables, and a note 
on abbreviations are appended. 

1 2. Finally we have to ask our readers not to 
judge, and in all probability condemn, this work on the 
strength of its first few pages. The Prelude and the 
initial reigns are most difficult to make anything 
of in a translation. This is not wholly our own 
fault. The poet himself, as readers of the original 
will bear witness, labours heavily, embarrassed perhaps 
by the character of his subject-matter. " The poem," 
says Professor Noldeke, " does not obtain real life till 
the reign of Jamshid. " In spite of the heroic tale of 
Kawa the smith, and the pathetic misadventure of 
Iraj, and much else that is both curious and interest- 

* NIN/37. 



86 INTRODUCTION 

ing, we should be inclined to put the beginning of 
the "real life" later still. At all events the reader 
will find the poem growing in interest reign by 
reign till poet and poein appear at their best in 
the charming tale which fills for us the reign of 
Minuchihr. 



PREVIOUS TRANSLATORS OF THE 
SHiHNAMA 

FRENCH. 
MOHL, already referred to, p. 76. 

ITALIAN. 

Pizzi, Firdusi. II Libro dei Eei. Vols. i.-viii. Torino, 1886- 
1888. [This is a complete metrical translation with an elaborate 
Introduction.] 

GERMAN. 

GORRES, Das Heldenbuch von Iran aus den Schah Nameh des 
Firdusi. Berlin, 1820. [The translation extends from the beginning 
of the history to the death of Rustani. It has a long and strange 
Introduction and a quaint map of the scene of the Shahnama.j 

SCHACK, Heldensagen von Firdausi. Berlin, 1865. [The transla- 
tion extends from Faridun to the death of Rustam.] 

RUCKERT, Firdosi's Konigsbuch. Sage i.-xxvi. Berlin, 1890- 
1895. [This extends as far as Rustam and Suhrab.] 

ENGLISH. 

JONES, Commentarii poeseos Asiaticae. London, 1774. [In this 
work some passages from the Shahnama are translated for the first 
time into an European language.] 

CHAMPION, The Poems of Ferdosi. Calcutta, 1785. [The transla- 
tion extends from the beginning of the history to the birth of 
Rustam.] 

ATKINSON, Soordb. Calcutta, 1814. TheShdh Nameh translated 
and abridged in prose and verse. London, 1832. [This work gives 
a summary of the history, with short passages of translation inter- 
spersed, up to the death of Sikandar (Alexander the Great).] 

WESTON, Episodes of the Schah-nameh of Ferdosee. 1815. 

ROBERTSON, Roostum Zeboolah and Sohrab. 1829. 

87 



THE CALENDAR 



THE old Persian year was solar and began at the 
vernal equinox. It consisted of 365 days divided 
into 12 months of 30 days each, the five extra days 
being added after the completion of the twelfth month 
to fill up the time till the sun should re-enter Aries, 
and spring and the new year begin on the 2 1 st of 
March. Each day of the month had its special genius 
presiding over it, after whom it was named, thus: 



Day i. Urmuzd. 

2. Bah man. 

3. Ardibihisht. 

4. Sharivar. 

5. Sapandarmad. 

6. Khurdad. 

7. Murdad. 

, 8. Dai pa Adar. 

9. Adar. 

10. Aban. 

ii. Khurshid. 

12. Mah. 

13- Tir. 

14. Gush. 

15. Dai pa Mihr. 



Day 1 6. Mihr. 

17. Surush. 

1 8. Rashn. 

19. Farvardin. 

20. Bahrain. 

21. Ram. 

22. Bad. 

23. Dai pa Din. 

24. Din. 

25. Ard. 

26. Ashtad. 

27. Asman. 

28. Zamiyad. 

29. Mahraspand. 

30. Anairdn. 



Of these thirty genii twelve were chosen to give 
their names to the months as well, thus: 



PRING 



SUMMER 



[Farvardin 
-| Ardibihisht . 
[Khurdad . . 
[Tir . . . 


. . March 21 1 
. . April 20 
. . May 20 
June 19 


,o April 19. 
, May 19. 
, June 1 8. 
, July 1 8. 
, August 17. 
, September 16 


J Murdad . . 
[Sharivar . . 


. . July 19 
. . August 1 8 



INTRODUCTION 89 

(Mihr September 17 to October 16. 

AUTUMN . -JAban October 17 , November 15. 



[Adar ... . . . November 16 

[Din : . . . . December r 6 

WINTER . 4 3ahman .... January 1 5 

(Sapandarmad . . February 14 



December 15. 
January 14. 
February 13. 
, March 15. 



Thus the day Sapandarmad of the month Khurdad 
would be equivalent to May 24th, and the day Khurdad 
of the month Sapandarmad to February ipth. 

Time was reckoned by days and nights, not by nights 
and days as among the Jews and Muhammadans. 

The twenty-four hours of the day and night were 
divided into eight watches of three hours each. 



INTRODUCTION 



GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF THE PISHDiDIANS 

(ACCOKDING TO THE SHAHNAMA.) 
G AIU MART (i). 

Siyamak. 
HtJSHANQ (2). 

TAHMURAS (3). 



Mardas. 



JAMSHID (4). 



Shahrinaz=ZAHHAK (5)=Arnawaz. 



Several generations. 
Abtin=Faranak. 



1 genera- 3 genera- Barmaiun. Kataiun. Shahrinaz^FARfDUN (6)=Arnawaz. 
tion. tions. \/ 

? 

Pashang. 



Kakwi. Mihr4b=Sindukht. 

Rudaba=Zal. 



R us tarn. 



Salm. Tfir. fraj. 

Daughter = Son. Pashang = A daughter. 
Karkwi. MINUCHIHR (7). 

NAUDAR (8). 



Tua. 



Gustahain. 



Tahmasp. 



ZAV 



(9)- 



GARSHASP (10) 



INTRODUCTION 



GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF THE PISHDADIANS. 
(ACCORDING TO THE BUNDAHISH.) 

Gaiumart. 
Mashya. 



Siyamak. 
I 

Fravak. 



HtisHANG (i). 

I 

Yanghad. 

I 

Vivanghau. 



Taz. 

Virafshang. 
Zain gav. 



J AMSHID (3). Spitfir. Narsih. TAHMURAS (2). Mardas. 

11 generations. ZAHHAK (4). 



Barmaiun. Kataiun. FARID^N (5). 



Iraj. 



Yanfdar. Anastokh. Guzhak d. 
10 generations. 
MIN6CHIHR (6). 

I 

NAUDAR (7). 

Agaimashvak. 

ZAV (8). 



Tur. 



Duraushasp. 



Turak. 

Zadshain. 

Athrat. 

(TABSHASP (9). 



Salm. 



THE KINGS AND HEEOES OF 

(SHA'HNAMA AND BUNDAHISH COMBINED.) 

(6). 



T6B. 



Diiraushasp. 

Spaenyasp. 

Turak. 



PASHANW, 



Wisa. 



Aghriras. AFRAsiyAB. Garsiwaz. Kulbad. Nastihan. Pilsam. Lahhfik. 

Farshidward. H6man. Barman. Piran. 

A female de- 
scendant or 
relative=KAi KAtis (12). 



Pashang Jahn. 



A daughter 
= Tazhav. 



Ruin. Gurdgir. 



Surkha. 



Farangis=Siyawush = Janra d. Ruin 



Kurakhan. 



KAI KHUSRAU Fanid. 
(13). 



The race becomes extinct. 



C. Macau's edition of the Shahnama. 
L. Lumsden's do. 

P. Mold's do. 

T. Tihrfin do. 

V. Vullers' do. 

BAN. A plain and literal translation of the Arabian Nights' 
Entertainments, now entitled the Book of a Thousand 
Nights and a Night, &c. By Richard F. Burton. 

BCM. The Chahar Maqala ("Four Discourses") of Nidhami-i- 
'Arudi-i-Samarqandi. Translated into English by 
Edward G. Browne, M.A., M.B. 

DEI. J. Darmesteter, Etudes Iraniennes. 

DFKHP. History of the Parsis. By Dosabhai Framji Karaka, C.S.I. 

DHA. The History of Antiquity. From the German of Professor 
Max Duncker. By the late Evelyn Abbott, M.A. 

DZA. Professor Darmesteter's Trans, of the Zandavasta in the 
Sacred Books of the East. Reference to Parts 1 and 
pages. 

EP. Eastern Persia, an Account of the Journeys of the Persian 

Boundary Commission, 1870-71-72. 

EHI. The History of India as told by its own Historians. By 
Sir H. M. Elliot, K.C.B. 

GDF. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire. By Edward Gibbon, Esq. With Notes by 
Dean Milman and M. Guizot. Edited, with additional 
Notes, by William Smith, LL.D. 

GHP. Histoiie des Perses par le Comte de Gobineau. 

1 The second edition of Part I. is referred to unless otherwise 
specified. 

93 



94 INTRODUCTION 

HEP. Essays on the Sacred Language, Writings, and Religion 
of the Parsis. By Martin Haug, Ph.D. Edited and 
enlarged by E. W." West, Ph.D. 

HHR. Historical Researches. By A. H. L. Heeren. English 
Translation. 

HIE. The Indian Empire. By W. W. Hunter, C.S.I., C.I.E., 
LL.D. 

KA. Asia. By A. H. Keane, F.R.G.S. 

KUR. Kitab-i-Yamini of Al Utbi. Translated by the Rev. 
James Reynolds, B.A. 

MHP. History of Persia. By Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B. 
MLM. The Life of Muhammad. By William Muir, Esq. 

MZA. Rev. L. H. Mills' Trans, of the Zaudavasta in the Sacred 
Books of the East. Reference to Part and pages. 

NIN. Das Iranische Nationalepos von Theodor Noldeke. 

NSEH. Sketches from Eastern History. By Theodor Noldeke. 
English Translation. 

NT. Geschichte der Perser und Araber zur Zeit der Sasaniden. 

Aus der Arabischen Chronik des Tabari Ubersetzt und 
mit Ausfiihrlichen Erlauterungen und Erganzungen 
Versehn von Th. Noldeke. 

OHS. The History of the Saracens. By Simon Ockley. Fourth 
Edition. 

RFGM. The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern 
World. By George Rawlinson, M.A. 

RK. The Koran translated from the Arabic. By J. M. Rod- 

well. Second Edition. 

RP. Records of the Past. First Series. 

RPNS. Do. Second Series. 

RSM. The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy. By George 
Rawlinson, M.A. 

SHC. The "Higher Criticism" and the Verdict of the Monu- 
ments. By the Rev. A. H. Sayce. 

WPT. Dr. E. W. West's Trans, of the Pahlavi Texts in thefSacred 
Books of the East. Reference to Parts and pages. 



NOTE ON PRONUNCIATION 

d as in " water." 1 

I as in "pique." 

ft as in " rude." 

a as in " servant." 

i as in "sin." 

u as oo in " foot." 

ai as i in " time." 

au as ou in " cloud." 

g is always hard as in "give." 

Jch as ch in the German " buch." 

zh as 2 in "azure." 



1 Therefore " Sm," the name of the father of Zl, should be pro- 
nounced " Saum." 



THE SHAHNAMA 



THE PRELUDE 



ARGUMENT 

The poet, after invoking the name of God and praising Him and 
His wisdom, discourses of the world, of man, of the sun and moon, 
of the Prophet and his companions, of the compilation of the 
Shahnama, of the poet Dakikf, and of his own labours in con- 
nection with the poem, concluding with the praises of his patrons. 



NOTE 

5. We read in the Zandavasta : " It (the sky) looks like a 
palace, that stands built of a heavenly substance, firmly estab- 
lished, with ends that lie afar, shining with its body of ruby over 
the three-thirds (of the earth)." 1 

7. For 'AH see p. 1 2. Muhammadans are divided into many 
sects. Muhammad is referred to as the lord of the sacred law, 
i.e. the Kuran, of stream, milk, &c. We read there : " A picture 
of the Paradise which is promised to the God-fearing ! Therein 
are rivers of water which corrupt not ; and rivers of milk whose 
taste changeth not ; and rivers of wine delicious to those that 
quaff it ; and rivers of honey clarified: and therein are all kinds 
of fruit for them, and forgiveness from their lord." 2 

10. The name of Firdausi's friend who procured for him the 
Shahnama of Abu Mansur (see pp. 67-69) is said to have been 
Muhammad Lashkari. 3 

n. Abu Mansur, son of Muhammad, may have been the son 
of the Muhammad, son of Abdu'r-Razzak, who had the prose 
Shahnama compiled (see p. 68), if the heading can be trusted. 

12. Abu'l Kasim, i.e. Firdausi himself. The conquest of Kanniij 
took place after the completion of the Shahnama and in days 

i DZA, ii. 1 80. 2 RK, 419. 3 C, Persian Preface, 23. 

99 



ioo THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSf 

when Firdausi was in exile. The mention of Kannuj appears 
to be a flattering anticipation of events on the poet's part. 1 

The " trusty minister " was no doubt Abii'l 'Abbas Fazl. 

" The gardens of Irani " were said to have been built by Shaddad, 
son of Ad, that he might anticipate on earth the joys promised 
him in Paradise by the prophet Hud. After toil extending over 
centuries the work was completed, but as Shaddad was on the 
point of entering into possession, he and all his host were slain 
by a voice from heaven. 2 

Nasiru'd-Din, i.e. Subuktigin (see p. 20). 

Nasr, Mahmud's youngest brother, acted as commander-in-chief, 
and governed the province of Nishapur. After some years of 
successful administration he was recalled to court and served his 
brother in various capacities. He was a patron of learning and 
died young. 3 

" The prince of Tus " appears to have been Arslan Jazib, one 
of Sultan Mahmud's most famous generals. 



In the Name of God the Merciful, the Pitiful 

IN the name of the Lord of both wisdom and mind, 

To nothing sublimer can thought be applied, 
The Lord of whatever is named or assigned 
A place, the Sustainer of all and the Guide, 
The Lord of Saturn and the turning sky, 
Who causeth Venus, Sun, and Moon to shine, 
Who is above conception, name, or sign, 
The Artist of the heaven's jewelry ! 
Him thou canst see not though thy sight thou strain, 
For thought itself will struggle to attain 
To One above all name and place in vain, 
Since mind and wisdom fail to penetrate 
Beyond our elements, but operate 
On matters that the senses render plain. 

1 Kannuj seems to have been taken in A.D. 1019. EHI, ii. 457. 

2 BAN, iv. 113. 3 KUK, 484. 



THE PRELUDE 101 

None then can praise God as He is. Observe 

Thy duty : 'tis to gird thyself to serve. 

He weigheth mind and wisdom ; should He be 

Encompassed by a thought that He hath weighed ? 
Can He be praised by such machinery 

As this, with mind or soul or reason's aid ? 
Confess His being but affirm no more, 
Adore Him and all other ways ignore, V. 2 

Observing His commands. Thy source of might 

Is knowledge ; thus old hearts grow young again, 
But things above the Veil surpass in height 

All words : God's essence is beyond our ken. 



2 
Discourse in Praise of Wisdom 

Speak, sage ! the praise of wisdom and rejoice 
The hearts of those that hearken to thy voice, 
As God's best gift to thee extol the worth 

Of wisdom, which will comfort thee and guide, 
And lead thee by the hand in heaven and earth. 

Both joy and grief, and gain and loss, betide 
Therefrom, and when it is eclipsed the sane 

Know not of happiness one moment more. 

Thus saith the wise and virtuous man of lore 
Lest sages search his words for fruit in vain : 
" What man soever spurneth wisdom's rede 
Will by so doing make his own heart bleed ; 
The prudent speak of him as one possessed, 
And ' he is not of us ' his kin protest." 
In both worlds wisdom recommendeth thee 

When gyves are on the ankles of the mad ; 
It is the mind's eye ; if thou dost not see 

Therewith thy journey through this world is sad. 



102 THE SH AH NAM A OF F1RDAUSI 

It was the first created thing, and still 
Presideth o'er the mind and faculty 
Of praise praise offered by tongue, ear, and eye, 

All causes it may be of good or ill. 

To praise both mind and wisdom who would dare ? 
And if I venture, who would hear me through ? 
Since then, O man of wisdom ! thou canst do 

J>To good by words hereon, proceed, declare 
V. 3 Creation's process. God created thee 

To know appearance and reality. 

Let wisdom be thy minister to fend 

Thy mind from all that self-respect should shun, 

Learn by the words of sages how to wend 

Thy way, roam earth, converse with every one ; 

And when thou hearest any man of lore 

Discourse, sleep not, increase thy wisdom's store ; 

But mark, while gazing at the boughs of speech, 

How much the roots thereof are out of reach. 



3 
Of the Making of the World 

The first thing needful for thee is to know 

The sum of primal elements which He, 
Who maketh all things, made from naught to show 

The greatness of His own supremacy. 
Those elements are fourfold ; at their birth 

No time elapsed and labour had no share ; 

Fire shone above, and in the midst were air 
And water ; underneath was dusky earth. 
Fire was the first its virtue to unfold ; 

About it moisture ceased and dryness came ; 



THE PRELUDE 103 

Then fire where'er it failed made way for cold, 

And moisture followed cold. 

Even so the frame 
Of this our Wayside Hostelry was made. 

When these four primal elements combined, 

They wrought, each on the rest, till every kind 
Of products as we see them was displayed. 
The turning vault of heaven showed its face, 

Exhibiting new wonders day by day, 

The Seven Planets then began their sway 
In yon Twelve Houses ; each one took its place, 
Foreboding good and ill, and giving fit 
Return to every one that hath the wit 
To read. The heavens, fettered sphere to sphere, 

Moved as their making to completion came, 
And then this earth, with mountain, desert, mere, 

And upland, shone as 'twere a lamp aflame. 
The mountains reared themselves, the streams gushed 

out, 

While from the soil the herbs began to sprout. 
Our earth was not vouchsafed a lofty stead ; 

Obscurity and gloom prevailed around, 
But stars displayed their wonders overhead V. 4 

And light grew more abundant on the ground ; 
Then fire arose and water sank, the sun 
About the world its course began to run. 
The herbage and the various kinds of trees 
Grew up as fortune would. No faculties 
Have they but growth. Thus fixed they were the 

prey 

Of all the animals that passed, while they, 
The roamers, aim at safety, nourishment, 
And rest ; with such a life they are content. 
With sluggish wits and tongues that never spake, 
They browse upon the briar and the brake, 



104 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Acknowledging no end as wrong or right 
And not required to offer reverence 

To Him who, having wisdom, justice, might, 
Hath not withheld one single excellence. 



4 
Of the Nature of Man 

A farther step man cometh into sight ; 

Locks had been made ; he was the key of each. 
With head erect and cypresslike in height, 

Submiss to wisdom and endowed with speech, 
Possessed of knowledge, wisdom, reasoning, 
He ruleth other creatures as their king. 
Observe awhile with wisdom for thy guide : 

Doth " man " imply one nature, one alone ? 
Thou know'st it may be but the feeble side 

Of mortal man, wherein no trace is shown 
Of aught beyond, and yet two worlds agree 
A mighty partnership to furnish thee. 
By nature first, in order last, art thou ; 

Hold not thyself then lightly. I have known 
Shrewd men speak otherwise, but who shall trow 

The secrets that pertain to God alone ? 
Look to the end, act ever rightfully 
And toil, since sloth and knowledge ne'er agree ; 
But if thou wouldst escape calamity, 
V. 5 In both worlds from the net of bale be freed 

And in God's sight a righteous man indeed, 
Then to yon swiftly turning dome thy gaze 

Direct, that cause of anguish and relief, 
A dome not fretted by the lapse of days 

And unaffected by our joy or grief; 



THE PRELUDE 105 



It stayeth not to rest but turneth still, 
Not perishing like us but undecayed : 
There both the term and process are displayed, 

There are revealed to thee both good and ill. 



5 
Of the Nature of the Sun 

Of ruby is yon azure dome, not made 

Of air and water, dust and smoke ; 'tis all 
With lamp and torch in many a spot arrayed 

Like gardens for the New Year's festival. 
Within the dome a gladdening Gem behold 

Revolving ; thence the light of day is spread, 
And every morning like a shield of gold 

It raiseth from the East its shining head ; 
The earth is clad in robes of spreading light, 
The sun declineth and there cometh night ; 
Day ne'er o'ertaketh night, nor night the day, 
Most regular in all their movements they. 
O thou my Sun ! hast thou for me no ray ? 



Of the Nature of the Moon 

Though night be dark there is a light assured : 
See that thou use it not unworthily. 

Two days and nights its features are obscured, 
Worn soothly by revolving ; presently 

Tis seen again but pallid, thin, and backed, 

Like one who by the pangs of love is racked. 



ro6 

V. 6 Then if the gazer far away secure 

A glimpse thereof, 'tis quickly lost to sight ; 
But on the following eve it seemeth more 

And yieldeth unto thee a larger light. 

In fourteen days it waxeth full and bright, 
In fourteen waneth till its course is run, 

Diminishing as night succeedeth night 
And drawing nearer to the blazing sun. 
Such was the nature given by God's decree 
And will be, while the moon itself shall be. 



7 
The Praise of the Prophet and his Companions 

The Faith and knowledge trusty guides are they, 
And 'tis for thee to seek Salvation's way ; 
If thou wouldst have thy heart not sad, not see 
Thy spirit wretched through eternity, 
To take the Prophet's teaching be thy part, 
There wash away the darkness of thy heart. 
What was it that He said, the inspired Lord, 
Of bidding and forbidding Heaven's own word ? 
" I am the City of the Doctrine, he 
That is the gateway to it is 'All." 
I witness that His heart is in that word 
As though, as thou mayst say, His voice I heard. 
Regard then each companion and 'Ali 
As those that gave the Faith stability ; 
These are the moons, the Prophet is the sun ; 
With them in union is the way to run. 
Slave of the Prophet's slaves with praise I greet 
The dust upon his mandatary's feet, 
v. 7 What others say to me is no concern, 

This is my way, from this I never turn. 



THE PRELUDE 107 

The sage regardeth as a sea this world, 

A sea whose waves are driven by the blast ; 

There seventy gallant ships go sailing past, 
Each with her canvas every stitch unfurled. 
One stately vessel is in bridal gear, 
As beauteous as the eye of chanticleer. 
Muhammad and 'Ali are there within 
That stately vessel, they and all their kin. 
The sage beholding from afar that sea 
Of viewless shore and depth, and ware that he 

Must face the waves where all must drown, " If I 
Shall go down with Muhammad and 'AH," 

He saith, " I sink in goodly company, 
And surely He will rescue me from ill, 

Who is of standard, crown, and throne the Lord, 
The Lord of wine, of honey, and of rill, 

Of founts of milk and floods which spread abroad." 
If on the other world thou fix thine eyes 

Keep close beside the Prophet and 'Ali, 

And, should ill follow, lay the blame on me, 
Who take myself the course that I advise. 
In this Faith was I born, in this will die ; 
The dust upon the Lion's foot am I. 
Thy heart, if prone to err, is thine own foe, 
And can the world more abject miscreants know 
Than haters of 'All, for born in shame 
Are they, and destined to eternal flame ? 

Take not this world in jest, but walk with those 

Whose steps are right ; right as thine end propose 
If thou wouldst be with men of glorious name. 
Why do I talk so long ? I fail to see 
A limit to my theme's fertility. 



io8 



THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSt 



V. 8 



8 
On the Compilation of the Shdhndma 

All have gone sweeping in the garth of lore 
And what I tell hath all been told before, 
But though upon a fruit-tree I obtain 

No place, and purpose not to climb, still he 

That sheltereth beneath a lofty tree 
Will from its shadow some protection gain ; 
A footing on the boughs too I may find 

Of yonder shady cypress after all 
For having left this history behind 

Of famous kings as my memorial. 
Deem not these legends lying fantasy, 

As if the world were always in one stay, 

For most accord with sense, or anyway 
Contain a moral. 

In the days gone by 
There was an Epic Cycle spread broadcast 
Among the learned archmages, and at last 
A certain paladin, of rustic birth, 
A man of courage, wisdom, rank, and worth, 
An antiquary, one who ransacked earth 

For any legends of the ages past, 
Intent on learning what might yet be known, 

Called hoar archmages out of every clime, 
To ask about the annals of the throne, 

The famed successful heroes of old time, 
What men were doing in those days that we 
Inherit such a world of misery, 
And how each day beneath auspicious skies 
They carried out some daring enterprise. 
The archmages told their legendary store, 

How this world fared and what kings undertook, 



THE PRELUDE 109 

And as he listened to the men of lore 

He laid the basis of the famous book, 
Which now remaineth his memorial, 
Amid the plaudits both of great and small. 



Of the poet Dakiki 

Now, when the readers of the book had brought 

The stories into vogue, all hearts were caught, 

At least among the men of parts and thought. 

A brilliant youth well skilled in poetry v - 9 

Arose, of ardent mind and eloquent ; 
" I will retell these tales in verse," said he, 

And every one rejoiced at his intent ; 
But vicious habits were his friends, though we 

Should hold all vices foes that we should dread, 
And death, approaching unexpectedly, 

Imposed its gloomy helmet on his head. 
He gave his life to vice, and earth ne'er gave 

Him true enjoyment for a single day 

While fortune quickly turned its face away : 
He perished by the hand of his own slave. 
Departing thus he left those tales of yore 
Untold ; their wakened fortune slept once more. 
O God ! forgive his faults, and in Thy grace 
Assign him at the last an honoured place. 

IO 
How the present Book was begun 

Mine ardent heart turned, when Dakiki fell, 
Spontaneously toward the Iranian throne ; 

" If I can get the book I will retell," 

I said, " the tales in language of mine own." 



OI 

ff] 



'i 10 THE SHAHNAMA OF PIRDA USt 

I asked of persons more than I can say, 
For I was fearful as time passed away 
That life would not suffice, but that I too 
_Should leave the work for other hands to do. 
There was besides a dearth of patronage 

For such a work ; there was no purchaser. 
It was a time of war, a straitened age 

For those who had petitions to prefer. 
Much time elapsed. I still concealed from all 
My secret purpose, for I could not see 
One who was worthy to partake with me 
This enterprise. What in this world can be 
More excellent than noble words ? Men call 
Down blessings on them, men both great and small. 
Good words had God vouchsafed not to provide, 
How had the Prophet ever been our guide ? 
V. 10 I had a dear friend in the city, thou 

Hadst said : " They twain have but one skin." One day 
He said : " I like thy scheme ; pursue thy way ; 
Thy feet are hi the right direction now. 
I undertake for my part to procure 

This ancient Persian book ; but be not slack. 
Of youth and eloquence thou hast a store, 

Thy speech possesseth too the ancient smack. 
The stories of our kings afresh relate, 
And raise thy reputation with the great." 
He brought the volume to me and anon 
The darkness of my gloomy soul was gone. 



In Praise of Abu Mansur, Son of Muhammad 

When I obtained the volume a grandee 
Of noble lineage and conspicuous worth, 
Still in his youth, a paladin by birth, 



THE PRELUDE in 

Possessing prudence, wit, and energy, 
A lord of counsel and of modesty, 

To hear whose gentle accents was my joy, 

Said unto me : " What means can I employ 
To make thee give thy life to poetry ? 
I will do all and hide thy poverty." 
He used to tender me as one would tend 

Ripe apples, lest a breath of wind should spoil ; 
Thus through that noble and kind-hearted friend 

I soared to Saturn from our grimy soil. 
In his eyes gold and silver were as dust 

While rank gained lustre. Earth seemed vile 

indeed 
Before him. He was brave and one to trust, 

And Avhen he perished was as in a mead 
A lofty cypress levelled by a gust. 
I see no trace of him alive or dead ; 
By murderous Crocodiles his life was sped. 
Woe for that girdle and that girdlestead, 
That royal mien, that high imperial head ! 
Bereft of him my heart's hopes ceased to be, 
My spirit quivered like a willow-tree ; 

But I bethink me, to redress this woe, V. n 

Of counsel which to that great prince I owe ; 
He said : " This Tale of Kings, if 'tis thy fate .' 
To tell it, to the great king dedicate." 
Those words gave solace to my heart ; there came 

/ 

Thereto a sense of gladness and content ; 
I took in hand my story in the name 

Of him who is o'er kings pre-eminent, 
The lord of earth, the lord of crown and throne, 
Whose conquering fortune sleep hath never 
known. 



U2 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

12 
The Praise of Sultan Mahmud 

Ne'er, since the making of the world was done, 

Hath such a king been seen by human eye ; 
The crown above his throne is like the sun, 

And maketh earth as bright as ivory. 
How canst thou say : " It is the sun indeed " ? 
From him by far more glorious rays proceed. 
Abii'l Kasim ! this all-victorious one 
Hath set his throne yet higher than the sun ! 
His are the rays which illustrate the sky, 

His is the Grace which openeth afar 

Yon mines of gold. 

Awoke my slumbering star. 
Ideas poured through my brain tumultuously. 
Methought : " The time for speaking in good sooth 
Hath come, the outworn age regaineth youth." 

By thoughts of this great monarch occupied 
I fell asleep one night with lips all praise, 

While my free heart, although my lips were tied, 

Shone in the dark. Then I beheld in sleep 

A dazzling lustre rising from the deep 
And making by the brightness of its rays 

The gloom of earth like glittering gems. The waste 
Grew like brocade beneath that radiant light, 

And in the midst a turquoise throne was placed. 
Upon the throne there sat a moon-like king 
With on his head a crown for covering. 
His army stretched two miles. To left there were 

Seven hundred elephants in all their might. 
v. 12 Before him stood a trusty minister 

To guide him to the Faith and to do right. 



THE PRELUDE 113 

By that Shah's Grace, by all those troops outspread 
And mighty elephants my head was dazed, 
And as upon his royal face I gazed 
To that illustrious company I said : 
" Is this the sky and moon, or throne and crown ? 
Are these his soldiers or the stars come down ? " 
One answered : " Tis the king of Rum and Ind, 
King from Kanniij e'en to the river Sind, 
While in Tiiran and in f ran men give 
As slaves obedience to his will and live 
Thereby. With justice decked he earth and now, 
That done, hath set the crown upon his brow. 
Mahmud the worldlord, the great Shah, doth 

bring 

Together sheep and wolf for watering. 
The monarchs from Kashmir down to the sea 
Of Chin are instant in his eulogy, 

And children yet within their cots proclaim 
With lips unweaned as their first word his name 
Do thou too tell his praise, for thou canst speak, 
And through him everlasting glory seek. 
All do his bidding and keep fealty." 
When I awakened to my feet I sprang, 
Oh ! what a while that night his praise I sang ! 
No drachms had I but poured my soul, and cried 
To- mine own heart : " My dream is justified. 
For his renown is patent far and wide." 
Then praise to him who praiseth the Most High 
For sleepless fortune, crown, and signet-ring. 
His glory maketh earth like garths in Spring 
With flower-painted soil and cloudy sky 
A sky whence in their season showers come 
And make the world a garden of Iram. 
What good is in Iran his justice giveth, 
His name alone is heard where any liveth. 

H 



ii4 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

A bounteous Heaven at banquets thou wilt find, 

A sharp-clawed Dragon in the fray meanwhile ; 
He is an elephant, hath Gabriel's mind, 

Hands like a winter-cloud, heart like the Nile. 
v - '3 When he is wroth, opposing fortune's might 

Is, as dinars are, worthless in his sight ; 
To boast of crown and hoard is not his part, 
And war and travail darken not his heart. 
All those who are among his fosterlings, 

Freeborn or otherwise, but noble still, 
Devoted lieges of the king of kings, 

With loins girt ready to perform his will, 
Have each a province under their control, 
Each hath his name inscribed on every roll. 
The foremost is his brother, who in years 
Is younger, but in courage hath no peers ; 
They who are courtiers of his Grace acquire 

Joy in the shadow of the age's king, 
For he who hath Nasiru'd-Din for sire 

Hath round his throne the Pleiads in a ring, 
And is the lord of prowess, rede, and might 
In whom the nobles, one and all, delight. 
Next is the prince of Tus, a valiant lord 

Who mocketh lions in the battle-tide, 
And lavisheth what fortune may accord 

To him, desiring honour, naught beside. 
He leadeth men to God ; his prayer is still 
That the Shah's head may be preserved from ill. 
May earth ne'er see that royal head go down, 

And may the Shah rejoice for ever thus, 
Possessing health of body, throne, and crown, 

Unpained, untroubled, and victorious. 

Now to the opening of my work once more 
To tell the tales of famous kings of yore. 



THE BEGINNING OF THE HISTORY 

I 
THE PISHDlDIAN DYNASTY 



ARGUMENT 

The poet tells the history of the first ten Shajis of Iran, describes 
the progress of the world from barbarism to culture, and the 
invention of the arts and sciences, and finally how the Grace 
departed from the Pishdadian Dynasty through the unworthiness 
and degeneracy of its representatives. 



NOTE 

The word Pishdadian, the name given to the Shahs of the first 
Iranian Dynasty, means those of the old law or original dispensa- 
tion. Zoroastrianism was built upon an older foundation of 
nature-worship, to which it bears some such relation as the New 
Testament bears to the Old. One of the gods of the elder faith 
Ahura, the Asura of India became the supreme deity, Ahura 
Mazda, of the new dispensation, and the Urmuzd of the Shahnama. 
Accordingly Gaiiimart, the first Shah in the poem, is expressly 
recognised in the Zandavasta, as the first worshipper of Urmuzd. 1 
Hushang, the second Shah, institutes the worship of fire a 
characteristic feature of Zoroastrianism. Urmuzd in the Zanda- 
vasta makes a covenant with Yima, the fourth Shah, and tries to 
persuade him to undertake the part of lawgiver afterwards taken 
by Zoroaster, but Yima through modesty declines. 

Zoroastrianism therefore in a sense existed before Zoroaster, 
with whose advent the Zandavasta ends ; hence there is less 
anachronism than might be supposed in the allusions, often made 
in the earlier parts of the poem, to fire-worship, the Zandavasta, 
and similar matters. Zoroaster was the first recipient of tht> 
complete revelation. 

] DZA, ii. 200. 



I 

GAltfMART 

HE REIGNED FOR THIRTY YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

Gaiiimart, the first Shah and the first ruler of the world, incurs 
the envy of Ahriman, who sends a host of divs to attack him, 
commanded by the Black Div the son of Ahriman. Siyamak, 
the son of Gaiumart, with an army encounters the Black Div 
and is slain, but is avenged by his son Hiishang, who succeeds to 
the throne on the death of his grandfather. 

NOTE 

The poet in his account of Gaiumart omits much Zoroastrian 
lore. In the Bundahish Urmuzd is represented as first creating 
two beings the representatives of mankind, and of the animals 
and plants, respectively. These were Gaiumart and the Primeval 
Ox. For three thousand years they lived happily and unmolested 
in the world of Urmuzd. At the expiration of this period 
Ahriman assailed the creation of Urmuzd, and slew both the Ox 
and Gaiumart ; but the latter survived the former by thirty years, 
which became the duration of the reign of the first Shah in the 
poem. The Ox in dying gave origin to the plants and animals, 
and Gaiumart to the first human couple Mashya l and Mashyoi 
who in turn produced offspring among which was Siyamak, who 
is represented as the son of Gaiumart in the Shahmima. In the 
poem, too, the attack on Gaiumart is made indirectly by means 
of the Black Div, not directly by Ahriman as in the Bundahish. 
The reader may be reminded that the Bundahish is a Pahlavi 
version of the lost book of the Zandavasta known as the Damdad 
or " races produced." 



I.e. man. DZA, i. Iviii. 

"7 



ii8 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

It will be noticed that Gaiumart is stated to have made his home 
upon a mountain. Mountains were looked upon as sacred places 
in old times as being nearer heaven. Urmuzd reveals the Zanda- 
vasta to Zoroaster on the mountain of the holy Questions. 1 In 
the division of mankind into castes in the reign of Jamshid the 
mountains are specially set apart for the priests. The mother 
of Faridun with her infant son takes refuge with a holy hermit 
who dwells on Mount Alburz, and there too Kai Kubad, the 
founder of the Kaianian Dynasty, receives the news of his election 
to the throne. 



1 

The Greatness of Gaiumart and the Envy of Ahriman 

What saith the rustic bard ? Who first designed 
To gain the crown of power among mankind ? 
V. 14 Who placed the diadem upon his brow ? 

The record of those days hath perished now 
Unless one, having borne in memory 
Tales told by sire to son, declare to thee 
Who was the first to use the royal style 
And stood the head of all the mighty file. 
He who compiled the ancient legendary, 
And tales of paladins, saith Gaiumart 
Invented crown and throne, and was a Shah. 
This order, Grace, and lustre came to earth 
When Sol was dominant in Aries 
And shone so brightly that the world grew young. 
! Its lord was Gaiumart, who dwelt at first 
' Upon a mountain ; thence his throne and fortune 
Rose. He and all his troop wore leopard-skins, 
And under him the arts of life began, 
For food and dress were in their infancy. 

1 Introd. p. 62. 



GAIUMART 119 

He reigned o'er all the earth for thirty years, 
In goodness like a sun upon the throne, 
And as a full moon o'er a lofty cypress 
So shone he from the seat of king of kings. 
The cattle and the divers beasts of prey 
Grew tame before him ; men stood not erect 
Before his throne but bent, as though in prayer, 
Awed by the splendour of his high estate, 
And thence received their Faith. 

He had a son 

Named Siyamak, ambitious like his sire, 
A youth well favoured, skilled, and fortunate, 
His father's Life, whose joy was gazing on him, 
That fruitful offshoot of the ancient stem. 
That Life the father cherished tenderly, 
And wept for love, consumed by dread of parting. 
Thus time passed onward and the kingdom 

prospered, 

For Gaiumart had not an enemy V. i - 

Except, in secret, wicked Ahriman, 
Who led by envy sought the upper hand. 
He had a son too, like a savage wolf 
Grown fearless, and a host of warriors. 
The son assembled these and sought his sire, 
Resolved to win the great Shah's throne and crown, 
Whose fortune joined with that of Siyamak 
Made the world black to him. He told his purpose 
To every one and filled the world with clamour ; 
But who told Gaiumart about the foe ? 
The blest Suriish appeared in fairy-form, 
Bedight with leopard-skin, and told the king 
The projects that his foes were harbouring. 



120 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSl 

2 

How Siydmak was Slain by the Hand of the Div 

News of that foul dfv's acts reached Siyamak, 

Who listened eagerly ; his heart seethed up 

With rage. He gathered troops, arrayed himself 

In leopard-skin, for mail was yet unworn, 

And went to fight. When host met host he came 

In front unarmed to grapple with the son 

Of Ahriman. That horrible Black Dfv 

Clutched at, bent down that prince of lofty stature 

And rent him open. Thus died Siydmak 

By that foul hand and left the army chiefless. 

When Gaiumart heard this the world turned black 
To him, he left his throne, he wailed aloud 
And tore his face and body with his nails ; 
v. 16 His cheeks were smirched with blood, his heart was 

broken, 

And life grew sombre. All the soldiers wept, 
Consumed upon the flames of woe, and wailed 
As clad in turquoise-coloured garb they stood 
Before the portal of the Shah. All cheeks 
Were wine-red, for all eyes shed tears of blood. 
Birds, timid beasts and fierce, flocked to the mountain 
With doleful cries in anguish, and dust rose 
Before the court-gate of the mighty Shah. 

When one year had passed thus the blest Surush 
Was sent by God ; he greeted Gaiumart 
And said : " Lament no more, control thyself, 
Do as I bid, collect thy troops and turn 
Thy foemen into dust, relieve earth's surface 
Of that vile div and thine own heart of vengeance." 



GAIJjMART 121 

The famous Shah looked up and cursed his foes, 
Then, calling by the highest of all names 
Upon his God, he wiped his tears away 
And prosecuted vengeance night and day. 



3 
How HusJiang and Gaitimart went to Fight the Black Dw 

The blessed Siyamak had left a son, 

His grandsire's minister, a prince by name 

Hiishang a name implying sense and wisdom. 

It was the lost restored and fondly cherished, 

And therefore being set on war the Shah 

Sent for the prince and frankly told him all : 

" I mean to gather troops and raise the war-cry, 

But thou being young shalt lead for I am spent." V. 17 

He raised a host of fairies, lions, pards, 
And raveners, as wolves and fearless tigers, 
But took the rear, his grandson led the host. 

The Black Di'v though in terror raised the dust 
To heaven, but his claws were hanging slack 
Frayed by the roaring beasts. Hushang saw this 
And putting forth his hands like lion's paws 
Made earth too narrow for the lusty div, 
Then flayed him, lopping off his monstrous head, 
And trampled him in scorn thus flayed and shent. 

The days of Gaiumart had reached their close 
When he achieved this vengeance on his foes ; 
He passed away, the world was for his heir, 
But see who hath had glory to compare 
With his ! He owned this tricky world and made 
The path of gain his path, and yet he stayed 
Not to enjoy, for like a story done 
Is this world : good and ill abide with none. 



II 

HtfSHANG 

HE REIGNED FORTY YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

Hushang succeeds his grandfather Gaiumart as Shah. He is 
a great culture-hero, and invents the arts of working in metals, 
irrigation, agriculture, &c. He introduces the use of domestic 
animals and discovers fire. He institutes its worship, and founds 
the feast of Sada. 

NOTE 

Hushang the Haoshyangha of the Zandavasta is, according to 
the older authorities, the first Shah of the Pishdadian dynasty, 
and the grandson, not the son, of Siyamak. Siyamak and his 
wife Nashak produced a pair named Fravak and Fravakain, who 
produced in their turn fifteen pairs. Of these, nine pairs pro- 
ceeded on the back of the ox Sarsaok through the ocean the 
chain of rivers, lakes, seas, and gulfs surrounding the central 
clime in the old cosmogony to the other six climes and stayed 
there, while the other six pairs, of whom Hushang and his wife 
Giizhak were one, remained to people the central clime within 
which Iran is situated. 1 

. I 

The Accession of Hushang and his civilising Arts 

Hushang, a just and prudent sovereign, 
V. 1 8 Assumed his grandsire's crown. For forty years 

Heaven turned above him. He was just and wise. 

i WPT, i. 58. 

122 



HUSH AN G 123 

He said : " I lord it o'er the seven climes, 
Victorious everywhere. My word is law, 
I practise bounteousness and equity ; 
So hath God willed." 

He civilised the world, 

And filled the surface of the earth with justice. 
He was the first to deal with minerals 
And win the iron from the rock by craft. 
He gained more knowledge and, inventing smithing, 
Made axes, saws, and mattocks. Next he turned 
To irrigation by canals and ducts ; 
Grace made the labour short. As knowledge grew 
Men sowed and reaped and planted. Each produced 
The loaf whereof he ate, and kept his station. 
Till then men lived on fruit in poor estate 
And clad themselves in leaves. Religious rites 
Existed, Gaiuinart had worshipped God. 
Hiishang first showed the fire within the stone, 
And thence through all the world its radiance shone. 



2 
How the Feast of Sada icas Founded 

One day he reached a mountain with his men 

And saw afar a long swift dusky form 

With eyes like pools of blood and jaws whose smoke v. 19 

Bedimmed the world. Hiishang the wary seized 

A stone, advanced and hurled it royally. 

The world-consuming worm escaped, the stone 

Struck on a larger, and they both were shivered. 

Sparks issued and the centres flashed. The fire 

Came from its stony hiding-place again 

When iron knocked. The worldlord offered praise 

For such a radiant gift. He made of fire 

A cynosure. " This lustre is divine," 

He said, " and thou if wise must worship it." 



124 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSl 

That night he made a mighty blaze, he stood 
1 Around it with his men and held the feast 
Called Sada ; that bright festival rernaineth 
As his memorial, and may earth see 
More royal benefactors like to him. 

By Grace and kingly power domesticating 
Ox, ass, and sheep he turned them to good use. 
" Pair them," he said, " use them for toil, enjoy 
Their produce, and provide therewith your taxes.' 

He slew the furry rovers for their skins, 
Such as the squirrel, ermine, fox, and sable, 
So sleek of hair ; the rovers clothed the talkers, 
v. 20 He gave, spent freely, and enjoyed the fruit, 

Then passing took naught with him but repute. 
In life no little share of toil had he 
In musings past all count and grammarye, 
And when a better life was his elsewhere 
He left the throne of greatness to his heir. 
The time that fortune gave him did not last 
For long, Hiishang, the wise and prudent, passed. 
To thee too this world will not give its love, 
Nor will it from its face the veil remove. 



Ill 

TAHMtlEAS 

TAHMtfRAS, THE BINDER OF THE 
REIGNED THIRTY YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

Tahmuras, the son of Hushang, continues his father's work as a 
culture-hero, in the domestication of animals, the invention of 
weaving, &c., conquers and enslaves Ahriman, and defeats the 
divs, whose lives he spares on condition that they shall teach 
him the art of writing. 

NOTE 

According to the Bundahish, Tahmuras the Takhma Urupa 
of the Zandavasta was the great grandson of Hushang, and the 
brother of Jamshid, who, however, is represented as his son in 
the poem. The legend of the binding of Ahriman by Tahmuras 
is several times mentioned in the Zandavasta, where he is re- 
presented as praying that he may conquer all demons and 
men, all sorcerers and fairies, and ride Ahriman, turned into 
the shape of a horse, all around the earth for thirty years. 1 From 
other sources we learn that Ahriman, while kept as a charger 
by Tahmuras, persuaded the tatter's wife to reveal her husband's 
secrets, and acting on the information thus gained threw off 
Tahmuras and swallowed him while he was riding down Mount 
Alburz. Yim (Jamshid), hearing of his brother's misfortune, suc- 
ceeded in dragging the corpse from the entrails of the fiend, and 
thus restored the culture of the world which had perished with 
Tahmuras. 2 

1 DZA, ii. 252, 292. 

2 Id. 252, note. WPT. iii. 60, and note. 

125 



126 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

The reader will note the reappearance of the Black Div in this 
reign after his apparently complete destruction by Hushang. The 
explanation of course is that the aim of the poet is to follow 
his authorities, not to make consistent stories. He is here deal- 
ing with another legend, so the Black Div reappears. 1 



Tahmdras ascends the Throne, invents new Arts, subdues 
the Divs, and dies 

Hushang possessed a wise and noble son 
Hight Tahmuras the Binder of the Dfv 
Who took the throne and girt his loins to rule, 
Then called the archmages and in gracious words 
Said : " Throne and palace, crown and mace and cap 
Are mine to-day, and when my rede hath purged 
The world a mountain-top shall.be my footstool. 
I will restrain the Div, will reign supreme, 
And use the useful for the common gold." 

He sheared the flocks, and men began to spin ; 
He thus invented clothes and draperies. 
He chose the swiftest quadrupeds and made them 
To feed on barley, grass, and hay ; he noted 
v 21 The shyest of the beasts of prey, and chose 

The jackal and the cheetah, luring them 
From hill and plain, and taught them to obey him. 
Among the well-armed birds he chose the hawk 
And noble falcon, and began to tame them 
\ While men looked on amazed. His orders were 
To rear the birds and speak to them with kindness. 
He brought the cocks and hens to crow at drumbeat, 2 
And turned all hidden properties to use. 
He said : " Address your prayers and praise to Him 
Who made the world, and us to rule the beasts : 
Praise be to Him, for He directed us." 

1 See Introd. p. 48. 

2 The drum beaten outside palaces in the East at dawn. 



TAHMURAS 127 

He had a famed and honest minister 
By name Shidasp, an upright man who took 
No step unless toward justice. Through the day 
He fasted, through the night he prayed, and lived 
In charity with all. The Shah's good fortune 
Was his sole wealth, ill doers he restrained 
And taught the Shah all good, acknowledging 
No rank but excellence till Tahmiiras, 
Purged of his faults and glorious with the Grace, 
Bound Ahriman with spells and rode him horsewise 
At whiles around the world. Thereat the divs 
Rebelled and held a conclave, for their throne 
Of gold was void. When Tahmuras was ware v. 22 

He was enraged and spoiled their trafficking, 
Girt him with Grace and took his massive mace. 
Then all the divs and warlocks sallied forth 
A huge magician host. The Black Div led them 
And vapoured, while their shouts affronted heaven. 
It darkened, earth turned sable and all eyes 
Grew dim. The illustrious worldlord Tahmuras 
Advanced girt up for battle and revenge. 
There were the roar of flame and reek of divs, 
Here were the warriors of the lord of earth, 
Who ranked his troops and speedily prevailed, 
For of the foe he bound the most by spells 
And quelled the others with his massive mace. 
The captives bound and stricken begged their lives. 
" Destroy us not," they said, " and we will teach thee 
A new and fruitful art." 

He gave them quarter 

To learn their secret. When they were released 
They had to serve him, lit his mind with knowledge 
And taught him how to write some thirty scripts 
Such as the Human, Persian, Arabic, 
Sughdi, Chini, and Pahlavi, and thus 
Delineate sounds. How many better arts 



128 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSf 

Explored he in a reign of thirty years, 

Yet passed away ! His time of life was spent 

And all his toils became his monument. 

O world ! caress not those whom thou wilt soon 

Cut off, for such caressing is no boon ; 

Thou raisest one to very heaven on high, 

Then biddest him in sorry dust to lie. 



IV 

JAMSHfD 

HE REIGNED SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

Jamshid succeeds his father Tahmuras as Shah, and becomes the 
greatest and most famous of the culture-heroes. He continues 
the work of his predecessors, makes additions of his own, and 
introduces the luxuries and refinements of life. He divides man- 
kind into four castes or classes. He travels over the world, and 
is the first to cross the sea in ships. He aspires to the dominion 
of the air, obtains it, and lives in ever closer communion with God. 
Ahriman is rendered powerless for ill, disease and death cease, 
and the world passes through the Golden Age. At length, spoiled 
by success, Jamshid comes to think himself God, and orders that 
divine honours shall be paid to himself alone. The Grace of God 
abandons him. Ahriman is unchained and incites Zahhak, who has 
become his instrument, to make war on Jamshid, and the latter 
is slain. 



on, \ 

ign ! 



NOTE 

Jamshid, as we have already seen, is the brother, not the son 
of Tahmuras in the older form of the legends. With the reign 
of Jamshid the Vedas, Zandavasta, and Shahnama meet on common 
ground. In the Vedas Manu and Yama are the twin sons o 
Vivasvat, the bright or shining one, i.e. the sun. Manu is the 
progenitor and lawgiver of the Aryan race and Yama is a god. 1 
In the Zandavasta Yima is the son of Vivanghat, is the Iranian 
Noah, has a covenant with God, and is offered by Him the post 
afterwards accepted by Zoroaster. In the legend of the building 

i DHA, iv. 31. 

129 1 



130 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSf 

of his Var, or underground palace, in anticipation of the Flood, we 
have the origin of Firdausi's account of the architectural achieve- 
ments of Jamshid : " Then Yima said within himself : ' How shall 
I manage to make that Vara which Ahura Mazda has commanded 
me to make?' And Ahura Mazda said unto Yima: '0 fair 
Yima, son of Vivanghat ! Crush the earth with a stamp of 
thy heel, and then knead it with thy hands, as the potter does 
when kneading the potter's clay. . . .' And Yima made a Vara, 
long as a riding-ground, on every side of the square. . . . There 
he established dwelling-places, consisting of a house with a balcony, 
a courtyard, and a gallery. In the largest part of the place he 
made nine streets, six in the middle part, three in the smallest." l 

He is described as " the bright Yima, the good shepherd . . . 
he ruled over the seven Karshvares (Climes) of the earth, over 
the Daevas (demons) and men. . . . He who took from the Daevas 
both riches and welfare, both fatness and flocks, both weal and 
Glory. In whose reign both aliments (food and drink) were 
never failing for feeding creatures, flocks and men were undying, 
waters and plants were undrying ; in whose reign there was 
neither cold wind nor hot wind, neither old age nor death, nor 
envy made by the Daevas, in the times before his lie, before he 
began to have delight in words of falsehood and untruth. But 
when he began to have delight in words of falsehood and untruth, 
the Glory was seen to flee away from him in the shape of a bird. 
When his Glory had disappeared, then the great Yima . . . the 
good shepherd, trembled and was in sorrow before his foes ; he 
was confounded, and laid him down on the ground.'"' 2 Elsewhere his 
being sawn asunder is mentioned, the act not being referred directly 
to Zahhak but to Spityura, " he who sawed Yima in twain." 3 

Spityura was a brother of Yima's. He is not mentioned in the 
Shahnama ; but the enmity between brothers, so characteristic of 
Eastern life, crops up again and again in the poem. Thus the 
two brothers of Faridun envy and try to murder him, and the 
incident recurs with more disastrous results in the case of Faridun's 
own sons. 

The division into castes also appears in the Zandavasta, where 
both the three and the four castes are mentioned, and the first 
three are there stated to have been instituted by Zoroaster, who 
placed his three earthly sons at the head of them. 4 In the poem 
they are the institution of his great predecessor Jamshid. 

Jamshid is a contraction of Yima and Khshaeta (king). 5 

1 DZA, i. 1 8. a Id. ii. 293. 3 Id. 297. 

4 Id. 201, and see MZA, iii. 265. 5 HEP, 277. 



JAMSHtD 131 

For Iblis, see Introduction, p. 70. 

Zahhak will be dealt with under his proper head ; but it may 
be pointed out with regard to the strange story of his second fall, 
owing to the pleasures of the table, that in the Bundahish Mashya 
and Mashyoi the original human pair who apparently at first 
lived entirely on water, are incited to partake of stronger meats 
owing to their relish for the weaker sorts being taken from them 
by the demons. 1 

Elsewhere in the same work we read : " On the nature of 
the resurrection and future existence it says in revelation, that, 
whereas Mashya and Mashyoi . . . first fed upon water, then 
plants, then milk, and then meat, men also when their time of 
death has come, first desist from eating meat, then milk, then 
from bread, till when they shall die they always feed upon water. 
So, likewise, in the millennium. . . . They will desist from meat 
food, and eat vegetables and milk ; afterwards they abstain from 
milk food and abstain from vegetable food, and are feeding on 
water; and for ten years before Soshyans comes they remain 
without food, and do not die." 2 

Soshyans is the third of the divine sons of Zoroaster, and the 
Messiah of Zoroastrianism. There is plenty in the above extract 
to account for such a legend as that of the text. 



1 

The Greatness and Fall of Jamshid 

Jamshid, the mighty son of Tahmiiras, V. 23 

Full of his father's maxims, girt himself, 

Succeeded to his glorious father's throne, 

And wore in kingly wise the crown of gold. 

His girdle was the Grace of king of kings, 

And all the world obeyed him, contests ceased, 

The age had rest, and bird and div and fairy 

Were his to bid, the world took added lustre, 

Through him the throne of Shahs was glorified. 

" Mine is the Grace," he said, " I am both king 

And archimage, 1 will restrain ill-doers 

And make for souls a path toward the light." 

i WPT, i. 54, 55. 2 Id. 120. 



132 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

He first wrought arms and oped for warriors 
The door of fame. His Grace made iron yield ; 
He fashioned it to helmets, hauberks, breastplates, 
And coats of armour both for man and horse. 
His ardent mind achieved the work and made 
Good store in fifty years. Another fifty 
He spent on raiment fit for fight or feast ; 
And made of spun and floss silk, hair and cotton, 
Fine fabrics, cloth of hair and rich brocade. 
He taught to spin and weave, and when the stuffs 
Were made he showed men how to full and sew them 
Then to the joy of all he founded castes 
For every craft ; it took him fifty years. 
Distinguishing one caste as sacerdotal 
To be employed in sacred offices, 
He separated it from other folk 
And made its place of service on the mountains 
That God might be adored in quietude. 
Arrayed for battle on the other hand 
Were those who formed the military caste ; 
They were the lion-men inured to war- 
The Lights of armies and of provinces 
Whose office was to guard the royal throne 
And vindicate the nation's name for valour. 
The third caste was the agricultural, 
/ All independent tillers of the soil, 
I The sowers and the reapers men whom none 
Upbraideth when they eat. Though clothed in rags, 
The wearers are not slaves, and sounds of chiding 
Reach not their ears. They are free men and labour 
Upon the soil safe from dispute and contest. 
What said the noble man and eloquent ? 
" 'Tis idleness that maketh freemen slaves." 
, The fourth caste was the artizans. They live 
By doing handiwork a turbulent crew, 



JAMSHlD 133 

Who being always busied with their craft 

Are given much to thought. Jamshid thus spent 

Another fifty years and did much good, 

For each man learnt his place and others' too. 

He bade the foul divs temper earth with water 

And taught them how to fashion moulds for bricks. 

They laid foundations first with stones and lime, 

Then raised thereon by rules of art such structures 

As hot baths, lofty halls, and sanctuaries. V. 25 

He searched among the rocks for stones whose lustre 

Attracted him and came on many a jewel, 

As rubies, amber, silver, gold. Jamshid 

Unlocked their doors and brought them forth by 

spells. 

He introduced the scents that men enjoy 
As camphor, genuine musk, gum Benjamin, 
Sweet aloe, ambergris, and bright rosewater. 
Next leechcraft and the healing of the sick, 
The means of health, the course of maladies 
Were secrets opened by Jamshid : the world 
Hath seen no other such discoverer. 
He crossed the sea in ships. For fifty years 
His wisdom brought to light the properties 
Of things. These works achieved, Jamshid ambitioned 
Rank loftier still, and by his royal Grace 
Made him a throne, with what a wealth of gems 
Inlaid 1 which when he willed the divs took up 
And bare from earth to heaven. There the Shah, 
Whose word was law, sat sunlike in mid air. 
The world assembled round his throne in wonder 
At his resplendent fortune, while on him 
The people scattered jewels, and bestowed 
Upon the day the name of New Year's Day, <_^ 

The first of Farwardin and of the year, 
When limbs repose from labour, hearts from strife. 



