Hello denizens of CYS Hope you guys have wonderful times
Today i want to introduce you a nice and great epic tale from Shahname-Book of kings-written by Ferdowsi
I didn't translate or anything just copied then pasted here
If you want you can read it here but i prefer here cuz' site the is better than Wikipedia
The Story of Saiáwush
Early one morning as the cock crew, Tús arose, and accompanied by Gíw and Gúdarz and a company of horsemen, proceeded on a hunting excursion, not far from the banks of the Jihún, where, after ranging about the forest for some time, they happened to fall in with a damsel of extreme beauty, with smiling lips, blooming cheeks, and fascinating mien. They said to her:
"Never was seen so sweet a flower,
In garden, vale, or fairy bower;
The moon is on thy lovely face,
Thy cypress-form is full of grace;
But why, with charms so soft and meek,
Dost thou the lonely forest seek?"
She replied that her father was a violent man, and that she had left her home to escape his anger. She had crossed the river Jihún, and had travelled several leagues on foot, in consequence of her horse being too much fatigued to bear her farther. She had at that time been three days in the forest. On being questioned respecting her parentage, she said her father's name was Shíwer, of the race of Feridún. Many sovereigns had been suitors for her hand, but she did not approve of one of them. At last he wanted to marry her to Poshang, the ruler of Túrán, but she refused him on account of his ugliness and bad temper! This she said was the cause of her father's violence, and of her flight from home.
"But when his angry mood is o'er,
He'll love his daughter as before;
And send his horsemen far and near,
To take me to my mother dear;
Therefore, I would not further stray,
But here, without a murmur, stay."
The hearts of both Tús and Gíw were equally inflamed with love for the damsel, and each was equally determined to support his own pretensions, in consequence of which a quarrel arose between them. At length it was agreed to refer the matter to the king, and to abide by his decision. When, however, the king beheld the lovely object of contention, he was not disposed to give her to either claimant, but without hesitation took her to himself, after having first ascertained that she was of distinguished family and connection. In due time a son was born to him, who was, according to the calculations of the astrologers, of wonderful promise, and named Saiáwush. The prophecies about his surprising virtues, and his future renown, made Káús anxious that justice should be done to his opening talents, and he was highly gratified when Rustem agreed to take him to Zábulistán, and there instruct him in all the accomplishments which were suitable to his illustrious rank. He was accordingly taught horsemanship and archery, how to conduct himself at banquets, how to hunt with the falcon and the leopard, and made familiar with the manners and duty of kings, and the hardy chivalry of the age. His progress in the attainment of every species of knowledge and science was surprising, and in hunting he never stooped to the pursuit of animals inferior to the lion or the tiger. It was not long before the youth felt anxious to pay a visit to his father, and Rustem willingly complying with his wishes, accompanied his accomplished pupil to the royal court, where they were both received with becoming distinction, Saiáwush having fulfilled Káús's expectations in the highest degree, and the king's gratitude to the champion being in proportion to the eminent merit of his services on the interesting occasion. After this, however, preceptors were continued to enlighten his mind seven years longer, and then he was emancipated from further application and study.
One day Súdáveh, the daughter of the Sháh of Hámáverán, happening to see Saiáwush sitting with his father, the beauty of his person made an instantaneous impression on her heart,
The fire of love consumed her breast,
The thoughts of him denied her rest.
For him alone she pined in grief,
From him alone she sought relief,
And called him to her secret bower,
To while away the passing hour:
But Saiáwush refused the call,
He would not shame his father's hall.
The enamoured Súdáveh, however, was not to be disappointed without further effort, and on a subsequent day she boldly went to the king, and praising the character and attainments of his son, proposed that he should be united in marriage to one of the damsels of royal lineage under her care. For the pretended purpose therefore of making his choice, she requested he might be sent to the harem, to see all the ladies and fix on one the most suited to his taste. The king approved of the proposal, and intimated it to Saiáwush; but Saiáwush was modest, timid, and bashful, and mentally suspected in this overture some artifice of Súdáveh. He accordingly hesitated, but the king overcame his scruples, and the youth at length repaired to the shubistán, as the retired apartments of the women are called, with fear and trembling. When he entered within the precincts of the sacred place, he was surprised by the richness and magnificence of everything that struck his sight. He was delighted with the company of beautiful women, and he observed Súdáveh sitting on a splendid throne in an interior chamber, like Heaven in beauty and loveliness, with a coronet on her head, and her hair floating round her in musky ringlets. Seeing him she descended gracefully, and clasping him in her arms, kissed his eyes and face with such ardor and enthusiasm that he thought proper to retire from her endearments and mix among the other damsels, who placed him on a golden chair and kept him in agreeable conversation for some time. After this pleasing interview he returned to the king, and gave him a very favorable account of his reception, and the heavenly splendor of the retirement, worthy of Jemshíd, Feridún, or Húsheng, which gladdened his father's heart. Káús repeated to him his wish that he would at once choose one of the lights of the harem for his wife, as the astrologers had prophesied on his marriage the birth of a prince. But Saiáwush endeavored to excuse himself from going again to Súdáveh's apartments. The king smiled at his weakness, and assured him that Súdáveh was alone anxious for his happiness, upon which the youth found himself again in her power. She was surrounded by the damsels as before, but, whilst his eyes were cast down, they shortly disappeared, leaving him and the enamoured Súdáveh together. She soon approached him, and lovingly said:--
"O why the secret keep from one,
Whose heart is fixed on thee alone!
