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Iran, Islamic Republic Of

June 24, 2013



and the story of zahhak originatesin the Avest. But in 10 century Ad. The famous iranian poet, ferdowsi, reloted this story in his famous book named, Shahname. very summary of ferdowsi story. ZAHHAK


Par. 1 The Evil Customs of Zahhak and the Device of Irma'il and Karma'il Zahhak sat on the throne a thousand years 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.

Two sisters of Jamshid, 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 Karma'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 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."

  A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 741

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 consPirang 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 Of faith, king's uses, or morality.

Par. 2

How Zahhak saw Faridun 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, ' placed on his neck a yoke, Then casting earth and dust upon his head

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 841

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 vast asleep in peace At home! What saw'st thou? Say what came to thee? The world is at thy will, beast, divr and man Watch o'er thee and the seven climes are thine All ' twixt the moon and Fish. ' What made thee start? O roaster 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 brightenetlr 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,"

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 941


Zahhak brought archimages shrewd of heart And told to them the dream that pierced his liver.

He said:" Expound this dream without delay, 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 till 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 Hath not arrived, but when his honoured mother Hath borne him he will be a fruitful tree.

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 051

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. ' In vengeance" Why bind me," said the impious king, 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 archmagc; 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.

Par. 3

The Birth of Faridun

Years passed away, calamity approached The dragon king, the blessed Faridun Was born, the fashion of the world was changed.

Of cypress height he shone forth with the Grace Of kings of kings which crst Jamshid possessed,

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 151

Was like the sun, as needful as the rain To earth and fit as knowledge to the mind Revolving heaven loved him tenderly.

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 Faridun 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 Abtin one day, Seized him and bore him, like a cheetah bound, Before the Shah, who had him put to death.

When Faridun's wise mother Farunak, 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.

Sill 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 throe." The hind replied? I will perform thy bidding And be as ' twere a slave before thy child." Then Faranak resigned the babe to him, With all instructions that were requisite, And that wise guardian like a father fed The child for three years with Birmaya's milk; But as Zahhak ne'er wearied of the search, And as the cow was tallied of everywhere, The mother hasted to the field again

  A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 251


And spake thus to the guardian of her child:" A prudent thought a thought inspired by GodHath risen in my 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 fromIran. Know thou That this my noble son will be hereafter The loader 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.

Par. 4

How Faridun questioned his Mother about his Origin

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,

  A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 351

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 Tahmuras; 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 Iran 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 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,

  A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 451

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 bath 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."


Par. 5 The Story of Zahhak and Kawa

 the Smith Zahhak had" Faridun" upon his lips 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, divs, and fairies too And ask your aid, for rumours trouble me; So sign me now a scroll to this effect: ' Our monarch soweth naught but seeds of good, He ever speaketh truth, and wrongeth none. '".

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 551

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:" O 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.

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 throe For wronging me and ruining my life.

A smith am I, an inoflensive 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.

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 651

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 throe." 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:" 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 throe? He tore the scroll, Refusing to obey thee, and is gone Bent on revenge and leagued, as thou wouldst say, With Faridun! 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.

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 751

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 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 Rum 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,

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 851

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:" O God! My trust hath been in Thee. Turn from my son 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 Kaianush 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. 

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 951

Par. 6

How Faridun went to Battle evith Zahhak

 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 On buffaloes and high necked elephants. 

Purmaya rode with Kaianush 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 Surush, 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, erceiving 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.

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 061

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, And kill him in his sleep. The crashing crag, For God so ordered, roused the slumberer, 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.

With one accord his comrades girt themselves, Turned toward the stream, and on their brave, fleet steeds

 A.E.Warner, Vol1, Page: 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 budded 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 An inexperienced but valiant youth, Who called upon the name of God while they That were on guard fled from him in dismay. 

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11:46 PM Nov 04 2013


Iran, Islamic Republic Of