134 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSf 

V. 26 The noble chieftains held a festival, 

Called for the goblet, wine, and minstrelsy, 
And ever since that time that glorious day 
Remaineth the memorial of that Shah. 

Thus things continued for three centuries, 
And all the while men never looked on death ; 
They wotted not of travail or of ill, 
And divs like slaves were girt to do them service ; 
Men hearkened to Jamshid with both their ears, 
Sweet voices filled the world with melody, 
And thus till many years had come and gone 
The royal Grace shone brightly from the Shah : 
His ends had been attained, the world reposed, 
And still new revelations came from God, 
Men saw but goodness in their king, the earth 
Served him, he reigned a monarch with the Grace. 

One day contemplating the throne of power 
He deemed that he was peerless. He knew God, 
But acted frowardly and turned aside 
In his ingratitude. He summoned all 
The chiefs, and what a wealth of words he used ! 
" The world is mine, I found its properties, 
The royal throne hath seen no king like me, 
For I have decked the world with excellence 
And fashioned earth according to my will. 
From me derive your provand, ease, and sleep, 
Your raiment and your pleasure. Mine are greatness 

V. 27 And diadem and sovereignty. Who saith 
That there is any great king save myself ? 
Leechcraft hath cured the world, disease and death 
Are stayed. Though kings are many who but I 
Saved men from death ? Ye owe me sense and life : 
They who adore me not are Ahrimans. 
So now that ye perceive what I have done 
All hail me as the Maker of the world." 



JAMSHID 135 

i 

Thereat the archmages hung their heads, per- 
plexed 

To answer and God's Grace departed from him, 
The world was filled with din, the Court deserted, 
None who desired renown stayed in his presence. 
For three and twenty years the empty portal 
Told of the crime that equalled him with God, 
Brought on disaster and o'erturned the state. 
How saith the seer, the man of Grace and wisdom ? 
" King though thou art serve God. Great fears 

oppress 
The heart that is devoid of thankfulness." 

Day darkened to Jamshid, he lost the Grace 
That lighteneth the world, and though with tears 
Of blood he sought for pardon Grace was not, 
And dread of coming evil was his lot. 



The Story of ZahJidk and his Father 

One of the desert spear-armed Bedouins 

Of noble birth then lived a virtuous king, V. 28 

Just, highborn, generous, and hight Mardas, 

Who sought his God with reverence and sighs, 

He kept a thousand head of all milch cattle, 

Goats, camels, sheep, and kine a gentle breed 

With Arab steeds, all timid beauties they, 

And grudged the milk to none. He had a son 

Whom much he loved Zahhak, a gallant prince, ' 

But hasty. People called him Biwarasp. 

Ten thousand is " biwar " in ancient Persian, 

And he possessed ten thousand Arab steeds 

With golden equipage a famous stud. 

Most of his days and nights he spent on horseback 



136 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSf - 

Engaged in superintendence not in war. 

One day Iblis approached him as a friend 
And led his wits astray. The youth gave ear 
With pleasure and all unsuspectingly 
Gave to Iblis heart, reason, and pure soul, 
I And heaped the dust on his own head. Ibh's 
' Exulted seeing that the youth was snared 
And gulled the simpleton with specious words, 
Thus saying : " I could tell thee many things 
Known to myself alone." 

The youth made answer : 
" Tell me at once, my worthy monitor ! " 
V. 29 Iblls replied : " First promise, then my story. 1 ' 

The guileless youth swore as Iblis dictated : 
" Thy secret shall be kept, thy bidding done." 

Then said Iblis : " Great prince ! shall any rule 
Here but thyself ? What profiteth a sire 
With such a son ? Now hearken to my rede : 
The lifetime of this ancient potentate 
Continueth, thou art shelved. Seize on his court 
And goods. His place will suit thee, thou shalt be 
King of the world if thou durst do my bidding." 

Zarhhak looked grave ; to shed his sire's blood grieved 

him. 

He said : " Not so, suggest some other course : 
This cannot be." 

" Then thou," Ibh's rejoined, 
" Art perjured and wilt still be despicable, 
Thy father honoured." 

Thus he snared the Arab, 
Who asked : " What must I do ? I will obey." 

Iblis replied : " Leave me to scheme. Thy head 
Shall touch the sun. I only ask thy silence ; 
No help need I, myself am competent, 
But keep the sword of speech within the scabbard." 



JAMSH1D 137 

Now in the palace was a jocund garth, 
And thither used Mardas to go at dawn 
To bathe him ere he prayed, without a slave 
To light him on his way, The wicked Div, 
Intent on ill, dug in the garden-path 

A deep pit, masked and made it good with boughs. V. 30 
Ere dawn the Arab chieftain hied him thither 
And, as he reached the pit, his fortunes fell ; 
That good man tumbled, broke his back, and died. 
He ne'er had breathed a cold breath on his son, 
But cherished him and lavished treasure on him, 
Yet that abandoned youth respected not 
His father, but conspired to shed his blood. 

I heard a sage once say : " Though fierce in strife 
No son will dare to take his father's life ; 
If such a crime should seem to be implied, 
Seek for the reason on the mother's side." 

Vile and unjust Zahhak thus seized the throne, 
Assumed the Arabs' crown and governed them 
For good or ill. 

Iblis encouraged thus 

Began again and said : " Since tfhou hast turned 
To me, and gained thy heart's desire, come pledge me 
Thy word once more to do as I require ; 
And then thy realm shall spread throughout the world, 
Birds, beasts, and fishes shall be all thine own." 

When this was said he set about to use, 
Most marvellous ! another kind of ruse. 



3 
How Iblis turned Cook 

Then as a youth well spoken, clean, and clever, v. 31 

Iblis went to Zahhak with fawning words, 



138 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUS1 

" Let me," he said, " who am a noted cook, 
Find favour with the king." 

By appetite 

Seduced, Zahhak received and welcomed him, 
So that the monarch's faithful minister 
Gave to Iblis the royal kitchen's key. 
Foods then were few, men did not kill to eat 
But lived on vegetals of all earth's produce ; 
So evil-doing Ahriman designed 
To slaughter animals for food, and served 
Both bird and beast. He fed the king on blood 
To make him lion-fierce, and like a slave 
Obeyed him. First he fed his lord on yelk 
To make him strong ; he liked the flavour much 
And praised Iblis, who said : " Illustrious monarch ! 
For ever live ! To-morrow I will serve thee 
So as to please thee well." 

All night he mused 

What strange repast to proffer on the morrow, 
And when the azure vault brought back again 
The golden Gem he hopefully presented 
A meal of partridges and silver pheasants. 
V. 32 The Arab monarch ate and his small wits 

Were lost in admiration. On the third day 

Iblis served lamb and fowl, and on the fourth 

A chine of veal with saffron and rosewater, 

Musk and old wine. Zahhak when he had tasted, 

In wonder at his cook's ability, 

Said : " Worthy friend ! ask thou my recompense." 

He answered : " Live, king ! in wealth and power. 
My heart is thine, thy favour my soul's food ; 
Yet would I ask one boon above my station : 
'Tis leave to kiss and lay my face and eyes 
Upon thy shoulders." 

Off his guard Zahhak 
Replied : " I grant it ; it may do thee grace." 



JAMSHID 139 

Iblis received permission, kissed and vanished. 
A marvel followed from the monarch's shoulders 
Grew two black snakes. Distraught he sought a cure 
And in the end excised them, but they grew 
Again ! oh strange ! like branches from a tree. 
The ablest leeches gave advice in turn 
And used their curious arts but all in vain. 
At length Iblis himself came hurrying 
Dight as a leech. " This was thy destiny," 
He said ; " cut not the snakes but let them live. 
Give them men's brains and gorge them till they sleep, v. 33 
It is the only means, such food may kill them." 

The purpose of the foul Div shrewdly scan : 
Had he conceived perchance a secret plan 
To rid the world of all the race of man ? 



4 
How the Fortunes of JamsMd went to Wrack 

Thereafter tumult, combating and strife 

Arose throughout Iran, the bright day gloomed 

And men renounced Jainshid, who when his Grace 

Was darkened turned to folly and perverseness. 

Pretenders started up, on every march 

The disaffected nobles levied troops 

And strove. Some set forth for Arabia, 

For they had heard : " There is a monarch there 

An awe-inspiring king of dragon-visage." 

Thus all the discontented cavaliers 

Went to Zahhak and offered fealty, 

Saluting him as monarch of Iran. 

The king of dragon-visage came like wind 

And donned the Iranian crown, collected troops 

The bravest of Arabia and /ran 



140 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USt 

And having seized the throne of Shah Jamshid 
Slipped on the world as 'twere a finger-ring. 
Thus fell Jamshid. Pressed by the world's new lord 
He fled, surrendering crown, throne and treasure, 
Host, power and diadem. The world turned black 
34 To him, he disappeared and yielded all. 
He was in hiding for a century, 
But in the hundredth year the impious Shah 
Appeared one day beside the sea of Chin. 
Zahhak clutched him forthwith, gave him small respite, 
And sawing him asunder freed the world 
From him and from the fear that he inspired. 
Long was he hidden from the Dragon's breath, 
But there was no escaping in the end, 
For fortune whirled him like a yellow straw 
And both his throne and greatness passed away. 
What better Shah was ever on the throne, 
And yet what profit could he call his own 
From all his toils ? His seven centuries 
Brought him great blessings and calamities. 
What need hast thou then for a length of years ? 

The world will keep its secrets though for food 

It give thee sweets and honeycomb, and rude 
Ungentle voices banish from thine ears. 
Wilt thou then say : " Its love is spent on me, 

In every look affection is expressed ? " 
Wilt thou confide therein caressingly 

And tell it all the secrets of thy breast ? 
'Twill play with thee a pretty game indeed 
Anon, and cause thy wretched heart to bleed. 
My heart is weary of this Wayside Inn : 
O God ! release me soon from toil therein. 



V 
ZAHHiK 

HE REIGNED A THOUSAND YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

With the accession of Zahhak evil becomes triumphant every- 
where. He practises and encourages black arts, idolatry, and 
human sacrifice. He has a warning dream concerning his destined 
conqueror Faridun, whom he strives in vain to capture. At length 
the people, driven to exasperation by Zahhak, revolt to Faridun at 
the instigation of Kawa the smith. Faridun and Zahhak meet, 
and the latter is taken prisoner. 



NOTE 

Zahhak, as we have already seen, 1 was originally an evil spirit of 
the Indo-Iranian nature-worship. In the Zandavasta he still occa- 
sionally appears in his character of water-stealer. " Zarathustra 
asked Ardvi Sura Anahita " (Anaitis, the good genius of the 
waters): " ' O Ardvi Sura Anahita ! With what manner of sacrifice 
shall I worship thee ? ... So that Mazda (Urmuzd) may make 
thee run down (to the earth), so that he may not make thee run 
up into the heavens, above the sun ; and that the Serpent may 
not injure thee.' " 2 

More generally, however, he is represented as a fiend, created 
by Ahriman to vex the Iranian race, and carry off the light of 
sovereignty ; while in the Shahnama he loses to a great extent his 
supernatural character, and is, as already has been pointed out, 3 
the protagonist of the Semitic race in their dealings with the 

1 Introd. p. 7. 2 DZA, ii. 74. 3 Introd. p. 54. 



142 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSf 

people of Iran. He is accordingly represented as a native of 
Arabia, to have invaded Iran, and to have had his capital at a city 
which is perhaps best identified with Babylon. We read in the 
Zandavasta : " To her (i.e. Anaitis) did Azi Dahaka (Zahhak), the 
three-mouthed, offer up a sacrifice in the land of Bawri, with a 
hundred male horses, a thousand oxen, and ten thousand lambs. 
He begged of her a boon, saying : ' Grant me this boon, O good, 
most beneficent Ardvi Sura Anahita ! that I may make all the 
seven Karshvares (Climes) of the earth empty of men. 3 Ardvi Sura 
Anahita did not grant him that boon. ... To her did Thraetaona 
(Faridiin), the heir of the valiant Athwya clan, offer up a sacrifice 
. . . saying : ' Grant me this, O good, most beneficent Ardvi Sura 
Anahita ! that I may overcome Azi Dahaka, the three-mouthed, the 
three-headed, the six-eyed . . . that demon, baleful to the world . . . 
that Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) created against the material world, 
to destroy the world of the good principle ; and that I may deliver 
his two wives, Savanghava/f (Shahrinaz) and Erenava& (Arnawaz), 
who are the fairest of body amongst women, and the most 
wonderful creatures in the world.' " l 

Zahhak's palace is called in the Zandavasta Kvirinta, which may 
mean in the A vasta language "a stork." There is a legend that 
the palace was in the form of that bird. 2 

We learn from the Dinkard that the legend of Zahhak was 
contained in the Xitradarf and S&dkar Nasks of the Zandavasta. 
The latter Nask contained information " About the smiting by 
Fredun, for the sake of killing Dahak ; the striking of his club 
upon the nape of the neck, the heart, and even the skull ; and 
Dahak's not dying from that beating. Then smiting him with a 
sword, and the formation of noxious creatures of many kinds, 
from the body of Dahak, at the first, second, and third blow. 
The exclamation of the creator Auharmazd to Frcdun thus : ' Thou 
shouldst not cut him who is Dahak, because if thou shouldst cut 
him, Dahak would be making this earth full of serpents, toads, 
scorpions, lizards, tortoises, and frogs ; ' with the mode of binding 
him with awful fetters, in the most grievous punishment of con- 
finement. This, too, that when Az-i Dahak was bound, the report 
of the same proceeded thus through all the regions, which are 
seven, that downstricken is Az-i Dahak, but he who smote him 
is FretMn the Aspikan, the exalted and mighty . . . and those 
which are evil do not mention Az, nor demand the virtuous 
maiden with importunity, nor even coveted wealth. This, too, 
that when information came to him of women or property, that 



1 DZA, ii. 60-62 and notes. 2 Id. 253 and note. 



ZAHHAK 143 

seemed to him desirable to possess, they were then admitted by 
him into a golden cage." l 

Zahhak is looked upon in the Shahnama as exemplifying in his 
own person all the chief characteristics of the non-Aryan peoples 
with whom the Iranians came in contact idolatry, black arts, 
serpent-worship, and human sacrifice. It is a remarkable fact, as 
is pointed out by Fergusson, 1 that serpent-worship seems always 
to have been accompanied by human sacrifice. He also appears 
to consider that the former was essentially Turanian, not Aryan 
or Semitic, and he points out that in the bas-relief at Nakhs-i- 
Rustam, in which Urmuzd is represented as bestowing the crown 
on Ardshlr Papakan, the first Shah of the Sasanian dynasty, the 
god is seated on a horse, and beneath his feet lies Ardawan, the 
last king of the Parthian dynasty, with two serpents round his 
head. 2 

In the Shahnama, however, Zahhak is essentially Semitic, and 
his reign of a thousand years may be taken as typifying that 
race in their relations to the Iranians from the earliest tradi- 
tions of Assyrian oppression to the political overlordship of the 
Khalifas of Baghdad in the poet's own days. 

The reader will notice that Zahhak is not slain by Faridun but 
imprisoned a point indicative of his supernatural character ; and 
also that the legend of Kawa the smith is, as one would naturally 
expect, a West Iranian tradition, as shown by its association with 
the city of Ispahan. The historical flag of the Persian empire, 
known as the flag of Kawa, the traditional origin of which will be 
found in the text, fell into the hands of the Muhammadans at 
the battle of Kadisiyya, A.D. 637. The natives of the town of 
Damawand, situated on the south side of the mountain of that 
name, still celebrate a feast, called " Id-i-Kurdi," or the Kurds' 
Holiday, to commemorate the death of Zahhak, 3 while a cyclopean 
terrace in the neighbourhood is pointed out as the place where, 
in accord to Eastern usage, his drums were beaten at dawn. 4 

Zahhak's minister, Kundrav, has had a strange eventful mytho- 
logical history. In the Vedas he appears as Gandhava, the divine 
guardian of the Soma the sacred drink-offering, the Homa of 
Iran. In the Zandavasta he is a monstrous fiend or monster 
known as Gandarewa or Gandarep, the slaying of whom was one 

1 WPT, iv. 27, 214. 

2 "Tree and Serpent Worship," p. 3, 2nd ed. 1873. 

3 Id. pp. 42-44. 

4 Morier, " A Second Journey through Persia," p. 357. 

5 GHP, i. 31. 



144 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

of the great feats of the ancient Iranian hero Garshasp. 1 In the 
Shahnama he is represented as a human being the factotum 
of Zahhak. The two are a good illustration of the relationship 
that exists between Indian and Iranian mythology, between the 
Vedas and the Zandavasta, and of the genesis of the legends of 
the Shahnama. 

Some readers may like to see the version of the legend of 
Zahhak as given in the Armenian History attributed to Moses 
of Chorene, which though subsequent to his time is probably 
centuries anterior to the Shahnama, and shows that the legend 
was known in all its essential features long before Firdausi's 
days. It runs thus in Whiston's Latin version of the original : 

"Quid autem tibi sunt voluptati viles ac vanae de Byraspe 
Astyage ' fabulae ? aut cur nobis ineptos atque insulsos, ac rationis 
expertes Persarum sermones, laborem imponis explicandi, nempe 
de primo ejus benefacto malefico, Daemoniisque ei ministrantibus, 
utque errorem & falsitatem frustrari non potuerit, ac super 
humerorum osculatione, unde Draconum ortus fuit, ac deinde 
flagitii frequentia homines per ventris usum perdidit ; utque 
Rhodanes 3 quidem postea catenis eum aeneis constrinxerit, atque 
in montem, qui vocatur Dembavendus, abduxerit ... is qui 
scelera machinabatur, domi eum forisque sine suspicione erudire 
solebat, in Byraspis humeris caput reponens, ac maleficas artes 
in aurem inculcans, unde in fabulis narrant, puerum Satanae, 
ministrum ei fuisse, ej usque voluntati obsecundasse ; utque etiam 
subinde, quasi praemium ab eo postulans, humeros ejus oscu- 
laretur. Caeterum quod narrant, Dracones pullulasse, sive ipsum 
Byraspem in Draconen prorsus mutatum fuisse, ita res se habet. 
Quippe cum immanem hominum numerum Daemoniis ille immolare 
coepisset, indignabunda multitude ab eo tandem abalienata fuit, 
isque igitur communi omnium consensu pulsus, ad montem supra 
memoratum confugit. Ibi, cum acrius premeretur, sua eum caterva 
deseruit, qua re confisi, qui eum persecuti erant, dies aliquot in 
iis locis residerunt. At Byraspes, cohortem dispersam cogens, ad 
inopinantes impetum facit (sic) magmimque attulit detrimentum ; 
sed vicit tandem multitude, & Byraspes se in fugam contulit, 
quern comprehensum prope eum montem peremerunt, atque in 
magnam sulphuris foveam conjecerunt." 4 

For the mythological account of Abtin, the father of Faridiin, 
see the introductory note to the next reign. His legend up 

1 See introductory note to the next reign. 

2 See Introd. p. 72. 3 I.e. Faridun. 
4 Mosis Chorenensis, ed. Whiston, 77-80. 



ZAHHAK 145 

to the point where it is taken up in the Shahnama may be briefly 
summarised as follows. He was the head of a family of Persian 
landowners or thanes who dwelt in the Alburz range to the 
south of the Caspian and claimed to be descended from Jamshid. 
He began the war of independence against Zahhak, but after 
some success was forced to take refuge with the remnant of 
his adherents at the court of the king of Ghilan, who received 
him kindly, but, fearing the vengeance of Zahhak, subsequently 
furnished him with ships and provisions, and dismissed him to 
seek his fortune elsewhere. After a month's voyage on the 
Caspian Abtin arrived at the court of the king of the Scythians, 
whose daughter Faranak fell in love with him. Incidents similar 
to those in the story of Zal and Rudaba in the present volume 
followed. In the end Abtin married Faranak, by whom he had 
two sons, and lived happily and in high favour with his father- 
in-law. He could not rest, however. In dream after dream he 
was incited to resume the war of independence against Zahhak, 
and at length, in spite of the opposition of his father-in-law, set 
sail with wife, family, and adherents, and after various adventures 
landed near Amul in Mazandaran, where he made his home in 
the surrounding forests. Here he gathered a band of followers 
and resumed his guerilla warfare against Zahhak, in the midst 
of which Faridiin was born, the birth being heralded by many 
prodigies. At this point the Shahnama takes up the story. 1 



The Evil Customs of Zahhak and the Device 
of Irrnd'il and Karmd'il 

Zahhak sat on the throne a thousand years V. 35 

Obeyed by all the world. Through that long time 
The customs of the wise were out of vogue, 
The lusts of madmen flourished everywhere, 
All virtue was despised, black art esteemed, 
Right lost to sight, disaster manifest ; 
While divs accomplished their fell purposes 
And no man spake of good unless by stealth. I 

1 The above is summarised from GHP, i. 171, 211, &c. 

K 



146 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USt 

Two sisters of Jainshid, their sex's crown, 
Were brought out trembling like a willow-leaf. 
Of those two ladies visaged like the moon 
The names were Shahrinaz and Arnawaz. 
Men bore them to the palace of Zahhak 
And gave them over to the dragon king, 
Who educated them in evil ways 
And taught them sorcery and necromancy. 
The only teaching that he knew was bad 
To massacre, to pillage, and to burn. 

Each night two youths of high or lowly birth 
Were taken to the palace by the cook, 
Who having slaughtered them took out their brains 
To feed the snakes and ease the monarch's anguish. 
Now in the realm were two good high-born Persians 
The pious Irma'il and Karrna'il 
The prescient. Talking of the lawless Shah, 
Of his retainers and those hideous meals, 
One said : " By cookery we might approach 
The Shah, and by our wits devise a scheme 
V. 36 To rescue one from each pair doomed to death." 

They went and learned that art. The clever twain 
Became the monarch's cooks and joyed in secret. 
The time for shedding blood and taking life 
Came, and some murderous minions of the Shah 
Dragged to the cooks with violence two youths 
And flung them, prone. The livers of the cooks 
Ached, their eyes filled with blood, their hearts with wrath, 
And each glanced at the other as he thought 
Of such an outrage by the Shah. They slew 
One of the youths and thought it best to mingle 
His precious brains with sheep's and spare the other, 
To whom they said : " Make shift to hide thyself, 
Approach not any dwelling-place of man, 
Thine are the wastes and heights." 



ZAHHAK 147 

A worthless head 

Thus fed the serpents, and in every month 
The cooks preserved from slaughter thirty youths. 
And when the number reached two hundred saved 
Provided them, the donors all unknown, 
With sheep and goats, and sent them desertward. 
Thus sprang the Kurds, who know no settled home, 
But dwell in woollen tents and fear not God. 
Zahhak was wont, such was his evil nature, 
To choose him one among his warriors 
And slay him for conspiring with the divs. 
Moreover, all the lovely noble maidens 
Secluded in their bowers, not tanged of tongues, 
He took for handmaids. Not a jot had he V. 37 

Of faith, king's uses, or morality. 



2 
How Zahhak saw Faridtin in a Dream 

Observe God's dealings with Zahhak when he 
Had forty years to live. One longsome night 
He slumbered in the arms of Arnawaz, 
And saw a vision of three warriors 
Boughs of the tree of kings. The youngest one, 
Who held the middle place, was cypress tall, 
In face, in armour, and in mien a king. 
He rushed with ox-head mace to fight Zahhak, 
Smote him upon the head, stripped off' his skin, 
And used it as a rope to bind his hands 
Firm as a rock, 1 placed on his neck a yoke, 
Then casting earth and dust upon his head 

1 Cf. Keresdspa's account of his treatment of Gandarep. See intro- 
ductory note to Faridun. 



148 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSt 

Dragged him before the crowd in shame and anguish 
Toward Mount Damawand. 

The tyrant writhed : 

Thou wouldst have said : " His liver split with fright." 
He yelled. The palace of the hundred columns 
Shook, and the sun-faced ladies left their couches, 
While Arnawaz said to him : " Shah ! what was it ? 
Confide in me ; thou wast asleep in peace 
At home ! What saw'st thou ? Say what came to thee ? 
The world is at thy will, beast, div, and man 
V. 38 Watch o'er thee and the seven climes are thine 

All 'twixt the moon and Fish. 1 What made thee start ? 
master of the world ! Oh ! answer me." 

The chief replied : " I may not tell, or else 
Ye will despair my life." 

Then Arnawaz : 

" Be pleased to tell us ; we perchance may find 
A cure, no ill is irremediable." 

He told them every whit, then said the Fair : 
" Neglect it not but seek a remedy. 
Thy throne's seat is the signet of the age, 
Thy famous fortune brighteneth the world, 
Beneath thy finger-ring thou hast the earth 
With all its fairies, divs, beasts, fowls, and men. 
Call both the archmages and astrologers 
The wisest of each realm and tell them all. 
See if the hand that threateneth thy life 
Is that of fairy, div, or man. This known 
Act vigorously ; quail not before thy foes." 

The lady's" counsel pleased the Shah. 

Night then 

Was dark as raven's plumes, but when at length 
The Lamp showed o'er the hills, and thou hadst said, 
" Strewed yellow gems upon the azure vault," 

1 See Introd. p. 71. 



ZAHHAK 149 

Zahhak brought archimages shrewd of heart 

And told to them the dream that pierced his liver. 

He said : " Expound this dream without delay, V. 39 

And make my soul a pathway toward the light." 

He asked them privily about the future, 
Demanding : " What will be my latter end, 
And who succeed me ? Tell or hide your heads 
In shame." 

They talked together sad at heart, 
With parched lips and with sallow countenances : 
They said : " If we tell truly what is fated 
We shall be tortured, haply lose our lives ; 
And if we do not act straightforwardly 
As well wash hands of life." 

None dared to speak : 
Their fortune was in jeopardy three days. 
Upon the fourth the Shah was wroth, exclaiming : 
" Foretell the future or be hung alive." 

They drooped their heads, their hearts were rent, 

their eyes 

Wept tears of blood. Among them was a man, 
Wise, honest, prescient, by name^Zirak 
The chief of all the band of archimages. 
Concerned but fearless he addressed Zahhak : 
" Indulge no vapouring for none is born 
Except to die. There have been kings ere thee 
Fit for the throne of power. Both griefs and joys 
Enough they reckoned up yet their time came. 
If thou wert standing there an iron wall 
Yon heaven would grind thee, thou wouldst not endure. 
One will hereafter take thy throne and fling 
Thy fortune to the ground. His name is Faridun, 
And he will be a royal heaven to earth. 

As yet he is not born, thy time of woe V. 40 

Hath not arrived, but when his honoured mother 
Hath borne him he will be a fruitful tree. 



ISO THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

At man's estate his head will reach the moon 

And he will seek thy belt, crown, throne, and casque. 

In stature a tall cypress, he will shoulder 

A mace of steel, will smite thy head therewith 

And drag thee from the palace to the street 

In bonds." 

" Why bind me," said the impious king, 
" In vengeance ? " 

Then Zirak : " Wert thou but wise . . 
But all make pretexts for injurious acts. 
Thy hand will slay his father and that wrong 
Will fill the son's brains with revengeful thoughts : 
Besides the nurse of this young atheling 
The cow, Birmaya hight will perish too 
By thy hand ; so in vengeance he will brandish 
An ox-head mace." 

Zahhak heard anxiously, 

And swooned upon his throne. The noble archmage 
Turned him and fled away in dread of ill. 
The Shah recovered and resumed his seat. 
He diligently sought throughout the world 
For traces faint or clear of Faridun ; 
No food, no slumber, or repose took he, 
His daylight turned to lapislazuli. 



S3 
The Birth of Faridiin 

Years passed away, calamity approached 
The dragon-king, the blessed Faridiin 
Was born, the fashion of the world was changed. 
Of cypress height he shone forth with the Grace 
Of kings of kings which erst Jamshid possessed, 



ZAHHAK 151 

Was like the sun, as needful as the rain 

To earth and fit as knowledge to the mind ; 

Revolving heaven loved him tenderly. V. 41 

Then lived the cow Birmaya, chief of kine, 
Born with a coat all bright and peacock-hued. 
The wise, the archmages, and astrologers 
Collected round her ; none had seen or heard 
Of such a cow before. 

Meanwhile Zahhak 

Was searching everywhere, and filling earth 
With hue and cry, till Faridiin became 
A source of danger to his sire Abtin, 
Who fled for life but to the Lion's toils, 
For certain of the followers of Zahhak, 
That impious monarch, met Abtm one day, 
Seized him and bore him, like a cheetah bound, 
Before the Shah, who had him put to death. 

When Faridiin's wise mother Faranak, 
A glorious dame devoted to her child, 
Perceived her husband's evil fate she fled ; 
And came heart-broken weeping to the field 
Wherein the beautiful Birmaya was. 
Still shedding drops of blood she bade the hind : 
" Protect this suckling for me, be a father 
To him, and give him milk of yon fair cow. 
Ask what thou wilt, e'en to my soul 'tis thine." 

The hind replied : " I will perform thy bidding 
And be as 'twere a slave before thy child." 

Then Faranak resigned the babe to him, v. 42 

With all instructions that were requisite, 
And that wise guardian like a father fed 
The child for three years with Birmaya' s rnilk ; 
But as Zahhak ne'er wearied of the search, 
And as the cow was talked of everywhere, 
The mother hasted to the field again 



152 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

And spake thus to the guardian of her child : 
" A prudent thought a thought inspired by God- 
Hath risen in iny heart. What we must do 
Is this there is no remedy, my son 
And my dear life are one I must abandon 
This land of sorcerers, depart unmarked 
To Hindustan and bear him to Alburz." 

Then like a roe or one who rideth post 
She took the young child to that lofty mountain 
Where dwelt a devotee dead to the world, 
To whom she said : " I am, O holy one ! 
A woeful woman from f ran. Know thou 
That this my noble son will be hereafter 
The leader of his people, will discrown 
Zahhak and tread his girdle in the dust. 
Take thou this child and father him with care." 

The good man took her child and never breathed 
One cold breath on him. 

When the rumour reached 
Zahhak about the cow and field he went, 
Like some mad elephant, and slew Birmaya, 
With all the other cattle that he saw 
Within the field, and harried all the land. 
He went next to the home of Faridun, 
Searched it, but all in vain, for none was found, 
And burned the lofty palace to the ground. 



4 
How Faridun questioned his Mother about his Origin 

V. 43 Now Faridun, when twice eight years had passed, 

Sought out his mother on the plain and said : 
" Disclose thy secret, say who is my father, 



ZAHHAK 153 

What is my lineage, whom shall I declare 
Myself in public ? Let me have the truth." 

She said : " I will tell all, my noble boy ! 
Within Iran erewhile lived one Abtin, 
Of royal race, discerning mind, wise, brave, 
And inoffensive, sprung from Tahinuras ; 
Abtin knew all the pedigree. Thy sire 
And my dear spouse was he ; my days were dark 
When we were parted. Now Zahhak the warlock 
Stretched from fran his hand against thy life, 
But I concealed thee. Oh ! what woeful days 
I passed while that brave youth thy father forfeited 
His own sweet life for thee ! Now on Zahhak 
The warlock's shoulders grew two snakes which 

sucked 

The life-breath of Iran, and thy sire's brains 
Were taken from his head to feed them. I 
In course of time came on an open pasture, 
As yet unknown to fame, and there beheld 
A cow like jocund spring, well shaped and coloured 
From head to foot : before her sat her herd 
Upon his heels as one before a king. 

I put thee in his charge. For long he nursed thee v. 44 
Upon his breast, the cow of peacock-hues 
Supplying thee with milk that made thee thrive 
Like some bold crocodile, until the tidings 
Of cow and meadow reached the Shah, and then 
I bare thee from the pasture in all haste 
And fled Iran and home and family. 
He came and slew the noble, tender nurse 
That could not speak to thee, then sent the dust 
Up from our home and turned it to ditch." 

The prince, enraged thereat, mused on revenge, 
And said with aching heart and knitted brows : 
" The lion groweth brave by venturing, 



3 54 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA US1 

And since the sorcerer hath done his part 

Mine is to take my scimitar and lay 

His palace in the dust ; such is God's will." 

She said : " This is not well ; thou canst not stand 
Alone against the world. He hath the crown 
And throne, and troops at his command, who come 
From all the realm to battle when he willeth, 
A hundred thousand strong. View not the world 
With boyish eyes ; the laws of blood-revenge 
Demand it not. Drunk with the wine of youth 
Men think themselves the only ones on earth 
And vapour, but be thy days mirth and joy. 
Do thou, my son ! bear this advice in mind, 
Give all words save thy mother's to the wind." 



N c 

The Story of Zahhdk and Kdwa the Smith 

Zahhak had " Faridiin " upon his lips 
v. 45 Both day and night, his lofty stature bent 

Beneath the terrors of his heart until 
One day, when sitting on the ivory throne 
And wearing on his head the turquoise crown, 
He called the notables from every province 
To firm the bases of his sovereignty, 
And said to them : " Good, wise, illustrious men ! 
I have, as sages wot, an enemy 
Concealed, and I through fear of ill to come 
Despise not such though weak. I therefore need 
A larger host men, dfvs, and fairies too 
And ask your aid, for rumours trouble me ; 
80 sign me now a scroll to this effect : 
' Our monarch soweth naught but seeds of good, 
He ever speaketh truth and wrongeth none.' " 



ZAHHAK 155 

Those upright men both young and old subscribed 
Their names upon the Dragon's document, 
Against their wills, because they feared the Shah. 
Just then was heard outside the palace-gate 
The voice of one that clamoured for redress. 
They called him in before the Shah and set him 
Among the paladins. Zahhak in dudgeon 
Said : " Tell us who hath wronged thee." 

Then the man 

Smote on his head before the Shah and cried : 
" Shah ! my name is Kawa and I sue 
For justice. Do me right. I come in haste 
Accusing thee in bitterness of soul ; 

An act of justice will enhance thy greatness. v. 46 

I have had many an outrage at thy hands, 
For thou hast stabbed my heart unceasingly, 
And if the outrages had not thy sanction 
Why hath my son been taken ? I had once 
In this world eighteen sons : but one is left ! 
Have mercy ! Look on me this once ! My liver 
Is ever burning ! What is mine offence, 
O Shah ? Oh, say ! If I have not offended 
Seek not occasion 'gainst the innocent, 
Regard my plight and save thyself from woe. 
My back is bent with length of years, despair 
Hath seized my heart, my head is all distraught, 
My youth is gone, my children are no more, 
And children are the nearest kin on earth. 
Oppression hath a middle and an end, 
And pretext ever. Tell me what is thine 
For wronging me and ruining my life. 
A smith am I, an inoffensive man, 
Upon whose head the Shah is pouring fire, 
And thou art he, and, though of dragon-form, 
Must still do justice in this cause of mine. 



156 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSf 

Since thou dost rule the seven provinces 
Why should the toil and hardship all be ours ? 
We have accounts to settle thou and I 
And all will be aghast if they shall show 
That this my son hath perished in his turn 
With all the rest to feed those snakes of thine." 

The monarch listened and was sore amazed. 
They set the young man free and strove to win 
The father by fair words, but when Zahhak 
Bade him subscribe the scroll he read it through 
And shouted to the ancients of the realm : 
v. 47 " Confederates of the Div with impious hearts ! 
Ye set your faces hellward and have yielded 
To that man's bidding. I will not subscribe, 
Or ever give the Shah another thought." 

He shouted, rose in fury, rent the scroll 
And trampled it ; then with his noble son 
In front of him went raving to the street. 
But all the courtiers blessed the Shah and said : 
" Illustrious king of earth ! may no cold blast 
From heaven pass o'er thee on the day of battle. 
Why was this insolent Kawa countenanced 
As though a friend of thine ? He tore the scroll, 
Refusing to obey thee, and is gone 
Bent on revenge and leagued, as thou wouldst say, 
With Faridiin ! A viler deed than this 
We never saw and marvel such should be." 

He answered quickly : " I will tell you wonders. 
When Kawa entered and I heard his cries, 
A mount of iron seemed to rise betwixt us ; 

\^' 

And when he beat his head a strange sensation 
Convulsed me. How 'twill end I cannot tell ; 
The secrets of the sky are known to none." 

When Kawa left the presence of the Shah, 
A crowd assembled in the market-place. 



ZAHHAK 157 

And still he shouted, crying out for aid 

And urging all to stand upon their rights. 

He took a leathern apron, such as smiths 

Wear to protect their legs while at the forge, 

Stuck it upon a spear's point and forthwith 

Throughout the market dust began to rise. 

He passed along with spear in hand exclaiming : 

" Ye men of name ! Ye worshippers of God ! 

Whoe'er would 'scape the fetters of Zahhak v. 48 

Let him resort with me to Faridun 

And shadow in his Grace. Come ye to him ; 

The ruler here is Ahriman God's foe." 

So that poor leather, worthless as it was, 
Discriminated friends and enemies. 
He took the lead, and many valiant men 
Resorted to him ; he rebelled and went 
To Faridun. When he arrived shouts rose. 
He entered the new prince's court, who marked 
The apron on the spear and hailed the omen. 
He decked the apron with brocade of Hiim 
Of jewelled patterns on a golden ground, 
Placed on the spearpoint a full moon a token 
Portending gloriously and having draped it 
With yellow, red, and violet, he named it 
The Kawian flag. Thenceforth when any Shah 
Acceded to the throne, and donned the crown, 
He hung the worthless apron of the smith 
With still more jewels, sumptuous brocade, 
And painted silk of Chin. It thus fell out 
That Kawa's standard grew to be a sun 
Amid the gloom of night, and cheered all hearts. 

Time passed and still the world maintained its secret. 
When Faridun saw matters thus, and all men 
Submiss to vile Zahhak, he came to Faranak 
With girded loins, crowned with a royal casque, 



158 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

And said : " I go to battle, but do thou 
Devote thyself to prayer. The Maker ruleth. 
In weal and woe alike clasp hands to Him." 

With tears and bleeding heart she cried : " God ! 
My trust hath been in Thee. Turn from my son 
V. 49 The onslaughts of the wicked on his life, 

And rid the world of these infatuates." 

Then Faridun gat ready with despatch 
And secrecy. He had two brothers, both 
Of noble birth and older than himself, 
Hight Kaiiimish and prosperous Purmaya. 
He said to them : " Live, gallant hearts ! in joy. 
Revolving heaven bringeth naught but good ; 
The crown of power is coming back to us. 
Provide me cunning smiths and let them make me 
A massive mace." 

They sought the smiths' bazar 
In haste, whence all the aspiring craftsmen went 
To Faridun, who taking compasses 
Showed to the smiths the pattern, tracing it 
Upon the ground. It had a buffalo's head. 
They took the work in hand, and having wrought 
A massive mace they bore it to the hero. 
It shone as brightly as the noonday sun, 
And Faridun, approving of the work, 
Bestowed upon the makers raiment, gold, 
And silver, holding out to them beside 
Bright hopes and promise of advancement, saying : 
" If I shall lay the Dragon in the dust 
I will not leave the dust upon your heads, 
But justify the entire world, since I 
Have Him in mind who judgeth righteously." 



ZAHHAK 159 



How Faridun went to Battle with Zahhdk 

With head raised o'er the sun he girt his loins 
For vengeance for his father, and set forth 
Upon the day Khurdad right joyfully 
With favouring stars and splendid auguries. 

The troops assembled at his gate, his throne 
Was lifted to the clouds. The first to go 
Were baggage and provisions for the army v. 50 

On buffaloes and high-necked elephants. 
Purrnaya rode with Kaiamish beside 
The Shah, like younger brothers and true friends. 
He went like wind from stage to stage ; revenge 
Was in his head and justice in his heart. 

The warriors on their Arab chargers reached 
A spot where people dwelt who worshipped God, 
And Faridun dismounting greeted them. 
When night was darkening one in friendly guise 
Approached him, walking with a measured tread, 
With musky hair descending to the feet 
And favoured like a maid of Paradise. 
It was Suriish, who came thence to advise 
The king of good and ill, came like a fairy 
And taught him privily the magic art, 
That he might know the key of every lock 
And by his spells bring hidden things to light ; 
While Faridun, perceiving that the work 
Was God's not Ahriman's or come of evil, 
Flushed like a cercis-bloom and joyed to see 
How lusty he and his young fortune were. 

The cooks prepared a feast a noble banquet, 
One fit for mighty men. Now Faridun, 
The drinking done, being heavy sought repose. 



160 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

His brothers, seeing that God sped his cause. 
And that his fortune slumbered not, departed 
Without delay to compass his destruction. 
There was above their heads a lofty cliff' 
And underneath the Shah slept peacefully. 
His two abandoned brothers scaled the height 
That night unseen, and scrupling at no crime 
Set loose a mighty crag upon the brow 
To fall directly on their brother's head, 
v. 5 1 And kill him in his sleep. The crashing crag, 
For God so ordered, roused the slumber.er, 
Who by his magic art arrested it ' 
In mid career : it stopped dead. Faridun 
Went on his way but kept the matter secret. 
In front marched Kawa with the Kawian standard, 
Soon to become the ensign of the realm. 
Thus Faridun advanced, as one who sought 
A diadem, toward the Arwand, or call it, 
As Arabs do, the Dijla, if thou knowest not 
The ancient tongue. He marched another stage 
And came upon the Dijla, at Baghdad. 
On drawing near he sent to greet the guard 
And said : " Despatch to this side instantly 
Your boats and vessels, bear me across with all 
Mine army and let none be left behind." 

The river-guard sent not his boats nor came 
At Faridun's behest, but made reply : 
" The Shah gave privy orders : ' Launch no boat 
Without a passport under mine own seal.' " 

The prince, enraged and fearless of the stream, 
Girt like a king and bent upon revenge, 
Plunged with his rose-red charger in the flood, 
v. 52 With one accord his comrades girt themselves, 

Turned toward the stream, and on their brave, fleet 
steeds 



ZAHHAK 161 

Plunged over saddle-back. The warriors' heads 
Reeled while their swift steeds struggled with the tide, 
And with their necks emerging seemed to be 
The phantom cohort of a dream. The warriors 
Reached the dry land undamped in their revenge 
And set their faces toward Bait al Mukaddas. 

This men called when they used the ancient tongue 
Gang-i-Dizhukht ; to-day 'tis known among 
The Arabs as " The Holy Place." The fair 
Tall palace of Zahhak was builded there. 

When they approached the city that they sought, 
And Faridun beheld it a mile off, 
He saw a pile whose building towered o'er Saturn, 
So that thou wouldst have said : " 'Twill catch the stars ! " 
It shone like Jupiter in heaven ; the place 
Appeared all peace and love and happiness. 
The hero recognised that seat of power 
And springlike beauty as the Dragon's dwelling, 
And said : " The man who reared a pile like that 
From dust I fear me cottoneth with the world, 
But still 'tis better to press on than tarry." 

This said he grasped his massive mace and gave 
His fleet steed rein, and thou hadst said : " A flame 
Shot up before the guards." 

He entered riding v. 53 

An inexperienced but valiant youth, 
Who called upon the name of God while they 
That were on guard fled from him in dismay. 



7 
How Faridun saw the Sisters of Jamshid 

Then Faridun o'erthrew the talisman, 

Raised heaven-high by Zahhak, because he saw 

That it was not of God, with massive mace 

L 



162 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USf 

Laid low the sorcerers within the palace 
All fierce and notable divs and set himself 
Upon the enchanter's throne. This done he took 
Possession of the royal crown and palace, 
But though he searched he failed to find Zahhak. 
Then from the women's bower he brought two Idols 
Sun-faced, dark-eyed ; he had them bathed, he purged 
The darkness of their minds by teaching them 
, The way of God and made them wholly clean ; 
For idol-worshippers had brought them up 
And they were dazed in mind like drunken folk. 
Then while the tears from their bright eyes bedewed 
Their rosy cheeks those sisters of Jamshid 
Said thus to Faridun : " Mayst thou be young 
Till earth is old ! What star was this of thine, 

favoured one ! What tree bore thee as fruit, 
Who venturest inside the Lion's lair 

So hardily, thou mighty man of valour ? 
What anguish and what bale have we endured 
All through this dragon-shouldered Ahriman ! 
V. 54 Oh ! what a miserable world for us 
Did this infatuated sorcerer make ! 
Yet saw we never here a man so hardy, 
Bold, and ambitious as to think that he 
Could take the throne." 

He answered : " Throne and fortune 
Abide with none. My sire was fortune's favourite, 
But still Zahhak seized on him in f ran 
And slew him cruelly, so I have set 
My face against Zahhak's throne in revenge. 
He slew the cow Birmaya too my nurse, 
A very gem of beauty. What could he, 
That villain, gain by slaughtering that dumb beast ? 
Now I am ready and I purpose war ; 

1 came not from Iran to bring him pardon, 



ZAHHAK 163 

Or good will, but to brain him in revenge 
With this ox-headed mace." 

When Arnawaz 

Heard this she guessed the secret, and replied : 
" Then thou art Faridun the Shah and wilt 
Abolish necromacy and black art, 
For thou art fated to destroy Zahhak : 
The binding of thy loins will loose the world. 
We twain, pure, modest, and of royal seed, 
Submitted only through the fear of death, 
Else would we ever sleep or wake, king ! 
Beside a serpent-spouse ? " 

Then Faridun : 

" If heaven over us shall do me right 
I will cut off this Dragon from the earth, 
And purge the world of its impurity. 
Now speak the truth at once and tell me where 
That vile one is." 

Those fair dames told him all ; 
They thought : " The Dragon's head will meet the 

shears," 

And said : " He went to Hindustan to practise 
Some spell-work in that land of sorcerers. 
He will cut off a thousand innocent heads, V. 55 

For he is terror-struck at evil fortune, 
Because a seer hath said : ' Earth will be void 
Of thee, for Faridun will seize thy throne 
And thy prosperity wither in a moment.' 
Struck by the words his heart is all aflame, 
And life affbrdeth him no happiness. 
Now is he slaughtering beasts and men and 

women 

To make a bath of blood and thus defeat 
That prophecy. Those serpents on his shoulders 
Keep him in long and sore disquietude. 



1 64 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSf 

From clime to clime he roveth, for the snakes 
Give him no rest. 'Tis time for his return, 
But place there is not." 

Stricken to the heart 
That lovely pair revealed the mystery : 
The exalted chieftain listened eagerly. 

8 

The Story of Faridun and the Minister of Zahhdk 

Zahhak while absent left in charge of all 
A man of wealth, who served him like a slave, 
So that his master marvelled at his zeal, 
One named Kundrav, because he used to limp 1 
Before the unjust king. He came in haste 
And saw within the hall a stranger crowned, 
Reposing on the throne, in person like 
A cypress over which the full moon shineth, 
On one side Shahrinaz the cypress-slim, 
Upon the other moon-faced Arnawaz. 
The city swarmed with soldiers, and a guard 
Stood ready armed before the palace-gate. 
All undismayed, not asking what it meant, 
Kundrav approached with lowly reverence, 
Then offered homage, saying : " Live, O king ! 
V. 56 While time shall last. Blest be thy sitting here 

In Grace, for thou deservest sovereignty. 
The seven climes be thine and be thy head 
Above the rain-clouds." 

Being bid approach 

He told the Shah the secrets of his office 
And was commanded : " Serve a royal feast, 
Let wine be brought, call minstrels fit to hear, 

1 Firdausi's etymology must not be relied upon. See the introduc- 
tory note to this reign. 



ZAHHAK 165 

To cheer me at the banquet, fill the goblet, 
Spread out the board, and summon worthy guests." 

Kundrav obeyed and brought bright wine and minstrels, 
And noble guests whose birth entitled them. 
So Faridun quaffed wine and chose the lays 
And held that night a worthy festival. 

Kundrav at dawn left the new prince in haste 
And on a swift steed sought Zahhak. Arrived 
He told the things that he had seen and heard : 
" O king of chiefs ! the token of thy fall 
Hath come, three men of noble mien arrived 
With troops ; the youngest of the three, in height 
A cypress and a king in face, is placed 
Between the other two and hath precedence. 
His mace is like a mountain-crag and shineth 
Amid the host. He entered thine abode 
On horseback, and the others rode with him 
A noble pair. He went and sat upon 
The royal throne and broke thy charms and spells. 
As for the di'vs and warriors in thy palace 
He struck their heads off as he rode along V. 57 

And mingled brains and blood ! " 

Zahhak replied : 
" 'Tis well, guests should enjoy themselves." 

Kundrav 

Retorted : " One that hath an ox-head mace ! 
Beware of such in coining and in going ; 
Besides, he sitteth boldly on thy couch, 
Eraseth from the crown and belt thy name, 
And maketh thine ungrateful folk his own : 
If such a guest thou knowest know him such." 

Zahhak said : " Trouble not, it bodeth well 
When guests are at their ease." 

Kundrav replied : 
" Yea, I have heard so ; hear thou my rejoinder : 



166 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

If this great man be any guest of thine 

What business hath he in thy women's bower ? 

He sitteth with the sisters of Jamshid 

The worldlord, taking counsel, while this hand 

Is toying with the cheek of Shahrinaz 

And that with Arnawaz' carnelian lip. 

At night he doth still worse and pilloweth 

His head on nmsk ! What musk ? The locks of Moons 

Who ever were the idols of thy heart." 

Zahhak, wolf-savage, wished that he were dead. 
With foul abuse he sternly hoarsely threatened 
That luckless one : " No more shalt thou have charge 
Of any house of mine." 

Kundrav replied : 

" Henceforth, king ! I deem thy fortune shent. 
How shouldst thou make me ruler in the city, 
Or give me even minstrels' work, when thou 
Hast lost the throne of power ? For like a hair 
From dough hast thou departed from the throne 
Of sovereignty. Think, sire ! what thou wilt do. 
V. 58 Have thine own interests no concern for thee ? 
They ne'er before were in such jeopardy." 



How Faridun bound Zahhdh 

Roused by that talk Zahhak resolved to act, 

And bade his keen-eyed roadsters to be saddled. 

Now as he neared the city by a byway 

With valiant divs and warriors, and saw 

His palace-roofs and gate he vowed revenge. 

The troops of Faridun received the tidings 

And flocked to meet him. Leaping from their steeds 

They struggled hand to hand. The citizens, 



ZAHHAK 167 

Such as were warlike, manned the roofs and gates 

For Faridiin ; Zahhak had maddened them. 

Bricks from the walls, stones from the roofs, with swords 

And poplar arrows in the street, were plied 

As thick as hail ; no place was left to stand. 

The mountains echoed with the chieftains' shouts, 

Earth trembled neath the chargers' tramping hoofs, 

A cloud of black dust gathered, and the flints 

Were pierced by javelins. From the Fane of Fire 

One shouted : " If some wild beast had been Shah, 

We young and old had served him loyally, 

But not that foul Zahhak with dragon-shoulders." 

The warriors and citizens were blent 
Together as they fought a mass of men. 
O'er that bright city rose a cloud of dust 
That turned the sun to lapislazuli. 

Anon Zahhak alone in jealous fear V. 59 

Approached the palace, mailed, that none might know 

him. 

Armed with a lasso sixty cubits long 
He scaled the lofty edifice in haste 
And saw beneath him dark-eyed Shahrinaz, 
Who toyed bewitchingly with Faridiin. 
Her cheeks were like the day, her locks like night, 
Her lips were opened to revile Zahhak, 
Who recognised therein the act of God 
A clutch of evil not to be evaded 
And with his brain inflamed by jealousy 
Dropped one end of the lasso to the court 
And so slid down from that high roof, regardless 
Of throne and precious life. As he descended 
He drew a keen-edged poniard from its sheath, 
Told not his purpose or his name, but clutched 
The steel-blue dagger in his hand, athirst 
For blood the blood of those two beauteous dames. 



V. 6o 



168 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

His feet no sooner rested on the ground 
Than Faridun rushed on him like the wind 
And beat his helm in with the ox-head mace. 
" Strike not," cried blest Surush, who hurried thither, 
" His time hath not yet come, but bind him van- 
quished 

Firm as a rock and bear him to some gorge, 
Where friends and kinsmen will not come to him." 

When Faridun heard that he tarried not, 
But gat a lasso made of lion's hide 
And bound Zahhak around the arms and waist 
With bonds that no huge elephant could snap, 
Then sitting on Zahhak's own golden throne 
Determined all the evil usages 
And made a proclamation at the gate : 
" Ye citizens possessed of Grace and wisdom ! 
Disarm and follow but one path to fame, 
For citizens and soldiers may not seek 
A common excellence ; this hath his craft 
And that his mace ; their spheres are evident 
And, if confounded, earth will be so too. 
Depart rejoicing, each one to his work, 
And live and prosper long, because the foul one, 
Whose acts brought terror on the world, is bound." 

Men hearkened to the great redoubted Shah. 
Then all the leading, wealthy citizens 
Drew near with gladness bringing offerings 
And heartily accepted Faridun, 
Who graciously received them and discreetly 
Gave each his rank's due, counselled them at large, 
And offered up his prayers and thanks to God, 
Then said : " The realm is mine, your fortune's star 
Is bright, for me alone did God send forth 
From Mount Alburz by Grace, and for your sakes, 
To set the world free from the Dragon's bane. 



ZAHHAK 169 

Blest as we are by Him who giveth good 

We ought to walk toward good upon His paths. 

As king I may not tarry in one place, 

Else would I pass with you a length of days." 

The nobles kissed the ground. Anon the din 
Of drums rose from the gate whereon all eyes 
Were fixed, the people yelled against the man, 
Whose days were almost sped : " Bring forth the Dragon 
Bound in the lasso's coils as he deserveth." 

The troops withdrew no wealthier than they came, 
And took Zahhak, bound shamefully and flung 
In wretched plight upon a camel's back 
On this wise to Shirkhan. Call this world old l 
Or ever thou shalt hear this story told. 
What changes numberless have passed and still 
Must pass hereafter over. plain and hill ! 

Thus fortune's favourite bore Zahhak toward V. 61 

Shirkhan, and driving him among the mountains 
Was purposing to cast him headlong down, 
When carne the blest Sunish and whispered thus 
The prince in friendly wise : " Convey the captive 
Thus to Mount Dainawand with speed, and take 
No escort, or but what thy safety needeth." 

He bore Zahhak as one that rideth post 
And fettered him upon Mount Dainawand ; 
So when new bonds were added to the old, 
And fate had not another ill in store, 
The glory of Zahhak became like dust 
And earth was cleansed from his abominations, 
He was removed from kindred and from friends, 
And bonds alone were left him in the mountains, 
Where Faridun chose out a narrow gorge 
A chasm which he had marked of viewless depth 

1 In the Persian, " Shirkhdn," with one letter changed, would mean 
" call old." 



And having studded it with heavy nails, 
Whereon the brain might chafe, secured Zahhak, 
Bound by the hands upon a crag, that so 
His anguish might endure. Thus was he left 
To hang : his heart's blood trickled to the ground. 

Come let us, lest we tread the world for ill, 
Be on attaining every good intent ; 

No good or evil will endure but still 
Good furnisheth the better monument. 

A lofty palace, wealth of every kind, 
Will not avail ; thy monument on earth 

Will be the reputation left behind 
And therefore deem it not of little worth. 

No angel was the glorious Faridiin, 
Not musk and ambergris ; he strove to win 

By justice and beneficence the boon 
Of greatness : be a Faridiin therein. 
By godlike travail undertaken he 
First cleansed the world from its iniquity. 
The binding of Zahhak, that loathly one 
Devoid of justice, was the chief deed done, 
v. 62 He next avenged the murder of Abtin, 

Caused all the world to recognise his sway, 
And lastly purged the surface of earth clean 

Of madmen, and took miscreants' power away, 
.O world ! how loveless and malign art thou 

To breed the quarry and then hunt it down ! 
Lo ! where is Faridiin the valiant now, 

Who took away from old Zahhak the crown ? 
Upon this earth five hundred years he reigned 

And then departing left an empty throne ; 
Bequeathing earth to others, he retained 

Of all that he possessed regret alone. 
So is it with us whether great or small 
And sheep or shepherd, 'tis the same with all. 



VI 



HIS REIGN WAS FIVE HUNDRED YEARS 



ARGUMENT 

Faridiin, when firmly established on the throne, marries his three 
sonstothethree daughters of Sarv, king of Yaman,arid subsequently 
dividing the earth into three parts gives one to each of his sons. 
The two elder, becoming envious of the youngest, murder him, and 
are themselves slain by the grandson of their murdered brother, 
Miniichihr, who succeeds to the throne after the death of Faridun. 