Say who thou art, from whom descended,
Some Peri with a mortal blended.
For every maid who sees that face,
That cypress-form replete with grace,
Becomes a victim to the wiles
Which nestle in those dimpled smiles;
Becomes thy own adoring slave,
Whom nothing but thy love can save."
To this Saiáwush made no reply. The history of the adventure of Káús at Hámáverán, and what the king and his warriors endured in consequence of the treachery of the father of Súdáveh, flashed upon his mind. He therefore was full of apprehension, and breathed not a word in answer to her fondness. Súdáveh observing his silence and reluctance, threw away from herself the veil of modesty,
And said: "O be my own, for I am thine,
And clasp me in thy arms!" And then she sprang
To the astonished boy, and eagerly
Kissed his deep crimsoned cheek, which filled his soul
With strange confusion. "When the king is dead,
O take me to thyself; see how I stand,
Body and soul devoted unto thee."
In his heart he said: "This never can be:
This is a demon's work--shall I be treacherous?
What! to my own dear father? Never, never;
I will not thus be tempted by the devil;
Yet must I not be cold to this wild woman,
For fear of further folly."
Saiáwush then expressed his readiness to be united in marriage to her daughter, and to no other; and when this intelligence was conveyed to Káús by Súdáveh herself, His Majesty was extremely pleased, and munificently opened his treasury on the happy occasion. But Súdáveh still kept in view her own design, and still laboring for its success, sedulously read her own incantations to prevent disappointment, at any rate to punish the uncomplying youth if she failed. On another day she sent for him, and exclaimed:--
"I cannot now dissemble; since I saw thee
I seem to be as dead--my heart all withered.
Seven years have passed in unrequited love--
Seven long, long years. O! be not still obdurate,
But with the generous impulse of affection,
Oh, bless my anxious spirit, or, refusing,
Thy life will be in peril; thou shalt die!"
"Never," replied the youth; "O, never, never;
Oh, ask me not, for this can never be."
Saiáwush then rose to depart precipitately, but Súdáveh observing him, endeavored to cling round him and arrest his flight. The endeavor, however, was fruitless; and finding at length her situation desperate, she determined to turn the adventure into her own favor, by accusing Saiáwush of an atrocious outrage on her own person and virtue. She accordingly tore her dress, screamed aloud, and rushed out of her apartment to inform Káús of the indignity she had suffered. Among her women the most clamorous lamentations arose, and echoed on every side. The king, on hearing that Saiáwush had preferred Súdáveh to her daughter, and that he had meditated so abominable an offence, thought that death alone could expiate his crime. He therefore summoned him to his presence; but satisfied that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the truth of the case from either party concerned, he had recourse to a test which he thought would be infallible and conclusive. He first smelt the hands of Saiáwush, and then his garments, which had the scent of rose-water; and then he took the garments of Súdáveh, which, on the contrary, had a strong flavor of wine and musk. Upon this discovery, the king resolved on the death of Súdáveh, being convinced of the falsehood of the accusation she had made against his son. But when his indignation subsided, he was induced on various accounts to forego that resolution. Yet he said to her, "I am sure that Saiáwush is innocent, but let that remain concealed."--Súdáveh, however, persisted in asserting his guilt, and continually urged him to punish the reputed offender, but without being attended to.
At length he resolved to ascertain the innocence of Saiáwush by the ordeal of fire; and the fearless youth prepared to undergo the terrible trial to which he was sentenced, telling his father to be under no alarm.
"The truth (and its reward I claim),
Will bear me safe through fiercest flame."
A tremendous fire was accordingly lighted on the adjacent plain, which blazed to an immense distance. The youth was attired in his golden helmet and a white robe, and mounted on a black horse. He put up a prayer to the Almighty for protection, and then rushed amidst the conflagration, as collectedly as if the act had been entirely free from peril. When Súdáveh heard the confused exclamations that were uttered at that moment, she hurried upon the terrace of the palace and witnessed the appalling sight, and in the fondness of her heart, wished even that she could share his fate, the fate of him of whom she was so deeply enamoured. The king himself fell from his throne in horror on seeing him surrounded and enveloped in the flames, from which there seemed no chance of extrication; but the gallant youth soon rose up, like the moon from the bursting element, and went through the ordeal unharmed and untouched by the fire. Káús, on coming to his senses, rejoiced exceedingly on the happy occasion, and his severest anger was directed against Súdáveh, whom he now determined to put to death, not only for her own guilt, but for exposing his son to such imminent danger. The noble youth, however, interceded for her. Súdáveh, notwithstanding, still continued to practise her charms and incantations in secret, to the end that Saiáwush might be put out of the way; and in this pursuit she was indeed indefatigable.
Suddenly intelligence was received that Afrásiyáb had assembled another army, for the purpose of making an irruption into Irán; and Káús, seeing that a Tartar could neither be bound by promise nor oath, resolved that he would on this occasion take the field himself, penetrate as far as Balkh, and seizing the country, make an example of the inhabitants. But Saiáwush perceiving in this prospect of affairs an opportunity of becoming free from the machinations and witchery of Súdáveh, earnestly requested to be employed, adding that, with the advice and bravery of Rustem, he would be sure of success. The king referred the matter to Rustem, who candidly declared that there was no necessity whatever for His Majesty proceeding personally to the war; and upon this assurance he threw open his treasury, and supplied all the resources of the empire to equip the troops appointed to accompany them. After one month the army marched toward Balkh, the point of attack.
On the other side Gersíwaz, the ruler of Balghar, joined the Tartar legions at Balkh, commanded by Bármán, who both sallied forth to oppose the Persian host, and after a conflict of three days were defeated, and obliged to abandon the fort. When the accounts of this calamity reached Afrásiyáb, he was seized with the utmost terror, which was increased by a dreadful dream. He thought he was in a forest abounding with serpents, and that the air was darkened by the appearance of countless eagles. The ground was parched up with heat, and a whirlwind hurled down his tent and overthrew his banners. On every side flowed a river of blood, and the whole of his army had been defeated and butchered in his sight. He was afterwards taken prisoner, and ignominiously conducted to Káús, in whose company he beheld a gallant youth, not more than fourteen years of age, who, the moment he saw him, plunged a dagger in his loins, and with the scream of agony produced by the wound, he awoke. Gersíwaz had in the meantime returned with the remnant of his force; and being informed of these particulars, endeavored to console Afrásiyáb, by assuring him that the true interpretation of dreams was the reverse of appearances. But Afrásiyáb was not to be consoled in this manner. He referred to his astrologers, who, however, hesitated, and were unwilling to afford an explanation of the mysterious vision. At length one of them, upon the solicited promise that the king would not punish him for divulging the truth, described the nature of the warning implied in what had been witnessed.
"And now I throw aside the veil,
Which hides the darkly shadowed tale.
Led by a prince of prosperous star,
The Persian legions speed to war,
And in his horoscope we scan
The lordly victor of Túrán.
If thou shouldst to the conflict rush,
Opposed to conquering Saiáwush,
Thy Turkish cohorts will be slain,
And all thy saving efforts vain.
For if he, in the threatened strife,
Should haply chance to lose his life;
Thy country's fate will be the same,
Stripped of its throne and diadem."
Afrásiyáb was satisfied with this interpretation, and felt the prudence of avoiding a war so pregnant with evil consequences to himself and his kingdom. He therefore deputed Gersíwaz to the headquarters of Saiáwush, with splendid presents, consisting of horses richly caparisoned, armor, swords, and other costly articles, and a written dispatch, proposing a termination to hostilities.
In the meantime Saiáwush was anxious to pursue the enemy across the Jihún, but was dissuaded by his friends. When Gersíwaz arrived on his embassy he was received with distinction, and the object of his mission being understood, a secret council was held upon what answer should be given. It was then deemed proper to demand: first, one hundred distinguished heroes as hostages; and secondly, the restoration of all the provinces which the Túránians had taken from Irán. Gersíwaz sent immediately to Afrásiyáb to inform him of the conditions required, and without the least delay they were approved. A hundred warriors were soon on their way; and Bokhára, and Samerkánd, and Haj, and the Punjáb, were faithfully delivered over to Saiáwush. Afrásiyáb himself retired towards Gungduz, saying, "I have had a terrible dream, and I will surrender whatever may be required from me, rather than go to war."