NOTE 

In the Vedas we find the expression Tritd Aptya. Trita is the 
name of a semi-divine personage, who is endowed with the gift 
of healing by the gods. Aptya may be a proper name, a patrony- 
mic, or mere epithet. The fact that it is found in connection with 
other names besides Trita' s rather points to the last. We also 
find in the Vedas a hero named Traitana, who is recorded to have 
slain a giant. Trita and Traitana, who were probably quite distinct 
personages originally, appear to have become confused together 
even in the Vedas themselves, the exploits of each were attributed 
to the other also, and the confusion was handed down to later 
times. Thus we find Trita struggling with the storm-fiend for 
the possession of the waters, 1 and Traitana endowed with the gift 
of healing. In the Zandavasta, Trita Aptya and Traitana become 
three personages Thrita, Athwya, and Thraetaona respectively. 
Thrita is there represented as the first healer, and also as the 
third who offered the drink-offering of the Haoma. The word 
Sama is also associated with him, a word which is said to mean 

1 See Introd. p. 7. 

171 



172 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSf 

" appeaser," with reference apparently to his medical powers. The 
priest and medicine-man were one originally. In reward for 
offering the Haoma two sons were born to Thrita, of whom one 
was the hero Keresaspa. Athwya is represented as being the 
second to offer the Haoma, and as a reward for so doing a son 
is born to him too Thraetaona, whose double character as hero 
and physician is clearly indicated. He is described as the smiter 
of the dragon Dahaka, and is also worshipped in his capacity as 
healer to avert or cure sickness. The word Sama, originally an 
epithet applied to Thrita, became applied to his son Keresaspa as 
a patronymic. He is thus described as Sama Keresaspa, and a 
special epithet is bestowed on him sometimes to the exclusion of 
other titles that of Narimanau, " the manly minded." 

He is described in the Zandavasta as " the holy Keresaspa, the 
Sama, the club-bearer with plaited hair, 1 . . . the manly-hearted 
Keresaspa ... he who was the sturdiest of the men of strength, 
next to Zarathu.stra, for his manly courage. For Manly Courage 
clave unto him. . . . Manly Courage^ firm of foot, unsleeping, 
quick to rise, and fully awake, that clave unto Keresaspa." 2 Short 
accounts of his exploits occur in the Zandavasta, 3 but the fullest 
are found in a Pahlavi version of the fourteenth Fargard of the 
lost (S'M&ar Nask. It appears that Keresaspa, great as he was 
as a hero, fell a victim to the wiles of one of Ahriman's evil 
creations the Pairika Knathaiti, who we are told "clave unto 
Keresaspa." 4 The Pairika is the Pari, our Peri or Fairy, and" 
symbolises idolatry in Zoroastrian mythology. 5 Keresaspa there- 
fore neglected the worship of fire and became an idolater. For 
this he was cast into hell, where he remained till Urmuzd, having 
heard him commended by Zoroaster, summoned him, and he pleaded 
to be released in consideration of the good works achieved by him 
while on earth. He urged that he slew the serpent Srovbar, 
"which was swallowing horses and swallowing men, and its teeth 
were as long as my arm, its ear was as large as fourteen blankets, 
its eye was as large as a wheel, and its horn was as much as Dahak 8 
in height. And I was running as much as half a day on its back, 
till its head was smitten by me at the neck with a club made for 
my hand, and it was slain outright by me ... by me Gandarep r 
was slain outright, by whom twelve districts were devoured at 
once. When I looked among the teeth of Gandarep, dead men 
were sticking among his teeth ; and my beard was seized by him, 

1 DZA, ii. 223. 2 Id. 295. s Id. 

4 Id. i. 6. 5 Id., note. 6 i.e. Zahhak. 

7 See introductory note to Zahhdk. 



173 

and I dragged him out of the sea ; nine days and nights the 
conflict was maintained by us in the sea, and then I became more 
powerful than Gandarep. The sole of Gandarep's foot was also 
seized by me, and the skin was flayed oft' up to his head, and 
with it the hands and feet of Gandarep were bound . . . and 
Gandarep was taken arid slain by me . . . Grant me, O Auha?'- 
m&zd ! heaven or the supreme heaven ! for I have slain the high- 
waymen who were so big in body that, when they were walking, 
people considered in this way, that ' below them are the stars and 
moon, and below them moves the sun at dawn, and the water of 
the sea reaches up to their knees.' And I reached up to their 
legs, and they were smitten on the legs by me ; they fell, and the 
hills on the earth were shattered by them." Keresaspa went on 
to tell how the demons urged on the wind to attack him, how it 
came on in its strength, uprooting every shrub, and tree, and 
reducing earth to powder in its path, and how he withstood it 
and prevailed. He finally pleaded that when, in the fulness of 
time, Zahhak shall escape from the fetters wherewith Faridun 
bound him to Mount Damawand, and threaten the world with 
destruction, he (Keresaspa) alone can conquer and finally destroy 
that evil spirit. Urmuzd, in consideration for the outraged spirit 
of fire, long remained obdurate to the pleadings of Keresaspa, 
though supported by those of Zoroaster himself and others, but 
finally yielded, and Keresaspa was admitted into heaven. 1 

With regard to the final destruction of Zahhak by Keresaspa we 
find information in the Bundahish and in the Bahman Yast. 
Combining the accounts given, we learn that Keresaspa obtained 
immortality while on earth, but that owing to his slighting fire- 
worship he was wounded by a Turk named Nihav, and fell asleep 
in the valley of Pishin in Kabulistan. He is there watched over 
by the divine glory, and by the guardian spirits of the righteous 
till the epoch when the powers of evil shall rally for the last 
great struggle against good, and Ahriman summon Zahhak from 
Mount Damawand. Zahhak will rush forth freed from the fetters 
of Faridun, first apparently swallow Ahriman himself, and then a 
third of mankind, cattle, sheep, and other creatures of Urmuzd, 
smite the water, fire, and vegetation, and commit grievous sin. 
Then the water, the fire, and vegetation will lament before 
Urmuzd and. pray that Faridun may be revived to slay Zahhak, 
else fire declares that it will not heat, and water that it will not 
' flow. Then Urmuzd will bid Suriish and another angel to rouse 
Keresaspa the Saman. They will go to him and call him thrice. 

1 WPT, ii. 369-382. 



174 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSt 

At the fourth summons he will wake and go forth to encounter 
Zahhak, smite him on the head with the famous club, and slay 
him. All evil, sin, and misery will cease, and the era of eternal 
happiness 'begin. 1 

In the Shahnama, Thrita, Athwya, Thraetaona, and Sama 
Keresaspa Narimanau reappear under changed aspects. Thrita 
and Thraetaona coalesce into Faridun, while Athwya becomes 
Abtin, the father of Faridun. Sama Keresaspa Narimanau splits 
up into several personalities Sam, the grandfather, and Nariman, 
the great grandfather, of Rustam, Garshasp, a more remote 
ancestor of his, perhaps Garshasp, the hero mentioned in the 
present reign, and possibly Garshasp, the tenth Shah. In the 
case of Sam and Nariman the epithets and patronymics of earlier 
times become the names of heroes of later ages. 2 

The three sons of Faridun Salm, Tur, and Iraj appear in the 
Zandavasta as Sairima, Tura, and Airyu respectively. Firdausi 
seems to derive the first, of course wrongly, from the Arabic 
" salamat," "safety." 3 Tur may be connected with an Aryan root 
"tu" meaning "to swell, to grow great or strong." Iraj is the 
same word as Aryan and means " noble." 

For the ethnical significance of the names, see Introd. p. 54. 



1 
How Faridun ascended the Throne 

When Faridun attained his wish, and reigned 
Supreme on earth, he ordered crown and throne 
According to the usance of old times 
Within the palace of the king of kings ; 
And on the first of Mihr, a blessed day, 
Set on his head the royal diadem. 

1 WPT, i. 119,233-235. 

2 For the subject-matter of the above cf. HEP, 277, 278 ; DZA, i. 
225 ; MZA, iii. 233 ; WPT, ii. 369. 

3 In the oldest Pahlavi that of the inscriptions the letters r and I 
were represented by distinct signs, but in the later Pahlavi that of 
the manuscripts the same sign stood for both letters ; it is easy to 
understand the confusion that resulted, especially in the case of proper 
names. See DEI, i. 19. 



FARIDfjN 175 

In those days, apprehensive of no evil, 

All men began to tread the path of God, 

Abstaining from contention and observing 

A feast inaugurated royally. 

Then sages sat rejoicing and each held 

A ruby goblet, then the wine was bright, 

The new Shah's face was bright and all the world 

Itself was brightened as that month began. 

He bade men kindle bonfires and the people v. 63 

Burned ambergris and saffron ; thus he founded 

Mihrgan. 1 That time of rest and festival 

Began with him, and his memorial 

Is still the month of Mihr. He banished then 

All grief and labour from the minds of men. 

He dedicated not a single day 

To evil in five centuries of sway, 

But yet the world remained not his. Then shun 

Ambition and escape from grief, my son ! 

Note well that this world is no property, 

And small contentment wilt thou gain thereby. 

Now Faranak yet knew not that her child 
Had come to be the Shah, or that Zahhak 
Had lost the throne and that his power was ended. 
At length news of the happy youth arrived 
And of his being crowned. She bathed herself 
And prostrate in God's presence offered thanks 
Because of this most happy turn of fortune, 
And uttered maledictions on Zahhak ; 
Then to all those who were in poverty 
And strove to hide it she afforded aid, 
But kept alike their secret and her own. 
She spent a week on alms till paupers failed ; 
Another week she feasted all the nobles, 
Bedecked her house as it had been a garden 

1 A feast held on the i6th of Mihr and the five following days. 



;i7.6 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSl 

And there received her guests. She "then unlocked 
The portal of her secret hoards, brought forth 
The various treasures that she had amassed, 
And purposed to distribute all her store. 
It seemed the time to ope the treasury, 
For drachms were trifles since her son was Shah. 
She made no stint of robes and royal jewels, 
Arabian steeds with headstalls wrought of gold, 
v. 64 Habergeons, helmets, double-headed darts, 

Swords, crowns and belts. Intent upon her son 

She placed her wealth on camels and despatched it 

With praises on her tongue. The king of earth 

Beheld, accepted it, and blessed his mother. 

The leaders of the army when apprised 

Sped to the monarch of the world and cried : 

" Victorious Shah and worshipper of God, 

To whom be praise ! may He give praise to thee. 

Thus may thy fortune grow from day to day, 

Thus may the fortunes of thy foes be shent, 

May heaven make thee still victorious 

And mayst thou still be gracious and august." 

The wise came to the Shah from their retreats 
And poured before his throne gold mixed with 

gems ; 

The nobles too from all his provinces 
At that hocktide assembled at his gate, 
Where all invoked God's blessing on the crown, 
The throne, the diadem, and signet-ring. 
With hands upstretched they prayed right heartily : 
" May such joy last, the Shah bear fruit for ever." 
As time went on he journeyed round the world, 
Examining its sights and mysteries, 
Marked each injustice and all wasted lands, 
Bound evil hands, with bonds of kindliness 
A policy that well beseemeth kings 



FARID&N 177 

Bedecked the world like Paradise, and raised 
Instead of grass the cypress and the rose-tree. 
He reached Tainmisha, passing by Amul, 1 
And built a seat there in the famous chace : 
Kus is the modern title of the place. 



2 
How Farvlun sent Jandal to Yaman 

Now fifty years had passed, and by good fortune v. 65 

He had three noble sons fit for the crown, 

Of royal birth, as tall as cypresses, 

With cheeks like spring, in all points like their father. 

Two were the stainless sons of Shahrinaz, 

The youngest fair-cheeked Arnawaz had borne ; 

And though they could outpace an elephant 

Their father in his love had named them not. 

In time the Shah perceived them fit to rule 

And called Jandal, a noble counsellor, 

In everything devoted to his lord, 

And said : " Go round the world, select three maidens 

Of noble lineage worthy of my sons, 

In beauty fit to be affined to me 

And named not by their sire for fear of talk, 

Three sisters in full blood with fairy faces, 

Unstained, of royal race, so much alike 

In height and looks that folk can scarce discern 

Betwixt them." 

Having heard he undertook 
The fair emprise, for he was shrewd and upright, 
Of plausible address and full of tact. 
He left 1 ran with certain of his friends 
To make inquiries and receive reports. 

1 In Mdzandaran. 

M 



i ?8 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

Then when he heard of any chief with daughters 
He sought to learn about them privily, 
Yet could not find among the wealthy thanes 
One fit to be affined to Faridun. 

v. 66 This shrewd and holy man at length reached Sarv 
The monarch of Yaman with whom he found 
The object of his search three maidens such 
As Faridun required. With stately step, 
As 'twere a pheasant pacing toward a rose, 
He came to Sarv, and having kissed the ground 
Explained his coming, praised the king and said : 
" For ever live, exalted sovereign, 
Thou ceaseless lustre of the crown and throne !" 

The king said : " Be thy praise in every mouth. 
What is thy message ? What are thy commands ? 
Art thou ambassador or principal ? " 

Jandal replied : " May every joy be thine, 
And ever far from thee the hand of ill. 
I come as some poor heathen to convey 
A message from f ran. Great Faridun 
Saluteth thee by me. Thou ask'st my business : 
I answer : Mighty Faridun applaudeth thee, 
And great are they whom he despiseth not. 
He said : ' Say to the monarch of Yaman : 
So long as musk hath scent perfume the throne, 
Be thy griefs scattered and thy wealth amassed, 
And ever, king of Arabs ! mayst thou be 
Safeguarded by the stars from all mishap. 
What thing is there more sweet than life and children ? 
Yea, they are sweeter than all else beside, 
For none is dearer than a child, that bond 
Is as no other bond. If any man 
Hath three eyes I possess them in my sons, 
But know that they are better still than eyes 
For those that look on them give thanks. What said 



FARtDtfN 179 

The sage when he defined a proper league ? 

' " I ne'er ally myself but with iny betters." 

A sage intent on good will seek his friends 

Among his peers, men may be fortunate 

But inonarchs are not well without a host. 

My realm is prosperous, I have treasure, might, V. 67 

And daring, with three sons who well deserve 

To reign wise, men of knowledge and of prowess, 

Without a want or wish unsatisfied. 

For these three princes in domestic life 

I need three consorts of a royal race, 

And I have news (whereon I send in haste) 

By means of mine informants that thou hast 

Among the ladies that are in thy bower, 

O honour-loving king ! three maiden daughters 

As yet unnamed, whereat my heart rejoiced, 

For my three sons of course are nameless still. 

'Twere surely well for us to intermingle 

These precious gems of two varieties, 

Three virtuous maids with three aspiring princes, 

Fit joined to fit, no room for scandal there.' 

Such is his message ; think of thy reply." 

The monarch of Yam an drooped like the jasmine 
When out of water, thinking : " If these Moons 
Are taken from me, and I see them not 
About my couch, my day will turn to night. 
No need to answer yet ; I Avill consult 
With those who share with me the consequence." 

He first assigned the ambassador a lodging, 
Then having closed the audience sat and pondered. 

The monarch summoned from the Bedouins 
Full many a chieftain well approved in war, 
And made the matter manifest to all : 
" I have as only issue of my wedlock V. 68 

Three Lights that are resplendent in mine eyes, 



i8o THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

And Faridiin hath sent an embassage 

To spread a goodly snare before my feet ; 

He would deprive me of these Eyes of mine, 

And I would fain consult thereon with you. 

The ambassador saith thus : ' Thus saith the Shah : 

" I have three princes who adorn my throne 

And seek for favour and affinity 

With thee by marriage with thy virtuous daughters." ' 

If I shall answer, ' Yes,' and mean it not, 

'Twill be a lie ; to lie is not for kings ; 

If I shall acquiesce in his request 

My heart will be on fire, my face all tears ; 

And if I shall refuse my heart will feel 

His vengeance not a matter for a jest 

From one who is the monarch of the world ; 

And travellers too have heard of what Zahhak 

Hath suffered from him. Now advise me well." 

The veteran valiant chiefs thus made reply : 
" We disapprove of veering to each gust. 
Be Faridiin however great a king 
No earringed slaves are we, but say our say 
And take the consequence. 'Tis ours to handle 
The bridle and the lance ; we make the earth 
A winefat with our swords, we make the air 
A reed-bed with our spears. If thy three children 
Are held so dear unlock thy treasury 
And shut thy lips ; or, if thou wilt use craft, 
But fearest Faridun, make such demands 
That none shall ever hear the like again." 

The king heard while the chieftains said their say, 
But felt no less uncertain of his way. 



FARfDUN 181 

S 3 
How the King of Yaman ansicered Jandal 

At length he called the Shah's ambassador v. 69 

And spake to him at large in gracious words : 

" I am the servant of thy lord ; in all 

That he commandeth me will I obey. 

Thus say to him : ' Exalted as thou art, 

Still thy three sons are precious unto thee ; 

And kings esteem their own sons very precious 

When they are such as ornament the throne. 

I grant what thou hast said, I too have children 

And judge by them ; yet if the mighty Shah 

Were to require mine eyes of me, or ask 

The kingdom of Yaman and desert-tribes, 

It were of lesser moment than for me 

To never look upon my children more ; 

Still if the Shah wish this I may not walk 

Save as he biddeth me, and my three children, 

If so he will, shall cease to be my kin ; 

But when shall I behold those princely sons 

Who are the lustre of thy crown and throne ? 

Let those blithe youths come hither and illume 

My gloomy soul; to see them will rejoice 

My heart, and I will contemplate their shrewdness ; 

Then I will give to them my three bright Eyes 

According to our customs. Furthermore, 

When I perceive that they are upright men, 

I will join hand in hand in league with them, 

And whensoe'er the Shah would see his sons 

They shall return.' " 

Jandal, the sweet-voiced speaker 
On hearing kissed the throne with reverence, 



1 82 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

Then uttering praises hied him to his lord, 
v. 70 To whom he told what he had said and heard. 
The monarch bade his sons attend, he spake 
About the mission of Jandal, and said : 
" The monarch of Yaman is king of peoples, 
Sarv is a cypress throwing lengthy shadows. 
He hath three daughters pearls as yet unpierced 
Who are his crown, for he hath not a son. 
Before all three of them Suriish would kiss 
The ground, I ween, if he might have such brides. 
These I demanded of their sire for you 
And took such order as becometh us. 
Your duty now will be to go to him, 
But be discreet in all things small and great. 
Be complaisant but guarded therewithal, 
Heed what he saith and answer courteously. 
If he consulteth you advise him well. 
Now hearken to my words and ye shall prosper: 
Among the peoples none can equal Sarv, 
For he is fluent, ardent, shrewd, and pure. 
Allow him not to find you off your guard, 
For wise men work with subtilty. The first day 
He will assign you chief seats at a feast, 
Bring forth three sun-faced maids like garths in spring. 
All full of grace, of colour, and perfume, 
And seat them on the throne, these Cypresses 
v. 71 In height and in appearance so alike 

That none could tell their order as to age. 

Now of these three the youngest will walk first, 

The eldest last, the other in the midst. 

The king will place the youngest maid beside 

The eldest youth, beside the youngest prince 

The eldest maid, and pair the mid in age. 

Know, for 'tis worth your while, that he will ask : 

' How range ye in respect of age these damsels ? ' 



FARIDtJN 183 

Reply : ' The youngest hath the highest place, 
The eldest hath a place below her rank, 
The raid in age is placed as she should be, 
And thou hast failed in this attempt of thine.' " 
The pure and high-born three paid all regard 
To what their father said, and left his presence 
Fulfilled with wisdom and with artifice. 
How should the sons by such a father taught 
Be ill advised or indiscreet in aught ? 



4 

How the Sons of Faridun went to the King of Yaman 

They summoned archimages and made ready ; 

Their retinue was like the starry sky, 

All men of name with sunlike countenances. 

Sarv, hearing of their coming, decked his host 

Like pheasant's plumes, and sent to welcome them v. 72 

A. goodly band of kinsfolk and of magnates. 

As those three noble princes reached Yaman 

Both men and women met them on their way, 

Bestrewing saffron mixed with precious jewels 

And mingling musk with Avine. The horses' manes 

Were drenched therewith, and underneath their feet 

Gold coins were flung. A palace was prepared 

Like Paradise itself; they overlaid 

The bricks with gold and silver ; all the hangings 

Were of brocade of Rum a mass of wealth. 

There Sarv disposed his guests and by the morn 

Had put them at their ease. He brought his daughters, 

As Faridun had said, out of their bowers, 

Like shining moons too dazzling for the eye, 

And ranged them just as Farfdiin foretold. 



184 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

Sarv asked the eldest prince : " Which is the youngest 
Of these three Stars, which is the mid in age, 
And which the eldest ? Thus distinguish them." 
They answered as they had been taught, and so 
Sewed up the eyelids of his craft, while he 
And all his warriors were lost in wonder. 
He saw that his inversion naught availed 
And answered, " Yea," and paired the pairs aright. 
The introduction ended in betrothal. 
The three princesses, blushing for their father, 
Went from the presence of the three young princes 
In sweet confusion, blushes on their cheek 
And many a word of tenderness to speak. 



How Sarv proved the Sons of Faridun by Sorcery 

v. 73 Then Sarv assembled boon-companions 

And passed the day with minstrels, wine, and talk, 

But his three sons-in-law the sons of Faridun 

Drank not except to him. When wine prevailed, 

And sleep and rest were needed, Sarv bade set 

Some couches by a fountain of rose-water, 

And there the three illustrious athelings 

Slept in a garden in a bower of roses, 

Which scattered blossoms o'er them, but meanwhile 

The sorcerer-king had thought of a device : 

He left the royal pleasance and prepared 

His spells. He brought a frost and mighty blast 

To slay the princes ; over hill and plain 

It froze so sharply that the crows grew numb. 

The arch-enchanter Farfdun's three sons 

Leapt from their couches at the grievous cold ; 



FARtDtiN 185 

And by the Grace of God and their own skill, 
By kingly magic and their hardihood, 
Opposed the spell and kept the frost away. 
Now when the sun shone o'er the mountain-tops, 
Sarv, anxious to know all, approached in haste 
His three exalted sons-in-law in hope 
To find their cheeks like lapislazuli, 
Congealed with frost, and their emprise defeated, 
So that his daughters might remain to him 
As his memorial ; such was his hope, 
But sun and moon were adverse to his wishes, 
For he beheld three princes like new moons 
Fresh-seated on their royal thrones, and knew 
That spells had failed him and his time was lost. 
He gave an audience ; all the chiefs attended. v. 74 

He opened and brought forth his ancient treasures, 
Disclosing what had been secreted long, 
And brought too and committed to their lords 
Three maids sun-cheeked, like garths of Paradise 
(No archimage ere planted pines like them), 
With crowns and trinkets, ignorant of pain, 
Unless it be a pain to plait the hair : 
They were three new Moons and three warrior- 
kings. 

He thought with bitterness : " The fault is mine, 
Not Faridiin's, and may I never hear 
Of female issue from this royal stock ; 
He hath a lucky star who hath not daughters, 
But he who hath them hath no star to shine." 
Then to the assembled sages : " Kings may well 
Wed Moons. Bear witness all ! that I have given 
My three Eyes to these men in lawful marriage, 
To hold them dear as their own eyes are dear, 
And limn them like their own lives on their 
hearts." 



186 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

He uttered this aloud and then he bound 
On many vigorous camels' lusty backs 
The baggage of the brides. Yaman was bright 
With gems. The daughters' litters moved hi file 
With parasols and riches tit for kings. 
Sarv ordered everything and said farewell. 
Thus did the youths set out upon their way 
To Faridun with hearts alert and gay. 



How Faridun made Trial of his Sons 

v. 75 When tidings that the princes had returned 

Reached Faridun he went to meet them, longing, 
By trial of their characters, to end 
His boding fears, so changed him to a dragon 
One, thou wouldst say, no lion could escape 
Which hissed and bellowed with its jaws aflame. 
As soon as he perceived his three sons near, 
Like sombre mountains in a cloud of dust, 
He too threw dust about and made it fly, 
While earth re-echoed with his bellowings. 
He rushed in fury toward his eldest son, 
That prince of many virtues, who exclaimed : 
" No man of sense and wisdom thinketh good 
To fight with dragons." 

Then he showed his back 
And fled. The father turned toward the next, 
His second son, who when he saw the dragon 
Strung up his bow and drew it, saying thus : 
" When fight is toward, what matter if the foe 
Be roaring lion or brave cavalier ? " 

But when the youngest son came up he looked 
Upon the dragon and cried out : " Avaunt ! 
Thou art a leopard : ware the lions' path ! 



FARIDtfN 187 

If e'er the name of Faridiin hath reached 
Thine ears contend not with us, for we three 
Are sons of his, and every one of us 
A wielder of the mace, and warrior. 
Unless thou turnest from thy waywardness 
I will discrown thee of thy loathly face." 

The glorious Faridiin thus heard and saw, 
And having proved their mettle disappeared. 
He went away but came back as their sire V. 76 

With all the pomp and circumstance befitting, 
With kettledrums and huge fierce elephants 
And bearing in his hand the ox-head mace. 
The leaders of the host were at his back, 
And all the world was his. The noble princes 
Dismounted when they saw the Shah, they ran 
To him and kissed the ground, dazed at the din 
Made by the elephants and kettledrums. 
The father grasped their hands and welcomed them, 
Each to his proper place. On his return 
He prayed and offered up much thanks to God 
The Author of his weal and of his woe 
Then summoned his three sons and seating them 
Upon the throne of majesty spake thus : 
" That loathly dragon which would scorch the world 
Was your own father, who desired to prove 
Your mettle, and this known returned with joy. 
Now in my wisdom I have chosen fit names 
For you. Thou art the eldest, be thou Salm 
And have thy wish on earth thou soughtest 

safety 

And didst not shun to flee the monster's maw. 
The rash man who despiseth elephants 
Or lions call him frantic and not brave. 
My second son, who from the first showed fight, 
Whose courage is more ardent than a flame, 



i88 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Him name we Tiir a lion brave ; not even 
A mighty elephant could vanquish him. 
To dare is all the virtues in his case, 
For no faint heart is master of a throne. 
The youngest is a man of sleight and fight, 
One that can bide his time and yet be prompt. 
He chose the middle course 'twixt dust and flame, 
The prudent man's. Brave, young, and sensible 
v. 77 He must alone be praised. Be he fraj, 
And may his end be all supremacy, 
Because at first he was not choleric, 
But at the time of stress his courage grew. 
I open now my lips with joy to name 
These Arab dames with fairy. countenances." 

He named the wife of Salm, Arzii ; l the wife 
Of Tiir, Mah-i-Azada Khu ; the wife 
Of blest Iraj, Sahf, to whom Canopus 
Was but a slave in beauty. Afterwards 
He brought a catalogue embracing all 
The stars within the circling sphere of heaven, 
Whose aspects readers of the stars had taken, 
Spread it before him and observed the fortunes 
Of his illustrious sons. Salm's horoscope 
Was Jupiter in Sagittarius. 
Next came the horoscope of glorious Tiir 
The Sun ascendant in the Lion's House 
A presage brave ; but when the Shah observed 
The horoscope of blest f raj he found 
The Moon in Cancer ; thus the stars revealed 
A destiny of strife and woe. The Shah 
Was sorely troubled, with a deep cold sigh 
Perceived that heaven loved not his bright-souled son, 
And as he mused thereon he could not be 
But filled with thoughts of grave anxiety. 

1 Arzti means Desire ; Mdh-i-Azslda KM, Moon of noble-nature ; and 
Sahi, Stately. 



FARID&N 189 



How FariJun divided the Wwld among his Sons 

These secrets known, the Shah divided earth 

And made three realms : he joined Rum with the 

West, 

Tiiran with Chin, Arabia with Iran. 

He first took thought for Salm and gave him Rum v 
And all the West, commanding him to lead 
An army thither ; so Salm took the throne, 
And all the West saluted him as lord. 
Next Faridiin assigned Tiiran to Tur 
To rule the Turkmans and the land of Chin, 
Providing troops ; Tur led his army forth, 
Arrived, assumed the seat of sovereignty, 
Girt up his loins and opened wide his hands. 
The nobles showered upon him precious stones, 
And all Tiiran hailed him as king, f raj 
Came last, the sire selected all Iran 
For him. This with Arabia and the throne 
Of majesty and crown of chiefs he gave, 
Perceiving that Iraj deserved to rule. 
How all the princes, prudent, wise, and shrewd, 
All-hailed him as the master of Iran ! 
As rnarchlords thus these men of noble birth 
Acceded to their thrones in peace and mirth. 



How Salm grew Envious of Iraj 

Much time rolled on, while fate reserved its secrets, 

Till wise Shah Faridiin was worn with age 

And strewed with dust the Garden of his Spring. 



I9P THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSf 

This is the common lot of all mankind 
Man's strength is weakness when he groweth old. 
Then gloom began to gather in the state, 
The princes of the realm waxed turbulent. 
Immersed in greed Salm changed in heart and mind, 
v. 79 He sat in conclave, for he much misliked 
His sire's apportionment, which gave fraj 
The throne of gold. In rancour and with froAvns 
He hurried off a camel-post, an envoy, 
To give this message to the king of Chin : 
" Live ever glad and happy ! Know, great king 
Of Turkmans and of Chin ! that our shrewd hearts 
Did ill to acquiesce when we were wronged : 
Though we are cypress-tall our souls are base. 
Mark with discerning heart this tale of mine ; 
None such hath reached thee from the days of 

old:- 

Three sons were we who graced our father's throne, 
And now the youngest hath the chiefest place ! 
Since I am first in wisdom and in years 
Such fortune doth befit my signet-ring, 
While if crown, throne, and diadem should pass 
From me, king ! should they not deck thyself? 
Shall both of us continue thus aggrieved 
By that injustice which our father did 
In giving to fraj fran, Yaman, 
And Araby ; the West and Rum to me ; 
To thee the wastes of Turkestan and Chin ? 
The youngest hath Iran ; I cannot brook 
This settlement ; thy father must be mad." 

The message filled Tiir's brainless head with wind, 
And savage as a lion he replied : 
" Heed well my words and tell them to thy lord : 
' It was when we were youths, most just king ! 
That we were cheated by our father thus. 



FARfDUN 191 

This is a tree which his own hands have set ; 

The fruit is blood, the leafage colocynth ; 

So let us meet and parley as to this, V. So 

Fix on our course of action and raise troops.' " 

Now when the envoy brought this answer back 
The face of that veiled secret was laid bare, 
This brother caine from Chin and that from Rum, 
And, poison being mixed with honey thus, 
They met together to deliberate 
The matter both in council and in state. 



How Salm and Tdr sent a Message to Farldun 

They chose a priest, a shrewd, bright, heedful man 

And plausible, and then excluding strangers 

Concerted plans. Salm put their case in words, 

Washed off all filial reverence from his eyes, 

And thus addressed the envoy : " Hence away, 

In spite of dust and tempest, swift as wind 

To Farfdiin and heed not aught beside. 

On reaching him greet him in both our names 

And say : ' In heaven and earth the fear of God 

Should equally prevail, the young may hope 

To see old age, but hoar hairs turn not black. 

By long abiding in this straitened place 

Thou straitenest the long home for thyself. 

All-holy God bestowed the world upon thee 

From yonder bright sun unto sombre earth, 

Yet didst thou choose to act in mere caprice, v. Si 

Not heeding His commands, and to entreat 

Thy sons with scath and fraud instead of justice; 

For thou hadst three, wise, brave, and youths no longer, 



192 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

And though no excellence appeared in one 

So that the others should bow down to him, 

Yet one thou blastedst with a dragon's breath, 

Another's head thou raisedst to the clouds ; 

On one thine eyes reposed with joy, and he 

Now hath the crown and is beside thy couch, 

While we who are as good as he by birth 

Are deemed unworthy of the royal throne. 

O upright judge and monarch of the world ! 

May justice such as this be never blessed ! 

If then his worthless head shall be discrowned, 

Earth rescued from his sway, and thou wilt give him 

Some corner of the world where he may sit 

Like us in anguish and oblivion well : 

Else will we bring the Turkman cavaliers 

And eager warriors of Rum and Chin 

An army of the wielders of the mace 

In vengeance on Iran and on fraj.'" 

The priest at this harsh message kissed the ground, 
Then turned and mounted swift as wind-borne flame. 
When he approached the court of Faridun 
And marked the cloud-capt buildings from afar, 
Which stretched from range to range, while at the gate 
Chiefs sat and those of highest rank behind 
The curtain, on the one side pards and lions 
Chained, on the other fierce war-elephants, 
While from that noble band of warriors 
The noise that rose was like a lion's roar, 
V. 82 " It must be heaven," he thought, " and not a court : 
The troops around it are a fairy host ! " 

The wary watchman went and told the Shah : 
" A man of noble mien and high estate 
Hath come as envoy to the Shah." 

He bade 
His servants raise the curtain and bring in 



FARIDUN 193 

The envoy, when dismounted, to the court, 

Who when he saw the face of Faridiin, 

Saw how the Shah engrossed all eyes and hearts, 

His stature cypress-like, his face a sun, 

His hair like camphor and his rose-red cheeks, 

His smiling lips, his modest countenance, 

And royal mouth, which uttered gracious words, 

Did reverence and wore the ground with kisses. 

The Shah commanded him to rise and sit 

Upon the seat of honour due to him, 

Then asked him first about the noble pair : 

"Enjoy they health and happiness?" and next 

About himself: "Art weary with long travel 

O'er hill and plain ? " 

He answered : " Noble Shah ! 
May none behold the world without thee ! Those 
Of whom thou speakest are as thou wouldst wish, 
And live but by thy name. Thy slave am I, 
Albeit all unworthy and impure. 
The message that I bring to thee is harsh 
And sent in anger by no fault of mine, 
But if my lord commandeth I will tell 
The message sent by two imprudent youths." 

The Shah commanded him to speak and heard 
The embassage delivered word by word. 



10 
How Faridun made Answer to his Sons 

When he had heard, the Shah's brain seethed with 

anger. 

" O man of prudence ! " thus he made reply, 
" Thou needest no excuse, for I have eyes V. 83 

And have discerned this for myself already. 

N 



194 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSf 

Tell mine unholy and abandoned sons 
This pair of Ahrimans with dregs of brains : 
' 'Tis well that ye reveal your natures thus 
And send a greeting worthy of yourselves ; 
For if your brains are empty of my teaching, 
And ye have no idea what wisdom is, 
Not fearing God, ye could not well do other. 
My hair was once as black as pitch, my stature 
Was cypress-tall, my face was like the moon. 
The sky which hath bent down this back of mine 
Is yet unfallen and revolveth still : 
So time will bend you too, and even that 
Which bendeth you itself will not endure. 
Now by the highest name of holy God, 
By yon bright sun, and by the teeming ground, 
By throne, by crown, by Venus and the moon, 
I never cast an evil look upon you. 
I called the sages into conference, 
The archimages and astrologers ; 
Abundant time was spent therein that so 
We might divide the earth with equity ; 
I had no object but to deal with fairness ; 
There was no knavery from first to last ; 
My secret motive was the fear of God, 
My longing to fulfil all righteousness ; 
Since earth was given to me full of men 
It was no wish of mine to scatter them ; 
I said : " On each of my three lucky Eyes 
Will I bestow a populous dominion." 
If Ahriman hath now seduced your hearts 
From mine advice to dark and crooked ways, 
Consider if the Omnipotent will look 
With approbation on this deed of yours. 
V. s 4 One proverb will I speak if ye will hear : 

" The crop that ye have sown that shall ye reap." 



FARtDUN 195 

He that instructed me was wont to say : 

" Our other home is that which will endure." 

But your lusts sit where reason should be throned. 

Why are ye thus confederate with the Div ? 

I fear that in that Dragon's clutch your bodies 

And souls will part. Now that I leave the world 

It is no time for wrath and bitterness ; 

Yet thus he saith the man consumed with years, 

Who had three sons, three men of noble birth : 

By hearts released from passions dust is held 

As precious as the Avealth of king of kings ; 

But whoso selleth brother for the dust 

Men rightly say that he was bastard-born. 

The world hath seen and will see men like you 

In plenty ; but it cottoneth to none. 

Now if ye know aught of avail with God 

To save you on the Day of Reckoning, 

Seek that, make it the provand for the way 

And be less careful for the things of earth ! ' ' 

The envoy hearing kissed the ground and went ; 
Thou wouldst have said : " His way-mate is the wind." 
The envoy being gone the Shah resumed 
His seat, then called his noble son t raj 
And told both what had chanced and what might 

be: 

" Those sons of mine with hearts intent on war 
Have set themselves against us from the West. 
Their stars dispose them to delight in ill ; 
Besides their troughs are in two provinces, 
Whose fruit is savagery. They will enact 
The brother's part while thou shalt wear the crown, 
And when thy ruddy face is pale in death 
Will shun thy pillow. If thou puttest love 
Before the sword thy head will ache with strife, 
For from both corners of the world my sons 



196 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSf 

V. 85 Have shown their real intent. If thou wouldst 

fight 

Make ready, ope the treasury, bind the baggage ; 
Secure the cup while thou art breaking fast, 
For if not they will sup on thee, my son ! 
Thou needst not earthly helpers, thine allies 
Are truth and innocence." 

The good Iraj 

Gazed on that loving Shah, his glorious sire, 
And said : " My lord ! consider how time passeth 
Like wind above us. Why should wise men fret ? 
It withereth the cheek of cercis-bloom, 
It darkeneth the radiant spirit's eyes ; 
It is at first a gain and then a pain, 
And when the pain is done we pass away. 
Since then our couch is dust, our pillow brick, 
Why plant to-day a tree whose roots will ever 
Be drinking blood, whose fruit will be revenge ? 
The earth hath seen and will see many lords 
With scimitar and throne and signet-ring 
Like us ; but they who wore the crown of old 
Made not a habit of revenge. I too, 
The king permitting, will not live in ill. 
I want not crown and throne. I will approach 
My brothers in all haste and unattended, 
And say : ' My lords, dear as my soul and body ! 
Forbear your anger and abandon strife : 
Strife is unlovely in religious men. 
Why set your hopes so much upon this world ? 
How ill it used Jamshid who passed away 
At last, and lost the crown and throne and girdle ! 
And you and I at length must share his lot. 
Live we in joy together and thus safe 

V. 86 From foes.' I will convert their vengeful hearts : 

What better vengeance can I take than that ? " 

I 



FARIDUN 197 

The Shall replied : " Thy brethren, my wise son ! 
Are set on fight while thou wouldst have a feast. 
I cannot but recall this saw to mind : 
' It is no marvel if the moon is bright.' 
An answer such as thine becometh well 
Thy virtuous self; thou art for brotherhood 
And love, but doth a prudent man expose 
His priceless life and head to dragon's breath, 
Since naught but biting venom cometh thence 
By nature ? Yet, if such be thy resolve, 
Take order for thy going and set forth. 
Select a retinue among the troops 
To go with thee, and I will write a letter, 
With sorrow in my heart, to those two men. 
Oh ! may thy safe return rejoice my sight, 
For when I look on thee my soul is bright." 



How fray went to his Brothers 

The great Shah wrote a letter to the lord 

Of all the West and to the king of Chin, 

Wherein he offered first his praise to God 

Who is and will be to eternity, 

And then went on : " This letter of good counsel 

Is for two Suns at their meridian, 

Two men of weight and courage, kings of earth, 

One monarch of the West, the other of Chin, 

From him who hath surveyed the world throughout, 

To whom mysterious things have been disclosed, 

Who brandisheth the sword and massive mace, 

Who addeth lustre unto famous crowns, 

Who turneth into night the light of day, 

Who openeth the hoards of hope and fear, 



198 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USl 

V. 87 To whom all labours have grown easy, one 

In whom all splendour hath displayed itself. 
I do not ask of you your diadems, 
Your hoarded treasures, thrones, or palaces : 
My wish is, after all my weary toils, 
That my three sons should dwell in peace and love. 
The brother as to whom your hearts are sore 
(Though none hath felt a chilling breath from him) 
Doth come in haste because of your chagrin, 
And of his eagerness to see you both. 
He hath resigned his kingship for your sakes 
An action worthy of the noblest men 
And taking to the saddle from the throne 
Hath girt his loins that he may do you service. 
Now since he is the youngest of the three 
He hath a right to love and tenderness. 
Hold him in honour, and repent yourselves ; 
As I have fed his body feed his soul, 
And after he hath been with you awhile 
Send my beloved one back to me." 

They sealed 

The letter with the signet of the Shah. 
I raj set forth with such attendants only, 
Both young and old, as were imperative ; 
And Salm and Tur, when he was drawing nigh, 
Unwitting of their dark design, led forth 
The troops to meet him as their custom was. 
When they beheld their brother's face of love 
They showed to him an altered countenance, 
And bent on quarrel gave the peaceful one 
A greeting but jiot such as he desired. 
Two hearts were full of vengeance, one was calm : 
Thus all three brothers sought their royal tents. 

The troops saw, as they looked upon iraj, 
That he was worthy of the throne and crown, 



FA RID UN 199 

And could not rest because the love of him 

Possessed their hearts e'en as his face their eyes ; 

And when, dispersing, mate went off with mate, 

Their talk in private was about 1 raj : 

" This is the one to be the king of kings ! V. 88 

May none beside him have the crown of might." 

Salm from apart was spying on the troops, 
Their doings made him heavy, and he sought 
His royal tent with a revengeful heart, 
With liver full of blood, and frowning brows. 
He had the enclosure cleared while he and Tiir 
Sat with their counsellors, and talked at large 
Of kingship, crown, and all the provinces ; 
And in the midst thereof Salm said to Tiir : 
" Why have the soldiers scattered into groups ? 
Didst thou not mark how, when we were returning, 
The soldiers as they passed along the road 
Could not refrain from looking at 1 raj ? 
Our troops when they came back were altered men. 
He turned my heart to gloom, thoughts thronged, I saw 
That henceforth they would wish no Shah but him. 
Unless thou shalt uproot him thou wilt fall 
From thine exalted throne beneath his feet." 

In such a mind they closed the interview 
And spent the night devising what to do. 



3 I2 
How Iraj was Slain by his Brothers 

Now when the veil was lifted from the sun, 
As morning dawned and slumber passed away, 
The hearts of that insensate pair were eager 
To do their deed of shame ; they proudly strode 
Toward their royal brother's tent. Iraj, 
Who saw them coming, met them tenderly. 



200 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USl 

v. 8; They went with him inside the tent. The talk 
Kan on the why and wherefore of his coming. 
Tur said to him : " Since thou art youngest born 
Why shouldst thou take the crown of power? Must 

thou 

Possess the throne of princes and i ran 
While I am bondslave at the Turkman's gate ? 
Thine eldest brother chafeth in the West 
While thou art crowned and walkest over treasure, 
For thus did our aspiring sire apportion 
The world in favour of his youngest son." 
Iraj made answer in a holier strain : 
" mighty chieftain, lover of renown ! 
Seek peace if thou wouldst have thy heart at ease. 
I do not want the royal crown or throne, 
The style of monarch or the Iranian host ; 
I do not want Iran, the West, or Chin, 
The kingship or the broad expanse of earth. 
When majesty produceth naught but strife 
One needs must weep o'er such supremacy. 
Although thou ridest on the heaven above, 
L A brick will be thy pillow in the end. 
For my part, though the master of Iran, 
I am aweary both of crown and throne, 
And yield to you the diadem and signet, 
So hate me not ; there is no feud between us, 
No heart need ache through me. I will not have 
The world against your will, and though I dwell 
Far from your ken I ever act as younger : 
My Faith is naught without humanity." 

Tur heard the words and little heeded them, 
But, angry that f raj should speak and caring 
No jot for peace, he rose up with a cry 
And then advancing suddenly, and grasping 
The massive seat of gold, he smote Iraj, 



FARiDUN 201 

Who pleaded for his life : " Hast thou no fear 

Of God, nor any reverence for thy sire ? Y - 9 

Is this indeed thy purpose ? Slay me not, 

For in the end my blood will be required. 

Be not thou reckoned with the murderers, 

And henceforth thou shalt find no trace of me. 



Canst thou approve and reconcile these twain 

To be a murderer and live thyself? 

Oh ! hurt not e'en the poor grain-dragging ant, 

For it hath life, and sweet life is a joy. 1 

I will choose some retreat and earn my bread ; 

Why gird thy loins to take a brother's life ? 

Why set on fire our aged father's heart ? 

Wouldst have the world ? Thou hast it. Shed not 

blood : 
Provoke not God, the Ruler of the world." 

Tiir heard him speak but answered not a word : 
His heart was full, his head was vapouring. 
He drew a dagger from his boot, he robed 
Iraj in blood, and with the keen bright blade 
Entrenched the royal breast. The lofty Cypress 
Fell, the imperial girdlestead was broken, 
The blood ran down that face of cercis-bloom, 
And thus the young illustrious monarch died ! 
Tiir with his dagger cut the prince's head 
From the elephantine form and all was over. 

world ! since thou hadst nursed him tenderly 
Yet didst not spare his life at last, I wis 

Not who thy secret favourites may be, 
But needs must weep for such an act as this. 

1 The poet puts his own protest into the mouth of Iraj against the 
ancient Zoroastrian custom of killing ants at sight as being the crea- 
tion of Ahriman. "The celebrated high-priest of the Parsis, the late 
Moola Firooz, entered these lines into his Pand Namdh,* which may 
betoken better days for the wise little creature." DZA, i. 171. 

* i.e. Book of counsels. 



202 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Thou too, O man distracted and distraught, 
Whose heart the world hath seared and caused to bleed ! 

If, as with these, revenge is in thy thought 
, Take warning by these persecutors' deed. 

They filled the head with umsk and ambergris 
And sent it to the aged world-divider 

v. 91 With these words : " Look upon thy darling's head 
The inheritor of our forefathers' crown 
And give it crown or throne as pleaseth thee." 

The royal and far-shadowing Tree had fallen, 
And those two miscreants went their way in spleen, 
One unto Rum, the other unto Chin. 



How Faridun received Tidings of the Murder of fraj 

The eyes of Faridun were on the road, 

Both host and crown were longing for the prince ; 

But when the time arrived for his return 

How did the tidings reach his father first ? 

He had prepared the prince a turquoise throne 

And added jewels to his crown. The people 

Were all in readiness to welcome him 

And called for wine and song and minstrelsy. 

They brought out drums and stately elephants, 

And put up decorations everywhere 

Throughout his province. While the Shah and troops 

Were busied thus a cloud of dust appeared, 

And from its midst a dromedary ridden 

By one in grief who uttered bitter cries ; 

He bore a golden casket, and therein 

The prince's head enwrapped in painted silk. 

The good man came with woeful countenance 

To Faridun and wailed aloud. They raised 

The golden casket's lid (for every one 



FARIDUN 203 

Believed the words of him who bore it wild) 

And taking out the painted silk beheld 

Within the severed head of prince Iraj. 

Down from his steed fell Faridiin, the troops 

All rent their clothes, their looks were black, their eyes 

Blanched with their horror, for the spectacle 

Was other far than that they hoped to see. 

Since in this wise the young king came again 
The troops that went to meet him thus returned 
Their banners rent, their kettledrums reversed, 
The warriors' cheeks like ebony, the tymbals 
And faces of the elephants all blackened, v. 92 

The prince's Arabs splashed with indigo. 
Both Shah and warriors fared alike on foot, 
Their heads all dust ; the paladins in anguish 
Bewailed that noble man and tore their arms. 

Be on thy guard as touching this world's love ; 
A bow is useless if it be not bent. 

The process of the turning sky above 
Is, favouring first, to plunder in the event. 

'Twill countenance an open enemy 
While those who seek its favour are denied. 

One goodly counsel I address to thee : 
Let no love for it in thy heart abide. 

The troops heart-seared, the Shah with cries " Alas ! 
Alas ! " went toward the garden of Iraj 
Where he delighted to hold festival 
On any royal anniversary. 
The monarch entered bearing his son's head, 
Beheld the hauzes l and the cypresses, 

1 " Behind the state apartments is a beautiful and luxuriant garden , 
cooled by magnificent hauzes, or ornamental ponds, with stone edges, 
which keep the water about a foot above the level of the ground ; as 
the water always gently overflows these edges, a sleepy murmur is 
produced, and the air is cooled by the large evaporating surface." 
" Persia as it Is," p. 31, by C. J. Wills, M.D. 



204 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USf 

The trees a-bloom, the willows and the quinces, 

Saw too and strewed dark dust upon the throne 

Imperial but unprinced and lustreless 

While up to Saturn rose the soldiers' wail. 

He cried " Alas ! Alas ! " plucked out his hair, 

He poured down tears, he tore his face and girt 

Around his loins a rope besmirched with blood. 

He fired the house wherein f raj had dwelt, 

Destroyed the rose-beds, burnt the cypress-trees 

And closed up once for all the eye of joy. 

He placed the prince's head upon his breast, 

And said with head turned God-ward : " Righteous 

Judge ! 

Look down upon this murdered innocent, 
Whose severed head is here before me now, 
While foreign lions have devoured his body. 
V. 93 Do Thou so burn up those two miscreants' hearts 
That they may never see a bright day more. 
So pierce and sear the livers of them both 
That even beasts of prey shall pity them. 
Oh ! grant me, Thou that judgest righteously ! 
So long a respite from the day of death 
That I may see descended from t raj 
One born to fame, and girded to avenge. 
Let him behead those two injurious men 
As they beheaded him who wronged them not, 
And when I have beheld it let me go 
Where earth shall take the measure of my height." 

He wept thus many days and bitterly. 
His pillow was the dust, his bed the ground 
Until the herbage grew about his breast 
And both those lustrous eyes of his were dimmed. 
He gave no audience, but without surcease 
Cried out with bitterness : " O gallant youth ! 
No wearer of a crown hath ever died 



FARIDIJN 205 

As thou hast died, thou famous warrior ! 
Thou wast beheaded by vile Ahriman ; 
The maw of lions was thy winding-sheet." 

Wails, sobs, and cries robbed e'en the beasts of sleep, 
While men and women gathered into crowds 
In every province, weeping and heart-broken. 
How many days they sat in their distress 
A death in life of utter hopelessness ! 



! 4 
How a Daughter was Born to Iraj 

A while passed and the Shah went in to view 

1 raj's bower, inspected it and marked 

The moon-faced beauties who resided there. 

He saw a slave of lovely countenance, 

Whose name was Mah Afrid. f raj had loved her, v. 94 

And fate decreed that she should bear him fruit. 

The Shah rejoiced because she was with child, 

Which gave him hope of vengeance for his son, 

But when her time was come she bore a daughter, 

And hope deferred hung heavy on the Shah. 

He nursed the babe with joy and tenderness, 

And all the folk began to cherish her 

As she increased in stature and in charms. 

Thou wouldst have said to her the tulip-cheeked : 

" Thou art fraj himself from head to foot." 

When she was old enough to wed a Pleiad 

In countenance with hair as black as pitch 

Her grandsire chose Pashang to be her spouse : 

Pashang was brother's son to Faridiin, 

Descended from a noble ancestry, 

A hero of the seed of Shah Jamshid, 

Meet for the kingship, diadem, and throne ; 

And in this way no little time passed on. 



206 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USf 

15 

The Birth of Minucltihr 

Mark what a wonder yon blue vault revealed 

When nine months had elapsed ! That virtuous dame 

Brought forth a son fit for the crown and throne, 

Who from his tender mother's womb was brought 

Without delay before the mighty Shah. 

The bearer said : " master of the crown ! 

Let all thy heart be joy : behold fraj ! " 

The world-divider's lips were full of smiles ; 
Thou wouldst have said : " His own f raj doth live." 
He clasped the noble child and prayed the Almighty : 
" Oh ! would that I might have mine eyes again, 
Y - 95 That God would show to me this infant's face." 

He prayed so earnestly that God vouchsafed 
To give his sight back. When with open eyes 
He gazed on that new-comer's face he cried : 
" Be this day blest and our foes' hearts plucked out ! " 

He brought bright wine and splendid cups and called 
That babe of open visage Mimichihr, 1 
And said : " From two pure parents there hath come 
A proper branch to fruit." 

He reared the babe 

So tenderly that not a breath passed o'er him. 
The slave that carried him upon her breast 
Trod not the ground, for underneath her feet 
The purest musk was strewn, and as she walked 
A sunshade of brocade was o'er her head. 
Years passed, no ill befell him from the stars ; 
" Meanwhile the famous monarch taught the child 
All those accomplishments that kings require. 

1 The word here translated " open visage " is " mansichihr." For the 
true meaning of Minuchihr see introductory note to the next reign. 



FARlDtiN 207 

When Faridiin had got back sight and heart, 

And all the world was talking of the boy, 

His grandsire gave to him a golden throne, 

A princely turquoise crown, a massive mace 

And treasury-key with thrones, torques, casques, and 
girdles, 

A bright-hued tent-enclosure of brocade 

With tents of leopard-skin, such Arab steeds 

With golden furniture, such Indian scimitars 

With golden sheaths, such store of casques and breast- 
plates, 

With buttoned hauberks made in Rum and bows 

From Chach and poplar shafts and shields from Chin 

And double-headed javelins of war ! 

Thus Faridiin bestowed his hard- won treasures, v. 96 

Convinced that Mimichihr was well deserving, 

And felt his own heart full of love for him. 

He summoned all his paladins and nobles, 

Who came intent on vengeance for Iraj, 

And offered homage, showering emeralds 

Upon his crown. On that great new-made feast 

The sheep and wolf walked side by side on earth. 

The leaders were Karan, the son of Kawa, 

The chief Shirwi, the fierce and lion-like, 

Garshasp the noble swordsman, Sam the champion, 

The son of Nariman ; Kubad, Kishwad, 

He of the golden helm and many more 

Illustrious men, the safeguards of the world 

And when the work of gathering troops was done 

The Shah's head towered over every one. 



208 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 



How Salrn and Tar had Tidings of Minuchihr 

When those two miscreants Salm and Tiir had heard : 
" The throne of king of kings is bright again," 
They feared their star would sink and sat together 
In anxious thought ; those wretches' day was darkened 
And they resolved to send to ask forgiveness. 
They chose a man persuasive, wise, and modest, 
To whom they made a passionate appeal, 
And fearful of a downfall opened wide 
V. 97 The treasury of the West. From that old hoard 

They chose a crown of gold. They housed the elephants. 

What wagons did they fill with musk and ambergris, 

Brocade, dinars, and precious furs and silks ! 

On high-necked elephants the embassage 

Went from the West in state toward Iran. 

The courtiers added tokens of regard, 

And when there was as much as heart could wish 

The envoy came prepared to start. The kings 

Gave him this embassy to Faridiin, 

Invoking first of all the name of God : 

" May valiant Faridiin for ever live 

On whom God hath bestowed the royal Grace, 

Be his head flourishing, his person loved, 

His genius higher than heaven ! I present 

A case committed to me by two slaves 

At this high portal of the king of kings. 

Know that two ill-disposed and lawless men, 

Whose eyes are wet with shame before their sire, 

Repentant, seared at heart, and much to blame, 

Now seek how best they may excuse themselves ; 

Till now they had no hope of being heard. 



FARIDUN 209 

What do they say ? Their words, wise Shah ! are these: 

' Let him that did the evil bear the brunt, 

And live in pain of heart and self-reproach 

As we are doing now, O noble Shah ! 

Thus was it written down for us by fate 

And by decree of fate the sequel came ; 

E'en world-consuming lions and fierce dragons 

Escape not from the net of destiny. 

Again the foul Div bade us put aside 

All terror of the Worldlord from our hearts, 

He took possession of two wise men's brains, 

And mightily prevailed against us both ; 

And now our hope is that perchance the Shah 

May yet forgive us, and impute the wrong 

To ignorance in us, next to high heaven 

That is at once our shelter and our scath, V. 

And thirdly to the Div that in our midst 

Is girded runner-like to work us ill, 

Now, if the great king's head no longer harboureth 

Revenge on us, our good faith shall be evident. 

Let him send Miniichihr and, as an escort, 

A mighty army to his suppliants, 

With this intent that we may stand as slaves 

Before him dutifully ; thus our tears 

May wash^the tree that springeth of revenge, 

Our offering shall be our tears and groans, 

And when he groweth up our hoards and thrones.' " 

17 
How Faridun received his Sons' Message 

Charged with these words, and doubting what would 

follow, 

The envoy reached the portal of the Shah 
With treasures of all kinds on elephants. 

o 



210 THE SH AH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

When Farfdiin was told he gave command 
To spread brocade of Rum upon the throne 
Of king of kings and have the royal crown 
Prepared, then took his seat as he had been 
An upright cypress 'neath a full-orbed moon 
In fitting state with crown and torque and ear- 
rings. 

Blest Miniichihr sat by him crowned, the nobles 
Stood ranked in double file in robes of gold, 
With golden mace and girdle, making earth 
Another sun. On one side pards and lions 
Were chained, on the other huge war-elephants. 
Then from the palace issued bold Shapiir 
To introduce Salmis envoy, who on seeing 
The palace-gate alighted and ran forward. 
V. 99 As soon as he drew near to Faridun 

And saw the diadem and lofty throne, 
He bent until his visage touched the ground. 
The noble Shah, the monarch of the world, 
Bade him be seated on a golden seat. 
He did obeisance to the Shah and said : 
" glory of the crown and throne and signet ! 
Thy throne's steps make the earth a rosary, 
And thy fair fortune brighteneth the age. 
We serve the dust that is beneath thy feet 
And only live since thou wilt have it so." 

These praises caused the Shah's face to relax, 
Whereat the envoy spake of clemency 
With great craft, and the Shah gave ear to him 
While he repeated those two murderers' words, 
Endeavouring to keep the truth concealed 
And make excuses for their wickedness, 
Inviting Miniichihr to visit them 
When they would wait upon him as his slaves, 
Give him the crown and throne of majesty 



FARIDUN 211 

And purchase back from him Iraj's blood 
With wealth, brocade, dinars, and jewelry. 
The monarch heard the speech and answered it ; 
Like key to lock so did the answer fit. 

18 

How Faridun made Answer to his Sons 

The Shah, when he had heard the message sent 

By his two wicked sons, said to the envoy : 

" Canst thou conceal the sun, and clearer still 

Are shown the secrets of those miscreants' hearts ? 

I have heard all thy words ; now mark mine answer. 