The negotiations being concluded, Saiáwush sent a letter to his father by the hands of Rustem. Rumor, however, had already told Káús of Afrásiyáb's dream, and the terror he had been thrown into in consequence. The astrologers in his service having prognosticated from it the certain ruin of the Túránian king, the object of Rustem's mission was directly contrary to the wishes of Káús; but Rustem contended that the policy was good, and the terms were good, and he thereby incurred His Majesty's displeasure. On this account Káús appointed Tús the leader of the Persian army, and commanded him to march against Afrásiyáb, ordering Saiáwush at the same time to return, and bring with him his hundred hostages. At this command Saiáwush was grievously offended, and consulted with his chieftains, Báhrám, and Zinga, and Sháwerán, on the fittest course to be pursued, saying, "I have pledged my word to the fulfilment of the terms, and what will the world say if I do not keep my faith?" The chiefs tried to quiet his mind, and recommended him to write again to Káús, expressing his readiness to renew the war, and return the hundred hostages. But Saiáwush was in a different humor, and thought as Tús had been actually appointed to the command of the Persian army, it would be most advisable for him to abandon his country and join Afrásiyáb. The chiefs, upon hearing this singular resolution, unanimously attempted to dissuade him from pursuing so wild a course as throwing himself into the power of his enemy; but he was deaf to their entreaties, and in the stubbornness of his spirit, wrote to Afrásiyáb, informing him that Káús had refused to ratify the treaty of peace, that he was compelled to return the hostages, and even himself to seek protection in Túrán from the resentment of his father, the warrior Tús having been already entrusted with the charge of the army. This unexpected intelligence excited considerable surprise in the mind of Afrásiyáb, but he had no hesitation in selecting the course to be followed. The ambassadors, Zinga and Sháwerán, were soon furnished with a reply, which was to this effect:--"I settled the terms of peace with thee, not with thy father. With him I have nothing to do. If thy choice be retirement and tranquillity, thou shalt have a peaceful and independent province allotted to thee; but if war be thy object, I will furnish thee with a large army: thy father is old and infirm, and with the aid of Rustem, Persia will be an easy conquest." Having thus obtained the promised favor and support of Afrásiyáb, Saiáwush gave in charge to Báhrám the city of Balkh, the army and treasure, in order that they might be delivered over to Tús on his arrival; and taking with him three hundred chosen horsemen, passed the Jihún, in progress to the court of Afrásiyáb. On taking this decisive step, he again wrote to Káús, saying:--
"From my youth upward I have suffered wrong.
At first Súdáveh, false and treacherous,
Sought to destroy my happiness and fame;
And thou hadst nearly sacrificed my life
To glut her vengeance. The astrologers
Were all unheeded, who pronounced me innocent,
And I was doomed to brave devouring fire,
To testify that I was free from guilt;
But God was my deliverer! Victory now
Has marked my progress. Balkh, and all its spoils,
Are mine, and so reduced the enemy,
That I have gained a hundred hostages,
To guarantee the peace which I have made;
And what my recompense! a father's anger,
Which takes me from my glory. Thus deprived
Of thy affection, whither can I fly?
Be it to friend or foe, the will of fate
Must be my only guide--condemned by thee."
The reception of Saiáwush by Afrásiyáb was warm and flattering. From the gates of the city to the palace, gold and incense were scattered over his head in the customary manner, and exclamations of welcome uttered on every side.
"Thy presence gives joy to the land,
Which awaits thy command;
It is thine! it is thine!
All the chiefs of the state have assembled to meet thee,
All the flowers of the land are in blossom to greet thee!"
The youth was placed on a golden throne next to Afrásiyáb, and a magnificent banquet prepared in honor of the stranger, and music and the songs of beautiful women enlivened the festive scene. They chanted the praises of Saiáwush, distinguished, as they said, among men for three things: first, for being of the line of Kai-kobád; secondly, for his faith and honor; and, thirdly, for the wonderful beauty of his person, which had gained universal love and admiration. The favorable sentiments which characterized the first introduction of Saiáwush to Afrásiyáb continued to prevail, and indeed the king of Túrán seemed to regard him with increased attachment and friendship, as the time passed away, and showed him all the respect and honor to which his royal birth would have entitled him in his own country. After the lapse of a year, Pírán-wísah, one of Afrásiyáb's generals, said to him: "Young prince, thou art now high in the favor of the king, and at a great distance from Persia, and thy father is old; would it not therefore be better for thee to marry and take up thy residence among us for life?" The suggestion was a rational one, and Saiáwush readily expressed his acquiescence; accordingly, the lovely Gúlshaher, who was also named Jaríra, having been introduced to him, he was delighted with her person, and both consenting to a union, the marriage ceremony was immediately performed.
And many a warm delicious kiss,
Told how he loved the wedded bliss.
Some time after this union, Pírán suggested another alliance, for the purpose of strengthening his political interest and power, and this was with Ferangís, the daughter of Afrásiyáb. But Saiáwush was so devoted to Gúlshaher that he first consulted with her on the subject, although the hospitality and affection of the king constituted such strong claims on his gratitude that refusal was impossible. Gúlshaher, however, was a heroine, and willingly sacrificed her own feelings for the good of Saiáwush, saying she would rather condescend to be the very handmaid of Ferangís than that the happiness and prosperity of her lord should be compromised. The second marriage accordingly took place, and Afrásiyáb was so pleased with the match that he bestowed on the bride and her husband the sovereignty of Khoten, together with countless treasure in gold, and a great number of horses, camels, and elephants. In a short time they proceeded to the seat of the new government.