Tell those two shameless and unholy men, v I00 

Unrighteous, ill-affectioned, and impure, 

That their vain words avail them not, and I 

Have also something that I fain would say : 

' If thus your love for Mimichihr hath grown 

Where is the body of his famous sire 

Iraj ? The maw of wild beasts hideth it, 

His head is in a narrow casket laid, 

And they who made a riddance of f raj 

Now seek to shed the blood of Mimichihr ! 

Ye shall not see his face but with an army 

And with a casque of steel upon his head, 

With mace and Kawian standard while the earth 

Is darkened by his horses' trampling hoofs ; 

With leaders like Karan, who loveth fight, 

Shapiir the valiant backbone of the host 

And by his side Shidiish the warrior, 

Shirwf the lion-strong as pioneer, 

King Taliman, and Sarv, king of Yainan, 

To head the forces and direct the war ; 

And we will drench with blood, both leaf and fruit, 

The tree sprung out of vengeance for fraj. 



212 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

No one hath sought revenge for him as yet 
Because I saw the back of fortune bent : 
It seemed not good to me to lay my hands 
In battle on mine own two sons ; but now 
From that same Tree which enemies have felled 
A fruitful Offshoot hath sprung up ; for like 
An angry lion Minuchihr shall come, 
With loins girt ready to avenge his sire, 
Together with the leaders of the troops 
Such chiefs as Sam the son of Nariman, 
Garshasp, son of Jamshid and hosts to reach 
From hill to hill, and trample down the world.' 
Next for their pleading that ' the Shah must wash 
His heart from vengeance, and forgive our crime, 
Because the sky so turned o'er us that wisdom 
Was troubled, and affection's seat obscured : ' 
I have heard all the unavailing plea, 
And now that patience is fordone I answer : 
' No man that soweth seed of violence 
Shall see good days or jocund Paradise. 
V. ioi If ye are pardoned by All-holy God 

What need ye fear about a brother's blood ? 

The wise esteem the self-excuser guilty. 

Revere ye not the glorious Lord of all ? 

Your hearts are black, your tongues speak glozing 

words ; 

He will requite you for it in both worlds. 
And thirdly, since ye sent an ivory throne 
And torquoise crown on mighty elephants, 
With purses full of divers-coloured gems, 
Am I to balk revenge, to wash away 
The blood and sell the prince's head for gold ? 
Nay ! perish first throne, diadem, and Grace ! 
Worse than a dragon's offspring is the man 
l^ Who taketh money for a priceless head. 



FARIDUN 213 

Shall any sa,y : " The sire in his old age 
Is putting price upon his son's dear life ? " 
As for these gifts of yours I need them not. 
But wherefore utter I so many words ? 
Your hoary-headed sire will not ungird 
The loins of his revenge while life endureth.' 
Thy message have I heard. Hear my reply, 
Retain it every whit and get thee gone." 

The messenger grew pale at this dread speech 
And at the bearing of prince Mimichihr, 
Leapt up in fear and mounted instantly. 
The noble, youthful envoy shrewdly saw : 
" Revolving heaven in no long time will furrow 
The visages of Tiir and Salm." 

He sped 

Like rushing wind, his head full of the message, 
His heart of bodings. When he saw the West, 
With camp-enclosures stretched upon the plain, 
He made his way toward Salm's pavilion 
Of painted silk with other tents around, V. 102 

Where sat both kings in conclave. Word was passed : 
" The envoy hath returned." 

The chamberlain 

Approached and took him to the royal presence. 
They had a special seat prepared for him 
And asked for tidings of the new-made Shah, 
Of crown and throne and of Shah Faridun, 
His host, his warriors, and his dominions, 
And of the aspect of the turning sky : 
" What favour showeth it to Mimichihr ? 
Who are the nobles ? Who is minister ? 
What treasures have they ? Who hath charge 

thereof ? " 

The envoy said : " The portal of the Shah 
Beholdeth that which bright spring seeth not, 



214 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

For 'tis the jocund Spring of Paradise 

Where ground is ambergris and bricks are gold. 

The roof above his palace is a heaven, 

And Paradise is in his smiling face. 

When I approached his lofty residence 

Its roof was telling secrets to the stars. 

On this hand there were lions, and on that 

Were elephants. The world itself was placed 

Beneath his throne. Upon his elephants 

Were seats of gold, and round the lions' necks 

Were jewelled torques. The tymbal-players stood 

Before the elephants while trumpets blared. 

Thou wouldst have said : ' The precincts seethe, earth 

shouteth 

To heaven.' I came before that well-loved Shah, 
And saw a lofty turquoise throne where sat 
V. 103 A monarch like a moon. Upon his head 
He wore a sparkling ruby coronet. 
His hair was white as camphor, and his cheeks 
Were like the petals of the rose. His heart 
Is full of clemency, his speech is kind ; 
He is the hope and fear of all the world. 
Thou wouldst have said : ' Jamshid doth live again.' 
A Shoot from that tall Cypress Mimichihr, 
Like Tahmuras, the Binder of the Div, 
Sat on the Shah's right hand : thou wouldst have said : 
' He is the heart and soul of that great Shah.' 
There Kawa stood, the skilled among the smiths, 
With one before him well beseen in war 
His son, Karan by name, the warrior, 
The watchful chief, the conqueror of hosts ; 
The minister Sarv, monarch of Yaman, 
The treasurer victorious Garshasp, 
Were there. The sum within the treasuries 
Appeareth not. None ever saw such greatness. 



FARIDUN 215 

Around the palace were two lines of troops 

With golden maces and with golden helms. 

Before them there were leaders like Karan, 

The son of Kawa, that experienced captain, 

And warriors ravening Lions like Shirwi, 

And bold Shapur, the elephantine chief. 

When on the elephants they bind the drums v. 104 

The air becometh ebon with the dust. 

If these men come to fight us hill and plain 

Will be confounded ; these men have revenge 

At heart ; their faces frown ; they purpose war." 

The envoy having further told the message 
Of Faridun, those tyrants' hearts grew sore, 
Their faces blue as lapislazuli. 
They sat consulting, but had naught determined 
When Tur spake thus : " Farewell to peace and joy ! 
We must not let this hardy lion's whelp 
Grow bold and sharp of fang. Will such a youth 
Lack prowess, being taught by Faridun ? 
When grandson communeth with grandsire thus 
Some devilry is sure to come of it. 
Prepare we then for war and that with speed." 

They hurried out their cavalry and mustered 
Troops from the West and Chin, whence hubbub rose 
And all flocked to the kings a multitude 
Whose star of fortune was no longer young. 
Two hosts empanoplied marched on t ran 
With mighty elephants, much precious store, 
And those two murderers intent on war. 



19 
How Faridun sent Minuchihr to fight Tur and Salm 

The Shah was told, " A host hath crossed Jihim," 
And bade prince Minuchihr to pass the frontier 



216 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

v. 105 Toward the desert, thus advising him : 
" A youth predestined to be fortunate 
May happen to ensnare a mountain-sheep 
While hunters are before and pards behind ; 
But having patience, prudence, sense, and wits, 
He will take savage lions in his toils, 
And now my foes in these my closing days 
I would chastise, and wield a sword of fire." 

" Great Shah ! " said Hinuchihr, "may fate keep ill 
For any foe that cometh to attack thee ; 
May he betray himself both soul and body. 
Lo ! I will don a coat of Human mail 
To leave no part exposed, and then in quest 
Of vengeance on the battlefield will send 
The dust of yon host sunward. None of them 
Hold I a man : dare they contend with me ? " 
He ordered that Karan, who loved the fray, 
Should cross the frontier to the desert, taking 
The camp-enclosure and the imperial standard. 
Then as troop followed troop the hills and plains 
Heaved like the sea, the day was dark with dust. 
And thou hadst said : " The sun is azure-dim." 
A clamour rose enough to deafen ears 
Though keen, the neighing of the Arab steeds 
Rose high above the tymbals' din. Two lines 
Of mighty elephants stretched from the camp 
For two miles, sixty carried seats of gold 
Inlaid with gems, three hundred bore the baggage, 

V. 106 Three hundred were in iron panoply 
That hid all but their eyes. 

They left Tammfsha 

And bore the camp-enclosure to the waste. 
Karan the avenger was the general, 
The host three hundred thousand cavaliers. 
The men of name marched mailed, with massive maces, 



FARIDUN 



217 



All bold as angry lions and all girded 

For vengeance for 1 raj ; their steel-blue swords 

Were in their hands and Kawa's standard led them. 

Then Minuchihr with him who loved the fray, 1 

Karan, went from the forest of Narwan, 

Reviewed and ranged his host on those broad plains. 

He gave the army's left wing to Garshasp ; 

Upon the right was brave Sam with Kubad, 

Who set the battle in array. The prince 

With Sarv was in the centre, whence he shone 

Moon-like, or as the sun o'er some high hill. 

Led by Karan, with champions such as Sam, 

The Iranian army fought. Kubad was scout, 

The heroes of the house of Taliman 

Were ambuscaders, and the host was decked 

In bridal trim with lion-warriors 

And din of drums. 

Men bore the news in haste 

To Tiir and Salm : " The Iranians armed for fight 
Are marching toward the desert from the forest, 
Their livers' blood afoam upon their lips." 

That pair of murderers with a huge array 
Set forth intent on vengeance and drew up 
Their host upon the plain : they made the Alans 
And sea their base. Kubad the scout advanced, 
And Tiir on hearing that came forth like wind, 
And said to him : " Return to Minuchihr 
And say to him : ' Thou bastard just made Shah ! 
What though there was a daughter to fraj, v. 107 

Hast thou a right to signet, crown, and throne ? ' " * 

" Yea, I will take thy message." said Kubad, 
" In thine own words and style, but thou wilt quake 
To think hereafter of this monstrous speech. 
'Twill not be strange if even savage beasts 

1 Reading with C. 2 Cf. DEI, ii. 217. 



218 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

Bewail you day and night, for from Narwan 

To Chin are warlike, vengeful cavaliers. 

A glimpse of our bright swords and Kawa's standard 

Will make your hearts and brains burst in dismay : 

Ye will not know a valley from a hill." 

Tur heard and turned away in silent dudgeon, 
While blest Kubad went back to Miniichihr 
And told the insulting words. The young prince laughed. 
" None but a fool," he said, " would talk like this. 
But praise to Him the Lord of both the worlds 
Who knoweth all things secret or revealed ! 
He knoweth that my grandsire was fraj, 
As blessed Faridun assureth me, 
But when I show my person in the fight 
My birth and prowess will approve themselves. 
Now by the Grace of Him who ruleth sun 
And moon I will not leave Tur power to wink, 
But show his trunkless head to all the host ; 
I will avenge my blessed sire upon him 
And turn his kingdom upside down." 

He ceased 
And issued orders to prepare a feast. 



S 2O 
How Miniichihr attacked the Host of Tar 

\. 108 When the bright world grew dark and scouts dispersed 
About the plain, Karan the warrior 
And Sarv the counsellor, who led the host, 
Observed : " This will be Ahriman's own fight, 
A day of martial deeds and vengeance-seeking." l 

A proclamation issued to the troops : 
" men of name and Lions of the Shah ! 

1 Reading with C. 



FAR1DUN 219 

Gird up your loins, be vigilant, and may 

The Almighty guard you. Whosoe'er is slain 

Will go to Paradise washed clean from sin ; 

While they who shed the blood of warriors 

Of Hiim and Chin, and take their lands, shall have 

Eternal fame, the Grace of archimages ; 

The Shah will give them thrones and diadems, 

Their chieftain gold and God prosperity. 

Now when the dawn is breaking and the sun 

Half risen gird upon your valiant loins 

Your maces and your daggers of Kabul, 

Take up your stations and preserve your ranks." 

The captains of the host, the valiant chiefs, 
Drew up before the lion-prince and said : 
"We are but slaves and live to serve the Shah, 
Will do his will and with our swords make earth 
Run like Jihun." 

They went back to their tents, V. 109 
All purposing revenge. 

Now when day broke, 

Upheaving night's mid gloom, the prince assumed 
His station at the centre of the host 
With coat of armour, sword, and Ruman helm. 
The soldiers shouted lifting to the clouds 
Their spears. He duly ordered all the troops, 
The left, the right, the centre, and the wings. 
With heads all anger and with brows all frowns 
They rolled up earth in marching. It resembled 
A ship upon the waves and thou hadst said : 
" It sinketh fast ! " From his huge elephant 
He dropped a ball, earth heaved like azure sea, 
The drummers marched before the elephants 
With roar and din like lions in their rage, 
While from the sounds of pipe and clarion 
Thou wouldst have said : " It is a festival." 



220 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

The troops moved mountain-like and both hosts shouted. 
Anon the plain ran blood : thou wouldst have said 
That tulips sprang up. Mighty elephants 
Stood as on coral columns in the gore. 

V. no They fought till night, till Minuchihr, who won 
The love of all, obtained the victory ; 

v. in Yet fortune in one stay abideth not, 

Now honey and now gall make up man's lot. 

The hearts of Tiir and Salm were deeply moved 
By grief. They listened for a night-surprise, 
But no one came e'en when night turned to day, 
And they themselves were anxious for delay. 



2I 
How Tiir was Slain by the Hand of MiwOchihr 

Noon passed. With vengeful hearts the brothers met 
For consultation ; mid their foolish schemes 
They said : " Let us attempt a night-attack 
And fill the desert and the plain with blood." 

That night those miscreants drew their army out, 
Bent on a camisade. The Iranian scouts 
Gat news thereof, and sped to Minuchihr 
To tell him so that he might post his troops. 
V. 7i2 That shrewd man heard and planned a counter-ruse. 
He left Karan the host and led himself 
An ambuscade with thirty thousand warriors, 
All men of name. Tiir came at night and brought 
One hundred thousand men prepared for fight, 
But found the foe arrayed with banners flying 
And saw that battle was his sole resource. 
A shout rose from the centres of the hosts, 
The horsemen made the air a cloud of dust 
And steel swords flashed like lightning: thou hadst 
said : 



FARIDUN 221 

" They make air blaze, earth gleam like diamonds." 

The clashing of the steel went through the brain, 

While flame and blast rose cloudward. Minuchihr 

Sprang from his ambush and surrounded Tur, 

Who wheeled and fled mid wailings of despair V. 113 

From his own troops. Prince Minuchihr pursued, 

Hot for revenge, and cried : " Stay, miscreant, 

Who lovest fight so well and cuttest off 

The heads of innocents ! Know'st not that all 

Desire revenge on thee ? " 

He hurled a dart 

Against Tur's back, whose sword fell from his grasp. 
Then Minuchihr like wind unseated him, 
Cast him to earth, slew him, cut off his head, 
And left the body for the beasts of prey ; 
Then went back to his camp to contemplate 
That symbol of a fall from high estate. 



3 22 
How Mintichihr wrote to Announce his Victory to Faridun 

Then Minuchihr wrote to Shah Farfdiin 

About the war its fortunes good and ill 

And first he spake of Him who made the world 

The Lord of goodness, purity, and justice : 

" Praise to the Worldlord who hath succoured us ! 1 

Men find no other helper in their straits. 

He is the Guide, he maketh hearts rejoice v. 114 

And changeth not throughout eternity. 

Next, praises be to noble Farfdun 

The lord of crown and mace, possessed of justice, 

The Faith and Grace, crown and imperial throne. 

His fortune is the source of righteousness, 

His throne of beauty and of excellence. 



222 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA CAST 

By virtue of thy Grace I reached Tiiran, 
Arrayed the host and fought by day and night 
Thrice fiercely in two days. I heard that Tiir 
Designed a night-attack and wanting power 
Relied on craft ; so I arranged an ambush 
And left him nothing but the wind to clutch. 
He fled, I followed, and o'ertaking him 
Pierced through his armour with a javelin, 
And took him from his saddle like the wind. 
I flung him as I would a serpent down 
And from his worthless body smote the head, 
Which lo ! I send my grandsire, and forthwith 
Will set about a stratagem for Salm. 
Since Tiir had placed within a golden casket 
His royal brother's head in foul contempt, 
And had no ruth or reverence for him, God, 
Who made the world, delivered Tiir to me, 
r. 115 And I have slain him as he slew Iraj ; 

And will lay waste his realm and dwelling-place." 

The letter done he sent a cameleer, 
Who sped like wind with cheeks suffused with shame 
And hot tears in his eyes for Faridun ; 
How should he like to be the carrier 
Of Tiir's head to the monarch of Iran ? 
Though dead sons were perverse their fathers mourn 

them; 

But as the crime was great and unprovoked, 
And as the avenger was both young and brave, 
The messenger approached with confidence 
And laid the head of Tiir before the Shah, 
Who prayed to God, the righteous Judge, to pour 
On Mimichihr his blessings evermore. 



FARIDUN 223 

23 
Horo Kdran took the Castle of the Aldns 

News of the fight and of that Moon's eclipse 

Reached Salm, who purposed making a retreat 

Upon a lofty castle in his rear ; 

Such are the ups and downs which fortune hath ! 

Now Mimichihr had thought of this and said : 

" If Salm declineth battle his retreat 

Will be upon the hold of the Alans, V. 116 

And therefore we must occupy the road, 

For if he hath the fortress of the sea 

No one will wrench him from his foothold there. 

It is a place whose head is in the clouds, 

'Twas built by cunning from the ocean's depths, 

Is furnished well with treasures manifold 

And overshadowed by the eagle's wing. 

I must make haste to execute my plan 

And ply both rein and stirrup." 

This he told 

Karan, who, as he knew, would keep the secret. 
That chief replied : " gracious sovereign ! 
If to the least of all his warriors 
The Shah vouchsafeth to entrust a host, 
I will secure Salm's only gate for combat 
Or for retreat. For this exploit I need 
Tur's royal standard and his signet-ring, 
Then will I make a shift to seize the hold 
And go to-night ; but keep the matter close." 

He chose six thousand veterans of name, 
Who when the sky grew ebon placed the drums 
Upon the elephants, and full of fight 
Set forward toward the sea. Karan resigned 
The army to Shirwi and said : " I go 



224 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

v. 117 Disguised as envoy to the castellan 

To show to him the signet-ring of Tiir. 

When I am in the castle I will raise 

The standard, and will make the blue swords gleam. 

Approach ye then the hold, and when I shout 

Make onset and lay on." 

He left the host 

Hard by the hold while he himself advanced, 
And when he reached the castle told his tale, 
Showed to the castellan Tur's signet-ring 
And said : " I come from Tiir, who bade me not 
Stop to draw breath, and said : ' Go to the castellan 
And say to him : " Be watchful day and night, 
Share both in weal and woe, guard well the castle, 
Be vigilant, and if Shah Miniichihr 
Shall send his troops and standard 'gainst the hold 
Assist each other, and put forth your strength ; 
And may ye overthrow the enemy." ' 

The castellan heard this and recognised 
The signet-ring ; they oped the castle-gates : 
He saw the seeming, but he saw no more. 
Mark here the rustic poet's moralising : 
" No one but He alone who placed the heart 
Within can see its secrets. Be our part 
To labour at the duty of the day ; 
So be the good and evil what they may, 
Mine only duty is to say my say." 

The castellan re-entered with Karan, 
Who loved the fight, the guileless with the guileful. 
This chieftain, though prepared for stratagems, 
Sealed friendship with a stranger, and in folly 
Gave both his head and castle to the winds. 
He thus addressed his son a warrior-pard : 
" My son, who art so skilful and adroit ! 

v. us Do nothing rashly and in ignorance, 



FARIDUN 225 

But ponder well and mark from first to last 
The honied words of one that is a stranger, 
Especially in times of war and strife. 
Search well and live in dread of ambuscades, 
Look deeply whatsoe'er the matter be, 
And how a chieftain shrewd of intellect, 
By leaving some small detail unexplored, 
And not considering the foemen's craft, 
May render up his fortress to the winds." 

At break of day Karan, who loved the fight, 
Set up a standard like the moon full-orbed ; 
He shouted and made signals to Shirwi 
And his exalted chiefs. Shirwi perceiving 
The royal standard made toward the hold, 
Seized on the gate, threw in his troops and crowned 
The chiefs with blood. Here was Karan and there 
Shirwi, the sword above, the sea below. 
By noon the castle's form and castellan's 
Had vanished. Thou couldst see a cloud of smoke, 
But ship and castle were invisible. 
Fire blazed, wind blew, rose horsemen's shouts and cries 
For help. At sunset hold and plain were level, 
And twice six thousand of the foe were slain. 
A pitchy reek rose o'er a pitchy shore 
And all the surface of the waste ran gore. 



24 

How Kdkici, the Grandson of Zahhdk, attacked 
the Iranians 

Karan returned and told the prince, who said : V. 119 

" May horse and mace and saddle ne'er lack thee. 
When thou hadst gone another host approached, 
Led by a young and battle-loving chief, 

p 



226 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

A grandson of Zahhak, and called, I hear, 
Kakwi an infidel with haughty horsemen 
And men of name a hundred thousand strong, 
And slaughtered many of our lion-warriors. 
Salm now is bent on fight since this ally 
Hath come to help him from Gang-i-Dizhhukht. 1 
They tell me that he is a warlike div, 
In battle unappalled and strong of hand. 
I have not reached him in the combat yet, 
Nor ta'en his measure with the warriors' mace, 
But when he cometh next to fight with us 
I will essay him and will try his weight." 

Karan replied : " O prince ! who can confront thee 
In battle ? If he were a pard his skin 
Would burst upon him at the thought of fight. 
Who is Kakwi ? What is Kakwi ? Thy foes 
Will never play the man. I will devise 
A shrewd device in this emergency 
That none like vile Kakwi may ever come 
Henceforth to fight us from Gang-i-Dizhhukht." 
V. 120 The noble prince replied : " Be not concerned. 

Thou art exhausted with thy late exploit, 
Thy marching and revenge ; it is my turn 
To do the fighting : breathe awhile, great chief ! " 

The din of trump and pipe arose without, 
The tymbals sounded and the horsemen's dust . 
Made air pitch-black and earth like ebony. 
Thou wouldst have said : " These Diamonds have life, 
These maces and these javelins have tongues ! " 
Shouts rose around and arrows fledged the air 
Like vulture's wings, blood grouted hand to hilt 
And spurted from the murk; thou wouldst have 

said : 
" The earth will rise in waves and whelm the sky." 

1 Zahhdk's old capital. 



FARID^JN 227 

Kakwi the chieftain raised the battle-shout 
And came forth like a div, while Miniichihr 
Advanced with Indian sword in hand. Both raised 
A cry that rent the hills and frayed the hosts. 
Thou wouldst have said : " These chiefs are elephants. 
Both terrible, both girt, both bent on vengeance." 
Kakwi thrust at the girdle of the prince, 
Whose Human helmet shook : his mail was rent 
Down to the belt so that his waist appeared. 
The prince's falchion struck Kakwi's cuirass v. 121 

And clove it by the neck, and thus they fought 
Till noon like pards and puddled earth with blood. 
As day declined the prince, sufficed with tight, 
Reached out and gripping firmly with his legs 
Caught with all ease the girdle of Kakwi, 
Dragged from his steed his elephantine form, 
Flung him upon the burning sand and gashed 
His chest and bosom with the scimitar. 
Thus went that Arab to the winds a prey ; 
His mother bare him for so ill a day ! 



25 
How Salm fled and was Slain by the Hand of Minuchihr 

Kakwi being dead, the master of the West, 

Whose stay was broken, ceased to seek revenge 

And sought to gain his stronghold in his flight, 

But when he reached the sea saw not a spar 

Of any vessel there. The Iranian host, 

Though clogged by killed and wounded on the plain, 

Pursued apace, while Miniichihr, all wrath 

And vengeance, cast his fleet white charger's mail 

And pressed on till within the foemen's dust 

And hard upon the king of Rum he cried : 



228 THE SHAHtfAMA OF FIRDA USI 

" Thou who art guilty of the blackest crime, 
v. 122 Who murderedst thy brother for his crown ! 

Hast thou obtained it ? Whither wilt thou flee ? 
I bring thee now, O king ! a crown and throne : 
The royal Tree hath come to bearing fruit. 
Fly not the throne of greatness ! Faridiin 
Hath got a new throne ready for thine use. 
The tree which thou hast planted beareth now, 
And thy breast shall receive the produce of it ; 
If thorns, the tree was planted by thyself ; 
If painted silk, the weaving was thine own." 

As thus he spake he urged his steed along 
And in another moment overtook 
And clave the king asunder from the neck, 
Then bade the head be set upon a spear, 
While all admired his might and warlike arm. 

Salm's troops were scattered like a flock by snow 
And wandered aimlessly in companies 
Amid the wastes, the caverns, and the hills. 
They bade one wary, wise, and eloquent 
To go to Mimichihr forthwith and say 
On their behalf: " We are thy subjects all 
And only tread the earth to do thy will. 
Among us there are some possessed of herds, 
And some of tilth and palaces. To fight 
Was not our interest but our king's command ; 
We came as soldiers, not to seek revenge. 
We are the Shah's slaves now and bow our heads 
To do his will and pleasure. If he willeth 
v. 123 Revenge and bloodshed we can but submit. 
We all are guiltless and we all come in, 
So let him do as seemeth good to him, 
For he is master of our guiltless lives." 

Thus spake the sage, the chief in wonder answered 
" I cast my passions and exalt my name. 



FARIDtlN 229 

What is not God's is Ahriman's and evil ; 

Be all such banished from my sight, and may 

The divs be punished for their sins. Ye all 

Are either foes or friends and mine allies, 

But innocent and guilty both are spared 

Since God hath given us victory. Tis the day 

Of justice, wrong hath ceased, the leaders' heads 

Are safe from falling now. Seek brotherhood 

And use it for a charm, put off from you 

The implements of war, be wise and pure 

In Faith, secure from ill, and banish vengeance. 

Now in your dwellings wheresoe'er they be, 

In Chin, Turan, or in the land of Rum, 

Let all the virtues form your pedestal 

And be your homes those of enlightened minds." 

The great chiefs praised that noble, upright prince, 
And proclamation issued from his tent : 
" Ye paladins whose counsel prospereth ! 
Shed no more needless blood, the tyrants' fortunes 
Are overthrown." 

Then all the troops of Chin V. 124 

Fell prostrate, brought their arms and gear of war 
To Minuchihr, and as they passed him piled 
A mountain of horse-armour, helms, and breastplates, 
Of maces and of Indian scimitars, 
While Minuchihr the chieftain graciously 
Entreated each one as his rank might be. 

26 
How the Head of Salm was sent to Fariddn 

The hero called a courier, gave to him 
The head of Salm, the monarch of the West, 
And wrote to tell his grandsire of the fight 
And strategy, first giving God the praise 



230 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

And then the Shah : " Praise to the conquering World- 
lord 

From whom are virtue, power, and Grace ! His blessing 
Is now on Faridun, that wise, brave Shah, 
Who hath released us from the bonds of ill, 
And hath the wisdom and the Grace of God. 
We are avenged upon the cavaliers 
Of Chin. We lay in ambush for their lives. 
Strong in the Shah with our avenging scimitars 
We smote the heads off those unrighteous men, 
v. 125 Who both were reeking with f raj's blood ; 

We purged the surface of the earth with steel. 
Lo ! I am coming like the wind behind 
My letter, and will tell thee all that passed." 

He sent Shirwi, the aspiring veteran, 
Back to the hold, and said : " Explore the booty, 
Act as thou seest best, and take the Shah 
The spoil upon high-crested elephants." 

He bade the drummers and the pipers fare 
Forth from the royal tent, and from that hold 
In Chin marched inland back to Faridun. 
As he approached Tammisha on his way 
His grandsire longed to look at him. The blast 
Of clarions ascended from the gate, 
The host began to march out. Faridun, 
That man of wakeful fortune, decked the backs 
Of all the elephants with turquoise thrones, 
And golden litters with brocade and gems. 
A world of banners, yellow, red, and blue, 
Waved overhead. The host marched toward Sari, 
Like black clouds from the waters of Gilan, 
With golden bridles and with golden girdles, 
With silvern stirrups and with golden bucklers, 
With treasures, elephants, and precious stores, 
In readiness to welcome Miniichihr. 



FARIDUN 231 

Now as that prince approached the royal host 

His grandsire went afoot to welcome him, 

As did the men of Gil like lions loose, 

With torques of gold and helmets black as musk. 

The Iranians followed on behind the Shah, V. 126 

Each like a savage lion, troops went first, 

The elephants and lions in the midst, 

Behind the elephants more valiant troops. 

Whenas the flag of Faridiin appeared 

The host of Minuchihr deployed in line. 

That youthful prince, that sapling just producing 

Its earliest fruits, dismounted from his steed. 

He kissed the ground and blessed the monarch's throne, 

His diadem and crown and signet-ring, 

But Faridiin commanded him to mount, 

Kissed him and grasped his hand. 

Then Faridun 

Returning home sent word to Sam, the son 
Of Nariman : " Come presently," for Sam 
Had come from Hindustan to help to fight 
Against the sorcerers, and brought withal 
A mighty store of gold and precious things 
Above whate'er the Shah required of him 
Such myriads of jewels and dinars 
That no accountant could have reckoned them. 
Sam, when he reached the monarch of the world, 
Saluted both the old Shah and the young. 
The famous monarch seated Sam beside him, 
The great king seated the great paladin, 
And said : " I put my grandsire in thy charge, 
For I must now depart. Help him in all 
And make him show a prowess like thine own." 

The great Shah lightly laid the young man's hand 
In that world-paladin's, looked up and said : 
" Almighty God ! Just Judge who sayest sooth 



232 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

V. 127 Thou saidst: 'I am the Almighty, the just Judge, 
The Help of the oppressed in their distress.' 
Right hast Thou done me, Thou hast holpen me 
And given me both crown and signet-ring. 
God ! Thou hast granted me my whole desire ; 
Now take me to the other world a better 
Than this because I would not that my soul 
Should tarry longer in this narrow sphere." 

Shirwi the chieftain with the spoils approached 
The palace of the Shah, who lavished all 
The booty on the troops. 

He gave directions, 

Two days ere Mihr, for Mimichihr to sit 
Helmed on the throne of gold, with his own hands 
Crowned the young prince, and gave his last commands. 



27 
The Death of Faridun 

This done, the great king's day and fortune changed, 

The leafage withered on the royal tree ; 

He quitted crown and throne and with the heads 

Of those three kings beside him lived in tears 

And in austerities : his plaint was this : 

" My days are changed and darkened by these three, 

Who were my heart's delight and grief withal, 

Thus slain before me miserably, in hatred, 

And as my foes would wish. Such ills befell them 

Through their perversity and evil deeds ; 

They disobeyed me and the world frowned on them." 

His heart was full, his face all tears till death. 
Though Faridun is gone there is his name 

Still left through all the years that have passed by ; 



FARIDUN 233 

He was, my son ! all excellence and fame v. 128 

One who found profit in adversity. 
Then Mimichihr put off the royal crown, 
He girt a blood-stained girdle round his loins, 
And reared a charnel as the Shahs were wont 
Of ruddy gold and lapislazuli. 
They placed a throne of ivory within 
And hung a crown above it, visited 
The dead to say farewell, as was the use 
And ritual, then shut the charnel-door : 
In such ill case that dear one left the world ! 

One sennight Minuchihr gave up to grief, 
His eyes were full of tears, his cheeks were pale, 
And for a sennight city and bazar 
Were mourning with their mourning sovereign. 

O world which art all wind and levity ! 
The man of wisdom hath no joy of thee. 
Thou fosterest each one with thy caress, 
No matter if his life be more or less, 
But when thou wiliest to revoke the trust 
What reckest thou of coral or of dust ? 
Man ! when the world hath snapped in twain the cord 
Of this world for thee, be thou liege or lord, 
Thy griefs and pleasures as a dream appear : 
V ex not thy heart then to continue here. 
Blest is the man who, whether king or thrall, 
Bequeatheth good as his memorial ! 



VII 
MINtfCHIHR 

HE REIGNED ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY 
YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

After describing the accession of Minuchihr, the poet proceeds to 
tell the story of Zal, the son of Sam, how, being born with white 
hair, he was in consequence exposed by his father on Mount 
Alburz, how he was found and brought up by the Simurgh, how 
in after years he and his father became reconciled, and how he 
rose to greatness. The poet also tells of the loves of Zal and 
Rudaba, the daughter of Mihrab, the idolatrous king of Kabul, 
the wrath of Minuchihr thereat, his ultimate consent to the union, 
and the birth of Rustam, with an account of whose first adven- 
tures, and of the death of Minuchihr, the reign concludes. 

NOTE 

The story, which occupies the reign of Minuchihr, in whose name, 
which means " offspring of Manu," 1 we can still trace a connection 
between Indian and Iranian mythology, between the Vedas and 
the Zandavasta, is perhaps the most charming in the whole poem ; 
and here first the stream of epic, hitherto confined and cramped, 
breaks out into broad waters, and carries us to the heroic race 
who play such an important part throughout the first the mythic 
period of the poem. We have already seen how the titles 
bestowed on the great hero Keresaspa became separate personali- 
ties in later times, 2 and in this reign we have one of his most 

1 Manushchithra in the Zandavasta. For Manu see prefatory note 
to Jamshid. 

2 See introductory note to FarSdi'in. 



MINUCHIHR 235 

famous feats recorded as an exploit of Sam, the son of Nariman the 
slaying of the dragon of the Kashaf . The legend appears to have 
become localised in the neighbourhood of the poet's own birth- 
place, Tus, by which the Kashaf flows, and the dragon may be 
typical of the periodical floods the prevention of which is said 
to have been an object which the poet had at heart. 1 The feature 
of Sam's mace is reproduced from the earlier legend, where 
Keresaspa is described as "bludgeon-bearing." 2 

The gigantic mythical bird, the Simurgh, the Roc of the 
Arabian Nights, which plays such an important part in the legend 
of Zal and of his son Rustam, is described in the Bundahish as 
" the griffon of three natures." 3 It appears to have been con- 
ceived of as a sort of gigantic bat. 4 The Bundahish, in its account 
of birds, says : " There are two of them which have milk in the 
teat and suckle their young, the griffon bird, and the bat which 
flies in the night ; as they say that the bat is created of three 
races (sarrfak), the race (ayina) of the dog, the bird, and the 
musk, animal ; for it flies like a bird, has many teeth like a dog, 
and is dwelling in holes like a musk-rat." 5 The Simurgh was 
the first bird created, 6 and its nest was on the tree of wild 
vegetable life which grew in the wide ocean near to the tree of 
immortality. Upon the former tree collect all the seeds which 
plants have produced during the year, and the office of the 
Simurgh was to shake the tree and scatter the seeds, which were 
then collected by another mythical bird, called Chamrosh, which 
had its nest on the summit of Mount Alburz and protected Iran 
from invasion. This bird mingled the seeds with the rains, which 
the good genius Tishtar (Sirius) had rescued from the demons, 
with a view of pouring them on the earth ; the purport of the 
legend was to account for the rapid vegetation in hot climates." 
The poet appears to have combined some of the characteristics 
of several mythical birds the Chamrosh, the Karshipta, and also 
of the Varew/ana or raven in his account of the Simurgh. The 
magical or medicinal efficacy of the raven's feathers is recognised 
in the Zandavasta, where we read : " Zarathustra asked Ahura 
Mazda . . . ' If I have a curse thrown upon me, a spell told upon me 
by many men who hate me, what is the remedy for it ? ' Ahura 
Mazda answered : ' Take thou a feather of that bird . . . the 

1 C, liv. 2 MZA, iii. 234. 

3 Sih (three), ayina (kind or sort), murgh (bird) = Simurgh. WPT, i. 
47, 89, 91. 

4 WPT, il 71. s Id. 50. 

6 Id. 89. 7 Id. 70, and iii. 112. 



236 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Varenf/ana, Spitama Zarathustra ! With that feather thou 
shalt rub thy own body, with that feather thou shalt curse back 
thy enemies. If a man holds a bone of that strong bird, or a 
feather of that strong bird, no one can smite or turn to flight 
that fortunate man. The feather of that bird of birds brings him 
help ; it brings unto him the homage of men, it maintains him in 
his glory." 1 

With regard to the account of the employment of anaesthetics 
on the occasion of the Csesarean birth of Rustam, we find another 
instance of their employment by Urmuzd himself in the account 
of the Creation in the Bundahish. When Ahriman broke into the 
creation of Urmuzd and attacked the Primeval Ox, we read that 
Urmuzd had previously ground up healing fruits in water for it, 
that its death might be the less painful. 2 Similarly we read in 
Genesis that the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. 

The earliest reference to Rustam in literature appears to be 
an indirect one in the Kur'an. 3 He is also mentioned in the 
work that passes under the name of Moses of Chorene : " Age 
vero, si placet, vilia vanaque de eo mendacia declarabo, qualia 
Persae de Restomo Sazico memorant, quern CXX elephantis viribus 
fuisse superiorem tradunt. De hujus pariter robore & forti- 
tudinem ea celebrant, quae a similitudine veri longissime absunt, 
quern sane neque Samsoni, neque Herculi, nee Sazico fabulae istae 
conferunt. Canunt et enim quadrata eum saxa manibus prehendere 
potuisse, & ad arbitrium suum, magna aeqvie ac parva, divellere, 
unguibusque abradere, &, velut in tabula, aquilarum figuras, 
aliaque ejus generis effingere atque unguibus inscribe re : Qui 
cum apud magni maris Pontici litus hostiles quasdam naves 
offendisset, impetum in eas fecit, quas in altum octo aut decem 
circiter stadia provectas, ubi consequi non potuit, globosis eas 
lapidibus incessit, quorum conjectu aquae, ut aiunt, tantopere 
diffindebantur, ut naves non paucae demersae fuerint, & fluctuum 
vis, aquarum fissura altius surgentium reliquas naves multos 
mille passus propulerit. Proh ingens fabula, aut potius, fabularum 
fabula." 4 

Malcolm identifies the castle on Mount Sipand taken by Rustam 
with a famous stronghold, known on account of its appearance 
as " the White Castle," situated in the province of Pars, about 
seventy-six miles north-west of Shiraz, " on a high bill that is 
almost perpendicular on every side. It is of oblong form, and 

i DZA, ii. 240. 2 WPT, i. 18. 

3 RK, p. 284. Cf. NIN, p. 10. 

4 Whiston, Mosis Chorenensis, 96. 



MINUCHIHR 237 

encloses a level space at the top of the mountain, which is 
covered with delightful verdure, and watered by numerous springs. 
The ascent is nearly three miles ; for the last five or six hundred 
yards the summit is so difficult of approach that the slightest 
opposition, if well directed, must render it impregnable ... In 1 810 
it -was ... in possession of the tribe of Mumasenni, one of the 
aboriginal tribes of Persia. Their means of defence were probably 
still the same as in the days of Roostum : a line of large stones 
ranged in regular order around the edges of the precipice. Each 
stone is wedged in by a smaller : when that is removed, the 
large stone, or rather rock, is hurled down, and sweeps every- 
thing before it." l 

1 ' ' -'."' 

How Minuchihr ascended the Throne and made an Oration 

They mourned for Faridiin for seven days, V. 129 

Upon the eighth Shah Minuchihr came forth 

And set the royal cap upon his head ; 

He countercharmed the spell of sorcerers 

And reigned twice sixty years. The paladins 

Throughout the world called praises down on him. 

When he assumed the crown he gave the world 

Glad news of justice, Faith, humanity, 

Of goodness, knowledge, purity, and said : 

" I sit enthroned upon the circling sphere, 

Dispensing love and justice, wrath and strife. 

Earth is my thrall, heaven mine ally, the heads 

Of kings my quarry. Mine are Faith and Grace, 

Mine to bestow good fortune and to harm. 

I wreak revenge by night; the raging fire 

Upon Barzin 2 am I, and lord of scimitar 

And golden boot. I set up Kawa's standard 

And light the clouds, I draw my sword and give 

No quarter on the battlefield. My hands 

Become a bounteous ocean when I feast, 

But when I mount my steed my breath is fire. 

1 MHP, i. 19, and note. 2 The name of a Fire-temple. 



238 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

I cut the practice of the wicked short 
And make the earth a red brocade of blood, 

V. 130 I wield the mace, I illustrate the crown 

And light the kingdom from mine ivory throne ; 
~ Yet in despite of all I am a slave 
A servant of the Maker of the world. 
Smite we our faces with our hands and weep, 
Let all our conversation be of God, 
Of whom we hold the crown, the throne, and host 
We give Him praise and He is our defence. 
We tread the path of Faridun the blest 
Our grandsire : he was old, but we are young. 
Whoever in the seven climes of earth 
Departeth from the Way, abandoneth 
The Faith, inflicteth hurt on mendicants, 
Oppresseth any one of his own kin, 
Uplifteth in the pride of wealth his head, 
Or causeth sorrow to the suffering, 
All such are infidels in my regard 
And worse than evil-doing Ahriman. 
All evil-doers that hold not the Faith 
Are banned by God and us : hereafter we 
Will put our hand upon the scimitar, 
And in our vengeance desolate their realm." 

All men of name throughout the earth invoked 
Their blessings on him with one voice, and said : 
" Thy glorious grandsire, O benignant Shah ! 
Taught thee the conduct of the throne and crown. 
Be ever thine the throne of mighty men, 
The crown and archimages' Grace. Our hearts 
Obey thy word, our souls are pledged to thee." 

V. 131 Thereat rose Sam, the chief of paladins, 

And said to Minuchihr : " O judge most just ! 
I from the Shahs have gotten eyes to see, 
And see thee just: my part is to applaud. 



MINUCHIHR 239 

Shah of Iran art thou by long descent 

The chosen of the Lions and the brave. 

May God watch o'er thy body and thy soul, 

Thy heart be glad, thy fortune slumber not. 

Thou mindest me of days of yore and art 

My place of shelter at the royal throne. 

Thou art a lion steadfast in the fight, 

Thou art a sun resplendent in the feast. 

Be time and earth the dust upon thy feet, 

Thy place upon the turquoise throne. Since thou 

Hast cleansed earth with thine Indian scimitar 

Sit at thine ease and take thy pleasure here. 

Henceforward all the warfare is for us ; 

Thine are the throne, the wine-cup, and the banquet. 

The fathers of my race were paladins 

The shelter of the Shahs and of the great 

And from Garshasp to famous Nariman 

Were chiefs and swordsmen. I will compass earth 

And put a scantling of thy foes in bonds. 

Thy grandsire made me paladin, thy love 

And counsel made me wise." 

The Shah returned 

His praise, bestowing many a kingly gift, 
And then Sam with the paladins withdrew 
And so departed on his homeward way, 
While all the world conformed to righteous sway. 



8 2 
The Birth of Zdl 

Now will I fashion from the legend-store 
A tale of wonder from the days of yore ; 
Give me thine ear, my son ! and learn from me 
How Sam became the sport of destiny. 



2 4 o THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

V. 132 Now Sam was childless and in that regard 

In need of solace. One among his wives 
A Beauty rosy-cheeked with musky hair 
Gave him the hope of offspring, for that Moon 
Was sun-faced, ripe, and was with child by him, 
And grievously she suffered with her burden. 
When many days had passed the babe was born 
A Beauty like the world-illuming sun, 
And like it too in loveliness of face ; 
But all his hair was white, and since 'twas so 
They kept the thing from Sam for one whole week : 
The women of that famous paladin 
Wept in the presence of the little child, 
But not one dared to tell the hero Sam 
That his fair spouse had borne a hoary babe. 
Anon the infant's nurse, with lion's courage, 
Came unabashed before the paladin, 
As one who brought good news, blessed him and 

said : 

" May Sam the hero's days be fortunate, 
And may his foemen's hearts be rooted out ! 
God hath bestowed on thee what thou didst ask 
The very gift whereon thy soul was set : 
Behind thy curtain, seeker after glory ! 
Thy moon-faced spouse hath borne a stainless son, 
A paladin, a child of lion-heart, 
A boy of spirit, fashioned of pure silver, 
And with two cheeks that favour Paradise. 
Thou wilt not see a faulty part in him 
Except this blemish that his hair is white. 
So heaven willed, seeker after glory ! 
Content thee and be not morose and thankless." 

The horseman Sam descended from his throne ; 
He went behind the curtain to " Young Spring," 
And saw a goodly boy with hoary head. 



MINUCHItfR 241 

None hath beheld or heard of such ; his hair 

Resembled snow and yet his cheeks were ruddy. V. 133 

Sam at that sight despaired. Great was his fear 

Of coming shame ; he left the path of wisdom 

For courses of his own, looked up to heaven 

And prayed to be forgiven his offence. 

" O Thou," he said, " above all harm and loss ! 

Good ever cometh of Thine ordinance. 

If I have sinned by any grievous sin, 

Or yielded to the faith of Ahriman, 

Oh ! may the Almighty hearken to my prayer 

And in His secret counsels pardon me. 

My troubled mind is writhing for sheer shame, 

The hot blood is a-tingle in my veins 

For this brat like a brat of Ahriman, 

With dark eyes and with hair like jessamine. 

When any nobles come to speak with me, 

And set their eyes on this ill-omened cub, 

What shall I say that this div's bantling is 

A fay or leopard with its spots ? The great 

Will laugh at me in public and in private 

Till shame shall make me curse and quit Iran." 

He spake hi wrath with frowns and railed at 

fortune, 

Then bade some take the child and carry it 
Beyond those fields and fells and far away. 

There was a certain mountain named Alburz, 
Nigh to the sun and far removed from men, 
Where the Simurgh had nested, for the place 
Was uninhabited. They left the child 
Upon the mountain and returned. Time passed, 
While for no fault the infant paladin, 
Unable to distinguish black from white, 
Was outcast from his father's love ; but He, 
Who fostereth all, took up the castaway. 

Q 



242 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

v. 134 Once when the lioness her cub had fed, 

" If I should give thee my heart's blood," she said, 
" I should not look for thanks. I live in thee ; 
My heart would break if thou shouldst break with rne." 
Throughout the expanse of earth the beasts we find 
More tender to their young than are mankind. 

The babe remained where thrown, exposed both day 
And night. He sucked his finger-ends and wailed. 
Now when the young Simurghs grew ravenous 
The mother, soaring o'er her nest, beheld 
Earth like a heaving sea, and wailing there 
A child rock-cradled with the dust for nurse, 
His body bare, his lips unwet with milk, 
The dark drear soil about him and above 
The noonday sun. Would that he had had pards 
For dam and sire, he had at least been shaded ! 
The Lord gave loving instincts to that fowl, 
Which thought not to devour the child herself, 
But swooped down from the clouds and with her 

talons 

Took up the infant from the heated rocks, 
Then bare him quickly off' to Mount Alburz, 
Where were her nest and young, for them to tear 
Regardless of his cries ; but God, who giveth 
All good, had ruth on him, his lot was other ; 

v. 135 For when the fowl and all her brood beheld 
That infant, who was weeping tears of blood, 
They lavished love on him in wondrous wise, 
Astonied at his goodly face. The bird 
Chose for him all the tenderest prey, and made 
Her little guest suck blood instead of milk. 
Long was he lost to sight ; but when he came 
To man's estate a caravan passed by 
And saw one like a noble cypress-tree, 
His breast a silver mount, his waist a reed, 



M1NUCHIHR 243 

And rumour of him spread, for neither good 

Nor bad remaineth hid ; so Sam in fine 

Heard of that high-starred youth of Grace divine. 



3 
How Sam had a Dream touching the Case of his Son 

One night when Sam was sleeping, seared in heart 

And overwhelmed by that which time had wrought, 

He dreamed that from the land of Ind there came 

A noble rider on an Arab steed 

Apace, and gave him glad news of his son 

That lofty bough of his of fruitful promise. 

When he awoke he called the archimages, 

Conversed with them at large, told them his dream 

And of the gossip of the caravans : 

" What say ye," said he, " touching this affair ? 

Is it a fair presumption to your minds 

That this child liveth, or hath winter's cold 

Or summer's heat destroyed him ? " 

Old and young v. 136 
There present answered thus the paladin : 
" Ingrates to God experience good in naught ; 
For pards and lions on the sands and rocks, 
And fish and crocodiles in waterways, 
All cherish their own little ones and give 
God thanks ; but thou didst break the covenant 
With Him who giveth good, and cast away 
An innocent because of his white hair, 
Which shameth not a body pure and bright. 
Say not, ' The child is dead,' but gird thyself 
And ever persevere in quest of him, 
Since one whom God regardeth will not die 
Of heat or cold. And now in penitence 



244 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Incline to Him the Author of all good, 
The Guide." 

So next day and in sore distress 
Sam went to Mount Alburz, and when night came 
Slept ill at ease. He saw a standard raised 
Above the Indian mountains, and a youth 
Of beauteous visage with a mighty host, 
Upon his left an archmage, on his right 
A sage of noble aspect. Of these twain 
One came to Sam and said in chilling tones : 
" Audacious man and impious in thine aims ! 
Is there no fear of God before thine eyes ? 
If to thy mind a bird is nurse enough 
What booteth it to be a paladin ? 
If white hair be a blemish in a man 
Thy beard and head have grown like willow-leaves ! 
V. 137 God gave thee such and such things : why hast thou 
By thine injustice frustrated the gift ? 
Abhor thy Maker then, for day by day 
Thy body changeth hue. Thou didst despise 
Thy son, who is the fosterling of God 
The kindliest Nurse for him. As for thyself, 
Love is not in thee." 

Sam roared out in sleep 
As when a mighty lion is ensnared ; 
He feared that dream portended chastisement 
From destiny. Aroused, he called to him 
The men of lore and bade the chiefs to horse. 
He came in haste toward the mountain-peak 
To seek his castaway, and there beheld 
A height whose top was midst the Pleiades : 
Thou wouldst have said : " It will obstruct the 

stars." 

Upon the top was built a lofty nest, 
Where Saturn's influence could not injure it ; 



MINUCHIHR 245 

Tall posts of ebony and sandal-wood 
Laced with lign-aloe stayed it underneath. 
Sam gazed in wonder on that stony peak, 
On that majestic bird and weird abode. 
The building reached to Spica, and was raised 
Without hand-labour, with no stones and earth. 
A youth stood there the counterpart of Sam, 
Who watched him as he walked about the nest, 
Then laid his cheeks upon the ground, and gave 
Thanks to the Maker, in that He had made 
Such bird upon the mountain, and had raised 
Its stony summit to the Pleiades, 
Acknowledging : " He is a righteous Judge, 
All powerful and higher than the high." 

He sought to find a path or any track 
Whereby the wild beasts scaled the precipice ; 
And walked around the mountain giving thanks, 
But saw no way to climb it. He exclaimed : 
" O Thou above all place, o'er sun and moon 
And shining rainbow ! I prostrate myself V. 138 

Before Thee, pouring out my soul in awe. 
If this youth springeth from my loins indeed, 
Not from the seed of evil Ahriman, 
Assist thy servant to ascend this height 
And show me mercy, sinful as I am." 

Thus prayed he to the Just : his prayer was granted. 
When the Simurgh looked from the height and saw 
Sam with his company, she knew that they 
Came not for love of her but for the youth, 
To whom she said : " Thou who hast seen the unease 
Of nide and nest ! I am the only nurse 
That fostered thee, the source of all thy weal, 
And gave to thee the name Dastan-i-Zand, 1 
Because thy sire dealt with thee treacherously ; 

1 I.e. " much defrauded," in allusion to Sdm's treatment of his son. 



246 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Command thy valiant guide to call thee so 

When thou returnest home. Thy sire is Sam, 

The hero, paladin of paladins, 

And most exalted of the mighty men. 

He hath come hither searching for his son, 

And with him high estate hath come to thee, 

Now must I take thee up and bear thee back 

Unscathed to him." 

He listened while she spake, 
His eyes were filled with tears, his heart was sad. 
Though he had seen no man, still he had learned 
Of her to speak in accents like her own, 
With much of wisdom and of ancient lore ; 
Thus had he language, wisdom, and right rede, 
And looked to God for succour. Now observe 
. His answer to the fowl : " Hast thou in truth 
Become aweary of my company ? 
Thy nest is unto me a shining throne, 
Thy pinions are my glorious diadem, 
V. 139 And next to God I owe my thanks to thee, 

For thou hast turned my hardship into ease." 

The bird replied : " If once thou dost behold 
The crown, the throne, and doings of the court, 
This nest will seem to thee of small account. 
Make but one trial of the ways of fate. 
I do not send thee hence in enmity ; 
I pass thee to a kingship. I would fain 
Have kept thee here with me, but for thyself 
To go is better. Bear this plume of mine 
About with thee and so abide beneath 
The shadow of my Grace. Henceforth if men 
Shall hurt or, right or wrong, exclaim against thee, 
Then burn the feather and behold my might, 
For I have cherished thee beneath my plumes 
And brought thee up among my little ones. 



MINUCHIHR t 247 

Now like a black cloud will I bear thee off 
And carry thee to yonder spot uninjured. 
Let not thy heart forget to love thy nurse, 
For mine is breaking through my love of thee." 

She thus consoled his heart, then took him up, 
Bore him with stately motion to the clouds, 
And swooping down conveyed him to his sire. 
The youth had hair descending to his breast, 
An elephantine form and cheeks like spring. 
His father seeing him groaned bitterly, 
Then quickly did obeisance to the bird, 
And offered thanks and praises o'er and o'er. 
" queen of birds," he said, " the righteous Judge 
Gave thee thy power and might and excellence, 
That thou shouldst be the helper of the helpless, 
And in thy goodness justest of the just. 
May'st thou for ever make thy foes to grieve 
And always be as mighty as thou art." 

With that the bird, watched by the eyes of Sam 
And all his company, soared rnountainward. 
He gazing on the youth from head to foot 
Adjudged him fit for crown and throne ; he had 
A lion's breast and limbs, a sunlike face, v. 140 

The heart of paladins, a hand to seek 
The scimitar, white lashes but with eyes 
Pitch-coloured, coral lips and blood-red cheeks. 
Except his hair there was no fault at all ; 
None could discern in him another flaw. 
Sam's heart became like Paradise ; he blessed 
His stainless child. "Have no hard thoughts," he 

said, 

" Forget the past and warm thy heart with love 
Toward me the meanest of the slaves of God. 
Henceforth since I have thee I swear by Him 
I will not fail in gentleness to thee, 



248 THE fHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

But will fulfil thy wishes good and bad : 
Henceforth thy will shall be my rule of right." 

He clothed the young man like a paladin 
And turned to leave the mountain : having reached 
The plain he chose a charger for his son, 
As well as royal robes for him to wear, 
And gave to him the name of Zal-i-Zar, 1 
Though the Siinurgh called him at first Dastan. 
Then all the troops with gladness in their hearts 
Sought Sam. The drummers led on elephants, 
And dust rose like a mount of indigo. 
There was a sound of drums and clarions, 
Of golden gongs and Indian bells, while all 
The horsemen shouted. Thus they journeyed home 
Until all joyfully they passed within 
The city, greater by one paladin. 



4 

How Mintichihr took Knowledge of the Case of 
Sam and Zdl 

" Sam hath returned in triumph from Alburz ! " 
Such tidings from Zabul came to the Shah, 
Who joyed exceedingly : the Maker's name 
V. 141 Was often on his lips. He had two sons, 

Both well beloved, one hight Naudar, the other 
Zarasp, both brave and wise, and both endowed 
With Grace and Faith, both like Azargashasp 
Upon the plain. He said: "Let famed Naudar 
Go with despatch to Sam and look upon 
His child that hath been nurtured in a nest, 
Congratulate him on the Shah's behalf 
Upon the joy that hath revealed itself; 

1 I.e. " Zil the old," in allusion to his white hair. 



MINtiCHIHR 249 

And bid him come in person to the Shah 
To tell his tale, and afterwards depart 
Home like a loyal liege." 

Now when Naudar 

Reached Sam the son of Nariman he saw 
The new young paladin. Then Sam the horseman 
Alighted, and Naudar and he embraced. 
Sam asked about the Shah and chiefs, Naudar 
Delivered all their greetings. Sam, on hearing 
The message of the great king, kissed the ground, 
And hasted as commanded to the court. 
When he drew near the Shah went out to meet him. 
Sam saw the flag of Mimichihr, dismounted 
And went afoot. He kissed the ground and said : 
" For ever live glad and of ardent soul ! " 
But Mimichihr bade that true-hearted man, 
That worshipper of God, to mount again. 
They went toward the palace ; Mimichihr 
Sat down with great rejoicing on the throne, 
And placed the royal crown upon his head. 
On this side sat Karan, on that side Sam, 
Both glad and well content. The chamberlain 
Approached with stately step and brought in Zal, 
Equipped with golden mace and golden crown. V. 142 

The Shah marked with amaze that lofty stature 
And goodly face, " the abode," as thou wouldst say, 
" Of life and love." He said to Sam : " Safeguard 

him 

For my sake, never give him needless pain, 
But find thy happiness in him alone, 
For he hath royal Grace and lion's claws, 
The wise man's heart, the prudence of the old. 
Teach him our customs both in war and feast ; 
Bird, nest, and height he knoweth ; can he know 
What honour and court-usages demand ?." 



250 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USI 

Then Sam told all the story to the Shah 
About the lofty mountain and Sfmurgh, 
And how the precious one was lodged and nurtured 
Within the nest till he could feed himself; 
Told wherefore he had cast the child away, 
And said thus : " Heaven revolved above my head 
For many years ; the world at length was filled 
With strange reports of Zal and the Simurgh. 
Commanded by the Lord of all the world 
I went to Mount Alburz no easy place 
And saw a mountain-peak among the clouds ; 
Thou wouldst have said : ' It is a dome of flint 
Upon a sea ! ' The nest like some tall palace 
Was there, well fenced from harm on every side, 
With Zal and with the young of the Simurgh 
Within it : thou hadst said : ' They are one brood.' 
His breath exhaled the very scent of love, 
And every thought of him rejoiced my heart. 
143 Oft ran I round the Mount but path was none ; 

A yearning for my lost son came to me ; 
My heart burned so that life was well-nigh gone. 
I prayed in secret to the holy Judge : 
' Resource of men, without a want Thyself ! 
Thy witness doth extend to every place, 
And heaven turneth only at Thy word. 
A slave am I, whose heart is full of sin 
Before the Master of the sun and moon ; 
My hope is in Thy mercy that alone : 
I have no other ground of confidence. 
This slave of Thine the fostered of the fowl 
Brought up in misery and wretchedness, 
Who hath but skins to wear instead of silk 
And sucketh raw flesh, not his mother's breast 
Restore to me ! Disclose for me a way 
To him and cut this present trouble short. 



MINUCHIHR 251 

Sear not my soul for my defect in love ; 

Oh ! pardon me this once and cheer my heart.' 

When I had spoken thus, the Lord vouchsafed 

To grant my prayer immediately : the bird 

Flew up, and soaring to the clouds wheeled round 

Above the head of me the infidel ; 

Then from the mountain like a cloud in spring 

Came with the form of Zal clasped to her breast, 

And odours that fulfilled the world with musk. 

Mine eyes were tearless, and my lips were dry ; 

I feared the bird and yearned upon my son, 

So_ that my wits departed clean away. 

She brought him to me like the kindliest nurse, 

Whereat my tongue began to utter praise, 

And strange ! I did obeisance to the fowl ! 

She left my son and went, 'twas God's decree, 

And I have brought him, lord of earth ! to thee, 

And told what heretofore was mystery." 

5 
How Zdl went back to Z&bulistdn 

The Shah then ordered the astrologers, v. 144 

The archmages and the other men of lore, 

To ascertain the horoscope of Zal 

And so forecast the prince's destiny : 

" What will he be on reaching man's estate ? 

Ye must inform me as to this at large." 

They found the horoscope of Zal and said : 
" This youth will be a famous paladin, 
A noble, shrewd, and valiant cavalier." 

The Shah rejoiced and Sam's heart ceased from care. 
The ruler of the earth prepared a gift 
Of such a sort that he was blessed by all, 
Of Arab steeds with golden furniture, 



252 THE SHAHNAMA OF F1RDAUSI 

Of Indian scimitars with golden sheaths, 
Of furs and gold, of jewels and brocade, 
Of carpets also an abundant store, 
Of Human slaveboys in brocade of Rum 
With jewelled patterns on a golden ground, 
Of bowls of emerald and turquoise cups, 
Of others of pure silver and red gold 
Containing saffron, musk, and camphor : these 
The servants brought with suits of mail and casques, 
Horse-armour, lances, maces, bows and arrows, 
A throne of turquoise and a crown of gold, 
A ruby signet-ring and golden girdle. 
Anon the monarch had a patent drawn, 
Like Paradise all praise investing Sam 
With Mai of Hind, Danbar, Kabulistan, 
All from the Indus to the sea of Chin, 
v. 145 And from Zabul up to the stream of Bust, 
Drawn strictly in accord to precedent. 
The patent written and the gifts prepared, 
They ordered out the horses for that chief 
Of paladins, who rising spake and said : 
" chosen lord of justice and of right ! 
Know that between the Moon and Fish no Shah 
Like thee e'er wore the crown ; thy goodness, prudence, 
Beneficence, and rede rejoice the age. 
In thine eyes all the world's wealth is despised : 
May men remember no one's name but thine." 
He then advanced and kissed the throne. 

They bound 

The kettledrums upon the elephants 
And started for Zabulistan. The towns 
And villages turned out to gaze. When Sam 
Approached Nimniz 'twas bruited that the prince 
The lustre of the world had come with presents, 
A crown of gold, grant, patent, and gold girdle. 



MINIJCHIHR 253 

Si'stan was decked throughout like Paradise ; 

Its bricks were gold and all its soil pure musk. 

They flung about dinars, musk, drachms, and saffron, 

And made a holiday for all alike. 

The aspiring chiefs from all sides went to Sam, 

And said : " May this youth's steps prove fortunate 

For thee, blithe-hearted, famous paladin ! " 

And as they blessed him showered gems o'er Zal. 

For each man worthy was a gift prepared, 

A robe of honour suited to his station 

As being eminent in rank or lore, 

While emulation caused all hopes to soar. 



How Sam gave the Kingdom to Zdl 

Thereafter Sam set forth before his son 

The various virtues that adorn a king, 

And having called the fathers of the realm v. 

Harangued them in set terms at large, and said : 

" Ye holy archimages, wise of heart ! 

Our monarch in his wisdom ordereth 

That I should march upon Mazandaran 

Against the Kargasars. 1 I take with me 

A mighty host ; my son mine own heart's blood 

And partner of my life abideth here. 

I in the days of youth and arrogance 

Pronounced a monstrous sentence on the boy. 

God gave to me a son : I cast him out 

In ignorance, not wotting of his worth. 

Him the Simurgh, that noble bird, bare off, 

Him too the Maker passed not by in scorn. 

1 The name of a wild tribe, " the Vulture-heads." 



254 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

What I despised was precious to the fowl, 
Which reared him till he seemed a lofty cypress, 
And when the time for pardon came the Lord 
Of all the world God gave him back to me. 
Regard him as my representative, 
As mine own self xjomuiitted to your charge ; 
I leave to you to teach him what is good 
And kindle every virtue in his breast. 
Hold him in honour, give him sound advice, 
Impart good principles and lofty aims, 
For as the Shah cominandeth I depart 
With other chiefs against our enemies." 

He turned to Zal and said : " Be peaceful, just, 
And liberal, hold Zabulistan as home 
And all things there as subject to thy will. 
Be thine to make the home more beautiful 
And friends more happy. Of my treasure-hoards 
I leave the key with thee, thy gain is weal, 
Thy loss is woe to me. In feast and fight 
Do whatsoe'er thy bright soul holdeth good." 

Zal answered : " Can I live on here ? If one 
v. 147 Was ever born defective it was I, 

And I have cause to wail. Put me not further 
Than ever from thee now that peace hath come. 
While I was neath the talons of the bird, 
Sucked blood and fared in dust, dwelt in a nest 
And had a fowl for friend, I was esteemed 
A fowl myself; but she that fostered me 
Is far away. Such is fate's fostering ! 
I have no portion of the rose but thorns 
And must submit." 

Sam answered : " Be at ease. 
Let thy heart rest ; command whate'er thou wilt. 
The astrologers declare a gracious purpose 
Concerning thee that here shall be thy home 



MINUCHIHR 255 

With host and crown. We cannot thwart heaven's will ; 

Thy portion is to spread around thee love. 

Now gather to thee cavaliers and sages, 

Delight in men of wisdom, list and learn 

From them, be instant both in feast and bounty, 

And instant too in justice and all knowledge." 

He ceased. The din of tymbals rose, earth turned 
To iron and the air to ebony ; 
The Indian bells and gongs clanged at the portal 
As Sam the chief departed to the war V. 148 

With troops equipped and eager. For two stages 
Ztil went to see his father lead the host. 
His sire then clasped him closely. Rose wild wailing ; 
Zal wept his heart's blood down his cheeks, but Sam 
Bade him return and go with happy heart 
Back to the throne and crown ; yet Zal returned 
In grief a happy life without his father ! 
He sat upon the famous ivory throne, 
He set the shining crown upon his head, 
He took the armlet and the oxhead mace, 
The golden necklace and the golden girdle, 
And called the archrnages out of every province 
In quest of knowledge both of men and things. 
Astrologers and men of sanctity, 
Brave warriors and warlike cavaliers, 
Were with him night and day and counselled him 
In every matter, whether great or small. 
He profited so much that thou hadst said : 
" He shineth as a star ! " In policy 
And understanding he had not a peer, 
His horsemanship was famous with the great, 
Folk thronged him in amazement at his beauty, 
And whether near or distant used to think 
The camphor locks of Zal as black as ink. 



256 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 



How Zdl visited Mihrdb of Kabul 

One day Zal set forth on a royal progress 
V. 149 With chiefs attached to him in rede and Faith 
To view Kabul, Dunbar, Margh, Mai and Ind. 
At every stage he set him up a throne 
And called for wine and harp and minstrelsy. 
He lavished treasure and indulged in pleasure, 
As is the fashion in this Wayside Inn, 
And reached Kabul with gladness in his heart. 
There was a certain monarch hight Mihrab, 
A wealthy and successful potentate, 
In stature like a noble cypress-tree, 
With cheeks like springtide and with pheasant's tread ; 
He had a sage's heart, a ruler's brain, 
A warrior's shoulders and archmage's sense. 
Descended from Zahhak, he ruled Kabul, 
But having not the power to fight with Sam 
Paid yearly tribute. Hearing that Sam's son 
Had come, he left Kabul at dawn with treasure, 
With steeds caparisoned, slave-boys, dinars, 
Musk, rubies, spicery, brocade of gold, 
Silks, beaver-skins, a royal jewelled crown 
And golden torque with emerald ornaments. 
He took the chiefs and army of Kabul 
As escort. Tidings reached the son of Sam : 
" The stately chief is coming in his state." 
Zal went to meet and greet him courteously 
With every honour due. In merry mood 
They came together to the turquoise throne ; 
A table fit for paladins was spread 
And all sat down with gladness to the feast. 



MINUCHIHR 257 

There, while cup-bearers handed cups and wine, 

Mihrab observed the son of Sain, on whom 

He joyed to gaze, and whom he longed to serve. 

Zal's wit and prudence made Mihrab exclaim: V. 150 

" His mother is immortal ! " 

When Mihrab 

Rose from the board, Zal marked his mien and limbs, 
And said before the chiefs : " Who girdeth him 
More gracefully ? Who hath such mien and carriage ? 
Men would pronounce him matchless in the fight." 

One of the noble chieftains said to Zal : 
" He hath a daughter in his house whose face 
Is fairer than the sun, like ivory 
From head to foot, with cheeks like Paradise, 
And as a teak in height. Two musky ringlets 
Fall o'er her silvern neck, the ends of them 
Would serve for ankle-rings. Her cheeks are like 
Pomegranate-blossoms, she hath cherry lips, 
Her silvern breasts bear two pomegranate-grains, 
Her eyes are twin narcissi in a garden, 
Their lashes blackness rapt from raven's plumes, 
Her brows are like two bows made at Taraz, 
Whipped with the purest musk. If thou wouldst seek 
A moon, there is her face ; if thou wouldst scent 
The musk, there is her hair. From head to foot 
She is as Paradise all music, charm, 
And beauty." 

This raised tumult in the heart 
Of Zal, and rest and reason fled from him ; 
He thought : " There is no doubt that this fair maid 
Is like the sun and moon, for since the sire 
Is comely still, how fair the child must be ! " 

Night came; Zal sat in sad and anxious thought, v. 151 
Concerned for her whom he had never seen, 
But when the sun's rays struck the mountain-tops 

R 



258 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

And made the world white crystal he gave audience, 

And warriors with their golden scabbards came 

To grace the portal of the paladin. 

As these great men were calling for their steeds, 

Mihrab, the ruler of Kabul, approached 

The tent of Zal, the ruler of Zabul. 

When he arrived the word was : " Clear the way." 

Fresh in his beauty as a laden fruit-tree 

He came to Zal, who welcomed him with joy, 

Gave him the chiefest room and said : " Request 

Whate'er thou wilt throne, signet, sword or crown." 

Mihrab replied: "Exalted, conquering king, 
Whose word is law ! But one desire have I, 
And that an easy one for thee to grant 
That thou be pleased to visit me and make 
My soul bright as the sun." 

Zal said : " Not so : 

Thy palace is not one that I may visit, 
For Sam would not approve, nor would the Shah, 
Of us for drinking wine and getting drunk 
With idol-worshippers. Save this request 
We grant thee all and joy to see thy face." 

On hearing this Mihrab did reverence, 
But in his heart called Zal an infidel, 
Then strode forth blessing much the son of Sam, 
Who as he went praised him as he deserved. 
V. 152 Now no one hitherto had noticed him, 

For all had thought him an outlandish div, 
And since his Faith and manners were not theirs 
Refrained from praising him ; but when Zal spake 
His admiration with such warmth, the courtiers 
Began to praise him too, his mien, his stature, 
His polished manners, tact and courtesy, 
While as for Zal his heart went clean distraught, 
His wisdom fled afar and love was lord. 



MINUCHIHR 259 

An Arab chief once said in this regard : 
" A horse shall while I live my comrade be, 
The vault of circling heaven shall shelter me ; 
I want no bride to make me delicate, 
And cause the wise to mock at mine estate." 

Zal, who was stricken to the heart by care, 
Kept brooding o'er the matter, sorely pained 
For fear lest scandal might result and dim 
His glory. Thus heaven oft revolved above, 
And all the while his heart was full of love. 



8 
How Ruddba took Counsel with her Damsels 

It came to pass that at the dawn one day 

Mihrab walked stately from the audience- chamber, 

And going toward his women's bower beheld 

Two Suns within the hall ; one was Kiidaba, 

The fair of face, the other was Sindukht, 

The prudent and devoted ; both were decked 

Like garths in spring all colour, scent, and grace. 

He gazed upon Kiidaba wonderingly, 

Invoking blessings on her. In his eyes 

She seemed a cypress neath the orbed moon, V. 153 

Encrowned with ambergris, decked with brocade 

And gems a very Paradise of wealth ! 

Sindukht, whose smiles displayed her pearly teeth, 

Between her jujube lips asked of Mihrab : 

" How did thy visit prosper ? May the hand 

Of ill be far from thee ! What is he like 

Sam's hoary son ? What is he suited for 

A nest or throne ? Doth he behave as man, 

And walk in chieftains' steps ? " 

Mihrab replied : 
" O fair-faced Cypress with the silvern breast ! 



260 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Of all the warrior- paladins of earth 
Not one can tread his steps ; there is no portrait 
Inside our halls with such a bridle-hand, 
Or such another cavalier on horseback. 
He is in heart a lion and in strength 
An elephant : his hands are like the Nile. 
When he is on the throne he scattereth gold, 
When he is in the fray he scattereth heads. 
His cheek is ruddy as the cercis-bloom : 
Shrewd, young in years and fortune too is he, 
In battle like the baleful crocodile, 
On horseback like a dragon with sharp claws. 
He layeth in the fight the dust with blood 
And brandisheth his falchion of blue-steel. 
He hath this one defect his hair is white ; 
Fault-finders find in him no other fault ; 
Yet this white hair of his becoineth him, 
And thou wouldst say : ' He fascinateth hearts.' " 
On hearing this Riidaba blushed, with cheeks 
Red as pomegranate-blossoms, while her heart 
Became fulfilled with fire for love of Zal : 
She could not eat or rest in peace ; a change 
Came in her disposition and demeanour, 
r For passion had usurped the place of wisdom, 
y. 154 How goodly were the teacher's words : "Deny 

All talk of men when there are women by ; 
The heart of woman is the Div's abode, 
i If thou suggestest she will find the road." 

Riidaba had five Turkman waiting-maids, 
Five faithful slaves, all girls of prudent minds ; 
To them she said : " I have a secret for you, 
Since all of you are in my confidence; 
Attend upon me, and dispel my cares ; 
Know then, all five of you, and understand, 
And luck go with you all your years, that I 



MINUCHIHR 261 

I am in love, and like a raging sea 

Whose billows surge to heaven ! Mine ardent heart 

Is full of love for Zal, and in my sleep 

I cannot tear my thoughts from him. His love 

Possesseth me, heart, mind, and wits ; I muse 

Upon his features day and night ; and now 

Means must be found to free me from my woe. 

None knoweth of my secret but yourselves, 

For ye are good and love me." 

Then the slaves 

Thought in amaze : " The princess doth amiss ! " 
Rose at her like so many Ahrimans 
And said : " O crown of ladies in the world ! 
O daughter eminent among the mighty, 
Admired from Hindustan to Chin, and like 
A shining signet in the women's bower ! 
No cypress in the garden equalleth 
Thy height ; thy cheeks outshine the Pleiades. 
Thy portrait hath been sent out to Kannuj, 
To Mai, and to the monarch of the West. 
Hath modesty departed from thine eyes 
And all consideration for thy sire 
That thou shouldst long to clasp upon thy bosom 
One whose own father hath rejected him 
One fostered on a mountain by a fowl V. 155 

A spectacle for all the folk ? No mother 
Excepting his hath borne an aged babe. 
Such offspring is ignoble. Strange indeed 
For two such coral lips and musky hair 
To seek a dotard ! Why, all folk love thee ; 
Thy portrait is in all their palaces ; 
Thy stature, face, and hair are such that Sol 
Would come from his fourth heaven to be thy spouse ! " 

Rudaba heard, her heart flared up like fire 
Before a blast of air. She shrieked at them, 



262 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USI 

With frowns that shut her eyes, exclaiming : " Bah ! 

Ye strive in vain : it booteth not to hear. 

If to some star I lost my heart, could I 

Find any satisfaction in the moon ? 

Clay-eaters do not gaze upon the rose 

Although the rose is better than the clay. 

If vinegar will cure a body's liver, 

Then honey will but make the anguish worse. 

I want not Caesar or Faghfiir of Chin, 

Or any of the princelings of 1 ran : 

Zal, son of Sam, is tall enough for me 

And lion-like in shoulder, neck, and arm ; 

For whether people call him old or young 

To me he giveth peace of soul and mind. 

Talk not of other men, be his my heart, 

Bit as it is by love of one whom I 

Have never seen ! It chooseth by report. 

I do not love his face and hair but him ; 

'Tis for his merits that I seek his love." 

The slaves, on hearing her distracted voice, 
And having learned her secret, cried : " Thy slaves 
V. 1 56 Are we and serve thee with devoted hearts. 

Command us ! Naught but good will come of it." 
One said : " Cypress-stem ! let none else know. 
A hundred thousand of us for thy life ! 
May all Creation's wisdom be thine aid ! 
Should there be need to study grammarye, 
And stitch up eyes with artifice and spell, 
Then will we fly like an enchanter's bird, 
Or run along like deer to give thee aid, 
So we may bring this king to thee our Moon, 
And lay him at thy feet." 

Riidaba smiled, 

Turned safflower cheeks toward the slave and said : 
" If thou canst compass this thou wilt have planted 



MINUCHIHR 263 

A tall tree bearing rubies day by day 
Which wisdom in its breast will bear away." 



How Ruddbds Damsels went to see Zdl 

The slaves arose and went, remediless 

Themselves they sought a remedy for her. 

So donning raiment of brocade of Rum, 

And twisting roses in their hair, they went, 

The five of them, toward the river-side, 

Like jocund spring all colour and perfume. 

'Twas Farwardin, the first month of the year, 

And Zal's encampment was beside the stream ; 

The damsels were upon the farther bank. 

Their talk was all of Zal. They gathered roses 

Along the river-side. Their cheeks were like 

A rosary, and roses filled their laps ; 

But still they gathered roaming here and there. 

When they came opposite the royal tent 

Zal, spying them from his high throne, inquired : 

" Who are these flower- worshippers ?" 

One said : v. 157 
" The Beauty of Kabulistan hath sent 
Forth from the palace of bright-soul ed Mihrab 
Her waiting-maidens to the rosary." 

Zal's heart beat fast, and being love-distraught 
He walked attended by a single slave 
Beside the stream. Upon the further bank 
He saw the girls, drew himself up and bade 
The Turkman slave-boy bring the bow ; then looked 
For game and lighted on a water-fowl. 
The ruddy Turkman slave-boy strung the bow 
And laid it in the paladin's left hand, 
Who flushed the fowl and shot it as it rose. 



264 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Blood dyed the water. Zal said : " Go across 
And fetch yon crippled bird." 

The gallant Turkman 

Crossed in a boat. The slave-girls questioned him 
About the paladin : " This lion-limbed 
And elephantine-bodied warrior 
Who is he ? Of what people is he king ? 
What foe could counter him ? We never saw 
A finer cavalier or better shot." 

The pretty slave-boy bit his lip and said : 
" Speak not so of the king. The son of Sam 
Is monarch of Nimriiz, and other kings 
Call him ' Dastan.' The sky revolveth not 
O'er cavalier like him, nor will time see 
His peer." 

The damsels laughed and answered thus 
The moon-faced boy : " Say not such things because 
V. 158 Mihrab hath now a Moon within his palace, 
Who is a whole head taller than thy king, 
A teak in stature, ivory in hue, 
Crowned with a crown of musk, a thing divine. 
Her eyes are pensive and her eyebrows arched ; 
Their column is a silvern reed. Her mouth 
Is narrow as the heart of one forlorn, 
Her tresses' ends are coiled like ankle-rings, 
Her witching eyes are full of dreamy light, 
Her cheeks are tulip-like in hue, her locks 
Like musk ; her soul is breathing through her lips. 
A matchless Moon is she ! We from Kabul 
Approach the monarch of Zabul in state, 
And 'tis our policy to introduce 
Our lady's ruby lips to those of Zal, 
Which is but well and seemly, for she is 
Of equal rank." 

On hearing this the slave-boy 



MINUCHIHR 265 

Flushed ruby-like. " The Sun should wed the Moon," 
He said. " Whene'er the world would make a match 
The hearts of all concerned find room for love, 
And when the world would cause a severance 
It parteth mate from mate without a word. 
Love's bond is hidden but its rupture seen, 
And both are common. Still the bachelor 
Enjoyeth peace at home, and since he hath 
No daughter, will not hear reproachful words. 
Once said the male hawk to his brooding mate : 
' If hen-birds only from these eggs thou bring 
Thou makest of the sire a sexless thing.' " 

Now when the laughing slave-boy had returned V. 159 

Zal asked : " What was it that they said to thee 
To make thee laugh and show thy silvern teeth ? " 

He told the paladin, whose heart grew young 
With joy. He bade the moon-faced youth : " Return 
And say thus to yon damsels : ' Stay awhile 
Among the roses ; ye perchance may take 
Some gems as well as blossoms from the garden, 
So go not till ye hear from me.' " 

He took 

Gold, jewelry, and drachms, with five rich pieces 
Of gold brocade and bade his slaves : " Convey them 
To yonder girls, tell none and be not seen." 

They took the treasures with an ardent message 
And gave them to the damsels in Zal's name. 
Then said one damsel to the moon-faced page : 
" A matter never can be kept concealed 
Unless it be confined to only two ; 
Three are no casket, four are all the world. 
So say to him, shrewd, trusty boy : ' If thou 
Hast secret things to say tell us in person.' " 

Riidaba's damsels said to one another : 
" The Lion hath been taken in the toils. 



266 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA US I 

The wishes of Riidaba and of Zal 

Have been fulfilled, and matters promise well." 

The black-eyed youth, who brought the monarch's 

gifts 

And acted for him, went and told his chief 
In secret what those charming damsels said, 
v. 1 60 Zal went. Those rosy Idols of Taraz 

Drew near and did obeisance. He inquired 
About that Cypress-stem, her mien and looks, 
Her speech, her wisdom, and her rede, to see 
If she were worthy of him. " Speak," he said, 
" Without attempting to prevaricate. 
If ye speak truth it will advantage you, 
But if I think that ye impose upon me 
An elephant shall trample you to death." 

With cheeks that had become like sandarac 
The slave-girls kissed the ground before the chief, 
And one of them the youngest of the troop, 
A girl of tenderness and ready speech, 
Spake thus to Zal : " Among the mighty none 
Hath e'er been born of woman in this world 
Who could compare with Sam in looks and stature, 
In purity, in courage, sense, and knowledge ; 
Or yet with thee, thou valiant cavalier, 
Of lofty bearing and of lion-limbs ! 
Or with Rudaba in her loveliness, 
A silvern Cypress, coloured and perfumed, 
Compact from head to foot of rose and jasmine, 
While over it Canopus of Yarnan 
Is shining. One would say : ' Her face distilleth 
Wine, and her locks are scents.' Insidious lassos 
Fall from her head, that cupola of silver, 
O'er cheeks of roses to the very ground. 
Her head is all a-twine with ambergris 
And musk, her person all a-shine with jewels. 



MINUCHIHR 267 

Her locks and ringlets are like musky mail 
Where ' there is link on link ' as one might say. 
Thou wilt not see in Chin so fair an Idol : 
The moon and Pleiades bow down to her." 

The chief on fire rejoined in sugared tones : 
" Say, if thou knowest, how I may approach her. V. 161 

I love her, heart and soul, and long to see 
Her face." 

She answered : " We, if thou shalt bid us, 
Will haste back to the palace of our Cypress, 
And then beguile her, telling all we can 
About the chief of paladins, his prudence, 
His looks, his converse, and his ardent soul, 
And 'tis an honest work. We will ensnare 
Her musky head and bring her lips to Zal's. . 
The paladin, a lasso in his hand, 
May haply stroll toward our stately home 
And fling the noose around a pinnacle. 
The Lion will rejoice to hunt the Lamb. 
Then gaze thy fill on her. Our talk shall be 
The earnest of far more felicity." 



3 10 
How the Damsels returned to Ruddba 

The girls departed, and Zal thought the night 
A year. Meanwhile they reached the palace-gate, 
Each with two sprays of roses, where the porter, 
On catching sight of them, prepared to chide, 
And spake with sternness, hardening his heart : 
" A nice time this to be beyond the gates ! 
I marvel at your gadding so about." 

The Idols, when they found a word to say, 
Flew out at him in their embarrassment : 



268 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

" This day is just like any other one : 
There is no foul div in the rosary. 
'Tis spring. We gather roses in the garden, 
And spikes of hyacinth upon the ground. 
Moon-faced Rudaba bade, and so we went 
Hence after roses out of love for her ; 
Then wherefore speak to us in such a tone 
For plucking them ? " 

V. 162 " But this is not the time," 

He said, " for pranks like these ; for bear in mind 
That Zal the chieftain now is at Kabul : 
The land is covered with his tents and troops. 
Do ye not see Mihrab at early dawn 
Go from his palace-gate and mount his steed ? 
Why, every day he goeth to and fro 
Now he and Zal have come to be such friends, 
And if he saw you carrying your roses 
Would have you down upon the ground forthwith. 
Quit not the Haram more, and would to God 
That nothing great or small may come of this." 

They went within and told the Moon hi private : 
" We ne'er saw Sun like this with ruddy cheeks 
And hair all white." 

Riidaba's heart inflamed 
In expectation of beholding Zal. 
They laid his jewels and dinars before her, 
While she minutely questioned them : " How found ye 
The son of Sam ? Doth he deserve his fame ? " 

The five, encouraged, chattered on and said : 
" Zal is the finest horseman, with such mien 
And Grace a lofty cypress of a man. 
Imperial Grace and dignity are his. 
What fragrance, colour, stature, limbs, he hath ! 
How slirn a waist and what an open chest ! 
His eyes are twin narcissi water-blue, 



MINUCHIHR 269 

His lips like coral and his cheeks like blood. 

His hand and forearm are like lion's paws. 

A shrewd man he, with an archmage's heart 

And royal Grace ! while as for his white hair 

It is a blemish but no cause for shame. 

This chief of paladins hath downy cheeks, 

Like cercis-bloom through silver habergeon, 

Such as to make one cry : ' Be ever thus : v - 163 

No change can make thee dearer than thou art.' 

We told him he should see thee ; he was hopeful 

When we departed. Now devise a scheme 

To entertain him. Tell us what to tell him." 

She answered : " Once ye told a different tale ! 
This Zal, who was the nursling of a bird, 
Was so white-headed and so wizened ! Now 
His cheek is like the cercis-bloom, and he 
Is tall and handsome, and a paladin ! 
And ye have bragged about my face to him 
And asked for payment for your gossiping." 

She spake with smiles and blushes on her cheeks, ' 

As 'twere pomegranate-blooms, then bade one damsel : 
" Be off with you at dawn. Take him good news, 
Hear what he hath to say and say to him : 
' Thy wish is granted ; be in readiness ; 
Come and behold thy Moon in all her charms.' " 

The waiting-maid departed, gave the message, 
And came back to the Cypress of Taraz. 
"Devise some means to compass it," she said, 
" For God hath granted thee thy whole desire, 
And may the ending be a happy one ! " 

Riidaba soon made ready, while her kin 
Suspected naught. She had her own pavilion 
Like jocund spring and decked with great men's 

portraits. 
The servants draped it with brocade of Chin, 



270 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

Set golden trays about as ornaments, 
Then mingled wine with musk and ambergris 
And scattered emeralds and carnelians. 
Here were narcissus, violet, cercis-bloom 
And rose, there lily and the jasmine-spray. 
The goblets were compact of gold and turquoise, 
The viands saturate with clear rose-water ; 
V. 164 Thus from the chamber of the sun-faced one 
Rose fragrant odours wafting to the sun. 



How Zdl went to Riiddba 

At dusk they locked the gate and took the key, 
And then a damsel went to Zal and said : 
" All is prepared, so come." 

Thereat the chief, 

All wooer-like, set out toward the palace. 
Meanwhile black-eyed and rosy-cheeked Riidaba- 
A cypress over which the full moon shone 
Went to the roof, and, when the son of Sam 
The cavalier appeared, that high-born maid 
Unlocked her coral lips and cried to him : 
" Thou art well come, youth of noble birth ! 
The Maker's blessing be on thee, the arch 
Of circling heaven be underneath thy feet, 
And may my maid be blithe of heart and glad, 
For, top to toe, thou art as she described thee. 
To foot it thus from thy pavilion 
Must irk thy royal feet." 

He heard the voice 

And saw upon the wall a sun-cheeked damsel, 
Whose beauty set the roof a-gleam like gems, 
Whose blushes set the ground a-flush like rubies. 



MINUCHIHR 271 

He thus made answer : " thou inoon-faced one ! 
My blessing and the Grace of heaven be thine. 
How many nights with eyes up-turned to Spica 
Have I entreated Him who ruleth all, 
To let me privily behold thy face ! 
Now thou dost make me happy with thy voice, 
Thy tender words and gentleness. Oh ! find 
Some means to let me look on thee ! For why 
Shouldst thou be on the roof and I below ? " 

The fairy-faced one heard the chieftain's words v. 165 

And doffed her scarlet wimple instantly. 
Then from her lofty cypress-form she loosed 
A lasso, such as none could plait, of musk : 
Coil within coil it was, and snake on snake ; 
Strand over strand it lay upon her neck. 
She loosed her tresses o'er the battlements 
And when they straightened out they reached the 

ground. 

Then spake Rudaba from the wall above : 
" paladin ! O child of warrior-race ! 
Now speed thee quickly and gird up thy loins, 
Exert thy lion-breast and royal hands. 
Seize these black tresses which hang down beside me 
All dedicate to thee." 

Zal gazed on her 

In marvel at her hair and face. She heard 
Him kiss that musky lasso oft. He said : 
" This is not well ; may no sun shine when I 
Shall lay a wanton hand upon my Life 
And put a spearpoint to this wounded heart." 

He took a lasso from his servant, coiled 
And lightly flung it in his breathless haste. 
The noose caught and he mounted. Fairy-face 
Advanced to welcome him, she clasped his hand, 
And both intoxicate with love descended, 



272 THE SHANHAMA OF FIRDA USI 

v. 166 Hand clasped in hand, to her pavilion 

Gold-arabesqued a meeting-place for kings, 

A Paradise adorned a blaze of light. 

Slave-girls attended on the Houri there, 

While Zal in rapt astonishment beheld 

Her face, her hair, her loveliness and grace, 

Her bracelets, torque, and earrings : her brocade 

And jewels were like gardens in the spring ; 

Her cheeks were like twin tulips in a garth ; 

Her crispy love-locks twisted curl on curl. 

Zal sat in royal grace by that fair Moon, 

His dagger in his belt and on his head 

A ruby coronet. Rudaba looked 

And looked with stolen glances at him still ; 

Looked at that form, that neck, that grace, that 

height, 

Which used to make rocks brambles 'neath his mace, 
And at those cheeks whose lustre fired her soul. 
The more she gazed the more her heart inflamed : 
They kissed and clung intoxicate with love. 
What lion hunteth not the onager ? 
Thus spake the chieftain to the moon-faced maid : 
" silver-bosomed Cypress, musk-perfumed ! 
The Shah will ne'er consent, and Sam will wring 
His hands and storm, but still by God I swear 
That I will never break my troth to thee. 
Nay I will first hold soul and body cheap 
And wear a shroud. I will seek God and pray Him, 
With all the instancy of devotees, 
To wash all opposition, wrath, and vengeance 

V. 167 From both their hearts, and if He hearkeneth 
Thou shalt become my wife before the world." 
Rudaba answered : " I too swear by Him 
The God of Faith and right that none but Zal 
Shall be my lord ; the Maker is my witness." 



MINUCHIHR 273 

Their love waxed ever as the moments sped, 
For wisdom was afar and passion near. 
So fared they till the day began to break 
And drum-call sounded. Zal farewelled his Moon, 
Embracing her as warp and woof embrace. 
Both wept and both adjured the rising sun : 
" glory of the world ! one moment more ! 
Thou needst not rise so soon." 

Then from aloft 

Zal dropped his lasso and descending straight 
Went from the palace of his lovely mate. 



I2 

How Zdl consulted the Archimages in the Matter 
of Ruddba 

The warriors, when bright Sol rose o'er the hills, 

Went to the levee of the paladin, 

And then dispersed while Zal bade call the sages. 

They came the ministers, archmages, heroes 

And glorious chieftains, men both wise and ardent 

Well pleased at being summoned. Zal, all smiles 

And yearning, offered first his praise to God, 

Then roused the archimages to attention 

By thus addressing them : " Let all our hearts 

Regard with fear and hope the righteous Judge, 

Who is the Lord of circling sun and moon, v. 168 

And showeth souls the way of righteousness. 

To give Him all the praise that we can give 

We must bow down before Him night and day. 

By Him the jocund world abideth fast, 

By Him is justice done in heaven and earth. 

He bringeth summer, spring, and autumn-tide 

With fruit to fill the branches of the vines ; 

s 



274 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USI 

Youth hath from Him its time of scent and bloom, 
Age hath from Him its time of saddened looks. 
None can transgress His will and ordinance : 
Without Him not an ant can walk the earth. 
He bringeth increase to the world by pairs, 
And not by one ; there is no One but God, 
Who hath not any partner, mate, or peer, 
But all His creatures hath He made in pairs. 
This was His scheme earth and its good for man ; 
But save for pairing we had never known 
Its possibilities. Again, we never 
See youth unmated stable in the Faith, 
And thirdly, men though of a mighty stock 
Unmated lose their vigour. What can show 
More goodly than a chief of paladins, 
Whose soul is gladdened by his progeny ? 
He at life's close will have a New Year's Day 
In children who will keep his memory thus : 
This is the son of Zal the son of Sam.' 
?hus crown and throne are graced ; the father's time 
Being over fortune resteth with the son. 
All these apply to mine own case, and are 
The roses and narcissi of my garden. 
V. 169 My heart is lost, my wisdom fled ! Declare 

The remedy for this. I have not spoken 
Before I suffered both in brain and wits. 
The palace of Mihrab I love it all ! 
His land is heaven to me forwhy my heart 
Rejoiceth in the daughter of Sindukht. 
What say ye now ? Will Sam too be rejoiced ? 
And will Shah Minuchihr, if he shall hear, 
Regard it merely as a youthful error ? 
All great and small in marrying but obey 
The laws of Faith and custom. No wise man 
Will bar what honour and religion sanction. 



MINUCHIHR 275 

What do the prescient archimages say ? 
What are the sages' views ? " 

They held their peace 
Because Zahhak was grandsire to Mihrab, 
And Mimichihr detested both. None dared 
To answer, none had heard of antidote 
And bane combined. Their silence grieved the chief, 
Who tried another plan : " I know," said he, 
" That ye will blame the course that I adopt, 
But every one who chooseth for himself 
Is certain to incur no lack of blame. 
If ye can show me what to do, and how 
I may undo this coil, ye shall be treated 
As subjects ne'er were yet, my goodness, kindness, 
And uprightness shall keep you from all ill." 
The archimages, well disposed toward him, 
Considered and replied : " We are thy slaves, v. 170 

And we are much amazed. But who will be 
The better or the worse on this account ? 
Although Mihrab is not of equal rank 
Yet is he mighty, brave, and rich, albeit 
Sprung from the Dragon's stock the Arabs' king. 
Write thou to Sam as thy shrewd mind suggesteth, 
Who hast more wisdom, thoughtfulness, and wits 
Than we, and he may write the Shah a letter 
Explaining his own views, and Minuchihr 
Will be advised by Sam the cavalier 
And every obstacle will disappear." 



'3 
How Zdl ivrote to Sdm to Explain the Case 

The chieftain bade a scribe to come, poured forth 
His heart and wrote a letter of good cheer, 



276 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

And first he praised the Maker and the Judge, 
" The Source of joy and might, the Lord of Venus, 
Of Sol and Mars, of being and not being. 
We all of us are slaves and God is One. 
May He bless Sam the son of Nariman 
The lord of mace, of scimitar, and helm, 
Whose black steed boundeth in the dust of fight, 
Who glutteth vultures when he maketh war, 
Who raiseth tempests on the battle-field, 
Who sheddeth gouts of blood from murky clouds, 
V. 171 Who handleth golden belts and diadems 

And setteth kings upon their thrones of gold. 

His bravery achieveth feat on feat 

And they exalt his name. There liveth not, 

Nor ever will, a cavalier so brave. 

His thrall am I and love him heart and soul. 

He saw how I was born, and ills have come 

Since then upon me from the rolling sky. 

My father wore luxurious furs and silks ; 

Me the Simurgh bare to a mount in Ind. 

Fain was I that the bird should bring me prey 

And number me among its little ones. 

My skin was scorched by blast, mine eyes were stopped 

With dust. They used to call me son of Sam 

Though he was on a throne, I in a nest, 

Since God ordained and made this way for me. 

None scapeth His ordainment though one fly 

Among the clouds, gnaw spearheads, rend the hides 

Of lions with his shouting, yea although 

His teeth are anvils he is still God's slave. 

A thing hath happened which I cannot tell 
To every one, and I am broken-hearted, 
Howbeit a sire, though fierce and dragon-like, 
Should hearken to the secrets of his child. 
My tears are for the daughter of Mihrab, 



MINfiCHIHR 277 

I am as if consumed in raging fire, 

The stars are my companions in the night, 

My breast is like a sea, I lose my wits 

So that my people weep ; yet though sore troubled 

I will not draw a breath but at thy word. 

What doth the chief of paladins command ? V. 172 

Oh ! free my mind from this distress and grief ! 

The archimages have advised me thus : 

' Let not the chieftain keep his Jewel hidden 

But act with loyalty.' My sire perchance 

Will second me herein that I may make 

The daughter of Mihrab my lawful wife. 

My father will remember that when God 

Restored me to him out of Mount Alburz 

He pledged his word in presence of his men : 

' I will not frustrate one wish of thy heart.' 

Now this it is whereon my heart is set." 

A horseman left Kabul at lightning-speed 
To go to Sam and took a second horse, 
For Zal directed : " Should one roadster founder 
Stay not to breathe but lightly mount the other 
And hurry on to Sam." 

The messenger 

Went, like the wind, upon a steed of steel. 
When he was drawing near the Kargasars, 
Sam, who was hunting on a range of hills, 
Beheld him from afar and told his comrades : 
" There cometh from Kabul a messenger 
Upon a white steed of Zabulistan, 
Sent doubtlessly by Zal, so let us learn 
His news." 

The man approaching kissed the ground, 
With many thanks to God. Sam welcomed him 
And took the letter, while the man discharged 
His errands. Sam undid and read the letter v. 173 



278 THE SH AH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

While coming from the mountains, paled and halted 
In wonder not expecting or commending 
Zal's conduct. " Yet," he thought, " 'tis natural : 
One nurtured by a bird would hanker thus." 

When he returned he pondered long and deeply, 
And said : " If I shall say, ' This is not well, 
Oppose me not, incline to wisdom's ways,' 
Both God and man will blame my breach of faith. 
If I say,' Yes,' and ' Thy desire is good : 
Do as thou wilt,' what will their offspring be 
This nursling of the fowl and that div's child ? " 

He laid him down in grief but could not rest. 
The harder any servant's task, the more 
His heart is heavy and his suffering sore, 
The greater peace and comfort shall he know 
Within when God Almighty willeth so. 



How Sam consulted the Archmages in the Matter of Zdl 

Sam when he woke asked the astrologers : 
" How will this end, for these two elements, 
Like fire and water, are opposed completely ? 
Such surely on the Judgment Day will be 
The warfare of Zahhak and Faridun. 
Consult the stars, vouchsafe me your advice, 
And put your pen- point to a lucky sign." 
V. 174 They spent the day in searching, and then came 

To Sam with smiles, for opposites combined 
In his behalf, and an astrologer 
Said : " Hero of the golden belt ! we bring 
Good news about the daughter of Mihrab 
And Zal, for they will be a glorious pair, 
Whose son will prove a mighty Elephant, 



MINUCHIHR 279 

Will gird his loins with, valour, overcome 

The world, will set the Shah's throne on the clouds, 

Cut from the ground the feet of evil doers 

And leave them not a lurking-place on earth, 

Spare no Sagsars, 1 spare not Mazandaran, 

But make the earth clean with his massive mace. 

Through him Tiiran shall suffer greater woe, 

Through him Iran shall gain unbounded weal, 

Through him the aching head shall rest, and he 

Shall shut the door of war, the path of mischief. 

The Iranians shall have hope in him, through him 

The paladin shall have good news and joy. 

The charger that he urgeth in the fight 

Shall trample on the face of warrior-pards. 

The realm in his days shall be fortunate, 

The age accept his name among the kings, 

While Rum, Ind, and the country of Iran 

Shall grave it on their signets." 

Sam gave ear 

And smiled as they congratulated him. 
He gave them gold and silver past all count 
Since peace had come in time of fear. He called 
The messenger, conversed with him and said : 
" Speak gently unto Zal and say : ' Thy wish 
Hath nothing in its favour, but since I 
Have pledged my word I must not seek a pretext 
For breaking it. Lo! I shall quit the field V. 175 

To-morrow for Iran to ascertain 

The Shah's commands, and how God shall dispose 
him.'" 

He gave a largess to the messenger 
And said to him : " Arise and tarry not." 

They bound a thousand of the Kargasars 
And dragged them off afoot in shame and woe. 

1 The name of a wild tribe, "the Dog-heads." 



280 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Toward dawn the horsemen's shouts rose o'er the 

plain, 

Rose too the sound of drums and clarions 
About the entrance of the tent-enclosure, 
And Sam marched to Iran by Dahistan. 

The messenger returned to Zal in triumph 
With omens of success. When he arrived 
He told Sam's answer. Zal was well content 
And offered praises to Almighty God 
For this great mercy and his blissful fate. 
He lavished on the poor drachms and dinars 
And showed especial kindness to his kindred, 
Invoking blessings on the chieftain Sam 
For having sent a gentle answer back. 
He could not rest by day or sleep by night, 
He drank no wine, desired no minstrelsy ; 
His heart was always yearning for his bride ; 
He could not talk of any one beside. 



15 

How SinduTM heard of the Case of Rudaba 

A dame of honied speech was go-between 
And bore the lovers' greetings to and fro. 
Zal called this woman, told about his sire, 
Arid said to her : " Go to Rudaba. Say : 
y. 176 ' O Beauty kind and young ! when matters come 
To grievous straits we quickly find a key 
For their enlargement. Now the messenger 
Hath come from Sam rejoicing with good news. 
Sam hummed and hawed but in the end consented.' 

Zal sent his father's letter by the woman, 
Who hurried with the good news to Rudaba. 



MINUCHIHR 281 

That fay-faced damsel showered drachms upon her, 

Placed her upon a gold-embroidered seat 

And for her news gave her a change of raiment ; 

Then brought an Indian turban woven so finely 

That warp and woof were not distinguishable, 

With patterns wrought thereon in gold and rubies, 

So that the gold was hidden by the gems. 

This, and a costly finger-ring to match, 

As bright as Jupiter, she sent to Zal, 

With many greetings, many messages. 

Sindukht observed the woman in the hall 

And cried : " Whence art thou ? Speak ! Dissemble 

not ! 

Thou passest in and out from time to time 
Without regard to me. I much suspect thee. 
Wilt thou not say if thou art string or bow ? " 

With face like sandarac she kissed the ground v. 177 

And answered thus : " A needy woman I, 
Who have to get my living as I can ; 
I visit houses of the gentlefolk 
Who purchase clothes of me and jewelry. 
Riidaba wished to buy rich gems and trinkets ; 
I brought to her a gold adorned tiara 
And hoop of royal gems." 

Sindukht said : " Show them 
And quench my wrath." 

" I left them with Riidaba," 
The woman answered, " and am fetching more." 
" Show me the purchase-money," said Sindukht, 
" And set my heart at rest." 

The woman answered : 

" The moon-faced lady told me she would pay 
To-morrow. Wait until I have the money." 

Perceiving that she lied Sindukht used force, 
Searched up her sleeves and found her knavery. 



282 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

Si'ndukht discovering Riidaba's ring 
And costly stuffs was very wroth, and catching 
The woman by the tresses flung her down 
V. 178 Upon her face, and in a burst of rage 

Haled her in shameful plight along the ground, 
Then let her fall, and bound and spurned and smote her. 
The queen returned in dudgeon to the palace, 
O'erwhelmed with disappointment, pain, and grief, 
Shut herself in and was as one bemused. 
She sent to call her daughter and the while 
Kept buffeting her face, and from her eyes 
Those wet narcissi bathed her burning cheeks ; 
Then to Riidaba : " thou noble Moon ! 
Why choosest thou the ditch and not the throne ? 
In what respect can I have failed to teach thee 
Propriety in public and in private ? 
My pretty ! wherefore hast thou wronged me so ? 
Tell mother all thy secrets who despatched 
This dame to thee and why. What is all this ? 
Who is the man for whom this splendid turban 
And finger-ring are meant ? In that great treasure 
The Arabian crown much good and ill was left us. 
It had a name. Wilt fling it to the winds ? 
May mother never bear a child like mine ! " 
Riidaba looked away and hung her head 
In overwhelming shame before her mother, 
And tears of love descending graced her cheeks. 
" most wise mother ! " thus she made reply, 
" Love hunteth down my soul, but I had wrought 
No good or ill hadst thou not borne me first. 
The chieftain of Zabul is at Kabul, 
And love of him so fireth me, and things 
Have come to such a pass within my heart 
That, if in others' presence or alone, 
I weep and only live to see his face. 



MINUCHIHR 283 

One hair of his is worth the world to me. 

Know too that he hath seen and sat beside me, v. 179 

And that we hand in hand have plighted troth. 

We did but see each other nothing more 

And lo ! a fire sprang up betwixt us twain. 

A messenger was sent to mighty Sam 

And he hath given his valiant son an answer. 

Though vexed at first he grew amenable 

And gave large presents to the messenger. 

By means of her whose hair thou didst pluck out, 

And whom thou didst fling down and hale along 

Upon the face, I have read all his letter : 

This stuff was my reply." 

Smdukht was lost 

In wonder, glad that Zal should wed Rudaba, 
But said : " This is no trifle. Zal is peerless 
Among the chiefs for valour, he is great, 
Son of the paladin of paladins, 
With all the virtues, and a single fault 
Which dwarfeth them the Shah will be displeased 
And send the dust up sunward from Kabul. 
He wisheth not that any of our race 
Should e'er mount saddle." 

Then, to make it seem 
That she had been mistaken, she released 
The woman and made much of her, and said : 
" Act ever thus, discreet and clever dame ! 
Shut fast thy lips. God grant they never prove 
A chink for speech. Now hide this in the dust." 

She saw her daughter's secret bent was such 
That she would listen to advice from none, 
And laid her down in tears and in chagrin ; 
Thou wouldst have said that she had burst her skin. 



284 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA 751 



How Mihrab was made Aware of Ms Daughter's Case 

v. i So Mihrab, much gratified by Zal's attentions, 
Returning found Sindukht upon her couch 
Pale and distressed ; he asked her : " What hath 

happened ? 
Speak ! Wherefore are thy rosy lips thus faded ? " 

She said : " I have been musing for a while 
About these goodly treasures and this wealth, 
These Arab steeds caparisoned, this palace 
So noble and its pleasure-grounds, the friends 
Who cheer our hearts, these servants of my lord, 
Our favour and our stature cypress- tall, 
Our fame, our knowledge, and our policy. 
In time our pride and glory must abate ; 
We yield them to the foe ; our toil is wind ; 
A narrow bier is ours at last. We plant 
A tree whose antidote is bane to us, 
We water it laboriously and hang 
Thereon our crown and wealth, but when it mounteth 
Sunward and giveth shade its lusty head 
Descendeth to the dust. With this before us 

I know not where we ever shall find rest." 

/v, 

Mihrab replied : " Thou tellest an old tale : 
It is the fashion of this Wayside Inn. 
One is abased, another flourisheth, 
One corneth in, another goeth out ; 
Canst thou see one whom heaven hunteth not ? 
Fret as we will our woes remain ; we cannot 
^ Contend against the All-just Judge." 

She answered : 
v. 181 " The wise would take a very different view 



MINUCHIHR 285 

Of what I said. Now can I hide from thee 
A secret such as this and these grave doings ? 
A blessed wise archmage once told his child 
The parable of the tree which I adopted 
In hope my lord would understand the meaning." 

She hung her head and bent her cypress-form, 
Her eyes dropped dew upon her rosy cheeks. 
" O full of wisdom," she went on to say, 
" The sky must not revolve above us thus. 
Know that the son of Sam hath striven to snare 
Rudaba and misled her ardent heart. 
Now 'tis for us to find a remedy. 
I have exhorted her without avail ; 
Her heart I see is troubled, her face wan." 

Thereat Mihrab sprang up and seized his sword, 
His cheek grew livid and his body shook 
With rage ; his heart was full, he groaned and cried : 
" Her blood shall flow for this." 

Sindukht sprang too, 

Clasped him about the waist, and cried : " Now hear 
Thy handmaid speak one word, then do what heart 
And wisdom counsel thee." 

He shook her off 

And bellowed like a maddened elephant : 
" I should have cut her head off at her birth. 
I left her grandsire's way and let her live ; 
Now she hath wrought on me this devilry. 
The son who walketh not his father's path 
Is but a bastard in a brave man's eyes. 
Thus said the leopard grown keen- clawed for strife : 
' I glory in the conflict, and I wis V. 182 

My sire inherited the taste from his. 
Life must be risked when honour is in sight ; 
Why strivest thou to stay me from the fight ? ' 
If Sam and Mimichihr shall get a handle 



286 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Against us smoke will go up from Kabul, 
Seedtime and harvest cease throughout the land." 

She said : " marchlord ! do not speak so wildly. 
Sam knoweth all : be not so greatly moved. 
He left the Kargasars for this : all know it." 

Mihrab replied : " Fair dame ! deceive me not. 
Could one imagine wind obeying dust ? 
I care not I so thou canst keep us scathless. 
A better son-in-law than noble Zal 
There cannot be as all know, great and small. 
Who is there from Ahwaz to Kandahar 
That wisheth not to be affined to Sam ? " 

She said : " Great prince ! ne'er may I be enforced 
To use deceit with thee ; thy harm is mine ; 
I share thy sorrows. What I said is true 
And it was on my mind. I had at first 
Myself the same misgiving, which is why 
Thou sawst me lying down absorbed in grief ; 
But if this is to be 'tis not so strange 
As to occasion this anxiety. 
Sarv of Yaman pleased Faridun ; prince Zal 
Is not unmindful of that precedent. 
By mingling fire with water, air with earth 
Earth's dark face is made bright." 

v. 183 She brought Sam's answer, 

And said : " Rejoice ! Thou hast thy wish. When 

strangers 
Affine with thee thy foes grow black of face." 

Though vengeful still and greatly moved Mihrab 
Gave ear, then bade her : " Rouse and bring Rudaba." 

Smdukht, in terror lest that lion-man 
Should lay her daughter dead upon the dust, 
Replied : " First promise to restore her to me 
Unscathed, and that Kabulistan shall still 
Possess this Rosary like Paradise." 



MINUCHIHR 287 

The chieftain promised, but he said : " Now mark ! 
The Shah will meditate revenge for this." 

Smdukht did reverence, bending to the ground ; 
Then with her lips all smiles and face that showed 
The dawn beneath the night went to her daughter 
With this good news : " The warrior-leopard's claws 
Have spared the wilful onager. Now hasten ! 
Take from thy face thine ornaments and go 
Before thy father, weeping bitterly." 

Riidaba answered : " What are ornaments ? 
What are these worthless trinkets to my wealth ? 
My soul is wedded to the son of Sam ; 
Why hide what is so plain ? " 

Then went she in 

Before her father, like a rising sun, 
And overwhelmed in gold and jewelry. 

Her father called on God in mute amaze. V. 184 

She was a Paradise adorned and fair, 
Like shining Sol in jocund spring. He said : 
" witless one ! would virtuous folk approve 
That Ahriman should have a fairy-bride ? 
May neither crown nor finger-ring be thine. 
If but a serpent-charmer from Kahtan 
Turned Magian we should slay him with an arrow." 

Whenas Riidaba heard her father's words 
Her heart grew full, her face like fenugreek. 
She let her dark eyelashes droop and veil 
Her melancholy eyes and scarcely breathed, 
Her father all the while with furious heart 
And full of menace roaring like a pard. 
With blood returning to her pallid cheeks 
His love-sick daughter went back to her chamber, 
Where with her mother who had gained the day 
She prayed Almighty God to be their stay. 



288 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 



17 
How Minuchihr heard of the Case of Zdl and Ruddba 

News of the friendship of Mihrab and Zal 
And of that noble ill-matched pair of lovers 
Reached Minuchihr. The matter was discussed 
Before him by the archmages. Said the Shah : 
" A dismal time will come on us hereby. 
Did Faridun purge this world of Zahhak 
That at Kabul Mihrab his seed might flourish ? 
V. 185 This love of ZaTs must not through our neglect 

Restore the drooping plant to its old vigour. 
If from the daughter of .Mihrab, and Zal, 
The son of Sam, a sharp Sword should be drawn, 
On one side he will be an alien, 
And how shall antidote agree with bane ? 
While if he favoureth the mother's side 
His head will be possessed by evil projects, 
He will fulfil Iran with strife and travail 
In hope to win the crown and treasure back. 
What is your rede ? Strive to advise me well." 

Then all the archimages blessed the Shah, 
They hailed him as the king of the Pure Faith, 
And said : " Thou art more wise than we and hast 
More power to act. Let wisdom be thy guide, 
And wisdom's quarry is the Dragon's heart." 

The Shah, desirous to conclude the matter, 
Sent for Naudar, with lieges and great men, 
And bade him : '' Go to Sam the cavalier, 
Ask : ' What hath been thy fortune in the war ? ' 
And having seen him say : ' Come hither first, 
And journey home from us.' " 

Naudar set forth, 
And valiant Sam, informed of his approach 



MINUCHIHR 289 

Went with the paladins to welcome him 

With mighty elephants and kettledrums. 

Anon they met and interchanged their greetings. V. 186 

The hero Sam rejoiced to see the prince, 

Who gave his father's message. Sam replied : 

" I will obey and joy to look on him." 

For that day they remained the guests of Sam, 
The sight of whom rejoiced the company ; 
They spread the board, they took the cup in hand, 
And first they drank the health of Minuchihr, 
Then of Naudar, and then of Sam and all 
The chieftains, not forgetting any province. 
The livelong night was spent in revelry, 
But with the sunrise rose the din of tymbals ; 
The speedy dromedaries spread their wings l 
And toward the palace of Shah Minuchihr 
They went as bidden. When he heard thereof 
He had the palace of the Shcihs prepared. 
Then from Sari and from Amul rose din, 
As when a fierce sea heaveth, for the spearmen 
Marched in their mail with heavy darts, a host 
That reached from range to range, with shield on shield, 
Whose red and yellow blent, with tymbals, pipes, 
Gongs, Arab horses, elephants, and treasures. 
On such a fashion marched that armament 
With flags and kettledrums on welcome bent. 



18 
How Sdm came to Minuchihr 

Sam reached the court, alit and was received 
In audience by the Shah, at sight of whom 
He kissed the ground, and then approached the 
presence ; 

1 Metaphorically, of course. 

T 



290 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

While Miniichihr, encrowned with sparkling gems, 
V. 187 Rose from his ivory throne and made Sam sit 
Beside him, showed the chieftain all observance 
And questioned him at large and anxiously 
About the Kargasars, about his troops, 
About the tierce divs of Mazandaran. 
The chief told all and said : " Live happy ever, 

Shah ! Ne'er may foe's malice touch thy life. 