Meanwhile Káús suffered the keenest distress and sorrow when he heard of the flight of Saiáwush into Túrán, and Rustem felt such strong indignation at the conduct of the king that he abruptly quitted the court, without permission, and retired to Sístán. Káús thus found himself in an embarrassed condition, and deemed it prudent to recall both Tús and the army from Balkh, and relinquish further hostile measures against Afrásiyáb.
The first thing that Saiáwush undertook after his arrival at Khoten, was to order the selection of a beautiful site for his residence, and Pírán devoted his services to fulfil that object, exploring all the provinces, hills, and dales, on every side. At last he discovered a beautiful spot, at the distance of about a month's journey, which combined all the qualities and advantages required by the anxious prince. It was situated on a mountain, and surrounded by scenery of exquisite richness and variety. The trees were fresh and green, birds warbled on every spray, transparent rivulets murmured through the meadows, the air was neither oppressively hot in summer, nor cold in winter, so that the temperature, and the attractive objects which presented themselves at every glance, seemed to realize the imagined charms and fascinations of Paradise. The inhabitants enjoyed perpetual health, and every breeze was laden with music and perfume. So lovely a place could not fail to yield pleasure to Saiáwush, who immediately set about building a palace there, and garden-temples, in which he had pictures painted of the most remarkable persons of his time, and also the portraits of ancient kings. The walls were decorated with the likenesses of Kai-kobád, of Kai-káús, Poshang, Afrásiyáb, and Sám, and Zál, and Rustem, and other champions of Persia and Túrán. When completed, it was a gorgeous retreat, and the sight of it sufficient to give youthful vigor to the withered faculties of age. And yet Saiáwush was not happy! Tears started into his eyes and sorrow weighed upon his heart, whenever he thought upon his own estrangement from home!
It happened that the lovely Gúlshaher, who had been left in the house of her father, was delivered of a son in due time, and he was named Ferúd.
Afrásiyáb, on being informed of the proceedings of Saiáwush, and of the heart-expanding residence he had chosen, was highly gratified; and to show his affectionate regard, despatched to him with the intelligence of the birth of a son, presents of great value and variety. Gersíwaz, the brother of Afrásiyáb, and who had from the first looked upon Saiáwush with a jealous and malignant eye, being afraid of his interfering with his own prospects in Túrán, was the person sent on this occasion. But he hid his secret thoughts under the veil of outward praise and approbation. Saiáwush was pleased with the intelligence and the presents, but failed to pay the customary respect to Gersíwaz on his arrival, and, in consequence, the lurking indignation and hatred formerly felt by the latter were considerably augmented. The attention of Saiáwush respecting his army and the concerns of the state, was unremitting, and noted by the visitor with a jealous and scrutinizing eye, so that Gersíwaz, on his return to the court of Afrásiyáb, artfully talked much of the pomp and splendor of the prince, and added: "Saiáwush is far from being the amiable character thou hast supposed; he is artful and ambitious, and he has collected an immense army; he is in fact dissatisfied. As a proof of his haughtiness, he paid me but little attention, and doubtless very heavy calamity will soon befall Túrán, should he break out, as I apprehend he will, into open rebellion:--
"For he is proud, and thou has yet to learn
The temper of thy daughter Ferangís,
Now bound to him in duty and affection;
Their purpose is the same, to overthrow
The kingdom of Túrán, and thy dominion;
To merge the glory of this happy realm
Into the Persian empire!"
But plausible and persuasive as were the observations and positive declarations of Gersíwaz, Afrásiyáb would not believe the imputed ingratitude and hostility of Saiáwush. "He has sought my protection," said he; "he has thrown himself upon my generosity, and I cannot think him treacherous. But if he has meditated anything unmerited by me, and unworthy of himself, it will be better to send him back to Kai-káús, his father." The artful Gersíwaz, however, was not to be diverted from his object: he said that Saiáwush had become personally acquainted with Túrán, its position, its weakness, its strength, and resources, and aided by Rustem, would soon be able to overrun the country if he was suffered to return, and therefore he recommended Afrásiyáb to bring him from Khoten by some artifice, and secure him. In conformity with this suggestion, Gersíwaz was again deputed to the young prince, and a letter of a friendly nature written for the purpose of blinding him to the real intentions of his father-in-law. The letter was no sooner read than Saiáwush expressed his desire to comply with the request contained in it, saying that Afrásiyáb had been a father to him, and that he would lose no time in fulfilling in all respects the wishes he had received.