1 marched upon that land of valiant divs, 
And such divs too, like lions in the fight, 
More swift than Arab horses and out-daring 
The warriors of Iran ! The fierce Sagsars 
Pards in the fray concerned at mine approach, 
Sent up the battle-cry within their cities, 

And all turned out to fight a mighty host, 
From mountain unto mountain naught but men, 
So that the bright day vanished in the dust. 
All eager for the fray they came upon me, 
Came with a reckless rush ! A panic fell 
Upon my troops. ' How shall I bear,' I thought, 
' This anguish ? " and I saw not ; for the brunt 
Had fallen then on me. I roared against them, 
I whirled a mace that weighed three hundred mans l 
And urged mine iron steed. I came among them 
And brained them till the foe was panic-stricken. 
The grandson of the valiant worldlord Salm, 
As 'twere a wolf, was foremost of them all. 
The youth was named Karkwi, a lofty Cypress, 
V. 1 88 Descended through his mother from Zahhak. 
The heads of nobles were but dust to him. 
His army thronged like locusts or like ants 
And hid dale, plain, and mountain. When the dust 
Rose from that great host, and my troops turned pale, 
T reared the mace whereof one blow suflSceth 

1 A Persian measure of weight varying greatly in different localities. 



MINUCHIHR 291 

And led the army on. I raised a shout 
That made earth seem a millstone to the foe, 
While all my host was heartened and resolved 
To battle on. Karkwi, who heard my voice, 
And blows down-crashing from mine iron mace, 
Came like a monstrous elephant against me 
To battle, carrying a mighty lasso, 
And sought to catch me in its noose, but I 
Was ware and moved me from destruction's path. 
I took a royal bow and poplar arrows 
With points of steel, and urging on my charger 
To eagle's speed I showered shafts like fire 
And deemed his helm pegged to his anvil head 
Until I saw him coming mid the dust, 
Like some mad elephant, with Indian sword 
In hand. Methought, Shah ! that e'en the moun- 
tains 

Would cry to him for quarter ! He pressed on, 
And I held back to tempt him to come near ; 
Then, when he closed with me, reached from my grey, 
Seized on the girdle of that mighty man 
And like a lion wrenched him from his saddle ; 
Then like a maddened elephant I dashed him 
Upon the ground so that his bones were shivered. 
Their prince o'erthrown his soldiers fled the fight ; 
The vales and hills, the deserts and the mountains, v 189 
Were crowded everywhere, while of the fallen 
Upon the field we reckoned up ten thousand 
Of horse and foot. Troops, citizens, and horsemen 
Were verily three hundred thousand strong ; 
But weighed against thy fortune what are foes 
Confronted by a servant of thy throne ? " 

The Shah, on hearing what his chieftain said, 
Raised to the moon his glorious diadem, 
Bade hold a festival and saw with joy 



292 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USI 

The world freed from his foes. The night passed quickly 
In revelry and praises of the chieftain. 
At dawn the Shah held audience. Sam drew near 
And having done obeisance sought to speak 
About Mihrab and Zal, but was prevented 
By Mimichihr, who said with angry looks : 
" Depart with chosen chiefs, burn Hindustan, 
The palace of Mihrab, and all Kabul. 
Let not Mihrab escape ; he is a remnant 
Left of the Dragon's seed, and filleth earth 
V. 190 With turmoil. As for his allies and kindred, 
Smite off their heads, and purify the world 
Of all the kith and kindred of Zahhak." 

Sam dared not speak, so wrathful was the Shah, 
But kissed the throne, then gently pressed his face 
Against the famous signet and replied : 
" My conduct shall acquit the Shah of vengeance." 

Then with his host he sought his own abode 
On steeds that went like wind along the road. 



19 
How Sdm went to War against Mihrdb 

Mihrab and Zal had news of what had passed 
Between the Shah and Sam, Kabul was moved, 
And cries rose from the palace of Mihrab. 
Now when Sindukht, Mihrab, and e'en Riidaba 
Despaired of saving either life or goods, 
Zal left Kabul, exclaiming as he went 
With drooping mien yet resolute withal : 
" The Dragon grim whose breath would burn the world 
Must take my head off ere he touch Kabul." 
In great concern he hasted on his journey, 
With much to think about and much to say. 



MINUCHIHR 293 

News reached brave Sam: "The Lion's Whelp hath 

come." 

The troops bestirred themselves and got in readiness 
The flag of Faridun. They beat the tymbals, 
And chief and host went out to welcome Zal 
With elephants whose backs were draped with banners V. 191 
Of yellow, red, and violet. Zal, on seeing 
His father's face, alighted and approached 
Afoot, as did the chiefs of both the hosts, 
And brave Zal kissed the ground. Sam spent a while 
In converse with his son, who then remounted 
His chestnut Arab, like a hill of gold, 
While all the chiefs approached him in concern. 
" Thy father is displeased with thee," they told him ; 
" Make thine excuse and be not obstinate." 

He said : " I fear not, for man's end is dust. 
My sire if sane will not unsay his words, 
And if at first he speaketh angrily 
Will after weep for shame." 

They reached Sam's court 

With much good cheer. He lighted and gave audience 
To Zal, who kissed the ground before his sire 
With ruffled feathers, 1 offering praise while tears 
Fell from his eyes and washed his rosy cheeks. 
" Glad be the paladin's shrewd heart," he said, 
"And may his spirit be the slave of justice. 
Thy falchion scorcheth adamant, earth weepeth 
When thou art fighting. Where thy charger pranceth 
The lagging soldiers haste, and verily 
Where heaven hath felt the storm-blast of thy mace 
It dareth not array its host. All earth 

Is verdant with thy justice, and the spirit V. 192 

Of wisdom is a seedling of thy stock. 
All joy in thy just dealing; earth and time 

1 Zal is regarded metaphorically as half bird. Cf. pp. 302, 304. 



294 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Receive it at thy hands. So do not I ; 
I have no share though thine acknowledged kinsman. 
I am the dust-fed nursling of a bird 
And know no feud with any, and no fault 
To give occasion to an enemy 
Save this, that Sam the hero is my sire 
And mine accomplishment beneath such birth. 
Or ever I was born thou didst expose me 
Upon the mountains, harrowing my mother, 
And giving to the flames a thriving child. 
I saw no cradle and no breast of milk, 
I had no memory of any kindred, 
For thou didst cast me out, deprive my heart 
Of peace and tenderness, and strive against 
The Maker, for who maketh white and black ? 
Now since the Maker hath provided for me, 
And looked upon me with a Master's eye, 
Skill, manhood, and a hero's sword are mine 
And one friend too, himself the crown of chiefs, 
The brave, wise, prudent monarch of Kabul. 
I sojourned at Kabul by thy command 
And mindful of thy counsel and thy pledge. 
Thou saidst : ' I ne'er will vex thee, but will bring 
The tree that thou hast planted into fruit,' 
Yet bringest this gift from Mazandaran, 
And hastest from the Kargasars to further 
The ruin of my home : such is thy justice ! 
V. 193 Behold, I stand before thee and expose 

My body to thy wrath. Saw me asunder, 
But utter not a word against Kabul. 
Do as thou wilt ; the power is all thine own, 
But mischief to Kabul is done to me." 

The chief attended to Zal's words, then bowed 
His head and answered : " 'Tis all true, and I 
Have dealt with thee unjustly from the first 






And given foes occasion to rejoice. 

What thou hast asked me is thy heart's desire 

And in thy trouble thou couldst find no rest ; 

Yet be not rash, let me despatch the business. 

I will indite a letter to the Shah 

And send it by thy hand, my loving son ! 

The worldlord will not seek to do thee harm 

When he shall see thy prowess and thy looks, 

And I have wooed his heart and soul to justice. 

If he shall aid us thou wilt be contented, 

Because the lion always hath the power 

To gain its ends, and everywhere alike 

Can seize upon the quarry." 

Thereupon 
Zal kissed the ground with many a benison. 

20 

How Zdl icent on a Miot>ion to Minuchihr 

Sam wrote at large and set forth every plea. V. 194 

The letter opened with the praise of God, 

Who is established in His seat for ever : 

" From Him are good and evil, life and death : 

We all of us are slaves and God is One. 

The process of the sky is over all 

That He the Lord of Saturn, Sun, and Moon 

Hath willed. His blessing be upon the Shah 

In fight an antidote-consuming bane, 

In feast a moon that lighteneth the world 

Who brandisheth the mace, who stormeth cities, 

Who giveth unto each his meed of joy, 

Who marcheth with the flag of Faridun 

To war, and slayeth haughty warrior-leopards. 

The lofty mountain shattered by thy mace 

Becometh dust upon thy proud steed's hoofs, 



296 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

While thy pure heart and stainless Faith constrain 
Both wolf and sheep to water at thy cistern. 
A slave am I whose race is run, a slave 
Who hath attained to sixty years twice told. 
My head is strewn with camphor-dust a crown 
That sun and moon have given me. I girt 
My warrior-loins and slaved. I fought the warlocks. 
None e'er saw l horseman rein his steed, fell chiefs, 
Or wield a mace like me. My mighty mace 
Eclipsed the warriors of Mazandaran. 
Did naught beside exalt me over all 
There was a dragon haunting the Kashaf 
And making earth afoam. It reached from city 
To city and from hill to hill, the hearts 
Of all were filled with panic : men kept watch 
V. 195 Both night and day. That dragon cleared the sky 
Of flying fowl and earth of beast of prey. 
It scorched the vulture's feathers with its blast, 
Set earth a-blazing where its venom fell, 
Dragged from the water gruesome crocodiles, 
And swiftly flying eagles from the air. 
Men and four-footed beasts ceased from the land ; 
The whole world gave it room. So seeing that none 
Dared to lay hand upon it, in God's strength 
I banished terror from my heart, girt up 
My loins in His exalted name, and rode 
Mine elephantine steed. My saddle bore 
Mine ox-head mace, upon mine arm I carried 
My bow, and at my neck my shield. I went 
Forth like a savage crocodile. My hand 
Was keen, keen too the dragon's breath, and all 
Farewelled me when they saw me wield my mace. 
I came. The dragon seemed a lofty mountain 
And trailed upon the ground its hairs like lassos. 

1 Reading with C. 



MINUCHIHR 297 

Its tongue was like a tree-trunk charred, its jaws 

Were open and were lying in my path. 

Its eyes were like two cisterns full of blood. 

It bellowed when it saw ine and came on 

In fury, seeming all afire, O Shah ! 

Within. The world 'gan swim before mine eyes, 

A black reek went up to the murky clouds, 

Earth's surface shook beneath the bellowing, 

The venom seemed to be a sea of Chin. 

Then like a gallant warrior I roared 

Against that dragon, as a lion roareth, 

And tarried not, but fitted to my bow 

A poplar arrow tipped with adamant 

And shot it at the dragon's jaws, to phi 

The tongue against the throat; the tongue lolled pinned; 

The dragon was astound. Again I shot, 

Again I pierced the mouth ; the creature writhed. 

I shot a third shaft right adown its jaws ; 

Its heart's blood spouted seething. When it closed 

And pressed me hard I took mine ox-head mace V. 196 

And in the strength of God, the Lord of all, 

Urged on mine elephantine steed and smote 

The dragon's head : thou wouldst have said that heaven 

Rained mountains down thereon. I smashed the skull, 

As it had been a mighty elephant's, 

And venom poured forth like the river Nile. 

So struck I that the dragon rose no more 

While earth was levelled to the hills with brains. 

Kashaf was flowing like a stream of gall 

And all was peace. The mountain-tops were thronged 

With folk who called down blessings on my head, 

Because that dragon was a fearful bane. 

On this account men called me ' One blow ' Sam, 

And all threw jewels o'er me. I departed 

With all my shining body bare of mail ; 



298 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

My charger's armour dropped from him in pieces ; 
I sickened with the venom many days. 
There was no harvest in those parts for years 
Nor aught except the ashes of burnt thorns. 
To tell my conflict with the divs would make 
The letter tedious, but in that and elsewhere 
I trampled underfoot the heads of chieftains, 
And wheresoe'er I rode my wind-foot charger 
I cleared that region of the rending lion. 
And now this many a year my saddle's back 
Hath been my throne, my charger been mine earth. 
My massive mace hath brought beneath thy sway 
Mazandaran and all the Kargasars ; 
I ne'er have asked for field or fell but sought 
To make thee both victorious and happy, 
v. 197 My neck and mace-blows are not what they were, 
My breast and loins are bent ; I used to throw 
A lasso sixty cubits long, but now 
Am bent by time and have resigned my duties 
To Zal, as worthy of my mace and girdle. 
Like me he will destroy thy foes and make 
My heart glad with his prowess. He hath come 
To ask the Shah to grant his secret longing, 
One excellent in God's sight, apart from Whom 
There is no excellence. We have not moved 
Therein as yet but wait the great king's will, 
For slaves must not presume. My lord the Shah, 
The guardian of the world, hath surely heard 
How once and publicly I promised Zal, 
When I was bringing him from Mount Alburz, 
Not to refuse him aught, and he hath come, 
Besmeared with blood and dust, and bones in bits, 
With his request. He said : ' 'Twere better far 
To hang Amul l than fall upon Kabul.' 
1 Mintichihr's capital. 



MINUCHIHR 299 

But when a fowl-fed outcast on the mountains 

Seeth in Kabulistan so bright a Moon 

A Cypress slim crowned with a rosary 

It is no wonder if he goeth mad, 

Nor ought the Shah to visit it upon him. 

All pity him, his pangs of love are such ! 

His many undeserved afflictions borne 

Evoked the promise that the Shah hath heard, 

And I have sent him with a heavy heart. 

When he shall come before thy lofty throne 

Do that which is most consonant with greatness ; 

There is not any need to teach thee wisdom. 

Him and him only have I in the world 

To share my sorrows or to succour me. v. 198 

From Sam the son of Nariman be blessings 

A thousand fold upon the king of kings 

And on the lords." 

When all things were prepared 
Zal took the letter hastily, arose, 
Went forth and mounted mid the blare of trumpets. 
A troop of warriors went with him to court 
At speed. Thus from Zabulistan l went he 
While " One blow " Sam enjoyed his rosary. 

2I 
How Mihrdb was Wroth with Sindukht 

When these events 2 were bruited at Kabul 
Mihrab in fury called Sindukht and vented 
His rage against Riidaba on his wife. 
He said : " The only course for me, since I 
Must yield before the monarch of the world, 

1 So C. and P. V. apparently by oversight reads Kiibulistdn. 

2 I.e. the Shah's wrath and his instructions to Sam to destroy 
Kdbul. 



300 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Is to take thee with thy polluted child 
And slay you shamefully and publicly. 
Thereat perchance the Shah will be appeased 
And earth grow peaceful. Who within Kabul 
Would dare to strive with Sam or feel his mace ? " 

Sindukht sank down before him and considered. 
Then having hit on an expedient, 
For she was shrewd and subtle, came before 
The sunlike king with folded arms and said : 
V. 199 " Hear but one word from me, then do thy will. 
If thou hast wealth to purchase life bestow it, 
And know thou that this night is big with fate. 
Yet though night seeineth long 'twill pass, and 

earth 
Be like a signet-ring of Badakhshan." 

Mihrab replied : " No old wives' tales to warriors ! 
Say what thou know'st and use all means for life, 
Or else array thee in the robe of blood." 

She said : " There is no need of that, great king ! 
But I must go to Sam to draw this sword 
And to appeal to him in fitting terms, 
For wisdom is the cook when speech is raw. 
To labour for our lives is my part, thine 
To find the presents and entrust to me 
Thy hoarded wealth." 

" Here is the key," he said, 

" One must not always grieve at spending treasure. 
Prepare slaves, horses, thrones, and casques to go. 
We yet may save our country from the flames 
To shine though faded now." 

Sindukht replied : 

" If thou desirest life hold treasure cheap. 
While I avert the danger thou must use 
No harshness toward my child. My greatest care 
Here is her life ; give me a pledge for that. 



MINUCHIHR 301 

I care not for myself ; all my concern 
And travail are for her." 

She took his pledge, 

Then boldly faced the danger, clad herself 
All in brocade of gold with pearls and jewels 
About her head, and from the treasury took 
Three hundred thousand pieces as a largess. 
They brought forth thirty steeds of Arab stock V. 200 

Or Persian with their silvern equipage ; 
And sixty slaves with golden torques, each bearing 
A golden goblet brimmed with camphor, musk, 
Gold, turquoises, and jewels of all kinds; 
One hundred female camels with red hair, 
One hundred baggage-mules; a crown of jewels 
Fit for a king, with armlets, torques, and earrings ; 
A throne of gold like heaven, all inlaid 
With divers sorts of gems, the width thereof 
Was twenty royal cubits and the height 
The stature of a noble horseman ; lastly 
Four mighty Indian elephants to bring 
Bales full of wearing-stuffs and carpeting. 



22 

How Sam comforted Sindukht 

The treasures having been despatched she mounted 

In warrior-guise, swift as a lightning-flash, 

Assumed a Human helm and rode a steed 

As swift as wind, approached Sam's court unknown 

And bade the officers announce her thus : 

" An envoy from Kabul hath come to seek 

The mighty chief, the hero of Zabul, 



302 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Charged with a message from Mihrab to Sam, 
The winner of the world." 

The chamberlain 

Went to tell Sam, who granted audience. 
Sindukht dismounted, hasted to the chief 
V. 201 And kissed the ground, with praises of the Shah 
And of the chief of paladins. The largess, 
The slaves, the horses, and the elephants 
Stretched from the gate two miles. She offered all 
To Sam, who sat there dazed, like one bemused, 
With folded arms and drooping head. He thought : 
" Come female envoys from so rich a country ? 
If I accept the Shah will be displeased ; 
If I decline then Zal will be chagrined 
And flap his wings about like the Simurgh." 

He raised his head and said : " As for these goods, 
These slaves and elephants caparisoned, 
Go give them to Zal's treasurer as presents 
Sent by the Beauty of Kabulistan." 

Then fairy-faced Sindukht essayed to speak, 
Rejoicing that her offerings were accepted 
And all had ended well. Three of her handmaids, 
With idol-faces, tall as cypresses 
And fair as jasmine, bearing each a goblet 
Which brimmed with pearls and rubies, poured them 

out 

In one promiscuous shower before the chieftain. 
This done and strangers gone she said to Sam : 
" Thy counsel maketh old folk young. Thou teachest 
V. 202 The mighty wisdom, who through thee illume 
The world. Thou hast sealed up the hand of ill 
And opened with thy mace the way of God. 

Mihrab, if any, was to blame, and he 
Is weeping blood. What have our people done 
That thou must raze Kabul ? They only live 



MINUCHIHR 303 

To do thy hest slaves of the very dust 
Upon thy feet. Fear Him who hath created 
Both mind and might, bright Venus and the Sun. 
He would not countenance such acts from thee : 
Gird not thy loins for bloodshed." 

Sam replied : 

" Come tell me what I ask and palter not. 
Art thou the slave or consort of Mihrab, 
Whose daughter Zal hath seen ? Tell me that I 
May judge her worthiness, her mind and temper, 
Her face, hair, stature, looks, and understanding 
Whatever thou hast noted tell me all." 

Sindukht replied to him : " O paladin, 
The chief of paladins, the warriors' stay ! 
First swear an oath whereat the land shall quake 
That thou wilt never injure me or mine. 
I have a palace, wealth, and mighty kindred. 
First reassure me and I will reply 

In hope to win thy favour, and will send V. 203 

Our hoarded treasures to Zabul." 

Sam grasped 

Her hand and took the oath, on hearing which, 
And marking that his speech and pledge were frank, 
She kissed the ground, then rose and told him all : 
" My race is from Zahhak, O paladin ! 
Spouse to Mihrab, that ardent warrior, 
Am I, and mother of rnoon-faced Riidaba, 
Of her o'er whom Zal poureth out his soul. 
We and our kin before all-holy God 
Bless all night long the Shah, and thee, and Zal. 
I come to know thy will, and how thou holdest 
Us in Kabul. If we be bad by race 
And sinners all unfit for rule, behold ! 
I stand before thee sorrowing. Slay thou 
Who should be slain and bind who should be bound, 



304 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

But as for all the guiltless of Kabul 
Burn not their hearts nor turn their days to dark- 
ness." 

The paladin on hearing saw in her 
A woman of counsel and of ardent soul, 
With cheeks like spring, in height a cypress-tree, 
With reed-like waist and pheasant's gait. He said : 
" My pledge shall hold although it cost my life. 
Live safely and rejoicing at Kabul 
With all thy kindred. I assent that Zal 
Shall wed Riidaba. Though our race is other 
*-Than yours, yet ye deserve the crown and throne ; 
The world so waggeth and no shame to us ; 
We cannot strive against the Almighty Maker, 
Who doth whate'er.He willeth in such wise 
That we are ever crying out : ' Ah me ! ' 
V. 204 One is exalted and another humbled, 

And while one fareth well another quaketh. 

The heart of one is furnished by his increase, 

Another's minished by his poverty, 

But after all the end of both is dust 

The element that slayeth every race. 

I will exert myself on thy behalf 

Because of thine appeal and bitter cry, 

And have already written to the Shah 

A letter with the plaint of one in pain, 

And Zal hath gone with it. Hath gone ! nay rather 

Hath flown ! He saw no saddle when he mounted, 

And then his roadster's hoofs saw not the ground ! 

The Shah will smile and give a gracious answer, 

For this bird's fosterling is out of heart ; 

He standeth in the mire made by his tears, 

And if his sweetheart is as fond as he is 

Their skins will never hold them. Prithee now 

Let me behold the Dragon's child, just once, 



MINUCHIHR 305 

On thine own terms. The sight may weigh with 

me 
If both her looks and locks commend themselves." 

She answered : " If the paladin will gladden 
His slave, let him vouchsafe to visit her : 
Her head will reach high heaven. If to Kabul 
We bring a king like thee, we will present 
Our lives as offerings." 

She saw his smiles 

And that all hate was rooted from his heart 
As he replied : " Be not concerned ; this matter 
Will shortly turn out to thy wish." 

Sindukht 

Then asking leave withdrew, and went away 
In full content, her cheeks like gems for joy. 
She sent a lusty courier like wind V. 205 

To tell Mihrab : " Be easy in thy mind, 
Rejoice and make thee ready for a guest. 
I follow quickly." 

Next day, when the sun 
Shot up and heads awoke from drowsiness, 
Saluted as the Moon of noble dames, 
Sindukht proceeded to the court of Sam, 
Did him obeisance, spake with him at large, 
And asked permission to go home rejoicing 
To tell Mihrab about the new-made league, 
And get all ready to receive their guest. 
Sam said : " Depart and tell him everything." 

They chose choice gifts for her and for Mihrab, 
And for Riidaba too that lovesome maid. 
Sam gave Sindukht withal all that was his 
Within Kabul of palaces and gardens, 
Of tilth, milch cattle, carpets and apparel, 
Then took her hand, re-swore his oath and said : 

" Be happy at Kabul, and fear no foe." 

U 



306 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

With favouring stars the pale Moon's face again 
Grew bright, and she went homeward with her train. 



23 

How Zdl came to Minfichihr with Sam's Letter 

Now hearken how Zal fared with Minuchihr 
V. 206 That favourite of fortune. News arrived : 
" Zal, son of Sam the cavalier, hath come." 
The nobles went to welcome him. On reaching 
The court he had an audience and did homage, 
Remaining with his face upon the ground. 
The kind Shah's heart was won ; he bade to purge 
Zal's face of dust and sprinkle him with musk, 
And, when the well-beloved approached the throne, 
Inquired : " How didst thou fare mid wind and dust 
On thy hard journey, child of paladins ? " 

Zal answered : " Through thy Grace 'twas more 

than well ; 
" Thou turnest every trouble to delight." 

The Shah then took Sam's letter, read and smiled. 
" Thou hast increased an ancient grief of mine," 
He said, " yet for thy father's touching letter, 
Which ancient Sam hath written in his trouble, 
Although the matter hath much grieved my heart, 
I am resolved to think of it no more, 
And will perform and carry out thy wish, 
Since that is all to thee ; but tarry here 
While I deliberate on thine affairs." 

The cooks brought in a service all of gold 
Whereat the king of kings sat down with Zal, 
And ordered all the chieftains to partake 
The feast. The eating done, they served the wine 
Within another throne-room, and that over 



MINUCHIHR 307 

Zal mounted on his charger with gold trappings, 

And so departing passed the livelong night 

With much to think and talk about. At dawn 

He came with girded loins to Miniichihr 

Of glorious Grace, who gave him salutation V. 207 

And praised him privily when he had gone. 

The Shah commanded that the archimages, 
The nobles, wise men, and astrologers, 
Should meet at his high throne and read the stars. 
They met and laboured for three days and then 
Announced : " We have perused the circling sky, 
And this is what the stars prognosticate : 
' No stagnant pool is here. There will arise 
From Sam's son and the daughter of Mihrab 
A hero full of prowess and fair fame. 
His life will be prolonged for centuries ; 
He will have strength, renown, and Grace, pluck, brains, 
And thews, and not a peer in fight or feast. 
Where'er his charger's coat shall run with sweat 
The liver of his foemen shall run dry. 
The eagle will not soar above his helm ; 
Naught will he reck of chiefs and men of name. 
He will be tall in stature, great in might, 
Will take the lion with his twisted lasso, 
Will roast whole onagers upon the fire, 
Will make the air weep with his scimitar, 
Will be the belted servant of the Shahs 
And shelter of the horsemen of Iran.' " 

Then said the exalted Shah : " Beware that ye 
Disclose to none what ye have told to me." 

1 Beading with C. 



3o8 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 



24 
How the Archmages questioned Zdl 

V. 208 The Shah called Zal to prove him by hard questions. 
The shrewd archmages and the men of lore 
Sat in full conclave, and examined him 
On many matters veiled in mystery. 
One asked that man of insight, wit, and knowledge : 
" What are the dozen cypresses erect 

In all their bravery and loveliness, 
Each one of them with thirty boughs bedeckt 

In Persia never more and never less ? " 
The second said : " O noble youth ! explain 
What are those two steeds moving rapidly : 

As crystal bright is this one of the twain 
And that one sable as a pitchy sea ; 

They gallop at their utmost speed and strain 

Each one to catch the other, but in vain ? " 
The third said thus : " What are the thirty men 

Who ride before their king in order meet 
And seem but twenty-nine to thee, but when 
Thou countest them their number is complete ? " 
The fourth inquired : " What is the meadow-land, 

Where streams abound and herbage groweth strong, 
To which a fierce man cometh, in whose hand 

There is a scythe, a sharp one and a long : 
He cutteth all the grass both green and dry, 
And if thou criest heareth not thy cry ? " 
" What are those cypresses a lofty pair 

Like reeds above a sea whose waters heave," 
Another asked, " and what bird nesteth there 

On this at morning, and on that at eve ? 
The bird departeth and the leaves turn pale, 
The bird arriveth and they musk exhale. 



MINtlCHIHR 309 

In all their verdure both are never seen V. 209 

Together, but one sere, the other green." 

The sixth said : " On a mountain I descried 

A city that was strongly fortified. 

The citizens, those men exceeding wise, 

Preferred thereto a thornbrake on the waste ; 

And there as monarchs or as subjects placed 
A town with buildings lifted to the skies. 
The memory of the city now hath gone, 
'Tis not accounted of by any one ; 
But some day suddenly the earth will quake, 

The country vanish from the sight of men, 
Remembrance of the city will awake, 

And long regret possess the citizen. 
Now look behind the veil, explore the words, 

And if thou canst the secret sense unfold, 
Declare it here in presence of the lords, . 

And make the purest musk from grimy mould." 

,* 

2 5 
How Z&l ansicered the Archmages 

Zal for a while remained absorbed in thought, 
Then shook his plumage, spread his wings, and 

answered: 
" First as to those twelve cypresses which rear 

Themselves, with thirty boughs upon each tree : 
They are the twelve new moons of every year, 

Like new-made monarchs, throned in majesty. 
Upon the thirtieth day its course is done 
For each ; thus our revolving periods run. 
Thou speakest of two chargers, black and white, 

Which like Azargashasp go flashing by : 
These too are periods, and in their flight 

Pursue each other unremittingly. 



310 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

The two that pass along are night and day, 

The pulses of the sky are reckoned so ; 

They never catch each other as they go, 
But follow as a hound pursueih prey. 
V. 210 Again, thou askest of the thirty men 

That ride before their king in order meet, 
And seem to thee as twenty-nine, but when 

Thou countest them their number is complete. 
They are the phases of the moon ; one night 
A phase from time to time eludeth sight. 

Unsheathe we now the hidden sense expressed 
By two tall cypresses, a bird and nest. 
The darker limb of heaven is opposed 

With Aries to Libra in the height ; 
Thence till the reign of Pisces hath been closed 

The ascendant limb is that of gloom and night. 
Each lofty cypress-tree denoteth one 

Of these two limbs which cause our smiles and tears, 
The bird which flieth 'twixt them is the sun 

Occasion to the world of hopes and fears. 1 
Again, the city built upon the mount 
Is our long home, the scene of our account. 

This Wayside Inn is meant by Thornbrake town, 
At once our pleasure, treasure, pain and woe : 
It reckoneth each breath drawn here below 

And both exalteth us and casteth down. 

1 Putting aside modern astronomical notions the idea seems some- 
what as follows: the sky, as represented by the Signs of the Zodiac, 
is divided into a lighter and a darker portion or "limb" ; the lighter, 
Spring and Summer, being represented by the Signs from Aries to 
Virgo ; and the darker, Autumn and Winter, by those from Libra to 
Pisces. The "limbs" are alternately more or less in evidence, while 
the sun is continually journeying from one " limb " to the other. The 
double alternation of light and darkness is thus accounted for ; that 
of the lighter and darker seasons of the year by the movements of 
the sky, and that of day and night by the movement of the sun. The 
former rules man's destiny, the latter chiefly influences his daily life. 



MINUCHIHR 311 

A storm ariseth, earth's foundations quake, 

Extorting from the world a bitter cry ; 
We leave our toils behind us in the brake 

And seek the city that is built on high. 
Where we have toiled another hath the gain, 
But not for ever : he will not remain. 
Twas always so ; to look for change is vain. 
If our provision be an honoured name 

Our souls will be on that account held dear, 
But if we do the deeds of greed and shame V. 211 

That will, when we have breathed our last, appear. 

Albeit we have raised to Saturn here 
Our mansion we shall have a shroud instead, 
No more. The dust and bricks close o'er our head 
And all is consternation, awe, and fear. 
As for the meadow-land, and him whose keen 

Scythe is a terror both to green and dry, 
Who cutteth all alike, both dry and green, 

And if thou criest heareth not thy cry 
Time is the mower ; we are like the swath ; 

The grandsire and the grandson are the same 

To him, not making young or old his aim, 
But chasing each that cometh in his path. 
The use and process of the world are so : 

No mother's son is born unless for death, 
By this door we arrive, by that we go, 

And time meanwhile accounteth every breath." 



How Zdl displayed his Accomplishment before Minuchihr 

When Zal had thus expounded all the riddles 
The company both wondered and rejoiced, 
While Minuchihr, glad-hearted, cried : " Well done ! " 
He had forthwith a banquet-hall prepared, 



312 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 

As 'twere the moon at full, and there they quaffed 
Wine till the night fell, and the revellers' heads 
Became bemused. Then at the portal rose 
Shouts for the steeds, and glorious in their cups 
The warriors grasped hands and went their ways. 

Now when the sunshine struck the mountain-tops 
v 212 And when the chiefs awoke, Zal, ready-girt 
And lion-like, approached the royal presence 
For leave to hie him home, and thus he said : 
" My gracious lord ! I long to see Sam's face. 
Since I have kissed the footings of thy throne 
Of ivory thy Grace and crown illume 
My heart." 

The Shah said : " Youthful warrior ! 
Thou must bestow upon us still one day. 
Thou yearnest for the daughter of Mihrab 
And not for Sam." 

He bade to carry gongs 

With Indian bells and clarions to the ground, 
And all the warriors went forth rejoicing 
With lances, maces, and artillery. 
They took their bows and poplar shafts and let 
A mark stand for the foe. They wheeled and showed 
Their horsemanship with mace, sword, shaft, and lance, 
While from a height the Shah, seen or unseen 
By them, observed their skill, but never saw 
Or heard of horsemanship like Zal's. There stood 
Upon the ground an ancient tree. Zal took 
His bow, urged on his steed, and raised his name 
By striking that tall tree and piercing it 
Full in the centre with the royal shaft. 
Then certain of the javelin-men took bucklers 
And exercised with double-headed darts. 
Zal bade his Turkman slave bring shields of hide, 
Drew himself up and urged his steed along, 



MINUCHIHR 313 

Then dropped his bow, took his own javelin 

And made new sport. He struck and pierced three shields 

And flung them to one side in high disdain. 

The Shah said to the chiefs : " What mighty man V. 213 

Will challenge him to prove his weight in combat ? 

He hath knocked dust out of two-headed darts 

And arrows." 

Then the warriors donned their mail 
With wrathful hearts and curses on their tongues. 
They pricked forth to the combat bearing spears 
With heads of tempered steel. Zal urged his steed, 
Made the dust fly, and, when the battle joined, 
Selected from the rest a cavalier 
Of fame and high estate at whom he charged. 
The warrior turned and fled. Zal, leopard-like, 
Emerging from the dust, seized on his belt 
And took him from his saddle with such ease 
That both the Shah and army were astound, 
The chiefs exclaiming : " None will see his peer." 
The Shah said : " May he ever be thus ardent. 
The mother of the man that dareth him 
To battle will wear mourning for her son. 
The lionesses bear not one so brave, 
So brave ... he must be classed with crocodiles ! 
And Sam is blessed indeed to leave the world 
Such a memorial." 

He praised the youth, 

As did the famous warriors. Then they went, 
With girded loins and casques upon their heads, 
Toward the palace where the Shah prepared 
A robe of honour that astonished all 
The chieftains, with a precious crown and throne 
Of gold, with armlets, torques, and golden girdles, 
Rich robes, slaves, steeds, and other things of worth, 
And gave the whole to Zal, who kissed the earth. 



314 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 



27 
Mintichihr's Ansiver to Sdm's Letter 

V. 214 The Shah then wrote a very gracious letter 
To Sam : " Renowned and valiant paladin, 
In all emprise victorious like a lion, 
And peerless in the sight of turning heaven 
For feast, for fight, for counsel and for favour ! 
That glorious son of thine brave Zal at whom 
The lion is aghast in battle-tide, 
The brave accomplished warrior and horseman 
Of lasting fame, hath come, and I, on learning 
Thy wishes and his longings, granted him 
All his desires, and count upon his having 
A long and glorious life. Should leopard-hunters 
Have other issue than the strong-clawed lion ? " 

Exalted o'er the rest and in high favour 
Zal sent to Sam to say : " I left the Shah 
With all that I could wish a royal robe 
Of honour, crowns, torques, armlets, and a throne 
Of ivory, and am coming with all speed, 
My loving, glorious sire ! " 

Sam gladdened so 

That his hoar head grew young. He hurried off 
A horseman to Kabul to tell Mihrab 

V. 215 The kindness of the Shah which had produced 
Such joy, and added : " After Zal's return 
We will set out to pay thee our respects." 

The messenger sped forth. Mihrab on hearing 
So joyed to make Kabul's Sun his affine 
That through his joy the dead returned to life 
And aged heads grew young. They summoned minstrels, 
And one had said that all poured out their souls. 



MINUCHIHR 315 

With smiling lips and joyful heart he called 

High-born Sindukht and beaming said to her : 

" My consort, whose advice is prosperous ! 

Thy counsel hath illumed our gloomy dwelling. 

Thou hast laid hand upon a sprout whereto 

The monarchs of the world will do obeisance. 

Since thou hast ordered matters from the first 

Thine be it also to accomplish them. 

My treasury is all at thy disposal 

For what is needed throne, or crown, or wealth." 

Sindukht on this withdrew and gave her daughter 
The news, and joyful hopes of seeing Zal. 
She said : " Thy choice of partner is most fit, 
And men and women, howsoever strict, 
Will see good cause to let their strictures cease. 
Thou hast sped quickly to thy heart's desire." 

Riidaba answered : " Consort of the king ! 
Thou meritest the praise of every one. 
I make the dust upon thy feet my pillow, 
And order my religion by thy teaching. 
May eyes of Ahrimans be far from thee, 
And be thy heart and soul the house of feasting." 

Sindukht on hearing this bedecked the palace, 
Arrayed the hall like jocund Paradise, v. 216 

Mixed wine and musk and ambergris and spread 
Gold-broidered carpets, some inwoven with emeralds 
And others patterned out in lustrous pearls ; 
Each several pearl was like a water-drop. 
She placed a golden throne within the hall, 
So do they use in Chin. The tracery 
Was all of gems with carvings interspersed, 
The feet were jewelled : 'twas a royal throne 
And very splendid. She arrayed Riidaba 
Like Paradise, wrote on her many a charm 
And seated her, allowing none to enter 



316 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

Within that chamber arabesqued with gold. 1 

Kabulistan was dight in festal trim, 

All colour, scent, and wealth. They housed the backs 

Of the elephants with rich brocade of Rum 

And seated on them minstrels wearing crowns. 

All was prepared for welcoming the guests 

And all the slaves were summoned to strew musk 

And spicery, to put down furs and silks, 

To fling down gold and musk, and sprinkle round 

Wine and rose-water on the dusty ground. 



28 
How Zdl came to Sdm 

Zal sped like bird on wing or ship at sea 
And all that heard of his approach went out 
To welcome him with joy. The palace rang 
With shouts : " Zal hath succeeded and returned. 

Sam met him joyfully and held him close 
v. 217 Embraced. When Zal had disengaged himself 
He kissed the ground and told his news. Anon 
Sam, seated on his splendid throne with Zal, 
Blithe-hearted and in great content, began 
To tell about the matter of Sindukht, 
And kept his countenance : " A woman named 
Sindukht brought me a message from Kabul, 
And made me promise not to be her foe. 
I granted all that she was pleased to ask 
First that the future monarch of Zabul 
Shall have the Beauty of Kabul to wife, 
And next that we will go and be her guests 
To heal all sores. Now she hath sent to say : 

1 Where she had once entertained Ztll. 



MINUCHIHR 317 

' All things are ready, scented and adorned.' 
What answer shall we send high-born Mihrab ? " 

Then Zal blushed ruby-red from head to foot 
With sudden joy, and said : " O paladin ! 
If it seem good to thee send on the troops 
And let us follow and discuss the matter." 

Sam smiled at Zal, aware of his desire, 
For he could talk of nothing but Rudaba, 
And got no sleep at nights for thinking of her. 

Sam bade to sound the gongs and Indian bells 
And have prepared the royal tent-enclosure. 
He sent a cameleer, a valiant man, 
To advertise the lion-like Mihrab : 
" The chieftain is upon his way with Zal 
And elephants and troops escorting them." 

He went with speed and told Mihrab, who joyed ; v. 218 
His cheeks grew ruddy as the cercis-bloom. 
He sounded trumpets, mounted kettledrums, 
And furnished forth his army like the eye 
Of chanticleer. Huge elephants and minstrels 
Made earth a Paradise from end to end. 
What with the many flags of painted silk 
Of divers colours, sound of pipes and harps, 
The blast of trumpets and the din of gongs, 
One would have said : " It is a festival, 
The Resurrection or the Last Great Day." 
Thus went Mihrab till he encountered Sam, 
He then dismounted and approached on foot. 
That paladin of paladins embraced him 
And asked if all were well. Mihrab began 
To compliment both Sam and Zal, then like 
The ii6w moon rising o'er the mountain-tops 
He mounted his fleet steed and set a crown 
Of gold and jewels on the head of Zal. 
Conversing of the past they reached Kabul. 



3i8 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

What with the clang of Indian bells, the sounds 
Of lyre and harp and pipe, one would have said : 
" The roofs and doors make music. Times are changed ! " 
The horses' manes and forelocks ran with saffron 
And musk. Then with three hundred female slaves 
With girded loins, each with a cup of gold 
Which brimmed with musk and gems, Sindukht ap- 
proached, 

And all blessed Sam and showered forth the jewels. 
Each person present on that happy day 
v. 219 Had treasure to the full. Sam smiled and asked : 
" How long wilt thou conceal Rudaba thus ? " 

Sindukht replied : " If thou wouldst see the Sun 
What is my fee ? " 

Sam answered : " What thou wilt : 
My treasures, crown, throne, country all are thine." 

They sought the chamber arabesqued with gold, 
Where all was jocund Spring, and Sam, entranced, 
Struck dumb, and dazzled, viewed the moon-faced maid. 
At last he said to Zal : " Thou lucky youth ! 
God greatly helped thee when this glorious Sun 
Set her affections on thy face. Thy Choice 
Is choice indeed ! " 

By Sam's desire Mihrab 
Approached to execute the legal contract. 
They placed the happy couple on one throne 
And scattered emeralds and carnelians. 
Her coronet was wrought of gold and his 
Of royal gems. Mihrab produced and read 
The inventory of his daughter's dowry 
Till one had cried : " 'Tis more than ear can hear." 
Sam was confounded when he realised 
The treasures, and invoked the name of God. 
Then hall and city revelled for a week, 
The palace was a Paradise in raptures, 



MINUCHIHR 319 

And neither Zal nor coral-lipped Riidaba v - 22 

Slept for a sennight either day or night ; 

Then going to the palace from the hall 

They spent three weeks in joy, while all the nobles 

With armlets on stood ranked outside. One month 

Elapsed and Sam departed to Si'stan. 

Zal spent a happy week in getting ready 

Steeds, howdahs, litters ; for Riidaba's use 

A curtained couch. Sindukht, Mihrab, and all 

Their kin set off first for Si'stan, glad-hearted, 

With minds at ease and lips all praise to God, 

Who giveth good, and there arrived triumphant, 

Illuminating earth with joy and laughter. 

Sam had a feast prepared. Three days were spent 

In revelling, then while Sindukht remained 

Mihrab returned attended to Kabul, 

While Sam gave up the realm to Zal and led 

His army westward 'gainst the Kargasars, 

With flaunting flag and favouring auguries. 

" I go," said he, " because those fields are mine, 

Though not men's hearts and eyes. I have the patent 

From Minuchihr. ' Have and enjoy,' he said. 

I fear me that the miscreants will rebel, V. 221 

The divs above all of Mazandaran. 

I give to thee, O Zal ! this state, this realm, 

And glorious crown." 

Sam of the single blow 
Departed, leaving Zal upon the throne, 
A happy husband holding festivals, 
And when Riidaba sat beside her spouse 
He placed a crown of gold upon her brows. 



320 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAUSI 



2 9 
The Story of the Birth of Rustam 

Ere long the noble Cypress was in bearing, 
Delightsome Spring grew sere, her heart was sad, 
She wept blood for the burden that she bore. 
Gone was her cercis-bloom, her cheeks were saffron. 
Sindukht said unto her : " Life of thy mother ! 
Why hast thou grown so wan ? " 

Riidaba answered : 
" By night and day I cry for help. I lie 
Sleepless and withered like a living corpse. 
My time hath come but not deliverance." 

Until that came she lacked both rest and sleep. 
One would have said : " Her skin is stuffed with stones 
Or iron." Now one day she swooned, and shrieks 
Rose from the halls of Zal. Sindukht bewailed, 
v. 222 Plucked out her raven tresses musk-perfumed 

And tore her face. Then one announced to Zal : 
" The leaves have withered on thy lofty Cypress," 
And he with tearful cheeks and stricken heart 
Approached the couch whereon Riidaba lay. 
The female slaves were tearing out their hair 
Unveiled with tearful faces. Then occurred 
A thought to Zal which eased him of his anguish 
The plume of the Simurgh. 1 He smiling told 
Sindukht, then brought a censer, kindled fire 
And burnt some of the plume. The air grew dark 
And that imperious bird swooped down a Cloud 
Whose drops were pearls . . . pearls, say I, rather peace. 
Zal did obeisance long and praised her much. 
She thus addressed him : " Wherefore is this grief, 
This moisture in the mighty Lion's eye ? 

1 Of. pp. 235, 246. 



MINUCHIHR 321 

From this moon-faced and silver-bosomed Cypress 

Will come a noble babe. The mighty lion 

Will kiss the dust upon his feet. No cloud 

Will dare to pass above him. When he shouteth 

The pard will split its skin and gnaw its paws. 

The warriors that see his whizzing mace, 

His chest, his arms and neck, will hear his voice 

With quaking hearts, steel-eaters though they be 

And gallant fighters ; for this child will prove 

In counsels and in rede a weighty Sam, 

In height a cypress-tree, in wrath a lion, 

In strength an elephant, and fillip bricks 

Two miles. His birth will not be natural, V. 223 

So willeth He who giveth good. Bring thou 

A blue-steel dagger, seek a cunning man, 

Bemuse the lady first with wine to ease 

Her pain and fear, then let him ply his craft 

And take the Lion from its lair by piercing 

Her waist while all unconscious, thus imbruing 

Her side in blood, and then stitch up the gash. 

Put trouble, care, and fear aside, and bruise 

With milk and musk a herb that I will show thee 

And dry them in the shade. Dress and anoint 

Rudaba's wound and watch her come to life. 

Rub o'er the wound my plume, its gracious shade 

Will prove a blessing. Let this gladden thee. 

Then go before the Lord who hath bestowed 

This royal Tree which ever blossometh 

Good fortune. Be not troubled for this matter, 

Because thy fertile Bough will yield thee fruit." 

She spake, and plucking from her wing a plume 
Dropped it and flew aloft. Zal picked it up 
And did, marvel ! as the bird had said, 
While every one looked on amazedly 
With wounded spirit and with bloodshot eyes. 



322 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Smdukht wept tears of blood in torrents, asking : 
" How shall the infant come forth through the side ? " 

There came an archimage, one deft of hand, 
Who made the moon-faced dame bemused with wine, 

V. 224 Then pierced her side while she was all unconscious, 
And having turned the infant's head aright 
Delivered her uninjured. None had seen 
A thing so strange. The babe was like a lion, 
A hero tall and fair to look upon. 
Both men and women wondered at him, none 
Had heard of such an elephantine child. 
A day and night the mother lay asleep, 
Bemused, unconscious. They the while sewed up 
The wound and eased the anguish with the dressing. 
When she awoke and whispered to Sindukht 
They showered gold and jewels over her 
And praised the Almighty. Then they brought the babe 
To her, extolling him as heavenly. 

The first day thou hadst called him twelve months old 
A very heap of lilies mixed with tulips. 
The lofty Cypress smiled upon the babe, 
Perceived in him the Grace of king of kings, 
And, " I am magnified," she said, " and grief 
Is over." 

So they named the infant " Rustam." l 
They made of silk a herolet the size 
Of that unsuckled Lion, stuffing it 
With sable's hair and limning Sol and Venus 
Upon the cheeks, with dragons on the arms, 
And on the hands a lion's claws. Beneath 
The arm there was a spear, mace in one hand 
And bridle in the other. They set the puppet 

V. 225 Upon a chestnut horse with great attendance. 

1 The word in the Persian may also mean " Je suis delivree " (Mohl), 
or " I bear fruit," lit., " There is fruit to me." 



MINUCHIHR 323 

This done they sent on first a cameleer 

Apace, showered drachms on those who were in charge, 

And took the puppet mace in hand to Sam. 

In all the country round they held high revel, 
The desert was supplied with pipe and wine. 
Inside Kabul Mihrab enjoyed the tidings 
And showered dinars upon the mendicants, 
While in Zabul the revellers sat together 
Without distinction as to high and low, 
But mixed like warp and woof. 

They brought the puppet 
To Sam the cavalier, who looked thereon, 
Grew glad and well content. That hero's hair 
Stood up on end. " This silken thing," said he, 
" Is just like me. If he is half this size 
His head will touch the sky, his skirt the ground." 

He called the messenger and poured drachms o'er 

him 

Until the heap was level with his head. 
The drums beat in the court for joy, Sam decked 
The champaign like the eye of chanticleer 
Aikd bade adorn the land of the Sagsars 

And all Mazandaran. He had wine brought, V. 226 

C; lied minstrels and showered drachms on mendicants. 

A week passed and the famous chieftain wrote 
A letter like the meads of Paradise 
To Zal. He offered praises first to God 
That matters had turned out so happily, 
Praised Zal the lord of mace and scimitar, 
Then coming to the effigy of silk, 
Which had a hero's neck and Grace of kings, 
Enjoined: " So cherish him that not a breath 
May hurt him. I have prayed by day and night 
In secret to Almighty God to show me 
A son born of thy seed and of my type. 



324 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Now that the backs of both of us are straightened 
We only need to pray that we may live." 

Came like a rushing wind the messenger 
To Zal of ardent and exulting heart, 
Told him of Sam's delight and gave the letter. 
As soon as Zal had heard those pleasant words, 
Which caused the clear-brained hero added joy, 
He raised his neck to touch the azure sky. 
Thus went the world with Zal and showed its purpose. 

Ten nurses suckled Rustam, for from milk 
Are strength and constitution. Being weaned 
He lived on bread and flesh. He ate as much 
As five, and people turned from such repasts. 
V. 227 When Rustam had attained the height of eight 1 
And grown a noble Cypress or bright Star 
A Star whereat the world was all agaze 
Thou wouldst have said : " 'Tis valiant Sam indeed 
In stature, wisdom, countenance, and rede." 



30 
How Sam came to see Rustam 

Sam heard : " The son of Zal is like a lion, 
None ever saw a child so fierce and stalwart." 
His heart was stirred in him, and he resolved 
Himself to see the boy. He left in charge 
The captain of the host and went with escort, 
Drawn by his love, toward Zabulistan. 
Then earth grew ebon, for Zal heard the news, 
Bound on the drums and went with brave Mihrab 
To welcome Sam. When Zal had dropped the ball 
Shouts of departure rose on every side. 

1 Firdausi does not specify the measure. Mohl translates " huit 
palmes," 



MINUCHIHR 325 

The mass of men stretched out from hill to hill, 

With buckler after buckler red and yellow. 

Then trumpeted the elephant and neighed 

The Arab steed, five miles that din resounded. 

They had one mighty elephant caparisoned 

And furnished with a golden throne, whereon 

The son of Zal sat with his cypress-form, 

And what a neck and shoulders ! crowned and girt, 

With bow and shafts in hand, and shield before him. 

Sam saw and ranked his troops upon each side. V. 228 

Mihrab and Sam dismounted, and the elders 

Fell prostrate, calling blessings down on Sam, 

Whose face bloomed like a rose. With gladdened heart 

He smiled to see the child so strongly built 

A lion's whelp upon an elephant. 

He had them brought just as they were, surveyed 

The boy thus crowned and throned, and blessed him, 

saying : 
" Live long and happily, thou matchless Lion." 

Then Rustam kissed Sam's throne and, wonderful 
To tell ! saluted him in this new fashion : 
" Great paladin ! rejoice. I am thine offshoot : 
Be thou my root. The slave of Sam am I, 
But am not one for banquet, dream, and ease, 
I would have steed and saddle, mail and helm, 
Despatch my compliments by bolt and arrow, 
And by God's bidding trample on foes' heads. 
My face is like to thine, so be my courage." 

He lighted. Sam the chieftain grasped his hand 
And kissed his head and eyes. Meanwhile the tymbals 
And elephants were still. Then full of glee 
And talk they all betook them to the palace V. 229 

And revelled merrily on golden seats, 
Thus resting for a month with harp and song. 
Upon the throne there sat victorious Sam, 



326 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

An eagle's feather drooping from his crown, 

Flanked by his son and Rustam mace in hand, 

On whom the grandsire gazed amazedly, 

Invoked o'er him the name of God and thought : 

" With such a neck and arms, such thews and shoulders, 

Such reed-like waist, such ample chest and breast, 

Such thighs like those of mighty dromedaries, 

Such lion's heart and lion-tiger might, 

Such goodly features, neck, and Grace, he hath 

No peer on earth," then said to Zal : " Although 

Thou question back a hundred generations, 

No one would know of babe delivered thus. 

How could they do the thing successfully ? 

A thousand times may that Simurgh be blest 

To whom God showed the way. Now let us revel 

And put to flight with wine the soul of care, 

For this world is a caravanserai, 

Old guests depart and new ones take their places." 

They put the wine about and grew bemused, 
They drank the chieftain's health, then that of Zal. 
Mihrab kept quaffing till he thought himself 
The one man of the world. " I do not care 
For Zal or Sam," he said, '' Shah, crown, or Grace. 
I, Rustam, and my steed Shabdiz, and sword . . . 
No cloud will dare to overshadow us. 
I will revive the customs of Zahhak, 
And make the dust beneath my feet pure musk. 
V. 230 And now to find him arms." 

He spake in jest, 
And Zal and Sam were merry at his words. 

Sam, when the month was o'er, one day at dawn 
Returned to his own throne. He said to Zal : 
" My son ! be just and loyal to the Shahs, 
Preferring wisdom over wealth, refraining 
Thy hands from evil all thy years, and seeking 



MINUCHIHR 327 

God's way from day to day. Know that in public 
And private also 'tis the one thing needful 
Because the world will not abide with any. 
Observe my rede and walk in righteous ways. 
My heart forebodeth that my time hath come." 

He bade his children both farewell and said : 
" Forget not mine advice." 

Then in the palace 

The bells rang out, and on the elephants 
The clarions blared, as with his gentle tongue 
And kindly heart Sam journeyed toward the west. 
His children bore him company three stages 
With minds instructed and with tearful cheeks, 
Then Sam went on while Zal marched to Si'stan 
And there in lion Rustam's company V. 231 

Spent day and night in bout and revelry. 



How Rustam slew the White Elephant 

It came to pass that as they spent a day 

In revel in a garden with their friends, 

While harp-strings ran the gamut of sweet sounds 

And all the chiefs were one in merriment, 

They quaffed red wine from crystal cups until 

Their heads were dazed, and then Zal bade his son : 

" My child of sun-like Grace ! make ready robes 

Of honour for thy warriors, and steeds 

For those of high degree." 

So Rustam gave 

Gold, many Arab steeds caparisoned 
And other gifts, and all went richer home. 
Zal, as his wont was, sought the bower, while Rustam 
Reeled to his chamber, laid him down and slept. 



328 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Shouts rose outside his door : " The chiefs white 

elephant 

Hath broken loose, and folk are in its danger ! " 
He heard, and urged by hardihood ran forth, 
Snatched up Sam's mace and made toward the street. 
The keepers of the gate opposed him, saying : 
"We fear the chieftain, 'tis a darksome night, 
V. 232 The elephant is loose ! Who can approve 
Thy going forth ? " 

Wroth at the speaker's words 
The matchless Rustam smote him on the nape : 
His head rolled from him. Rustam turned toward 
The others but they fled the paladin, 
Who boldly went up to the gate and smashed 
The chains and bolts with blows that well befitted 
One of such noble name, went forth like wind 
With shouldered mace excitedly, approached 
The mighty beast and roared out like the sea. 
He looked and saw a Mountain bellowing, 
The ground beneath it like a boiling pot, 
Saw his own nobles fleeing in dismay, 
Like sheep that spy a wolf, roared like a lion 
And went courageously against the beast, 
Which seeing him charged at him like a mountain 
And reared its trunk to strike, but Rustam dealt it 
A mace-blow on the head ; the mountain-form 
Stooped ; Mount Bistiin shook to its core and tumbled 
At one blow vile and strengthless. Thus it fell, 
That bellowing elephant, while matchless Rustam 
Went lightly to his place again and slept. 

Now when the sun ascended from the east, 
Bright as the cheeks of those who ravish hearts, 
Zal heard of Rustam's deeds, how he had knocked 
The dust out of the roaring elephant, 
Had with a single mace-blow broken its neck 



MINUCHIHR 329 

And cast its body to the ground. He cried : 

" Woe for that mighty elephant, which used 

To bellow like the dark blue sea ! How often 

Hath that strong beast charged and o'erthrown a host, V. 233 

Yet conquer howsoe'er it might in battle 

My son hath bested it ! " 

He summoned Rustam, 

Kissed him upon his head and hands and neck, 
And said : " O lion's whelp ! thy claws have grown 
And thou art brave indeed ! Youth as thou art 
Thou hast no peer in stature, Grace, and valour ; 
So ere thy spreading fame shall thwart thine action 
Take vengeance for the blood of Nariman. 
Speed forth to Mount Sipand where thou wilt see 
A cloud-capt stronghold four leagues square, whereover 
The eagle hath not soared. 'Tis full of herbage 
And water, gold and money, men and beasts. 
Both trees and husbandmen abound there ; none 
Hath seen a place like that. The All-Provider 
Hath furnished workmen of all sorts, and fruit-trees. 
There is but one approach ; 'tis through a gate 
As high as heaven, and Nariman, who bore 
The ball from all the chiefs, approached the stronghold 
By order of Shah Faridiin and held 
The road. The siege went on both night and day 
With stratagems and spells above a year, 
Until the foe hurled down a rock and earth 
Possessed the paladin no more. The host 
Retreated to the Shah. When Sam was told : v. 234 

' The valiant Lion hath had fight enough,' 
He wailed with growing grief, and having mourned 
A week in anguish called the host together. 
He marched against that hold with troops that covered 
The waste and desert, and for months and years 
Beleaguered it in vain. None issued forth 



330 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

And none went in, but though the gate was shut 

So long the foe lacked not a stalk of hay, 

And Sam forewent his vengeance in despair. 

Now is the time, my son ! for artifice. 

Go with a caravan in merry pin, 

So that the watchmen may not find thee out, 

And when thou occupiest Mount Sipand 

Destroy those evil-doers, root and stem. 

Since thou art yet unknown thou mayst succeed." 

Then Rustam answered : " I will do thy bidding 
And soon provide a physic for the ache." 

Said Zal to him : " My prudent son ! give ear. 
Don camel-drivers' clothes and from the plain 
Fetch camels to make up a caravan. 
Disguise thyself and carry naught but salt, 
For that is precious there. The folk know nothing 
Of greater value. Though the castle towereth 
Above its gate they have no salt to eat, 
So all will run to greet thee when they see 
Loads of it coming unexpectedly." 



S 32 
How Rustam went to Mount Sipand 

Then Rustam made him ready for the fray, 
v. 235 Concealed his mace within a load of salt 

And took some wise and valiant men withal. 

He hid the arms within the camels' loads 

And merry at the artifice sped on 

To Mount Sipand. When he arrived the watchman 

Saw him and hastened to the castellan. 

" A caravan," he said, " with many drivers 

Hath come, and if my lord doth ask their business, 

To me it seemeth that they carry salt." 



MINUCHIHR 331 

The chief sent one in haste to learn their loading, 
Who went like dust to Rustam and inquired : 
" O master of the caravan ! inform me 
What merchandise is hidden in thy packs, 
That I may go and tell the castellan 
And take his orders." 

Rustam answered him : 
" Go to the noble castellan and say : 
4 They carry salt.' " 

The messenger returned 
And said : " They carry salt alone, my lord ! " 

The chief rose, glad and smiling, bade his men 
Unbar the gate and let the strangers in. 
So battle-loving Rustam with his folk 
Approached the gate whence people hurried out 
To welcome him. He kissed the ground before 
The chieftain, paid him many compliments, 
Gave him much salt and spake fair words all round. v. 236 
The chieftain said to Rustam : " Live for ever. 
Be as the sun and as the shining moon. 
I both accept and thank thee, worthy youth ! " 

Young Rustam entered the bazar and took 
His caravan. The people flocked about him ; 
One gave a robe, another gold and silver, 
And chaffered with him unsuspectingly. 
At night brave Rustam and his warriors, 
Armed for the fray, made for the castellan, 
Who strove against them, but the Matchless one 
Struck him a mace-blow on the head, and buried 
His head and crown in dust. The tidings spread, 
The people hastened to oppose the foe, 
Night gloomed, blades flashed, and earth was like the 

ruby. 

What with the mellay and the waves of blood 
One would have said : " A sunset sky hath fallen." 



332 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

The peerless Rustam with his lasso, mace, 
And sword destroyed the gallant foe ; and when 
The sun unveiled itself, and held the world 
From earth to Pleiades, of all the garrison 
Not one remained alive that was not wounded. 
The brave Iranians entered every nook 
And slaughtered all they found. The matchless Rustam 
Saw in the citadel where room was scant 
A building of hard stone with iron doors, 
And having with his mace-blows shattered them 
v. 237 He entered and beheld a lofty vault 
Full of dinars. Astonied at the sight 
He bit his lip ; then to his chiefs he said : 
" Who ever would have thought of such a thing ? 
Good sooth no gold remaineth in the mines, 
Or any pearl or jewel in the sea ; 
They lie out-spread within this treasury." 



33 
How Rustam wrote a Letter announcing his Victory to Zdl 

Then Rustam wrote his sire a full report 

Of what had passed : " First blessing be on Him, 

Who is the Lord of serpent, ant, and sun, 

Of Venus, Mars, and Sol, and heaven above. 

May He bless Zal, the hero of Zabul, 

The peerless paladin, the warriors' shelter, 

The Iranians' stay, who setteth up on high 

The flag of Kawa, who enthroneth Shahs, 

Who taketh thrones, him whose commandment reacheth 

To sun and moon. 

I came to Mount Sipand 
By thy behest, and what a mount was there ! 
'Twas like the sky. When I had reached its foot 



MINtiCHIHR 333 

There came a greeting from the castellan, 

And though I did according to his bidding 

All things turned out as I would have them be. 

At night-time with my famous men of war V. 238 

I gave scant respite to the garrison, 

Who have been slain or maimed or have escaped 

By throwing all their fighting-gear away. 

There are in sooth five hundred thousand loads 

Of silver ingots and of standard gold. 

Of raiment, tapestries, and movables 

No one could tell the total though he counted 

For days and months. What would the paladin ? 

May his steps prosper, may his mind be bright." 

The messenger came like a blast and gave 
The letter to the paladin. That chieftain 
Read and exclaimed : " Praise to those noble ones." 
Thou wouldst have said: "The news will make him 

young." 

He wrote a full reply, first praising God 
And then proceeding thus : " I have perused 
That tale of triumph and poured out my soul 
In joy. Such fights become thee well, my son ! 
Who though a boy hast played the man, illumed 
The soul of Nariman and burned his foes. 
To carry off the spoil I have sent camels 
By thousands. Having read this mount with speed ; 
Thine absence grieveth me. Pack all the best, 
Then fire the hold in vengeance." 

Rustam read 

The letter well content, then chose the choicest V. 239 

Among the signet-rings, swords, casques, and belts, 
As well as pearls and jewels fit for kings, 
And figured pieces of brocade of Chin, 
And sent them to his sire. The caravan 
Set forth while he set fire to Mount Sipand, 



334 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Whose reek rose skyward, then he turned away 
Light-hearted and went home like rushing wind. 
When Zal had heard : " The world-illuming chieftain 
Hath come," the folk prepared to welcome him 
And decorated all the streets and quarters. 
Arose the din of brazen clarions, 
Of cymbals, trumpets, and of Indian bells 
As eager Rustam fared toward Zal's palace 
And coming bowed to earth before his mother, 
Who blessed his face and kissed his chest and shoulders, 
While Zal the chief embraced his son and bade 
A scattering of largess to be made. 



34 
The Letter of Zal to Sam 

The famous chief sent the good news to Sam, 
With many gifts to him and every one. 
Whenas the letter came to Sam his cheeks 
Bloomed like a rose in his exceeding joy. 
He made a feast like jocund spring, bestowed 
V. 240 Upon the messenger a robe and steed, 

And talked of Rustam much. He wrote to Zal 
" It is not wonderful that lions' whelps 
Prove brave. A clever archimage may take 
One ere it suck and bring it up with men, 
Yet will he fear it when its teeth have grown, 
For though it never saw its mother's dugs 
'Twill throw back to the instincts of its sire. 
No wonder then that Rustam should inherit 
Zal's prowess, and that Lions seek his aid 
In times of enterprise." 

He sealed the letter 
And gave it to the messenger, who went 



MINUCHIHR 335 

To Zal therewith clad in his robe of honour. 
The paladin rejoiced at what that youth 
Of tender years had done, and all the world 
From earth to Aries had hopes in him. 

Now will I speak once more of Minuchihr, 
The kindly Shah, who when his end drew near 
Gave to his son these counsels : lend thine ear. 



35 
Minuchihr's last Counsels to his Son 

Now Minuchihr, twice sixty years being sped, 

Prepared to pass, because the astrologers 

Informed him that the royal Grace would fade : 

" Thy time for passing to the other world V. 241 

Hath come, God grant thee a good place with Him. 

Consider what behoveth to be done 

And let not death surprise thee, so make ready 

For yielding up thy body to the clay." 

When he had heard the wise men's words he changed 
The fashion of his court, told the archmages 
And chiefs the secrets of his heart, then gave 
Naudar much counsel, saying thus : " This throne 
Is but a jest, a breath, no lasting thing 
To set the heart upon. In six score years 
Now passed I girt my loins for stress and travail 
And used to find much pleasure and content 
In labour at the bidding of the Shah. 
I girt me with the Grace of Faridun, 
And by his counsels every loss proved gain. 
I took on Salm and on the brutal Tiir 1 
Due vengeance for my grandsire great Iraj 

1 Reading with C. 



336 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

I cleansed the world of its iniquities 
And built me many a city, many a fortress ; 
Yet thou mightst say that I had never seen 
The world, such am I ! and my tale of years 
Is blank. A tree whose leaves and fruit are bitter, 
Should it not rather die than still live on ? 
Now after I have borne such pain and travail 
I leave the throne of kingship and the treasure 
To thee. As Faridun once gave to me, 
So give I thee, the crown worn by the Shahs. 
V. 242 Hard are the enterprises that confront thee, 

Thou must be sometimes wolf and sometimes sheep. 
The offspring of Pashang will be thy bane, 
And from Tiiran will be thy straitening. 
When any question shall arise, my son ! 
Seek aid from Zal and Sam and this new Tree 
Now burgeoning, sprung from the root of Zal. 
He will tread down Tiiran and take upon him 
To avenge thee." 

While he spake he wept. Naudar 
Bewailed him bitterly, and thus the Shah, 
Free from disease, unvexed by any pains, 
Closed with a last cold sigh his eyes and faded. 
So passed that famous Shah, well graced in all, 
Whose tale is left as his memorial. 



VIII 
NAUDAR 

HE REIGNED FOR SEVEN YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

Naudar rules oppressively and the people revolt, but Sam suc- 
ceeds in restoring order. Pashang, the king of Turan, however, 
takes the opportunity of the death of Minuchihr to send an 
army to invade Iran under the command of his son Afrasiyab. 
The Iranians are defeated, and Naudar, with many of his chiefs, 
is taken prisoner. Afrasiyab kills Naudar and assumes the crown 
of Iran. Ighriras, the brother of Afrasiyab, traitorously releases 
the Iranian prisoners, the Iranians under Karan and Zal obtain 
independent successes over the Turanians, and Afrasiyab puts 
his brother Ighriras to death. 

NOTE 

In this reign the connection between the Shahnama and the 
V T edas temporarily seems to be severed, and we are unable to 
trace the names of the principal heroes further back than the 
Zandavasta, where most of them are to be found. The story of 
the reign is one of disaster for Iran ; and the ancient feud, origi- 
nating in the murder of Iraj, receives a new impetus through 
the execution of Ighriras by his brother Afrasiyab. We are 
accordingly here introduced to the royal line of Tiiran, of which 
we have heard nothing since the slaying of Tiir by Minuchihr, 
and to its collateral branch, the heroic family of Wi'sa, which 
plays such an important part in this and future reigns, and 
corresponds on the Turanian side to the family of Sam on the 
Iranian. 1 The most important personality is that of Afrasiyab 

1 We learn from the Bundahish that Wisa and Pashang, Afrdsiydb's 
father, were brothers. WPT, i. 135. 

337 Y 



338 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

the protagonist of the Turanian race, and the arch-enemy of Iran, 
through the reigns of successive Shahs. He is the second in 
the trinity of evil spirits which, according to Zoroastrian belief, 
was created by Ahriman to vex the Iranian race, the first being 
Zahhak, and the third apparently Alexander the Great. 1 In the 
part of the extant Zandavasta known as the Zamyad Yast, 
which has been termed "an abridged Shahnama," 2 Afrasiyab, 
or Frangrasyan, as he is there called, is described as making 
several attempts to seize the kingly Glory or Grace which was 
the peculiar possession of the Shahs, and which Zahhak himself 
sought in vain. Afrasiyab, however, is recorded to have been 
once successful, not, as one might suppose, on the occasion in 
the present reign, but in that of Kai Kaus, when the latter 
was taken prisoner by the king of Hamavaran. 3 In the Bundahish 
we find indications that Afrasiyab was originally, like Zahhak, 
a water-stealing fiend ; but he cannot be traced further back 
than the Zandavasta, and his depredations are confined to stealing 
away the rivers of Iran. 4 It is recognised in the Zandavasta 
that there are good men in all countries, in those of the elder 
sons of Faridun Turan and Rum as well as in that of his 
youngest-born Iran. 5 We have an instance of this in the 
case of Ighriras the brother of Afrasiyab who being originally 
a good spirit or demi-god is naturally supposed to favour the 
Iranians at the cost of his own countrymen, and is held up as 
a sort of martyr in the poem. In the Zandavasta the murder 
of Ighriras is looked upon as one of the motives for vengeance 
on Afrasiyab, 6 while in the Bundahish we read : " When Frasiyav 
made Manus/Hhar, with the Iranians, captive in the mountain- 
range of Padashkhvar, and scattered ruin and want among them, 
Aghrerad begged a favour of God, and he obtained the benefit 
that the army and champions of the Iranians were saved 
by him from that distress. Frasiyav slew Aghrerarf for that 
fault." 7 The story in the Shahnama is told not of Miniichihr 
but of Naudar. The mountain-range is that to the south of 
the Caspian. 

1 DZA, i. xlviii. 2 Id. ii. 286. 

3 The reign of Kai Ka"us will appear in Vol. II. of this translation, 
where see Part II. 

4 WPT, i. 82, 84. 5 DZA, ii. 226. 
6 DZA, ii. 114. 7 WPT, i. 135. 



NAUDAR 339 



How Naudar succeeded to the Throne 

The mourning over, Shah Naudar exalted v. 243 

His royal crown o'er Saturn and gave audience 

Upon the throne of Mimichihr, bestowing 

Drachms and dinars upon the troops. The nobles 

Did reverence with their faces in the dust, 

And said : " We are the bondslaves of the Shah, 

Our eyes and hearts are full of love for thee." 

But matters changed, the monarch proved unjust, 
Laments went up on all sides, and men's heads 
Were whitened by the Shah. He blotted out 
The customs of his sire and grew severe 
To chief and archimage, spurned gracious ways 
And was enslaved to pelf. The peasants rose, V. 244 

Bold spirits claimed the realm, and tumults followed. 
The unjust Shah in terror wrote to Sam, 
Then at Sagsar within Mazandaran, 
And first invoked the Maker of the world, 
The Lord of Venus, Mars, and Sol, who made 
Both ant and elephant : " Naught is beyond 
His power, or too minute for His regard. 
Now may the Master of the sun and moon 
Have mercy on the soul of Mimichihr, 
The Shah, through whom the glorious crown grew 

bright, 

My predecessor on so great a throne ; 
And may as many blessings light on Sam, 
The hero, as the clouds shed drops of rain ; 
May that redoubted glorious chief be sound 
In heart and mind, and sorrowless in soul. 
The paladin of earth should know, I ween, 



340 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

All matters close or open. Miniichihr, 

Before he closed his eyes, spake much of Sam, 

And I too have a warm supporter in him, 

Who paladin and favourite watched over 

My father's realm, illuming throne and crown. 

Now things have reached this pass that save thou 

takest 
Thy vengeful mace the throne will be abolished." 

Whenas the letter came Sam sighed. At cockcrow 
The sound of tymbals rose within the court, 
And from the Kargastirs he marched a host 
Such that the green sea had been lost therein, 
y. 245 The magnates in fran went out to meet 

The approaching troops, dismounted when near Sam, 

And spake with him at large of all the actions 

Done by Naudar, and how he was unjust 

And left his father's footsteps recklessly. 

" He hath made earth a desert," they protested, 

" His fortune that was wakeful is asleep. 

He walketh not in wisdom's way, the Grace 

Of God hath left him. How would it be if Sam 

With his shrewd mind were seated on the throne ? 

His fortune would regenerate the world, 

The country and its throne would both be his. 

We all would serve him and would pledge our lives 

For fealty to him." 

But Sam replied : 

" Would God approve ? Naudar hath royal blood 
And sitteth belted on the royal seat. 
Could I lay hands upon the realm and crown ? 
Impossible ! One should not hear such words. 
Would any chief dare say this publicly ? 
If but a daughter of Shah Miniichihr 
Sat crowned upon the golden throne the dust 
Would be my couch whence I should joy to gaze 



NAUDAR 341 

Upon her. If Naudar hath, left the way 

Trod by his sire it hath not been for long, 

The iron is not so rust-eaten yet v. 246 

As to be hard to furbish. I will bring 

The Grace back and make all desire his love. 

The dust of Mimichihr shall be my throne, 

The print of his son's horseshoe be rny crown. 

We will speak much with him, and by our counsel 

Bring him good fortune. Ye ! repent yourselves 

Of what hath passed and tender fresh allegiance. 

Unless Almighty God and Shah Naudar 

Shall pardon you, the Shah's wrath is your portion 

On earth, and fire your dwelling-place hereafter." 

The chiefs repented and made fealty 
Afresh ; that prosperous-footed paladin 
Made earth grow young throughout. When Sam had 

reached 

The presence of the Shah he kissed the ground. 
The Shah descended from the throne, embraced 
His captain, seating him upon the throne 
With greetings and unbounded compliments. 
They feasted for a week with harp and wine, V. 247 

All offered their excuses to Naudar, 
And bare themselves as subjects. From each province 
Came tax and tribute out of fear of Sam, 
The swift of wrath. Naudar sat on the throne 
In splendour and in undisturbed repose, 
Till in the presence the chief paladin 
Arose and asked permission to depart, 
Threw wide the door of counsel to the Shah 
And told again the goodly histories 
Of glorious Faridiin and Shah Hiishang 
And Mimichihr, the lustre of the throne, 
And how they ruled earth justly and gave alms 
And would not countenance iniquity. 



342 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Sam brought the monarch's wayward heart to reason, 
Warmed the chiefs' hearts toward him, rendering 
All justice and injustice at his hands 
Acceptable, and having said his say 
Both to the nobles and their sovereign 
Went with a robe of honour from Naudar, 
With crown and throne and signet-ring and slaves, 
With steeds whose furniture was wrought of gold 
And two gold goblets all a-briin with rubies. 
v. 248 So matters stayed awhile, but heaven above 

Revolved not o'er Naudar in peace and love. 



How Pashang heard of the Death of Minuchihr 

News of Shah Mimichihr's decease, and how 
Things fared ill with Naudar, came to Tiiran, 
Whose folk held commune with the malcontents. 
Pashang, the Turkman ruler, also heard 
And contemplated war. He spake at large 
About his sire Ztidshain, talked big of Tur, 
The throne of Minuchihr, his troops, his warriors, 
His princes and his realm, then summoned all 
The captains and grandees, as Ighriras, 
Barman, and Garsiwaz, that raging Lion 
Kulbad, and generals like skilful Wi'sa, 
The leader of the host. He also called 
His son Afrasiyab, who came in haste, 
To whom he said concerning Salm and Tur : 
" We may not hide revenge beneath our skirt, 
For all whose brains are level in their heads 
Knowhow the Iranians have entreated us, 
And always girded up their loins for ill. 
Now is the time for action and revenge, 



NAUDAR 343 

The time to wash the blood-tears from our cheeks. 
What say ye now ? What answer do ye make ? 
Advise me well." 

His words inspired Afrasiyab 

With zeal, he bragged before his sire with loins v. 249 

Girt up and vengeance in his heart : " To fight 
With Lions is my work, I match myself 
Against Naudar, and if Zadsham had warred 
He had not left the world in such ill plight, 
But had become the master of t ran. 
Now whatsoe'er my grandsire left undone 
Of vengeance-seeking, fight, and stratagem, 
Is left for my sharp sword to execute. 
The time of turmoil is the time for me." 

Pashang grew keen for battle as he marked 
The lofty stature of Afrasiyab, 
His elephantine might, his breast and arms 
So lion-like, his shadow stretching miles, 
His tongue a trenchant scimitar, his heart 
An ocean and his hand a raining cloud. 
Pashang commanded him to draw the sword 
Of war, and lead an army to Iran. 

A chief whose son is worthy of his name 
May raise his own head to the orb of day, 
For afterwards, when he hath passed away, 

The son will keep alive the father's fame. 
Afrasiyab, high- wrought and full of vengeance, 
Went forth and opening the treasury 
Abundantly equipped his warriors ; 
But when all things were ready, Ighriras 
The counsellor, heart-musing, sought his sire, 
For thinking is the business of the heart, 
And spake on this wise : " Mine experienced father, 
The highest of the Turkman race in valour ! 
Although Iran hath now no Mimichihr, v. 250 



344 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Sam, son of Nariinan, is general ; 

There are besides Kishwad, the brave Karan, 

And other men of name among the folk. 

Thou know'st what Salui and valiant Tvir endured 

Through that old wolf and sworder Minuchihr, 

And yet Zcidsham, my grandsire and our king, 

Whose helmet touched the circle of the moon, 

Ne'er spake a word of such a war, or reac^ 

The book of vengeance in the time of peace. 

'Tis better for us to restrain ourselves, 

Because this madness will confound the realm." 

Pashang said : " That brave crocodile, Afrasiyab, 
Is as a lion on a hunting-day, 
An elephant of war in battle-tide. 
Call him a bastard that would not avenge 
His grandsire's wrongs. Depart forthwith and counsel 
Afrasiyab in matters great and small. 
So when the crumple-skirted clouds are gone, 
When rains have drenched the wastes, when hill and 

plain 

Give pasture for the steeds, when herbage riseth 
Above our warriors' necks and all the world 
Is green with corn, then camp upon the plain ; 
Midst rose and verdure bear a gladsome heart, 
And lead the whole host onward to Amul ; 
Tread Dahistan beneath the horses' hoofs, 
Speed and incarnadine the streams with blood. 
Thence Minuchihr departed to the war 
To take revenge on Tur, thence did his powers 
Advance against us like a murky cloud, 
And by that token it is your turn now 
To send the dust up from their nobles' heads. 
The refuge of the army of Iran 
Was Minuchihr, and he adorned the throne, 
v 251 Why fear the Iranians now that he is gone ? 



NAUDAR 345 

They are not worth a pinch of dust. I fear not 
Naudar, who is but young and raw. Karan 
Will be your foe, and one more warrior 
Garshasp. May ye so treat them on the field 
As to rejoice our fathers' souls, and burn 
Our foemen's hearts." 

The prince said : " Blood shall run 
Along in streams ere my revenge is done." 



3 
How Afrdsiydb came to the Land of Irdn 

When herbage made the plain like painted silk 

The warriors of Turan girt up their loins ; 

An army marched forth from Tiiran and Chin 

With mace-men from the Western lands a host 

Without a middle or an end ; withal 

The fortune of Naudar was young no longer. 

As these approached Jihiin he heard the news 

And drew forth to the plain toward Dahistan. 

Karan, who loved the fray, was general, 

Behind him came Naudar, the king of kings, 

And all the world was filled with bruit of warfare. 

The host approaching Dahistan concealed 

The sun in dust. They pitched the camp-enclosure 

Of Shah Naudar before the hold. Brief respite V. 252 

Was theirs, because Afrasiyab, who then 

Was in Irman, sent thirty thousand warriors, 

With Shamasas and Khazarwan as leaders, 

Toward Zabul to take revenge on Zal, 

For " Sam," they heard, " is dead, and Zal is busied 

About the obsequies." 

Afrasiyab 

Was pleased, perceived that fortune was awake, 
Marched forth to Dahistan, and pitched against it. 



346 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Who knoweth how to reckon up his host ? 

Go count a thousand o'er four hundred times. 

Thou wouldst have said : " The sands and uplands 

seethe, 

The wilderness is naught but ants and locusts." 
With Shah Naudar were seven score thousand men, 
And certes they were warlike cavaliers. 
' Afrasiyab surveyed them and despatched 
By night a cameleer to bear Pashang 
A letter : " The expected good hath come, 
Naudar's whole host is as a quarry to us, 
And Sam is dead. I feared none in 1 ran 
But him. His death alloweth our revenge. 
Zal is engaged upon the obsequies 
And hath not foot or feather for the fight. 
By this time Shamasas is in Nimriiz 
Enthroned and crowned. Prompt action well advised 
Is best for us ; occasions will not wait." 
\'. 253 The camel spread its wings and went apace 

Toward Pashang, that king of sunlight grace. 



How Bdrmdn and Kubdd fought together and how 
Kubdd icas slain 

The van appeared in front of Dahistan 
As morn rose o'er the hills. The armies camped 
Two leagues apart in warlike pomp. A Turkman, 
By name Barman one who bade sleepers wake 
Approached, spied out the whole Iranian host 
And viewed the camp-enclosure of Naudar, 
Returned, reported to his chief, and said: 
" How long must all our prowess be concealed ? 



NAUDAR 347 

Now if the king permit I will engage 
Our foemen like a lion. They shall see 
My skill and know no hero but myself." 

" But if in this," said prudent Ighrfras, 
" Some misadventure should befall Barman, 
Our marchlords would be cowed, our folk dis- 
couraged. 

Nay, choose we rather one of small account, 
For whom we need not bite our nails and lips." 

Then lowered Afrasiyab, ashamed to hear 
Such words, and frowning spake thus to Barman : 
" Put on thine armour and string up thy bow ; 
It will not come to using teeth and nails." 

Barman pricked forth and shouted to Karan : 
" In all the army of the famed Naudar 
Hast thou a man who will contend with me ? " 

Karan looked round upon his mighty men 
For one to volunteer, but none responded 
Save valiant old Kubad. The prudent chief 
Was grieved and troubled when his brother spake, 
And wept for wrath, and there was room for it V. 254 

With that great host, that, with so many young 
To fight, one old man only volunteered. 
Vexed to the heart about Kubad, Karan 
Addressed him thus in presence of the chiefs : 
" At thine age thou shouldst not contend with one 
Fresh, ardent, young, and daring, like Barman, 
Who hath a lion's heart, and head sun-high. 
Thou art an honoured chieftain, and the centre 
Of counsel to our Shah. If thy white locks 
Grow red with blood our bravest will despair." - 

Mark his reply in presence of the troops : 
" The rolling sky hath given me enough. 
Know, brother ! that the body is for death ; 
My head and neck were meant to wear a helm. 



348 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

My heart hath been in anguish from the time 
Of blessed Minuchihr until this day. 
No mortal passeth into heaven alive, 
Man is death's quarry ; one the scimitar 
Destroyeth mid the mellay, and the vulture 
And lion tear his corpse ; another's life 
Is ended on his bed. Beyond all question 
We must depart, and if I quit the world 
My tall and lusty brother is still safe. 
Make me a royal charnel in your love, 
Give musk, rose-water, camphor for my head, 
My body to the place of endless sleep. 
This do, live peacefully, and trust in God." 
v. 255 This said, he grasped his spear and sallied forth 

Like some fierce elephant. Barman exclaimed : 
" Now hath fate put thy head within my reach. 
Well hadst thou held aloof, for time itself 
Would have thy life." 

" The sky," Kubad replied, 

" Gave me my share long since, and he whose hour 
Hath come will have to die where'er he be : 
That time is not ill-timed at any time." 

He spake arid urged his sable steed, denying 
His ardent heart all rest. The two contended 
From dawn till shadows lengthened. In the end 
The victory was Barman's, who as he rode 
Hurled at Kubad a dart which struck his hip 
And pierced his belt. That ancient lion-heart 
Fell headlong and so passed. Then with cheeks 

flushed 

With pride and satisfaction came Barman 
Before Afrasiyab, who gave him gifts 
Unprecedented as from king to liege. 

Karan the battle-lover, when Kubad 
Was slain, drew out his army and attacked. 



NAUDAR 349 

The two hosts seemed as 'twere two seas of Chin, 
Thou wouldst have said : " Earth shake th." 

Then Karan 

The warrior rushed forth and Garsiwaz, 
Huge as an elephant, confronted him. 
The chargers neighed, the sun and shining moon 
Were hidden by the dust-clouds of the host, 
Swords diamond-bright and spear-heads steeped in gore v. 256 
Shone mid the dust dust like a rainy cloud 
Wherethrough vermilion droppeth from the sun, 
A cloud whose marrow thrilled with tyrnbal-din, 
While liquid crimson drenched the falchions' souls. 
Where'er Karan urged on his steed the steel 
Flashed like Azargashasp, and thou hadst said : 
" His Diamond sheddeth Coral." Nay, shed souls. 

Afrasiyab beheld and led his troops 
Against Karan, and with insatiate hearts 
They fought till night rose o'er the hills, and then 
Karan withdrew the host to Dahistan. 
With heart distracted by his brother's death 
He came to the pavilion of Naudar, 
Who on beholding him let tears down fall 
From weary eyelids that had seen no sleep, 
And said : " Since Sam the horseman died my soul 
Hath not grieved thus. Live thou for evermore, 
And sunlike be the spirit of Kubad. 
A day of joy and then a day of grief, 
Such is the wont and fashion of the world ! 
No fostering will rescue us from death ; 
Earth's only cradle is the sepulchre." 

" I have resigned to death," Karan replied, . 
" My doughty body even from my birth. 
'Twas Faridun that put my helmet on 
That I might tread the earth to avenge fraj, 
And hitherto I have not loosed my girdle, v. 257 



350 THE SHAHNAMA OP FIRDA USI 

Nor laid aside the sword of steel. My brother 
That sage is dead. I too shall die in harness ; 
But be of cheer, Afrasiyab to-day 
Was straitened, and he called up his reserves. 
He saw me with mine ox-head mace and eagerly 
Attacked me ; eye to eye I fronted him. 
He used some magic and my keen eyes lost 
Their vision, night came on and all was dark, 
Mine arm was tired of striking. Thou hadst said 
' The End hath come.' The sky was overcast, 
And we were forced to quit the battlefield 
Because the troops were spent and it was dark." 
The opposing hosts reposed a while, and when 
The morrow dawned began the strife again. 



5 
How Afrdsiydb fought with Naudar the second Time 

The Iranians drew up for battle royal, 
And what with thundering drum and blaring trumpet 
Thou wouldst have said : " The earth is tottering." 
Afrasiyab, when he beheld, arrayed 
His army opposite. " The sun hath set," 
Thou wouldst have said, earth was so dark with dust 
Of horsemen. Mid the war-cries none could tell 
A mountain from a plain, host grappled host 
And blood ran like a river where Karan 
V. 258 Sought for the fray, and where Afrasiyab 

Towered till Naudar approached and challenged him. 
They strove together, spear confused with spear ; 
No serpents ever writhed together so ; 
How could kings battle thus ? 

They fought till night 
And then Afrasiyab was conqueror, 



For more were stricken on the Iranian side 
And still the foemen's battle was unbroken. 
The Iranians turned their faces helplessly, 
Abandoning their camp upon the waste. 
Naudar was grieved that fortune should besmirch 
His crown with dust, and when the tymbals ceased 
He sent for Tus, who came with Gustaham, 
All sighs and grief. " What pain is in my heart ! " 
He cried, recalling what his dying sire 
Foretold : " An army from Tiiran and Chin 
Will come against f ran, grieve thee and bring 
Disaster on thy troops." 

" The words are now 

Fulfilled," he said, " the arrogant have triumphed ; 
But who e'er read in tales of famous men 
Of any that led forth such Turkman hosts ? 
Go ye to Pars to fetch the women-folk 
And bear them through the passes to Alburz. 
Take unperceived the road to Ispahan, 

Else ye will break our soldiers' hearts, inflicting v - 59 

A second wound. Some haply of the seed 
Of Faridiin may scape of all our troops. 
I know not if I shall behold you more 
Because to-night we make our last attempt. 
Have scouts out night and day to watch events ; 
If they give evil tidings of the host 
And say : ' The Glory of the king of kings 
Is dimmed,' grieve not too much at heart; high heaven, 
Since it had being, hath been ever thus. 
Time bringeth this to dust while that enjoyeth 
A royal crown. Death, whether violent 
Or natural, is one a throb then peace." 

Naudar with tears of blood embraced his sons. 
The royal pair proceeded to depart, 
But he remained and with a heavy heart. 



352 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

6 
How Naudar fought with Afrdsiydb the third Time 

The host reposed two days, but when the sun 
Rose on the third the Shah was forced to fight. 
Then like a foaming sea Afrasiyab ; 
Dashed at the army of Naudar, the war-cry 
Rose from the camp-enclosures mid the din 
Of trump and Indian bell, the tymbals sounded 
Before the Shah's tent, and the warriors donned 
Their iron helmets. None had thought of sleep 
Within the camp of great Afrasiyab ; 
V. 260 All night they had made ready, sharpening 

The swords and double-headed darts. The earth 
Was filled by armoured men with heavy maces. 
Karan was marshal of the central host 
Whereto the Shah and he were towers of strength. 
The Shah's left wing the hero Taliman 
Claimed for himself, and bold Shapiir the right. 
From morning till the sun had left the dome, 
Hills, plains, and wastes were indistinguishable ; 
Thou wouldst have said : " The sword's heart is en- 
larged 

And earth is groaning underneath the steeds." 
But while the javelins put the earth in shade 
Defeat drew ever nearer to Naudar, 
And as his fortunes sank the Turkmans' rose. 
Upon the side where bold Shapiir was stationed 
The ranks were broken and the troops dispersed, 
But he maintained his post till he was slain. 
The Iranians' fortune turned away its head, 
And many another chieftain of the host 
Was killed or wounded on the battlefield. 



NAUDAR 353 

Now when the monarch and Karan perceived 
The stars averse, they fled before the foe 
To Dahistan, and there maintained themselves, 
Cut off from all outside it. Night and day 
They fought in the approaches. Passed a while. 

Now since Naudar had refuged in the hold, 
Where horsemen could not act, Afrasiyab 
Made ready and despatched a force by night, V. 261 

Bethought him of the chieftain Kunikhan, 
Of Wisa's race, and bade him lead them forth 
Along the desert-route to Pars, for there 
The Iranians' homes were situate, and men 
In trouble make for home. Karan heard this 
And, moved with jealousy and grieved at heart, 
Went in as 'twere a leopard to Naudar 
And said : " Behold how base Afrasiyab 
Is dealing with the monarch of t ran ! 
He hath despatched a countless host of troops 
Against our warriors' women. Should he get them 
Disaster will befall our men of name 
And we shall hide our faces in disgrace ; 
So Kunikhan must be attacked forthwith, 
And by the leave of the victorious Shah 
I will pursue with speed. Thou hast a river, 
Provisions, and right zealous warriors. 
Stay thou ; be not concerned. Thou canst defend 
Thyself with ease, so play the lion's part, 
For monarchs should be brave." 

Naudar replied : 

" Not so, the host hath none like thee to lead them. 
'Twas for our homes that Tus and Gustaham 
Went forth at beat of drum, and they will reach 
The women in good time, such is their speed, 
And take the needful steps." 

The mighty men 
z 



354 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Went to the sleeping-chamber of the Shah 
V. 262 Where presently they sat and called for wine 
To purge their hearts of sorrow for a while. 
When Shah Naudar was well bemused he went 
Behind his curtains, meditating vengeance, 
And those brave chiefs the 1 ranian cavaliers 
Departed in disorder from the court 
To assemble at the quarters of Karan, 
With eyes like winter-clouds ; with much debate, 
They all agreed : " We must set out for Pars 
Forthwith or else our wives and little ones 
Will all be broken-hearted slaves, all captured 
Without a struggle, and who then will wield 
The spear upon the plain or rest in peace ? " 

Now when these three Shidush, Kishwad, Karan 
Had taken counsel for the whole emprise, 
And half the night had passed, they made them ready 
To sally forth. At dawn with heavy hearts 
They reached what men in those days called " White 

Castle." i 

There found they Guzhdaham the castellan 
Together with his watchful warriors 
Beleaguered by Barman, who held the road 
With troops and elephants and valiant chiefs, 
And erst had wrung the heart of brave Karan 
Who, eager to avenge his brother's blood, 
Assumed his mail, prepared his men for action, 
v. 263 And made for Pars. The brave Barman was ware 
And like a lion met him on the way. 
Now when Karan saw mid the dust of fight 
That man of blood he grappled with his foe, 
All lion-like, not giving time for ruse, 
But closed at once, invoking God for succour, 
And pierced the Turkman's girdle with a javelin 

1 See introductory note to the previous reign. 



NAUDAR 355 

Through mail and buckle. From his charger's back 
Barman fell headlong, the bright orb of day 
Turned dark to him, his army's heart was broken, 
His soldiers fled. Karan the chieftain then 
Went on toward Pars with all his valiant men. 



7 
How Naudar was taken by Afrdsiydb 

Naudar, on hearing that Karan had gone, 

Sped after him, all instant to escape 

The evil day, lest heaven should trample him. 

Afrasiyab gat tidings that Naudar 

Had sought the waste, collected troops, and followed 

As 'twere a lion. Drawing near he found 

The foemen ready for a running fight, 

And as he marched mused how to take the head 

That wore the crown. They fought all night till 

noonday, 

And earth was dark with warriors' dust. At length 
The Shah was taken with twelve hundred nobles ; 
Thou wouldst have said : " Their place on earth is 

void." 

Strive as they might to flee they were ensnared 
Within the net of bale. Afrasiyab V. 264 

Put into bonds the captured host and Shah. 

Though thou shouldst sit in conclave with the sky 
Yet will its revolutions grind thee down. 
It giveth majesty and throne and crown, 

It giveth too despair and misery. 

It playeth friend and foe, and proffereth thee, 
At times a kernel and at times a shell ; 
It is a conjurer that knoweth well 

The sleights of every form of jugglery. 



356 

Although thy head may touch the clouds, it must 
Have in the end its place amid the dust. 

Afrasiyab gave orders : " Search," he said, 
" The caves, the hills, the waters, and the waste 
That fierce Karan may not elude our troops." 

But hearing that Karan had gone to save 
The women he was furious. " Let Barman," 
He bade, " speed forth and lion-like pursue 
Karan, and bring him me a prisoner." 

They told the monarch how Karan had served 
Barman, and brought him from his steed to dust ; 
Whereat Afrasiyab was sorely grieved, 
Food, rest, and sleep were bitterness to him, 
And thus he spake to Wisa : " Let the death 
Of this thy son steel thine own heart, for when 
V. 265 The son of Kawa warreth leopards shrink 

Before his spear. Go with a valiant host 
Well furnished, and take vengeance for the lost." l 



How Wisa found his Son that had been slain 

So Wisa, chief of the Turanian troops, 

Departed with a noble, vengeful army, 

And saw before he overtook Karan 

His loved son lying slain, his banner rent, 

His kettledrums o'erturned, his shroud of blood 

Like tulips, and his face like sandarach ; 

While warriors and chieftains of Turan 

Were flung in numbers with him on the route. 

The sight grieved Wisa so that thou hadst said : 

" His heart is rent by anguish," while his eyes 

Wept scalding tears. He sped to catch Karan. 

1 Reading with P. 



NAUDAR 357 

Thus like a torrent Wisa rushed along 

And shed calamity throughout the world. 

" He marcheth on in triumph gloriously," 

Such was the news that reached Karan, who sent 

His Arab horsemen forward to Nimruz 

And followed them himself the Sun of earth. 

Now when from Pars he reached the waste, a dust-cloud 

Appeared upon his left, and from the dust 

The sable flag emerged, while from the van 

The Turkman chief led on his host. Both armies 

Arrayed their ranks ; the warriors sought the fray. 

Then from the centre Wisa shouted, saying : V. 266 

" Gone to the winds are crown and throne of greatness. 

All from Kannuj up to Kabulistan, 

Ghazm'n too, and Zabulistan, are ours : 

Our throne is graven on their palaces, 

Where wilt thou refuge since the Shah is taken ? " 

The other said : " Karan am I, and cast 
My blanket on the waters. 1 Neither fear 
Nor any idle rumour sent me forth. 
I marched to fight thy son, and having taken 
Revenge on him will take it now on thee, 
And show thee how brave warriors fight." 

They urged 

Their chargers on, the clarions blared, dust rose 
To left and right and moon and sky waxed dim. 
Men grappled eagerly and shoAvered blood. 
Karan and Wisa met once in the mellay, 
But Wisa turned away and fled the field V. 267 

Where many a chief had fallen, yet Karan 
Pursued not. Wisa, broken by misfortune, 
Appeared before Afrasiyab in pain 
And weeping for his son that had been slain. 

1 /.., I court danger. 



THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 



How Shamdsds and Khazarwdn invaded ZdbuHstdn 

The expedition from Irman went forth 
Against Zabul, and Shamasas advanced 
Toward Sistan in haste, while Khazarwan, 
With thirty thousand famous men good swordsmen- 
Marched warily as far as the Hirmund 
With glaive and mace, and fortune at its height. 
Now Zal was at the burial-place erecting 
In pain and grief a charnel for his father, 
While brave Mihrab, whose mind was on the alert, 
Was in the city, and despatched an envoy 
To Shamasas. When this man reached the camp 
He gave his master's greetings, saying thus : 
" For ever may the monarch of Turan 
Continue bright of heart and wear the crown. 
Zahhak the Arab was mine ancestor, 
And little do I love mine overlord, 
But by alliance have I purchased life 
Because I saw no other course. At present 
I dwell within the palace, ruling all 
Zabulistan. When Zal went whelmed with grief 
To bury Sam my heart rejoiced, and I 
Will never see his face again. I ask 
The famous paladin for time to send 
Afrasiyab a prudent cameleer ; 
'Twill shorten matters if he know my mind. 
V. 268 I will despatch him fitting gifts besides 

The tribute, and if he saith ' Come,' will stand 
Before his throne, resign to him my realm, 
And joy in him. I will not vex the paladin, 
But send him every kind of hoarded wealth." 



NAUDAR 359 

Thus one hand held back Shamasas and one 
Was stretched for help. He sent a messenger 
And said : " Fly ! Ply thy feathers and thy pinions, 
Announce to Zal what thou hast seen, and say : 
' Pause not to rub thy head but come at once, 
For of the Turkman host two paladins, 
Like leopard's claws, advanced to fight with me ; 
But when they were approaching the Hirmund 
I put their feet in fetters of dinars. 
Now if thou waitest to draw breath but once 
Our foes will have their will.' " 

The envoy came 
To Zal, whose heart forthwith was all a-flame. 



IO 
How Zal came to help Mihrdb 

Zal hearing this had the gold trappings placed 
Upon his steed, and faring night and day 
Rejoined his troops. Whenas he saw Mihrab 
Unmoved and full of knowledge and good counsel, 
He thought : " What cause have we to fear this host, 
For Khazarwan is but a pinch of dust 
To me ? " 

Then to Mihrab : " O man of prudence, 

Approved in all ! now will I go by night v. 269 

And lay a hand upon the foe for blood. 
They shall be ware that I am back again, 
Back with full heart and ready to avenge." 

He marked the stations of the hostile chiefs, 
Then drew his bow amain and shot three arrows 
Of poplar, bough-like, arching through the sky 
In three directions, and a clamour followed. 



360 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

When it was day the soldiers gathered round 
And marked the arrows, saying : " They are Zal's ! 
None other shooteth with such shafts as these." 

Cried Shamasas : " O Khazarwan, thou Lion ! 
Hadst thou not been remiss in fight, not dallied 
So with Mihrab, his army and his treasure, 
Zal had not troubled thee." 

Then Khazarwan : 
" He is but one, not Ahriman or iron. 
Fear not, for I will grapple him anon." 

Whenas the bright sun crossed the vault were 

heard 

Drums on the plain, and in the city sounds 
Of tymbals, clarions, gongs, and Indian bells. 
Zal donned his mail apace, bestrode his charger 
As swift as dust, while all his warriors mounted 
With vengeful thoughts and frowns upon their brows. 
He led the army forth upon the plain, 
Equipped with elephants and camp-enclosures, 
Where host encountered host and made the waste 
As 'twere a darksome mountain with the dust. 
Then Khazarwan with mace and buckler rushed 
v. 270 To counter Zal, and smote his glittering breast 
A blow that brake his famed cuirass. When Zal 
Withdrew the warriors of Kabulistan 
Retreated, but brave Zal armed him afresh. 
His head was wroth, his blood was up, he brandished 
His father's mace, while Khazarwan advanced 
To challenge fight, a roaring Lion he, 
Before the host. Zal had no sooner raised 
The reek of fight than Khazarwan was on him 
As quick as dust, while Zal in fury charged 
His foe, and brandishing the ox-like mace 
Smote Khazarwan upon the head and made 
The ground as 'twere a leopard's back with blood ; 



NAUDAR 361 

Then flung him down, trod on him, passed along 

And led the army forward to the plain, 

Inviting Shamasas to come and fight, 

But Shamasas came not ; his blood was chilled. 

Zal next descried Kulbad amid the dust 

And shouldered his steel mace. Thereon Kulbad, 

Observing Zal with mace and scimitar, 

Endeavoured to escape his foe man's sight, 

But Zal the cavalier strung up his bow 

And lightly aimed at him a poplar arrow, 

Struck full upon the girdle of Kulbad 

A girdle that was wrought of links of steel 

And pinned him to the pummel through the loins. 

His troops' hearts burned for him while Shamasas 

Despaired, his face paled when those chiefs were slain, 

And he and all his army in full flight 

Dispersed like sheep upon a stormy day, 

Pressed by the soldiers of Zabulistan 

And by Mihrab. The field was such with corpses 

That thou hadst said : " The troops are cramped for 

room." 

The Turkmans fled toward Afrasiyab, 
Their mail unfastened and their girdles snapped. 

When Shamasas had reached the open plain v. 271 

Karan, the son of Kawa, came in sight 
Returning from pursuing Wisa's host, 
Whose noblest he had slain so easily. 
The armies met together, Shamasas 
Met with Karan, the lover of the fray, 
Who knowing his antagonists, and why 
They were retreating from Zabulistan, 
Bade trumpets sound and occupied the road. 
Thus host encountered host. The paladin 
Said to his troops : " Ye men of noble name 
And ardent soul ! go battle with your spears, 



362 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

And may ye rob the foe of life." 

With cries 

Of maddened elephants they seized their spears, 
Which made a reed-bed of the battlefield 
And veiled the sun and moon. He lightly slew 
Those Turkman troops and flung them on the track, 
Fell on the wounded and the prisoners, 
And sent their dust up to the shining sun, 
While Shamasas with certain men of might 
Fled and escaped the murky dust of fight. 

ii 

How Naudar was slain by Afrdsiydb 

News of the death of those famed warriors 
Came to the Turkman king ; his heart was pained, 
His cheeks were wet with his heart's blood. He said 
" Naudar is in my prison, yet my friends 
Are vilely slaughtered thus ! What can I do 
But shed his blood and give new cause for feud ? " 
He was enraged and cried : " Where is Naudar, 
For Wisa calleth for revenge on him ? 
V. 272 Bring him," he told an executioner, 
" That I may teach him war." 

Naudar on hearing 

Knew that his time was come. A clamorous throng 
Departed, bound his arms firm as a rock, 
And haled him bare both head and foot, fordone, 
In shameful plight before the Crocodile. 
Full of impatience great Afrasiyab 
Looked out for him, and seeing him approach 
Reminded him of their ancestral feud, 
Began with Salm and Tiir, and washed away 
From heart and eyes the reverence due to kings. 



NA UDAR 363 

" Thou hast deserved whatever ill may come," 
He said, called fiercely for a scimitar, 
Smote Shah Naudar upon the neck and flung 
In foul contempt the body in the dust. 
Thus passed that Memory of Shah Mimichihr 
And left Iran bereft of throne and crown. 

O man of knowledge shrewd exceedingly ! 
Don not the whole robe of thy greed, for throne 
And crown have seen already many an one 

Like thee, and thou mayst hear their history. 
If thou hast gained the object of thy lust 

And appetite hath ceased, so strong before, 
Why shouldst thou ask this gloomy mournful dust 

To make thee miserable any more ? 
They haled the other captives forth in shame, 
And asking quarter. Virtuous Ighriras 
Saw this and anxiously besought the king : 
" To slay so many noble warriors 
And horsemen in cold blood mere prisoners 
Disarmed is base, and base where we should look y. 273 
For magnanimity. 'Twere worthier far 
To spare their lives. Commit them bound to me 
And I will prison them within a cavern, 
Well guarded. Prison will restore their wits ; 
But shed not blood." 

At Ighriras' request, 
Perceiving his distress and earnestness, 
The monarch spared their lives, and bade men take 
The captives to Sari in shameful bonds. 
This done he marched from Dahistan to Rai, 
Hid earth beneath his cavaliers and made 
His chargers sweat, assumed the royal crown, 
Bestowed a liberal largess of dinars, 
And played as monarch of Iran his part 
With thoughts of war and vengeance in his heart. 



364 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

12 
How Zdl had Tidings of the Death of Naudar 

This news reached Gustaham and Tus : " The Grace 
Of kingship is obscured. They have struck off 
Remorselessly with trenchant scimitar 
The head that wore the crown, and all is over." 

Men tore their faces and plucked out their hair, 
A cry of mourning went up from f ran, 
The great put dust and earth upon their heads, 
All eyes wept tears of blood, all robes were rent. 
Men turned their faces toward Zabul ; their tongues 
Spake of the Shah, their souls yearned for the Shah. 
They went to Zal in mourning and in pain, 
With blood-stained cheeks and dust upon their heads. 
They cried : " good and valiant Shah Naudar ! 
O great just monarch, wearer of the crown, 
v. 274 The guardian of Iran, the prop of nobles, 

The head of kings and monarch of the world ! 
Thy head is seeking for a crown from dust 
And earth is savouring of the blood of Shahs. 
The grasses on these fields and fells are hanging 
Their heads in shame before the sun while we 
Ask vengeance, mourning as it were a father, 
In whom the stock of Faridiin survived, 
While earth was servant to his horse's shoe. 
Now him and all that famous troop have they 
Beheaded shamefully, despitefully ; 
. But we will draw our swords of watered steel, 
Will go to seek revenge and slay the foe : 
So arm ye and revive the ancient feud. 
The heaven is surely with us in our grief ; 
Its eyes rain tears of blood for very ruth. 



NA UDAR 365 

Do ye too fill your eyes with tears like those 

And strip your bodies of their dainty dress, 

For in revenge for kings it is not well 

That eyes should stint their tears or hearts their rage. ' 

The mournful multitude wept bitterly, 
And burnt as though upon a raging fire, 
While Zal rent all his raiment and sat down 
With lamentable outcries in the dust. 
He said : " My trenchant blade shall ne'er behold 
Sheath till the Resurrection, my white charger 
Shall be my throne, a spear mine only tree, 
My place a stirrup and a dusky helm 
The crown upon my head. There is no rest 
Or slumber in this feud. No stream can match 
The river of mine eyes. Oh ! may the soul 
Of great Naudar shine bright amid the mighty, 
And may the Lord of earth bestow on you 
A soul for Faith and duty. All of us 
Are born to die ; it is our lot whereto 
We yield our necks." 

Now when the captives heard : 

" The Iranians are upon the march for vengeance, v. 275 

They send out cameleers on every side, 
Have gathered countless troops and have renounced 
Home and delights," they neither ate nor slept, 
Such was their terror of Afrasiyab. 
A message from them came to Ighriras : 
" O man of mighty purpose, famous chief ! 
We are thy slaves in all, and by thy word 
We live. Zal, as thou knowest, is at home 
And acting with the monarch of Kabul. 
Men like Barzin, Karan the warrior, 
Kharrad, and that host-shatterer Kishwad, 
Are men of might with hands that reach afar 
And will not keep their clutches off f ran. 



366 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

Now when these warriors wheel about us here 

And brandish their sharp lances in his sight 

The great Afrasiyab will be enraged, 

His heart will be inflamed against his captives, 

And for his crown's sake he will bring to dust 

The heads of all our blameless company. 

If prudent Ighriras see fit to free us 

We will disperse, praise him before the great 

And make thanksgiving unto God for him." 

Wise Ighriras replied : " Such skilleth not ; 
'Twere a foe's act; this human Ahriman 
Would be incensed. I will not take other order 
So that my brother may not turn upon me 
In vengeance. If now Zal is keen for war 
V. 276 And will advance to fight us at Sari 

I will deliver you to him, myself 
Evacuate Amul, forbear to fight 
And bring to infamy my honoured head." 

At this reply the nobles of 1 ran 
Bent to the ground, and full of praise for him 
Despatched a courier from Sari with speed 
To Zal, the son of Sam. The message ran : 
" Our God hath pitied us ; wise Ighriras 
Is now our friend. This is the pact between us : 
If only two Iranian warriors 
Shall come and offer fight that noble man, 
Who walketh fortune's path, will quit Amul 
For Rai, and so some one of us may scape 
The Dragon's clutch." 

The courier reached Zabul 

And made the glad news known to Zal, who called 
The nobles, told them all, then said : " My friends, 
Pards of the fray and winners of renown ! 
Who is the warrior of princely heart, 
All black with courage, who will raise his neck 



NAUDAR 367 

To touch the sun by undertaking this ? " 

Kishwad accepting struck his breast and said : 

" My hand is ready for an act so just." 

The glorious Zal approved him, saying thus : 

" Live happily while months and years endure." 
So from Zabul a troop of warriors 

Intent on war set face toward Amul. 

When they had journeyed for a stage or two 

The tidings came to Ighriras their friend, 

Who blew the brazen trumpets, marched away v. 277 

His troops and left the captives at Sari. 

When fortunate Kishwad arrived he found 

The key to loose their bonds, provided steeds, 

And from Amul sped toward Zabul. When Zal 

Was told : " Kishwad is coming back in triumph," 

He gave a largess to the mendicants, 

The robe that he was wearing to the messenger, 

And when Kishwad approached went out to meet him 

In state, while weeping tears of joy for those 

That had been captive in the Lion's clutch, 

And then with dust upon his head wept tears 

Of grief o'er famed Naudar. He took the loved ones 

Within the city, gave them palaces, 

And they became as when Naudar was king, 

Possessed of crowns and thrones and diadems, 

While Zal distributed his treasure-store 

Until the army could desire no more. 



13 
How Ighriras icas slain by his Brother 

When Ighrfras went from Amul to Rai 

The king asked : " Wherefore hast thou acted thus ? 

Why hast thou mingled colocynth with honey ? 



368 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDAVSI 

Did I not bid thee : ' Slay these evil men ; 

It will be folly to imprison them ? ' 

The warrior's head is not concerned with statecraft, 

His fame is gained upon the battlefield ; 

Nor should the soldier tread the path of wisdom, 

For wisdom never mingleth with revenge." 

" Tears and compassion are not wholly needless," 

V. 278 He answered. " When thou hast the power to harm 
Fear God and do it not, for crown and girdle 
See many like thee but are no man's own 
For ever." 

Hearing this Afrasiyab 
Was silenced, for the one was full of fire, 
The other wise ; and how should wisdom fit 
Divs' heads ? .At his reply the chieftain raging, 
Like elephant gone mad, drew forth his scimitar 
And cut his brother down ; that man of wisdom 
And goodness passed away. Zal heard, and said : 
" Now shall the fortune of Afrasiyab 
Be darkened and his throne laid waste." 

He blew 

The trumpets, bound the tymbals on, arrayed 
The army like the eye of chanticleer 
And went toward Pars, in anger and revenge, 
With troops that stretched from sea to sea, and dark- 
ened 

The sun and moon with dust. Afrasiyab, 
On hearing Zal's design, marched forth his host 
Toward Khar of Rai, drew up and took his stand. 
The outposts were engaged both day and night ; 
Thou wouldst have said : " The world hath but one hue." 

V. 279 Both hosts lost many a gallant man of mark. 
Twas thus until two sennights passed away, 
And horse and foot were weary of the fray. 



IX 
ZAV, THE SON OF TAHMlSP 

HE REIGNED FIVE YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

After the execution of Naudar the throne remains for a while 
vacant, his sons Tiis and Gustaham being considered unworthy 
to succeed. Zav, by the advice of Zal, is made Shah. The war 
against Afrasiyab continues, and the sufferings of both armies are 
aggravated by drought and consequent famine. Both sides become 
eager for peace, which is successfully negotiated, rain falls and 
Zav dies. 

NOTE 

Zav is described in the Shahnama as the son of Tahmasp and 
descended from the race of Faridun. In the Bundahish he is 
said to be the grandson of Naudar. 1 Zav is mentioned in the 
Zandavasta : " We worship the Fravashi (i.e. the immortal prin- 
ciple) of the holy Uzava, the son of Tiimaspa." ' 2 

The passing over of Tiis and Gustaham, the sons of Naudar, on 
the express ground of their unfitness, as not being possessed of 
the divine Grace of sovereignty, seems to find its justification in 
what we learn of their characters later on, at all events in the 
case of Tiis, who is described as being hot-headed, revengeful, and 
a brave but unsuccessful general. Gustaham almost drops out of 
the poem and his place is taken by another hero of the same 
name, Gustaham the son of Gazhdaham the castellan of the 
White Castle. 

Tiis is represented as always resentful of the slight put upon 
him; it induces him to oppose the accession of Kai Khusrau, 



1 WPT, i. 136. 2 DZA, ii. 221. 

369 2 A 






370 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

and subsequently to make the unprovoked attack which results 
in the death of Fariid, that Shah's brother. 

In the terms of the treaty of peace between Zav and Afrasiyab, 
which make the Jihiin the boundary between Iran and Tiiran, we 
have the beginning of much geographical confusion in the Shahnama. 
The Aras was really meant. 1 

Drought and famine are frequent phenomena in the table-land 
of Iran. 



Zav is elected Shdh 

One night as Zal sat speaking to his chiefs 

And retinue about Afrasiyab, 

He said : " Although our paladins possess 

Unsleeping fortune and enlightened minds 

We need a Shah, one of the royal race, 

Skilled in the lore of eld. The host resembleth 

A ship whereto the throne is wind and sail. 

Oh ! had but Tus and Gustaham the Grace. . . . 

We lack not troops, but men, however noble, 

That have not prudence, merit not the crown 

And throne. We need a Shah of puissant fortune, 

A man of Grace through whose words wisdom shineth. 

They found none of the seed of Faridiin 
But Zav, son of Tahmasp, with monarch's might 
And hero's worth to grace the lofty throne. 
Karan took with a gallant company 
The joyful news to Zav : " In thee reviveth 
v. 280 The crown of Faridun. Zal and the troops 
Acclaim thee as the Shah, worthy one ! " 

On an auspicious day fair-fortuned Zav 
Came and acceded to the lofty throne. 
The mighty praised him, showering offerings ; 
Zal too did homage. Five years passed away 

1 See Introd. p. 71. 



(ZAV 37i 

While Zav, a wise old man, sat on the throne 
And judged and lavished till the world grew young. 
He kept his soldiers back from evil ways, 
Wrapped up himself in communings with God. 
None dared to rob or slay, but after him 
Men saw no lack of slaughter. There was a famine, 
There was not dew or rain, the ground and herbs 
Were parched, and bread was worth its weight in 

drachms. 