This compliance and promptitude, however, was not in harmony with the sinister views of Gersíwaz, for he foresaw that the very fact of answering the call immediately would show that some misrepresentation had been practised, and consequently it was his business now to promote procrastination, and an appearance of evasive delay. He therefore said to him privately that it would be advisable for him to wait a little, and not manifest such implicit obedience to the will of Afrásiyáb; but Saiáwush replied, that both his duty and affection urged him to a ready compliance. Then Gersíwaz pressed him more warmly, and represented how inconsistent, how unworthy of his illustrious lineage it would be to betray so meek a spirit, especially as he had a considerable army at his command, and could vindicate his dignity and his rights. And he addressed to him these specious arguments so incessantly and with such earnestness, that the deluded prince was at last induced to put off his departure, on account of his wife Ferangís pretending that she was ill, and saying that the moment she was better he would return to Túrán. This was quite enough for treachery to work upon; and as soon as the dispatch was sealed, Gersíwaz conveyed it with the utmost expedition to Afrásiyáb. Appearances, at least, were thus made strong against Saiáwush, and the tyrant of Túrán, now easily convinced of his falsehood, and feeling in consequence his former enmity renewed, forthwith assembled an army to punish his refractory son-in-law. Gersíwaz was appointed the leader of that army, which was put in motion without delay against the unoffending youth. The news of Afrásiyáb's warlike preparations satisfied the mind of Saiáwush that Gersíwaz had given him good advice, and that he had been a faithful monitor, for immediate compliance, he now concluded, would have been his utter ruin. When he communicated this unwelcome intelligence to Ferangís, she was thrown into the greatest alarm and agitation; but ever fruitful in expedients, suggested the course that it seemed necessary he should instantly adopt, which was to fly by a circuitous route back to Irán. To this he expressed no dissent, provided she would accompany him; but she said it was impossible to do so on account of the condition she was in. "Leave me," she added, "and save thy own life!" He therefore called together his three hundred Iránians, and requesting Ferangís, if she happened to be delivered of a son, to call him Kai-khosráu, set off on his journey.
"I go, surrounded by my enemies;
The hand of merciless Afrásiyáb
Lifted against me."
It was not the fortune of Saiáwush, however, to escape so easily as had been anticipated by Ferangís. Gersíwaz was soon at his heels, and in the battle that ensued, all the Iránians were killed, and also the horse upon which the unfortunate prince rode, so that on foot he could make but little progress. In the meantime Afrásiyáb came up, and surrounding him, wanted to shoot him with an arrow, but he was restrained from the violent act by the intercession of his people, who recommended his being taken alive, and only kept in prison. Accordingly he was again attacked and secured, and still Afrásiyáb wished to put him to death; but Pílsam, one of his warriors, and the brother of Pírán, induced him to relinquish that diabolical intention, and to convey him back to his own palace. Saiáwush was then ignominiously fettered and conducted to the royal residence, which he had himself erected and ornamented with such richness and magnificence. The sight of the city and its splendid buildings filled every one with wonder and admiration. Upon the arrival of Afrásiyáb, Ferangís hastened to him in a state of the deepest distress, and implored his clemency and compassion in favor of Saiáwush.
"O father, he is not to blame,
Still pure and spotless is his name;
Faithful and generous still to me,
And never--never false to thee.
This hate to Gersíwaz he owes,
The worst, the bitterest of his foes;
Did he not thy protection seek,
And wilt thou overpower the weak?
Spill royal blood thou shouldest bless,
In cruel sport and wantonness?
And earn the curses of mankind,
Living, in this precarious state,
And dead, the torments of the mind,
Which hell inflicts upon the great
Who revel in a murderous course,
And rule by cruelty and force.
"It scarce becomes me now to tell,
What the accursed Zohák befel,
Or what the punishment which hurled
Sílim and Túr from out the world.
And is not Káús living now,
With rightful vengeance on his brow?
And Rustem, who alone can make
Thy kingdom to its centre quake?
Gúdarz, Zúára, and Fríburz,
And Tús, and Girgín, and Frámurz;
And others too of fearless might,
To challenge thee to mortal fight?
O, from this peril turn away,
Close not in gloom so bright a day;
Some heed to thy poor daughter give,
And let thy guiltless captive live."
The effect of this appeal, solemnly and urgently delivered, was only transitory. Afrasiyáb felt a little compunction at the moment, but soon resumed his ferocious spirit, and to ensure, without interruption, the accomplishment of his purpose, confined Ferangís in one of the remotest parts of the palace:--
And thus to Gersíwaz unfeeling spoke:
"Off with his head, down with the enemy;
But take especial notice that his blood
Stains not the earth, lest it should cry aloud
For vengeance on us. Take good care of that!"
Gersíwaz, who was but too ready an instrument, immediately directed Karú-zíra, a kinsman of Afrásiyáb, who had been also one of the most zealous in promoting the ruin of the Persian prince, to inflict the deadly blow; and Saiáwush, whilst under the grasp of the executioner, had but time to put up a prayer to Heaven, in which he hoped that a son might be born to him to vindicate his good name, and be revenged on his murderer. The executioner then seized him by the hair, and throwing him on the ground, severed the head from the body. A golden vessel was ready to receive the blood, as commanded by Afrásiyáb; but a few drops happened to be spilt on the soil, and upon that spot a tree grew up, which was afterwards called Saiáwush, and believed to possess many wonderful virtues! The blood was carefully conveyed to Afrásiyáb, the head fixed on the point of a javelin, and the body was buried with respect and affection by his friend Pílsam, who had witnessed the melancholy catastrophe. It is also related that a tremendous tempest occurred at the time this amiable prince was murdered, and that a total darkness covered the face of the earth, so that the people could not distinguish each other's faces. Then was the name of Afrásiyáb truly execrated and abhorred for the cruel act he had committed, and all the inhabitants of Khoten long cherished the memory of Saiáwush.
Ferangís was frantic with grief when she was told of the sad fate of her husband, and all her household uttered the loudest lamentations. Pílsam gave the intelligence to Pírán and the proverb was then remembered: "It is better to be in hell, than under the rule of Afrásiyáb!" When the deep sorrow of Ferangís reached the ears of her father, he determined on a summary procedure, and ordered Gersíwaz to have her privately made away with, so that there might be no issue of her marriage with Saiáwush.
Pírán with horror heard this stern command,
And hasten'd to the king, and thus addressed him:
"What! wouldst thou hurl thy vengeance on a woman,
That woman, too, thy daughter? Is it wise,
Or natural, thus to sport with human life?
Already hast thou taken from her arms
Her unoffending husband--that was cruel;
But thus to shed an innocent woman's blood,
And kill her unborn infant--that would be
Too dreadful to imagine! Is she not
Thy own fair daughter, given in happier time
To him who won thy favour and affection?
Think but of that, and from thy heart root out
This demon wish, which leads thee to a crime,
Mocking concealment; vain were the endeavour
To keep the murder secret, and when known,
The world's opprobrium would pursue thy name.
And after death, what would thy portion be!
No more of this--honour me with the charge,
And I will keep her with a father's care,
In my own mansion." Then Afrásiyáb
Readily answered: "Take her to thy home,
But when the child is born, let it be brought
Promptly to me--my will must be obeyed."
Pírán rejoiced at his success; and assenting to the command of Afrásiyáb, took Ferangís with him to Khoten, where in due time a child was born, and being a son, was called Kai-khosráu. As soon as he was born, Pírán took measures to prevent his being carried off to Afrásiyáb, and committed him to the care of some peasants on the mountain Kalún. On the same night Afrásiyáb had a dream, in which he received intimation of the birth of Kai-khosráu; and upon this intimation he sent for Pírán to know why his commands had not been complied with. Pírán replied, that he had cast away the child in the wilderness. "And why was he not sent to me?" inquired the despot. "Because," said Pírán, "I considered thy own future happiness; thou hast unjustly killed the father, and God forbid that thou shouldst also kill the son!" Afrásiyáb was abashed, and it is said that ever after the atrocious murder of Saiáwush, he had been tormented with the most terrible and harrowing dreams. Gersíwaz now became hateful to his sight, and he began at last deeply to repent of his violence and inhumanity.
Kai-khosráu grew up under the fostering protection of the peasants, and showed early marks of surprising talent and activity. He excelled in manly exercises; and hunting ferocious animals was his peculiar delight. Instructors had been provided to initiate him in all the arts and pursuits cultivated by the warriors of those days, and even in his twelfth year accounts were forwarded to Pírán of several wonderful feats which he had performed.
Then smiled the good old man, and joyful said:
"'Tis ever thus--the youth of royal blood
Will not disgrace his lineage, but betray
By his superior mien and gallant deeds
From whence he sprung. 'Tis by the luscious fruit
We know the tree, and glory in its ripeness!"
Pírán could not resist paying a visit to the youth in his mountainous retreat, and, happy to find him, beyond all expectation, distinguished for the elegance of his external appearance, and the superior qualities of his mind, related to him the circumstances under which he had been exposed, and the rank and misfortunes of his father. An artifice then occurred to him which promised to be of ultimate advantage. He afterwards told Afrásiyáb that the offspring of Ferangís, thrown by him into the wilderness to perish, had been found by a peasant and brought up, but that he understood the boy was little better than an idiot. Afrásiyáb, upon this information, desired that he might be sent for, and in the meantime Pírán took especial care to instruct Kai-khosráu how he should act; which was to seem in all respects insane, and he accordingly appeared before the king in the dress of a prince with a golden crown on his head, and the royal girdle round his loins. Kai-khosráu proceeded on horseback to the court of Afrásiyáb, and having performed the usual salutations, was suitably received, though with strong feelings of shame and remorse on the part of the tyrant. Afrásiyáb put several questions to him, which were answered in a wild and incoherent manner, entirely at variance with the subject proposed. The king could not help smiling, and supposing him to be totally deranged, allowed him to be sent with presents to his mother, for no harm, he thought, could possibly be apprehended from one so forlorn in mind. Pírán triumphed in the success of his scheme, and lost no time in taking Kai-khosráu to his mother. All the people of Khoten poured blessings on the head of the youth, and imprecations on the merciless spirit of Afrásiyáb. The city built by Saiáwush had been razed to the ground by the exterminating fury of his enemies, and wild animals and reptiles occupied the place on which it stood. The mother and son visited the spot where Saiáwush was barbarously killed, and the tree, which grew up from the soil enriched by his blood, was found verdant and flourishing, and continued to possess in perfection its marvellous virtues.