The hosts had faced each other for five months, 
Engaged in fierce encounters day by day 
As fitteth chiefs and heroes, but that famine 
Left them resourceless, wasted woof and warp, 
And all confessed : " We are ourselves to blame," 
While wails and cries for help rose from both hosts. 
At length an envoy came to Zav and said : 
" It is our own fault that this Wayside Inn 
Affordeth naught but travail, care, and anguish. 
Come let us share the earth and bless each other." 

They gave up thoughts of war for famine pressed, 
Agreed to drop the ancient feud, to share 
The world according to just precedent l v. 281 

And put all bygones out of memory. 
The portion of f ran both near and far 
Twixt the Jihun and marches of Tiiran, 
And so along toward Khutan and Chin, 
Was given to the Turkmans as their kingdom, 
While Zal abandoned all the nomad tribes. 
Such was the sharing, such the Turkmans' bounds. 
Then Zav led forth his host to go to Pars, 
Old as he was he made earth young again ; 
While Zal departed for Zabulistan 
And men received them both with open arms. 

The roar of thunder filled the mountain-tops 

1 Probably referring to Faridtin's settlement. 



372 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

And earth recovered colour, scent, and beauty ; 
It was as 'twere a youthful bride, arrayed 
In fountains, pleasances, and rivulets, 
For fortune would be neither dark nor hard 
If man had not the temper of a pard. 

Zal called the chiefs and offered thanks to God, 
Who had converted scarcity to plenty, 
Men set up feasting-places everywhere 
And banished feud and cursing from their hearts. 
Thus for five years men knew not wrong or travail, 
Yet verily the world grew sick of justice 
And longed to be within the Lion's claws. 

Now when he reached his sixth and eightieth year 
That sun-like ruler's leaf began to sear, 
The Iranians' fortune halted and the day 
Of Zav, the righteous worldlord, passed away. 



X 
GAESHlSP 

HIS REIGN WAS NINE YEARS 

ARGUMENT 

On the death of Zav his son Garshasp succeeds to the throne, 
and Afrasiyab seizes the opportunity to renew the war. Garshasp 
himself dies, and the Iranians being hard pressed appeal to Zal, 
who promises that his son Rustam shall come to their assistance. 
The poet then tells how Zal gave Sam's mace to Rustam, how the 
latter won his charger Rakhsh, and how Zal led the host against 
Afrasiyab, and sent Rustam to fetch Kai Kubad from Mount 
Alburz to be Shdh in succession to Garshasp. 

NOTE 

In the summary in the Dinkard of the lost Kitradad Nask 
mention is made of Keresasp, who is placed between Kai Kubad 
and Kai Kaiis. 1 Keresasp appears there to be identical with the 
great hero, of whom an account has been given in the intro- 
ductory note to Faridiin, and if so apparently we must identify 
Garshasp, the tenth Shah, with him as well. In the Shahnama, 
however, he is a mere nominis umbra, and Firdausi places him 
before Kai Kubad, the first Shah of the Kaianian dynasty, and 
makes him the son of the preceding Shah Zav and the last of the 
Pishdadians. His personality had already, as we have seen in the 
note above referred to, become split up, and his reign is a blank so 
far as he is concerned. 

The reader will note Rustam's reference to bishops acting as 
castellans. 2 In the wars between the Eastern Roman Empire and 



1 WPT, iv. 28. 2 p. 378. 

373 



374 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

the Sasanians, bishops and other ecclesiastics often took a very 
important part in the defence of besieged cities. Thus S. James, 
the Bishop of Edessa, took a leading part in several successful 
defences of Nisibis against Sapor II. 1 The fact of the church 
militant thus became impressed on the Eastern mind, and by an 
anachronism not uncommon with him, Firdausi transfers the 
usages of later times to earlier ages. The reader will note too the 
vision of the divine Grace of kingship which prepared Kai Kubad 
for his accession to the throne. It appeared again visibly in the 
shape of a ram before the accession of Ardshir Papakan, the first 
Shah of the Sasanian dynasty. When it quitted Yima it flew away 
in the shape of a bird. 2 



Hme Garshdsp succeeded to the Throne and died, and 
how Afrdsiydb invaded Iran 

v. 282 Zav had a puissant son by name Garshasp 

Who sat upon the throne and donned the crown. 
He ruled the world with majesty and Grace, 
But tidings reached the Turkmans : " Zav hath gone 
And left an empty throne." 

Afrasiyab 

Sent up the war-cry, launched his ships and made 
For Khar of Rai, but no one brought to him 
A greeting from Pashang, whose head was filled 
With hate, his heart with strife. All wild with grief 
For Ighriras, of throne and crown he recked not, 
Would never look upon Afrasiyab 
And let the shining sword grow dull with rust ; 
Albeit messengers were sent to him 
Month after month, but he denied himself, 
And said : " Whatever prince were on the throne 
A friend like Ighriras would profit him, 
But thou art one to shed a brother's blood 
And flee before the nursling of a fowl. 

1 KSM, 155-164. 2 See introductory note to Janishid. 






GARSHASP 373 

I sent thee forth to battle with the foe 

And thou hast slain thy brother ! I disown thee : 

Thou shalt not look upon my face again."" 

Thus matters fared awhile ; at length the tree 
Of bale bore colocynth. 'Twas in the year 
Wherein Garshasp the son of Zav departed 
That evil showed itself, for tidings reached 
All ears : " The throne of king of kings is void." v 283 

There came a message to Afrasiyab 
A stone flung by Pashang : " Cross the Jihiin 
And tarry not until yon throne be filled." 

Between Jihiin and plain of Sipanjab 
Afrasiyab arrayed his armaments, 
And thou hadst said : " Earth is a turning sky 
Where Indian swords are shedding souls for rain." 
So sped that splendid army forth to war. 

" There is a claimant for the throne of might," 
Such tidings reached fran. The throne was void, 
The outlook dark. Anon the streets and quarters 
Were all astir, cries rose from all the land 
And men turned toward ZabuL The world was filled 
With strife and folk spake bitterly to Zal : 
" Thy handling of the world hath been too lax. 
Since thou hast held Sam's place as paladin 
Our minds have not been joyful for a day. 
When Zav departed and his son was Shah 
The hands of evil men were kept from ill. 
Now seeing that Garshasp hath passed away 
The world is Shahless and the army chiefless. 
A host hath crossed Jihun, men cannot see 
The sun for dust. If any shift thou knowest 
Use it, because Afrasiyab approacheth." 

Zal answered : " Since I girt the belt of manhood 
No rider like me hath bestridden steed, v. 284 

None hath essayed to wield my sword and mace, 



376 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

And horsemen showed their cruppers, not their reins, 
When I appeared. I have fought night and day 
And all my life have dreaded growing old. 
At length my back is bent, I wield no more 
A falchion of Kabul ; yet God be praised 
That from my root a glorious shoot hath sprung, 
Whose head will reach the sky, and thou shalt see 
It grow in valour, Rustam being now 
A straight-stemmed Cypress' whom the crown of great- 
ness 

Becometh well ; but he must have a charger ; 
These Arab horses will not do for him. 
I will seek out some elephantine steed, 
Wherever there are herds, and say to Rustam : 
' Wilt thou consent, consent with all thy heart 
To gird thy loins to execute revenge 
Upon the offspring of Zadsham ? ' ' 

Iran 

Was glad of heart and blithe of face as Zal 
Sent camel-posts to every quarter, armed 
His cavaliers, and said to Rustam thus : 
" Mine elephantine son, a whole head taller 
Than other men ! a work of toil is toward 
To break thy slumbers, quiet, and delights. 
Thou art not yet of age to fight, my son ! 
But what of that ? This is no time for feasting. 
Yet with the scent of milk upon thy lips, 
And with thy heart all set on sports and pleasures, 
How shall I send thee to the battlefield 
Against the Lions and the mighty men ? 
Now for thine answer, and may majesty 
And goodness be thy mates." 

Then Rustam thus : 
" O noble prince, ambitious of renown ! 
V. 285 Good sooth thou hast forgotten how I showed 



GARSHASP 377 

My courage publicly. The paladin 

Hath surely heard of the fierce elephant, 

And Mount Sipand, and I shall lose my fame 

If now I tremble at Afrasiyab. 

This is the time for fight and not for flight. 

The overthrow of Lions, the pursuit 

Of war, renown, and battle, fashion heroes ; 

But 'tis not so with women ; their concern 

Is food and sleep." 

Zal said : " gallant youth, 
The chief of princes and the warriors' stay ! 
My heart rejoiceth when I hear thee speak 
Of that white elephant and Mount Sipand, 
For truly since that fight was won with ease 
Why fear I for thee now ? Afrasiyab 
And his designs deprive me of my sleep, 
Yet can I send thee to contend with one 
Who is a gallant king and loveth battle ? 
Now is thy time for feasts and twanging harps, 
For quaffing wine, and tales of warlike deeds ; 
'Tis not thy time for warfare, fame, and strife, 
Or sending up the earth's dust to the moon." 
He said : " I am not one for ease and revel. 
'Twere base to pamper in luxuriousness 
Such arms as these, and these long hands of mine. 
What though the battlefield and fight be hard 
God and victorious fortune are mine aids. 
In battle thou shalt mark me how I go 
Upon my ruddy charger through the blood, 
And I will carry in my hand a cloud l 
That is of watered hue but raineth gore, 
While from the substance of it flasheth fire : 
Its head shall bruise the brains of elephants, 
My quiver when I clothe myself in mail 

. 1 I.e., a mace of steel. 



378 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USI 

Shall shock the world, and all the fortresses 
V. 286 That shall withstand mine iron mace's blows, 
My breast and arms and neck, need never fear 
An arbalist or catapult, or want 
A bishop for their castellan. The rocks 
Shall redden to their cores when I advance 
My lance in fight. I need a steed hill-high 
Caught by my lasso, up to weight like mine 
In war, and not impatient of restraint. 
I need a mace too like a mountain-crag, 
For hosts will come against me from Tiiran, 
And when they come, though I should fight unaided, 
Their blood shall rain upon the battlefield." 

The paladin was moved, and thou hadst said, 
" He will pour out his soul." He thus replied : 
" O tired of ease and revel ! I will bring thee 
The mace of Sam the cavalier, preserved 
In memory of him, wherewith thou slewest 
The elephant. Live ever, paladin ! " 

Zal ordered : " Bring the mace employed by Sam 
In his campaign against Mazandaran 
V. 287 To this famed paladin that he may take 
Our foemen's breath away." 

When Rustam saw it 

He smiled with joy, called blessings down on Zal, 
And said : " Thou art the chief of paladins ; 
But now, to bear my person, mace, and Grace, 
I need a steed." 

Zal mused at what he said 
And oft invoked God's blessing on his head. 



How Rustam caught Rakhsh 

When Zal had gathered all his herds of horses, 
And many from Kabul, the herdsmen drove them 



GARSHASP 379 

Past Rustam, calling out the royal brands. 

Whenever Rustam caught a steed he pressed 

Its back until its belly reached the ground. 

At length a herd of piebald steeds sped by, 

Among them a grey mare short-legged and fleet, 

With lion's chest and ears like two steel daggers, 

Her breast and shoulder full and barrel fine. 

Behind her came a colt as tall as she, 

His buttocks and his breast as broad as hers, 

Dark-eyed and tapering a piebald bay 

With belly hard and jet-black, hoofs of steel, 

His whole form beautiful, and spotted roan 

Like roses spread upon a ground of saffron. 

He could discern the tiny emmet's foot 

Upon black cloth at night two leagues away, 

Had elephantine strength with camel's stature, v. 288 

And pluck of lions bred on Mount Bistun. 

Now Rustam gazing on the mare observed 

That elephantine colt, and coiled his lasso 

To catch it, but an ancient herdsman cried : 

" chief ! forbear to take another's charger." 

" Whose ? " Rustam asked. " The thighs have not 

been branded." 

The herdsman answered : " Never mind his brand ; 
There are all kinds of rumours as to him. 
We call him Rakhsh. He is a piebald bay, 
As good as water and as bright as fire. 
We call him ' Rustam's Rakhsh,' but know of none 
To master him. He hath been fit to saddle 
These three years. All the nobles have observed him, 
But at the sight of noose and cavalier 
The dam is like a lion. We cannot tell, 
O chief of paladins ! the reason why, 
But as a prudent man forbear to fight 
A Dragon such as this, for when the mare 



38p THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAUSI 

Is in the fighting humour she will rend 
The hearts of lions and the hides of pards." 

The old man's sayings opened Rustam's eyes, 
He cast his royal lasso and entangled 
The piebald's head. Then like a furious elephant 
The dam advanced as she would tear off Rustam's, 
Who roared as savage lions roar and scared her, 
Then with one buffet on the withers sent her 
All trembling to the ground. She rose, sprang back, 
Then turned and joined the herd, while mighty Rustam 
Stood firm and drew the lasso tighter still, 
And laid his hand upon the bay colt's back 
v. 289 Which gave not ; thou hadst said : " It is not felt." 
The hero thought : " This is the mount for me ; 
Now I can act." 

He mounted swift as wind, 

The ruddy steed sped with him. He inquired : 
" What is this Dragon's price or who can tell it ? " 

" If thou art Rustam," said the herd, " redress 
Iran upon his back. Its broad champaign 
Shall be his price ; then thou wilt right the world." 

The hero's lips grew coral-like with smiles ; 
He said : " All good is God's." 

Bent on revenge 

He saddled ruddy Rakhsh, and giving him 
The rein observed his courage, strength, and blood, 
And that he could bear rider, arms, and mail. 
The piebald grew so precious that at night 
They burned wild rue to right and left of him 
For fear of harm. " They practise sorcery," 
Thou wouldst have said. In fight no deer was swifter. 
He was soft-mouthed, foam-scattering, light in hand, 
With rounded buttocks, clever, and well paced. 

The gallant rider and his new-found steed 
Made Zal's heart joyful as the jocund spring. 



GARSHASP 



He oped his treasury-door, gave out dinars, 
Nor recked of day or morrow. When he mounted 
His elephant and dropped a ball the sound 
Made by the cup was heard for miles around. 



3 
How Zdl led the Host against Afrdsiydb 

There was a noise of drums and clarions, 

Of mighty elephants and Indian gongs ; 

'Twas Resurrection in Zabulistan 

And earth called loudly to the dead : " Arise ! " 

A host departed from Zabul like lions'; 

All hands were bathed in blood. In front came Rustam v. 290 

As paladin, then veteran warriors. 

The troops so spread o'er passes, plains, and dales 

That ravens had not room to fly, while tymbals 

Beat everywhere and tumult filled the world 

As at that time of roses Zal led forth 

The army from Zabul. Afrasiyab 

Thereat arose from banquet, rest, and slumber, 

And marched toward Khar of Rai along the meadows 

Among their streams and reeds. The franian host 

Fared o'er the desert to the scene of war, 

And when the armies were two leagues apart 

Zal called the veterans, and thus harangued them : 

" Ye men of wisdom, well approven warriors ! 

We have arrayed us here an ample host 

And with advantages ; yet with no Shah 

Upon the throne our plants want rede, our toils 

Lack purpose, and our troops a head. When Zav 

Was on the throne new glory ever came, 

And now we need a Shah of royal seed 



382 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDAVSI 

To gird him there. An archimage hath told me 

Of valiant Kai Kubad of royal stature, 

A future Shah of Faridun's own line 

In whom Grace, height, and lawful claims combine." 



How Hustam brought Kai Kubdd from Mount Alburz 

Then glorious Zal spake unto Rustam, saying : 
" Bestir thyself, take up thy mace, select 
V. 291 The escort, go with speed to mount Alburz, 
Do homage unto Kai Kubad, but stay not 
With him, be back within two sennights, sleep not, 
But late and early hurry on and tell him : 
' The soldiers long, and deck the throne, for thee. 
We see none fitted for the royal crown, 
O monarch, our defender ! but thyself.' " 

When Zal had spoken matchless Rustam swept 
The ground with his eyelashes, joyfully 
Got on the back of Rakhsh, and proudly rode 
In quest of Kai Kubad. A Turkman outpost 
Held the road strongly, but he charged the foe 
As champion of the host with his brave troops, 
Armed with the ox-head mace. He brandished it 
And towering in his wrath struck out and raised 
His battle-cry. The Turkmans' hearts all failed, 
His arm laid many low. They strove with him. 
But had to flee the battle in the end. 
With broken hearts and tearful eyes they turned 
Back to Afrasiyab, and told him all. 
He sorrowed at their case, called one Kulun, 
A gallant Turkman warrior full of craft, 
And said to him : " Choose horsemen from the host, 



GARSHASP 383 

Go thou too to the palace of the king, 

Be careful, prudent, and courageous, 

And specially keep watch with diligence ; 

The Iranians are human Ahrimans v - 292 

And fall on outposts unawares." 

Kuliin 

Departed from the royal camp with guides 
To bar the road against the noble foe, 
With warriors and lusty elephants. 

Now Rustam the elect and brave marched on 
Toward the new Shah, and when within a mile 
Of mount Alburz perceived a splendid seat 
With running water and abundant trees 
The home for youth. Upon a river's bank 
Was set a throne besprinkled with rose-water 
And purest musk. A young man like the moon 
Was seated on the throne beneath the shade, 
While many paladins with girded loins 
Stood ranked as is the custom of the great, 
And formed a court well fitted for a Shah, 
Like Paradise in form and hue. On seeing 
The paladin approach they went to greet him 
And said : " Pass not, famous paladin ! 
We are the hosts and thou shalt be our guest. 
Dismount that we may join in jollity, 
And pledge thee, famous warrior ! in wine." 

But he replied : " Exalted, noble chiefs ! 
I must to mount Alburz upon affairs 
Of moment, and not loiter in my task. 
I have much work to do, the Iranian marches 
Are full of foes, all households weep and mourn, 
I must not revel while the throne is void." 

They said : " If thou art hasting to Alburz 
Be pleased to say of whom thou art in quest, v. 293 

For we who revel here are cavaliers 



3&4 THE SHAH NAM A OF FIRDA USI 

From that blest land, and we will be thy guides 
And make friends on the way." 

He thus replied : 

" The Shah is there, a holy man and noble. 
His name is Kai Kubad, sprung from the seed 
Of Faridiin the just and prosperous. 
Direct me to him if ye wot of him." 

The leader said : " I wot of Kai Kubad. 
If thou wilt enter and delight our hearts 
I will direct thee and describe the man." 

The peerless Rustain hearing this dismounted 
Like wind, and hurried to the water's edge, 
To where the folk were seated in the shade. 
The youth sat down upon the throne of gold 
And taking Rustam's hand within his own 
Filled up and drained a goblet " To the Free ! " 
Then handed it to Rustam, saying thus : 
" Thou askest me, O famous warrior ! 
About Kubad, whence knowest thou his name ? " 

Said Rustam : " From the paladin I come 
With joyful news. The chiefs have decked the throne 
And called on Kai Kubad to be the Shah. 
My sire, the chief whom men call Zal, said thus : 
' Go with an escort unto mount Alburz, 
Find valiant Kai Kubad and homage him, 
V. 294 Yet tarry not, but say : " The warriors call thee 

And have prepared the throne." ' If thou hast tidings 
Give them and speed him to the sovereign power." 

The gallant stripling, smiling, answered : " I 
Am Kai Kubad and sprung from Faridiin, 
I know my lineage from sire to sire." 

When Rustam heard he bowed, rose from his seat 
Of gold to do obeisance, and thus spake : 
" O ruler of the rulers of the world, 
The shelter of the brave and stay of chiefs ! 



GARSHASP 385 

Now let fran's throne wait upon thy will, 
Great elephants be taken in thy toils. 
Thy right seat is the throne of king of kings ; 
May Grace and glory be thine own ! I bring 
A greeting for the king of earth from Zal, 
The chieftain and the valiant paladin. 
If now the Shah shall bid his slave to speak 
I will acquit me of the chieftain's message." 

Brave Kai Kubad rose from his seat, intent 
Upon the speaker's words, while peerless Rustam 
Discharged his ernbassage. With throbbing heart 
The young prince said : " Bring me a cup of wine," 
And drank to Rustam's nealth, who likewise drained 
A goblet to the monarch's life, and said : 
" Thou mindest me of glorious Faridiin " 
(For Rustam was rejoiced at seeing him), 
" Not for an instant may the world lack thee, 
The throne of kingship, or the royal crown." 

The instruments struck up, great was the joy, 
The grief was small, the ruddy wine went round 
And flushed the youthful Shah, who said to Rustam : v. 295 
" Mine ardent soul in sleep saw two white hawks 
Approaching from Iran, and bringing with them 
A crown bright as the sun. They came to me 
With dainty and caressing airs and set it 
Upon my head. I wakened full of hope 
Because of that bright crown and those white hawks, 
And made a court here such as kings would hold, 
As thou perceivest, by the river-side. 
Like those white hawks hath matchless Rustam come 
With news that I shall wear the warriors' crown." 

When Rustam heard thereof he said : " Thy dream 
IJad a prophetic source. Now let us rise 
And journey to Iran and to the chiefs." 

Then Kai Kubad rose swift as fire and mounted y. 296 

2 B 



386 THE SHAHNAMA OF FIRDA USt 

His steed, while Rustam girt his loins like wind 
And journeyed proudly with him. Night and day 
He travelled till he reached the Turkman outposts, 
When bold Kulun, ware of his coming, marched 
To meet and fight with him. The Shah thereat 
Was fain to put his battle in array, 
But mighty Rustam said to him : " O Shah ! 
'Tis not a fight for thee, they will not stand 
Against my battleax and barded Rakhsh ; 
My heart and arm and mace are help enough ; 
I ask but God's protection. With a hand 
Like mine and ruddy Rakhsh to carry me 
Who will confront my mace and scimitar ? " 

He spake, spurred on and with a single blow 
Threw one and hurled another at a third 
Whose brains ran down his nostrils. Those strong 

hands 

Unhorsed the foe and dashed them to the ground, 
And in their fall brake heads and necks and backs. 
Kulun beheld this div escaped from bonds 
With mace in hand and lasso at his saddle, 
Charged him like wind and thrusting with his spear 
Brake through some fastenings of his mail, but Rustam, 
What while his foe was lost in wonderment, 
Seized on the spear and wrenched it from Kuliin, 
Then roared like thunder from the mountain-tops, 
Speared him and having raised him from his seat 
Put down the spear's butt to the ground. 1 Kuliin 
Was like a spitted bird in sight of all. 
The victor rode Rakhsh over him, and trod him 
v. 297 To death. The Turkman horsemen turned to flee 

1 A similar story is told of a Lombard champion who with his great 
lance (contus) pierced and lifted from the saddle a Byzantine cavalier 
and bore him aloft wriggling on the weapon's point. (Oman, " A His- 
tory of the Art of War in the Middle Ages," p. 48.) 



GARSHASP 387 

And left Kulun upon the field. His troops 
Fled in dismay from Rustam. In an instant 
Their fortune was o'erthrown. He passed the outposts 
And hastened toward the hills. The paladin 
Alighted at a place with grass and water 
Till night had come and he had furnished robes 
Fit for a paladin, a royal steed 
And crown, then introduced the Shah to Zal 
Unnoticed. For a week they sat in conclave 
But kept their movements secret. All agreed : 
" Kubad hath not his peer in all the world." 
For seven days they revelled with Kubad, 
Upon the eighth hung up the crown on high - 
And 'neath it decked the throne of ivory. 



I 

INDEX 



'ABBASIDS, dynasty of, 13, 14 
Abbreviations, list of, 93 
Abtin, father of Faridiin, 144 

151, 153, 171, 174 
Abu-'Ali Muhammad, Shdhnama 

of, 69 

Abu Bakr, Khalifa, 12 
Abii Dulaf, friend of Firdausi, 35, 

39 

AbiVl 'Abbas Fazl bin Ahmad, 
minister of Mahmud, 30-32, 

36 
Abu'l Kasim. Firdansi, 24, 38, 

112 
Abu Mansiir bin Abdu'r-Razzak, 

Shahndma of, 67-70, 99 
Abii Mansiir bin Muhammad, 

patron of Firdausi, 29, 1 10 
Abu Talib, uncle of Muhammad, 

12 
Afrasiyab, ruler of Tiiran, xv, 

42, 55, 72, 337, 342 seq., 

362, 366 seq., 374 seq., 381, 

382 

'Afrit, genie, 42 

AghreVae?, prince (Ighriras), 338 
Ahmad Hasan Maimandi, minis- 
ter of Mahmud, 32, 39, 45 
Ahmad ibn Muhammad, patron 

of Firdausi, 29 

Ahriman, the Evil Principle, xii, 
5, 6, 50, 138, 159, 194, 
287 

ridden by Tahmiiras, 125 
Ahura Mazda (Urmuzd), 235 



389 



Ahwaz, place, 286 

Alans (Alani), people, xiii, 19, 
217, 223 

Alburz, mountain, xv, 4, 71, 
145, 152, 168, 235, 248, 250, 
277, 298, 351, 373, 382 seq. 

Alexander, the Great (Sikandar), 

14, 49 

persecutor of Zoroastrianism, 

15, 59, 61, 63, 338 
legendary barrier of, 16 
paternity of, 55 

'All, Khalifa, 12, 40, 41, 106, 107 

cult of, 13 

assassination of, 13 

Firdausi's references to, 24, 

37, 40, 41, 106, 107 
'All Dilam, friend of Firdausi, 

35,39 
Allah, Muhammadan name of 

the Deity, 50 
Alptigin, chief, 20 
Arnin, Khalifa, 14 
Amul, city, 145, 177, 289, 298, 

344, 366, 367 
Anesthetics, employment of, 236, 

321 seq. 
Anbar, city, founded by the 

Azdites, 1 1 

Animals, domestication of, 126 
Ant, the poet's plea for the, 

201 

Apsheron, peninsula of, 58 note 
Aptya, Vedic form of Abtin, 

q.v., 171-174 
Arabia, 189 

ancient trade of, II 



390 



INDEX 



Arabic, language, 32 

infrequent in Shdhndma, 47 

Arabs, tbeir raids into and domi- 
nation over rrdn, 1 1-14 

Aras, river, 9 

confused with tbe Oxus, 71 

Architecture, invention of, 129, 

133 

Ard, day of, 24, 88 
Ardshir Papakdn, Shah, 42, 

62-64 

Aries, constellation, 88, 310, 335 
Arjasp, ruler of Turan, 61 
Arnawdz, wife of Faridun, 142, 

146, 147, 148, 161 seq., 166, 

177 

Arrdn, district, 9 

Arslan Jdzib, general, 100 
referred to, 114 

Artaxerxes II., 8Mb, 59 

Arwand, river (the Tigris), 160 

Arzii, wife of Salm, 188 

Aryan, meaning of, 7 

r^ce, 7 ; relations of Indian 
branch with frdnians, 15 

Asfandiydr, Ininian hero, 42, 55 

Ashkdnian, dynasty, 49 

Asoka, Indian king, 15 

Assyrians, their attacks upon 
rrdn, 10 

Astrologers, important figures 
in the Shahndma, 52, 251, 
278 

Astyages, king of the Medes 
(Manda), 18, 72, 144 

Athwya, Zandavastic form of 
Abtin, q.v., 171-174 

Atropatane, province (Azarbai- 
jan), 9, 56 

Azarakhsh, fire-temple, 61 

Azarbaijdn, province (Atropa- 
tane), 9, 56, 6 1 

Azargashasp, spirit of the light- 
ning, 73, 248, 309, 349 

Azdites, Arab tribe, 1 1 

Azhi and Azi, demon, 142. See 
too Dahdka and Zahhdk 



B 



BADAKHSHAN, region, 300 

Baghdad, city, 14, 160 

Bahman, Shah, 42 

Bahrain, Chubina, 14 

Bahram Gur, Shah, 42 

Baisinghar Khan, his Life of 

Firdausi, 23 

his Preface to the Shahnama, 
67-68 

Bait al Mukaddas, city, 161 

Bcij, Zoroastrian system of pray- 
ing, 80 

Baku, town, 58 note 

Balkh, ancient seat of Aryan 

civilisation, 7 

situated on ancient trade- 
route, 57 
seat of the Magi and of 

legend, 60 
Zoroaster's successful evangel 

at, 6 1 
as rhyme-word, 74 

Barman, Turanian hero, xv, 342, 
346 seq., 354, 356 

Barsam, implement in Zoroastriau 
ceremonial, 80 

Barzin, fire-temple, 237 

Barzin, Tranian hero, 365 

Bdstdn Ndma, 66-67 ' 

Bazh, suburb of Tus, 38 

Bedouins, 135, 179 

Bihistiin, trilingual inscription 
on rock of, 1 6 

Birmdya, cow, 151-153, 162 

Bishop, as castellan, 373, 378 

Bistiin, mountain, 328, 379 

Biwarasp (Zahhdk), 72, 135, 144 

Brains, human, prescribed to 
Zahhdk by Iblis, 139, 146 

Buddhism, 15 ; regarded as idola- 
trous by Zoroastrians, 16 

Bundahish, Pahlavi treatise, 70 
note, 91, 92, 117, 125, 131, 
235. 2 3 6 > 337 note, 338, 
369 



INDEX 



Bust, place, 252 

stream of, id. 
Buzurjmihr, chief minister of 

Shah Nushirwan, 27 



C 

dESAR, 84, 262 

Ctesarean birth, of Rustam, 236, 

321 seq. 

Calendar, old Persian, 88 
Cancer, Moou in, an evil omen, 

188 

Canopus, star, 188, 266 
Caspian, sea, 3, 4, 16, 19, 56, 57, 

338 

Castellan, bishop as, 373, 378 
Castes, division of Aryans into, 

7 ; of Iranians into, 130-133 
Castle, White (Sipand), 236, 354, 

369- 

Catullus, quoted, 60 
Caucasus, 16 
Chaha, hostelry of, 45 
Chahdr Makdla, treatise, 23 

account of Firdausi in, 38, 

39, 45- 

Chalandshdn, Ahmad ibu Mu- 
hammad of, 29 
Chamrosh, mythical bird, 235 
Characters, chief of Shdhnama, 

49 

Characteristics, of fran, 3 
Charrae, defeat of Crassus at, 15 
Children, sometimes brought up 

un-named, 8, 179 
Cbin, country (often = Tiiran), 
189, 229 seq., 261, 262, 351, 

371 
brocade of, 269, 333, and 

passim 

sea of, 252, 349 
Climate, of I' ran, 4, 5 
Climes, the seven, 40, 71, 122, 

123, 238 

Clouds, personified as water-steal- 
ing demons, 7 



Cocks and hens, taught to crow 

at daybreak, 126 
Companions, the Prophet's, praise 

of, 1 06 
Cosmogony, ancient I'ranian, 5, 

71 ; Firdausi's, 102 
Crassus, defeat of at Charrae, 

IS 
Creation, Zoroastrian account of, 

5. ii7 

Firdausi's, 102-106 
Culture-heroes. See Gaiiimart, 

Hiishang, Tahmuras, and 

Jamshid 
Cyrus, the Great, 18 



D 

DAVAS, demons (divs), 130 
Dahaka (Zahhak), 7, 142, 172 
Dahistan, fortress, 280, 344 seq., 

349, 353. 363 
Dakhma, 81 
Dakiki, poet, 28, 67, 69, 109 

verses by, 69 
Damawand, mountain, 143, 144, 

148, 169, 173 
Damda"d, Nask, 70 note 
Ddnishwar, the dihkdn, 67, 68 
Ddni, son of Ddrdb, Shah (Darius 

Codomanus), 42, 49 
Da"ra"b, Sluih, 42, 49 
Darband, town and pass of, 16 
Darius, Hystaspis, 6, 9, 65 

Codomanus, 49, 64 
Dastdn (Zdl), 84, 248, 264 
Dastdn-i-Sam (Zal), 84 
Dastsln-i-Zand (Zal), 245, 248 
Daulat Shdh, his Life of Firdausi, 

24 

Destiny, Muhammadan and Zoro- 
astrian conceptions of, 52 
Dihkfin, generic title, 56 
Dihkdn = minstrel, 66, 8l 
Dijla, river (the Tigris), 160 
Dilamids, dynasty, 14 
Dindr, coin, 81 



392 



INDEX 



Dinkard, Pahlavi treatise, 70 

note, 373 

Diram, coin (drachm), 81 
Div, demon (Dae"va), xii, 42, 50, 

82, 130, 209 
Black, xii, 82, 117, 120, 121, 

126, 127 
Binder of the (Tahmuras), 

42, 124 
White, 82 
Divining cup, 51 
Drachm, coin (diram), 81 
Dragon = Zahhak, 158, 161, 163, 

169, 275, 288 
Faridun as, 186 
of the Kashaf, 235, 296 
Dragon's child (Riiddba), 304 
Drangiana, province (Sistan), 4 
Dreams, veridical, 51 
Drought and famine, in fran, 370, 

371. 

Dualism, 5, 49, 50, 52, 56, 58 
Dunbar, place, 252, 256, 
Dust, prevalence of, in I'ran, 3 

as a metaphor, 73 
Dynasties, Tranian, in Shahndma, 

49 

E 

EDESSA, S. James of, 374 
Ekbataua, city ( Ramadan), 17 
Elements, the four, 102, 286 
Elephant, White, xiv, 327, 377 
Ellipi, kingdom of, 9, 17 
Euxine, sea, 16 

Eyes, metaphor for children, 178, 
180, 181, 194 



F 

, dynastic title of the 
princes of Chin and Mdchin, 
262 

Fakkd, a kind of drink, 43 note 
Famine and drought, in Tran, 
370, 371 



Faranak, mother of Faridun, 145, 

^5', 157, 175 

Faridun, Shah, xii, xiii, 30, 42, 
54, 55. J 4 2 seq., 149 seq., 
170, 278, 286, 288, 329, 335, 
34i, 349, 35 ! 364, 370, 3 82 , 
384, 385 
flag of, 293, 295 

Farr, divine Grace or Glory, 82 
Farsang, measure of length (para- 
sang), 82 

Fariid, son of Siydwush and half 

brother of Kai Khusrau, 370 

Farwardin, name of day and 

month, 88, 133 263 
Fdtima, daughter of Muhammad 

and wife of 'All, 12 
Fazl, son of Ahmad. See Abu'l 

'Abbds Fazl 

Firdausi, materials for life of, 23 
autobiographical reference* 

of, 24 seq. 

Nizdmi's account of, 38, 45 
bitterness against Mahrm'id 

of, 33 

Satire on Mahmud of, 40 
referred to, 373 
takes up the Shdhnama on 

Dakiki's death, 28 
writes Yusuf and Zulikha, 

. 45 

death of, 45 
his epic method contrasted 

with Homer's, 47 
his adulation of Mahnnld, 

30, 112 
Fire, ancient cult of the Aryans, 

7, 49, 56. 

priests. See Magi 

region of, 56 

Hiishang's discovery of, 123 

his institution of feast of 

(Sada), 123 
Fish, mythological, 71, 72, 148, 

252 
Flesh-meats, introduction of, 

attributed to Ahriman, 138 



INDEX 



393 



Forts, hill, description of, 236, 329 
Frangrasyan (Afrdsiyab), 338 
Frasiyav (Afrdsiyab), 338 
Fruvashi, immortal principle, 369 

G 

GAitfMART, Shall, xii, 117-121, 

123 

Gandarep, monster, 143, 172-173 
Gang-i-Dizhukht, city, 161, 226 
Garshasp (Keresaspa), 174 
Garsh;tsp, Iranian hero, 42, 144, 

207, 212, 214, 239 
Garshasp, Shah, xv, 174, 373 seq. 
Garsiwaz, brother of Afrasiyiib, 

342, 349 
Gaumata, Magus (the false 

Smerdis), 58, 59 
Gazhdaham, the castellan of 

White Castle, 354, 369 
Genealogical tables, 90-92 
Ghazni, city, 20, 357 
Ghiil, sorceress, 42 
Gil (Gilaii), 231 
Gildn, region, 230 
Gimimi. See Kimmerians 
Glory, the divine. See Grace 
Go-between, old woman as, 280 

seq. 

Gog, and Magog, 16 
Golden Fleece, land of the, 57 

age, 129, 134 

Gonier. See Kimmerians 
Grace or Glory, the divine, 82, 1 16, 
130-135, 208, 237, 338, 340, 
341, 351, 369, 370, 374, 378 

visible appearances of, 82, 130. 

374, 385 
Greeks, 10, 14 
Griffon, 235 

Gudarz, Tranian hero, 42 
GushUsp, Shall, 42, 61 
Gustaham, son of Naudar, 351, 

353, 364, 369, 370 
Gustaham, son of Gazhdaham, 

369 



H 

Ha'iy, son of Kutiba, patron of 

Firdausi, 35, 39 
Haitalians, people, 20 
Haimivardn, country, 338 

king of, 338 
Karat, city, 7, 39 

battle of, 21 

Hdrunu'r-Rashid, Khalifa, 14 
Hdshimi, a descendant of Hash im, 

the great - grandfather of 

Muhammad, 25 
Hauz, 203 

Hawk, domestication of, 126 
Heroes, chief, of mixed descent, 

55 

Hindustan, 163, 231, 261 
Hira, city, 1 1 

seat of dynasty of Al Munzir, 

55 

Hirmund, river, 358, 359 

Homa or Soma, 8, 143 

Homer, his epic method con- 
trasted with Firdausi's, 47 

Horoscopes, 152 

of the sons of Favidiin, 188 

of Zdl, 251, 278 

of Rustam, 278, 307 

Houri, maid of Paradise, 272 

Huns, 10, 19 

Hiishang, Shah, xii, 42, 122, 126, 



I 

IBLIS, the Muhammadan Devil, 
xii, 136 seq. 

occasional substitution of for 

Ahriman, 50, 70 
fd-i-Kurdi, feast of, 143 
Ighriras, brother of Afrdsiyab, 

xv, 55, 337, 343 seq., 347, 

363 seq., 374 

Imagery, of Shdhndma, 72 
Indo-European race, its divisions, 

7 
Indus, 71, 252 



394 



INDEX 



Introduction, to Shdhnama, viii, 

3-95 

Traj, youngest son of Faridiin, 
xiii, 54, 174, 195-205, 217, 

335, 349 
naming of, 188 
daughter of, xiii, 205, 206 
Irani, gardens of, 100, 113 
Tran, xv, 113, 152, 153, 189, 364 

and passim 

boundaries and character- 
istics, 3 seq. 

gradual desiccation of, 3 
drought and famine in, 370, 37 1 
a land of contrasts, 5, 58, 60 
Arab conquest of, 12 
Iranians, the, 9 passim 

their historical relations with 

the Semites, 10 ; Greeks 

and Romans, 14; Aryans 

of India, 15 ; Turanians, 16 

their traditional relations 

with ditto, 54, 55, 66 
fran-vej, region, 9, 62 
Irma'il, Zahhak's cook, xii, 145 
Irman, region, 345, 358 
Ismd'il, brother of Sultan Mah- 

miid, 21 

Ispahan, city, 351 
Istuvegu. See Astyages 



JAH?LA, battle of, 12 

Jdmasp, chief minister of Shdh 

Gushtdsp, 42 

James, S., bishop of Edessa, 374 
Jamshid, Shah, xii, 42, 129 seq. 

meaning of name, 130 
Jandal, envoy of Faridun, xii, 

177-183 

Jasha, king, 67, 68 
Jesus, 42 

Jewels, discovery of, 133, 
Jihtin, river (the Oxus), 215, 375 

as boundary between Tran 
and Turdn, 71, 370, 371 



Julian, Emperor, 12 

Jupiter, planet, 72, 161, 188, 281 

Justinian, Emperor, 16 

K 

KiBiL, city, 57, 234, 256, 262, 

268, 277, 282, 283, 286, 294, 

298, 300, 302 seq., 365, 378 
Kdbulistan, country, 15, 252, 263, 
286, 299, 316, 357 

idolatry in, 16, 258 

the Beauty of (Rtiddba), 302 
Kddisiyya, battle of, 12, 143 
Kahtdn, desert, 287 
Kaidnian, dynasty, 49, 373 
Kaidnush, brother of Faridun, 

158 seq. 

Kaid, dynasty of, 55 
Kai Kdus, Shall, 42, 338, 373 
Kai Khusrau, Shah, 42, 369 
Kai Kubdd, Shah, xv, 42. 373, 

382 seq. 
Kdkwi, grandson of Zalihitk, xiii, 

225 seq. 

Kandahdr, city, 286 
Karabagh, district, 9, 56 
Kdran, Trdnian hero, xiii, 207, 

211, 214-226, 249, 337, 344 

seq., 361, 365, 370 
Kargasdrs, tribe, 253, 277, 279, 

286, 290, 294, 298, 319, 340. 
Kannuj, city, 99, 115, 261, 357 
Karkwi, descendant of Zahhdk, 

290 seq. 

Karmd'il, Zahhak's cook, xii, 145 
Karshipta, mythical bird, 235 
Kashaf, river, 235, 296 seq. 

dragon of, id. 
Kastarit. See Kyaxeres 
Kdus. See Kai Kdus 
Kdwa, the smith, xii, 155 seq., 
160, 214, 361 

flag of, 143, 157, 160, 211, 

217, 218, 237, 332 
Keresdspa, Traniau hero, 171 seq., 

234, 235, 373 



INDEX 



395 



Khar, of Rai, 368, 374, 381 

Kharijites, Muhammadan sect, 13 

Kharrad, fitlnian hero, 365 

Khazars, people, 17 

Khazarwan, Tdranian hero, xv, 
345, 358 seq. 

Khil'at, robe of honour, 82 

Khudai Nania, 66 

Khusrau. See Kai Khusrau 

Khutan, region, 371 

Khvaituk-das, next-of-kin marri- 
age, 60 

Kishwdd, Tranian hero, 207, 344, 

354,^65, 367 

Kimraerians, people, 10, 17 

Kitradad, Nask, 373 

Knathaiti, Pairika, female per- 
sonification of idolatry, 172 

Kubdd, brother of Karan, xv, 207, 
217, 218, 346 seq. 

Kubad, Shah. See Kai Kubad 

Kulbdd, Turanian hero, 361 

Kulun, Tiirdnian hero, 382, 383, 
386, 387 

Kundrav, minister of Zahhak, 
xii, 143, 164 seq. 

Kur'an, 99 

Rustam referred to in, 236 

Kurds, people, 9, 64, 147 

Kunikhan, Turanian hero, 353 

Kiis, place, 177 

Kyaxares, king, 18 



LIBRA, constellation, 310 

Lion's House (constellation of 

Leo), 188 
Luhrasp, Shah, 42 
Lumsden, his edition of the 

Shdhndma, 76 

M 

MACAN, his edition of the 

Shalmama, 76 
Madd, the Med'es, 18, 56 



Magi, priests of the Medes, 9, 56 

preservers of tradition, 56, 
60 

principal seats of, 60 

literature of, 61 

language of, 64 
Magic, 51 

derivation of word, 56 

sympathetic, 8 
Magog, Gog and, 16 
Magophonia, 59 
Magus, a priest of the Medes. 

See Magi 
Miih Afrid, the mother of Mimi- 

chihr, 205 
Mdh-i-Azdda Khii,' the wife of 

Tiir, 188 
Mahmiid, Sultan, 21 seq., 31-45, 

84 
Firdausi's panegyrics on, 29 

seq., 112 seq. 
Satire on, 23, 40 seq. 
spiteful allusions to in 

Shdhndma, 33, 34 
Mai, city, 252, 256, 261 
Maiddn, riding-ground, 83 
Mamiin, Khalifa, 14 
Man, the first, 5 

Firdausi's discourse on the 

nature of, 104 
Manachihr, 206 
Manda, nomad tribes, 17, 1 8 
Mansiir, Sdmanid, prince, 20, 21 
Maniiskihar (Minuchihr), 338 
Mardas, Arab king, 135 seq. 
Margli, city, 256 
Mars, planet, 72, 332, 339 
Marv, city, 7, 45 
Mashya, and Mashyoi, 117, 131 
Mayors of the palace, Oriental, 

14 

Mdzandaran, country, 4, 5, 12, 
253, 290, 294, 296, 298, 319, 

323. 339. 378 
Mazdak, heresiarch, 63 
Medea, land of, 57 
Medes, 9, 10, 17, 18, 56, 58, 72 



396 



INDEX 



Median, language (Zend), 64 

seq. 

Mercury, planet, 72 
Mihrab, king, xiv, xv, 234, 256 

seq., 275 seq., 284 seq., 299 

seq., 358, 359, 361 
Mil, as rhyme-word, 75 
Mimichihr, Shrill, xiii seq., 42, 

206, 209 seq., 234 seq., 337, 
339 seq., 348, 363 

Mohl, his edition and translation 

of the Shahndma, 76, 77 
Moola Firiiz, 201 
Moon, Firdausi's discourse on 
the nature of, 05 

one of the seven planets, 72 
Moses, of Chorene, 72, 144, 236 
Mu'awiya, Khalifa, 12, 13 
Mubid, 83 
Muhammad, the Prophet, 12, 13, 

40, 41, 106 
Muhammad, son of Abdii'r- 

liuzzak, 68, 99 
Muhammad Lashkari, friend of 

Firdausi, 99 
Muhammad Mahdi, his edition 

of the Shahnama, 76 
Mumasenni, tribe, 237 
Munzir, dynasty of Al, 55 
Mutawakkil, Khalifa, 14 

N 

NAHA VAND, battle of, 1 2 
Namfes, in sympathetic magic, 8, 

117, 179 

Naphtha, wells of, 56 
Nariman, I'ranian hero, 42, 174, 

207, 239, 329, 333 
Narimanau, epithet of Keresaspa, 

172, 174 
Narwan, forest of, 217, 218 



Nasiru'd-Din, title of Subuktigin, 

21, 114 
Nasr, brother of Sultan Mahmtid, 

21 
Nature-worship, of the Aryans, 

7.SI 

Naudar, Shah, xv, 248, 288, 289, 

3 26 , 337 seq., 369 
Nil, as rhyme-word, 75 
Nile, 40, 71, 114 
Nimruz = Sistan = Zabulistan, 1 252, 

264, 346, 357 
Nineveh, fall of, 10 

kings of that attacked Tran, 

10 

Nishapur, city, 36, 45 
Nisibis, sieges of, 374 
Nizami-i-'Arudi, author, 22 

his account of Firdausi, 38 

seq., 45, 46 

Noah, the I'ranian, 129 
Nuh bin Mansiir, Samdnid prince, 

36 

Nuh II., Samanid prince, 21 
Niishirwan, Shah, 16, 27, 42 

has Bastan-nama compiled, 67 





OCEANUS, Homeric and Oriental, 

7i 

Ox, the first, 5, 117 
Oxus (Jihiin), ancient trade- 
route, 57 

confused with Aras, 71 



PADASHKVAR, mountain-range, 

338 
Pahlavan, 83 



1 Properly speaking Zdbulistan is the name of the hilly country about the upper 
waters of the Helmund, while Nimruz and SIstdn are synonymous names for the 
low-lying lands into which its waters descend, but Firdausi does not seein to make 
any such distinction. 



INDEX 



397 



Pahlavi, meaning of, 64, 83 

Firdausi's use of the word, 69 
Pari, 83 
Pars, country, 351, 353 seq., 357, 

368, 37i 
Partisans, people, 10, 19, 60, 61, 

64 

Pashang, father of Minuchihr, 205 
Pashang, father of Afrasiydb, xv, 

336, 337, 342 seq., 374, 375 
Patrons, of Firdausi, 29 
Perfumes, invention of, 133 
Periods, mythic and historic, of 

Shdhndma, 49, 53 
Persians, 8, 9 
Petroleum, in ancient cult and 

modern industry, 56 seq. 
Pil, as rhyme-word, 75 
Piran, Turduian hero, character 

of, 55 

Pisces, constellation, 310 
Pislidadian, dynasty, 49, 116, 373 
Planets, created by Ahriman, 52 
Pleiades, 245, 267, 332 
Prelude, to Shdhndma, 99 
Prometheus, 57 
Purmaya, brother of Fariduu, 

158 seq. 

R 

RAI, city, 363, 366 seq. 

Khar of, 368, 374, 381 
Rakhsh, Rustam's steed, xv, 

373, 378 seq., 386 
Roc, mythical bird, 51, 235 
Romans, the, 10, 14 
Ruddba, the mother of Rustam, 
xiv, 145, 234, 280 seq., 299 
seq. 

described, 257, 259 seq. 
Rue, wild, as a preservative from 

harm, 380 
Rum, the Eastern Roman Empire, 

15, 183, 189, 229 
brocade of, 157, 252, 316, and 
passim 



Rustam, Tranian hero, xiv, xv, 
42, 56, 68, 174, 234, 236, 237, 
320 seq., 373, 376 seq. 
his birth prophesied, 278, 

307, 32i 
Caesarean birth of, 236, 321 

seq. 
origin of name, 322 



S 

SACAE, Scythians, 17, 19 
Sacaestan. See Sistdn 
Sacrifice, human, and Serpent 

worship, 143 

Sada, feast of, xii, 123, 124 
Sagittarius, constellation, 188 
Sagsdr, and Sagsdrs, district and 

tribe, 279, 290, 323, 339 
Sahi, wife of fraj, 188 
Saifu'd-Daula, title of Sultdri 

Mahmud, 21 

Salm, eldest son of Fariduu, xiii, 
42, 54, 174, 183 seq., 335, 
342, 344, 362 
naming of, 187 
Salt, Rustam's caravan of, 330 

seq. 

desert, 3 

Sdm, frdnian hero, xiii, xiv, 42, 
95, 174, 207, 212, 231, 234 
seq., 337, 339 seq., 345, 346, 
358, 375 

"One blow," 297, 299 
slays dragon of the Kashaf, 

296 seq. 
mace of, 235, 290, 297, 328, 

378 
Sama Keresaspa Narimanau, 

Frdnian hero, 171 seq. 
Sdmdnides, dynasty, 14 
Samarkand, city, 7, 19 
Sapandarmad, month and day, 

24, 88, 89 
Sapor II. See Shdpur, son of 

Urmuzd 
Sardparda, 84 



398 



INDEX 



Sari, city, 230, 289, 363, 366, 

367 
Sarv, king of Yaman, xii, xiii, 

178-186, 211, 214, 218, 286 
Sasanian, empire, 11 

dynasty, 49 
Sdsdnians, 374 
Satire, Firdausi's on Sultan 

Mahimid, 40 

Saturn, planet, 72, 245, 295, 311 
Scriptures, Zoroastrian. SeeZ&n- 

davasta. 
Serpent, on Zahhak's shoulders, 

139 
worship and human sacrifice, 

M3 

Shabdiz, Mihrab's steed, 326 
Shahnjima, original compilation 

of, 66 

more than one, 29, 66, 67, 69 
Dakiki's beginning of, 28 
Firdausi's, viii, 23 seq., 108 

seq. 

scene of, 3 

date when finished, 24 
length, metre, language, 

and theme of, 47 
anomalies of, 48 
divisions and chief char- 
acters of, 49 
machinery of, 51 
leading motives of, 53 
cosmogony of, 71 
imagery of, 72 
editions of, 76 
translations of, 87 
Shahrintlz, wife of Faridun, 142, 

146, 164 seq., 177 
Shamdsds, Ttiranian hero, xv, 

345. 346, 358 seq. 
Shapigan, treasury of, 61, 62 
Shapur, Trdnian hero, 210, 211, 

215. 352 

Shapur, son of Ardshir, Shapur 
I. (Sapor 1.), Shah, 42, 63 



Shapur, son of Urmuzd, Shapur 
II. (Sapor II.), Shah, 62, 63, 

374 
Shidasp, minister of Tahnninis, 

127 

Shidush, 1'ranian hero, 211, 354 
Shi'ite, Firdausi a, 24 
Shi'ites, Muhammadan sect, 13 
Shiraz, city, 236 
Shirwi, franian hero, 207, 215, 

223, 225, 230, 232 
Shiz, seat of the Magi, 60 
Sikandar (Alexander the Great), 
Shdh, 42, 49 

legendary barrier of, 16 

paternity of, 55 

Simurgh, mythical bird, 51, 235, 
242, 253, 276, 302, 326 

nest of described, 244 

efficacy of feathers of, 246, 

320 
Sindukht, wife of Mihrab, xiv, 

259, 281 seq., 299 seq. 
Sipand, mountain, xiv, 236, 329 

seq., 377 

Sipanjab, region, 375 
Sistan, 1 4, 119, 120, 159, 168, 178, 
182 

origin of name, 19 
Siyamak, son of Gaiumart, xii, 

117, 119 seq. 

Siydwush, son of Kai Kaus, 55 
Soma. See Homa 
S6shyans, the Zoroastrian Mes- 
siah, 131 

Spica, star, 245, 271 
Spityura, brother of Yima (Jam- 

shid), 130 

Sr6vbar, mythical serpent, 172 
Subuktigin, the father of Sultdn 

Mahmud, 20, 21 
Sughd, district, 19 
Sun, Firdausi's discourse on the 
nature of the, 105 

one of the seven planets, 72 



See note, p. 396. 



INDEX 



399 



Sunnites, orthodox Muham- 

madans, 13 
Surush, angel, 51, 119, 120, 159, 

168, 173, 182 
Sviatoi, island, 58 note 



TABARlSTiN, chief of, a patron 

of Firdausi, 39, 40 
Tahmdsp, father of Zav, 369, 

370 
Tahmuras, Shah, xii, 42, 125 

seq. 

Taliman, king, 211, 217, 352 
Tammisha, wood, 177, 230 
Taraz, city, 257, 266, 269 
Tausar, high priest under Ardshir 

Papakan, 62, 63 

Thorn brake town, the world, 310 
Thrae"taoua, 171 seq. 
Thrita, 171 seq. 
Tishtar, Sirius, 235 
Trade-routes, ancient, u, 57 
Traitana, 7, 8, 171 seq. 
Translation, the principles 

adopted in present, 77-86 
Translators, of the Shahnaina, 

list of previous, 87 
Trita, 7, 8, 171 seq. 
Tumaspa (Tahinasp), 369 
Tur, second son of Faridun, xiii, 
42, 54, 174, 183 seq., 335, 
342, 344, 362 

naming of, 187 
Turan, 189,229, 351, 371 
Turanians (Turkmans), 9, 10, 54 

relations of the Iranians 

with, 16 
Turkmans (Turanians), 20, 189, 

Turks, 10, 20 

Tus, son of Naudar, 351, 353, 

364, 369, 370 
Tus, city, 38, 39, 41. 45 

prince of, 100, 114 

governor of, 39 



U 

'UMAR, Khalifa, n seq., 67 
Umayyads, dynasty, 12, 13 
Urmuzd, the Good Principle, 5, 

5 

Utbi, Al, historian, 32 
'Uthmdn, Khalifa, 12 
Uzava (Zav), 369 



VALKASH (Vologeses), king, 62, 

63 

Varewjrana, the raven, 235 
Vedas, 129, 144, 171,234, 337 
Venus, planet, 72, 303, 322, 332, 

339 

Vivanghat, 129 
Vologeses I. (Valkash), 62, 63 
Vologeses II., 19 

W 

WATER, scarcity of, 3 

stealing demons, 7, 338 
Water-courses, underground, 3 
West, the, Salm's portion of the 

world, 189 
Wisa, Turanian hero, xv, 337, 

353. 356 seq., 361, 362 
Wisdom, discourse in praise of, 

101 
White Castle (Mount Sipand), 

236, 354, 369 

Writing, art of, taught by the 
divs to Tahmuras, 127 



YA'KtfB LAIS, chieftain, 67, 68 
Yama (Yima, Jamshid), 7 , 129 
Yaman, country, 178, 181 seq., 

266, 286 

king of (Sarv), xii, xiii, 178, 
179, 182 



4oo 



INDEX 



Yima (Yama, Jamshid), 7, 129, 

130, 374 
Yiisuf and Zulikha, Firdausi's, 

45. 46 



ZABUL, Zabulistiin, country, 1 248, 
252, 254, 264, 282, 324, 345, 
357. 35 8 , 36i, 364. 366, 367,, 
37i, 375, 381 

Zadsham, king of Turstn, 342 seq., 

376 

Zahhak, Shah, xii, 42, 54, 72, 
135 seq., 173 seq., 275, 278, 
288, 290, 292, 303, 326, 

t 338, 358 
his minister (Kundrav), xii, 

164 seq. 
his capita], 161 

Zal, the father of Rustam, xiii 
seq., 95, 145, 235 seq., 337, 
345, 346, 35 8 seq., 364 seq., 
370 seq., 381, 382, 384, 387 

Zal-i-zar (Zal), 84, 248 

Zamydd, Yast, 338 



Zand, comment, 65 

Zimdavasta, 64 seq., 70 note, 129, 

144, 171, 172, 174, 234, 337, 

338, 369 
Zarang, city, 4 

Zarasp, son of Minucliihr, 248 
Zarathustra (Zarduhsht, Zoro- 
aster), 235, 236 
Zarduhsht (Zoroaster), 53, 61 

title of a line of priest-princes, 

61 

Zarir, tranian hero, 42 
Zav, Shah, xv, 369 seq. 
Zend, language, 64 
Zirak, an archimage, 149, 150 
Zirih, sea or lake, 4 
Zoroaster (Zarduhsht), 53, 61, 62 
Zoroastriau calendar, 59 

cosmogony, 5 

conception of destiny, 52 

propaganda, 58 seq. 

scriptures, 61 seq. 
Zoroastrianism, 49 

conceptions of, 5, 51, 52 

original seat of, 56 seq., 62 

scriptures of, 61 seq. 



See note, p. 396. 



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