The tale of Saiáwush is told;
And now the pages bright unfold,
Rustem's revenge--Súdáveh's fate--
Afrásiyáb's degraded state,
And that terrific curse and ban
Which fell at last upon Túrán!
When Kai-káús heard of the fate of his son, and all its horrible details were pictured to his mind, he was thrown into the deepest affliction. His warriors, Tús, and Gúdarz, and Báhrám, and Fríburz, and Ferhád, felt with equal keenness the loss of the amiable prince, and Rustem, as soon as the dreadful intelligence reached Sístán, set off with his troops to the court of the king, still full of indignation at the conduct of Káús, and oppressed with sorrow respecting the calamity which had occurred. On his arrival he thus addressed the weeping and disconsolate father of Saiáwush, himself at the same time drowned in tears:--
"How has thy temper turned to nought, the seed
Which might have grown, and cast a glorious shadow;
How is it scattered to the barren winds!
Thy love for false Súdáveh was the cause
Of all this misery; she, the Sorceress,
O'er whom thou hast so oft in rapture hung,
Enchanted by her charms; she was the cause
Of this destruction. Thou art woman's slave!
Woman, the bane of man's felicity!
Who ever trusted woman? Death were better
Than being under woman's influence;
She places man upon the foamy ridge
Of the tempestuous wave, which rolls to ruin,
Who ever trusted woman?--Woman! woman!"
Káús looked down with melancholy mien,
And, half consenting, thus to Rustem said:--
"Súdáveh's blandishments absorbed my soul,
And she has brought this wretchedness upon me."
Rustem rejoined--"The world must be revenged
Upon this false Súdáveh;--she must die."
Káús was silent; but his tears flowed fast,
And shame withheld resistance. Rustem rushed
Without a pause towards the shubistán;
Impatient, nothing could obstruct his speed
To slay Súdáveh;--her he quickly found,
And rapidly his sanguinary sword
Performed its office. Thus the Sorceress died.
Such was the punishment her crimes received.
Having thus accomplished the first part of his vengeance, he proceeded with the Persian army against Afrásiyáb, and all the Iránian warriors followed his example. When he had penetrated as far as Túrán, the enemy sent forward thirty thousand men to oppose his progress; and in the conflict which ensued, Ferámurz took Sarkhá, the son of Afrásiyáb, prisoner. Rustem delivered him over to Tús to be put to death precisely in the same manner as Saiáwush; but the captive represented himself as the particular friend of Saiáwush, and begged to be pardoned on that account. Rustem, however, had sworn that he would take his revenge, without pity or remorse, and accordingly death was inflicted upon the unhappy prisoner, whose blood was received in a dish, and sent to Káús, and the severed head suspended over the gates of the king's palace. Afrásiyáb hearing of this catastrophe, which sealed the fate of his favorite son, immediately collected together the whole of the Túránian army, and hastened himself to resist the conquering career of the enemy.
As on they moved; with loud and dissonant clang;
His numerous troops shut out the prospect round;
No sun was visible by day; no moon,
Nor stars by night. The tramp of men and steeds,
And rattling drums, and shouts, were only heard,
And the bright gleams of armour only seen.
Ere long the two armies met, when Pílsam, the brother of Pírán, was ambitious of opposing his single arm against Rustem, upon which Afrásiyáb said:--"Subdue Rustem, and thy reward shall be my daughter, and half my kingdom." Pírán, however, observed that he was too young to be a fit match for the experience and valor of the Persian champion, and would have dissuaded him from the unequal contest, but the choice was his own, and he was consequently permitted by Afrásiyáb to put his bravery to the test. Pílsam accordingly went forth and summoned Rustem to the fight; but Gíw, hearing the call, accepted the challenge himself, and had nearly been thrown from his horse by the superior activity of his opponent. Ferámurz luckily saw him at the perilous moment, and darting forward, with one stroke of his sword shattered Pílsam's javelin to pieces, and then a new strife began. Pílsam and Ferámurz fought together with desperation, till both were almost exhausted, and Rustem himself was surprised to see the display of so much valor. Perceiving the wearied state of the two warriors he pushed forward Rakush, and called aloud to Pílsam:--"Am I not the person challenged?" and immediately the Túránian chief proceeded to encounter him, striking with all his might at the head of the champion; but though the sword was broken by the blow, not a hair of his head was disordered.
Then Rustem urging on his gallant steed,
Fixed his long javelin in the girdle band
Of his ambitious foe, and quick unhorsed him;
Then dragged him on towards Afrásiyáb,
And, scoffing, cast him at the despot's feet.
"Here comes the glorious conqueror," he said;
"Now give to him thy daughter and thy treasure,
Thy kingdom and thy soldiers; has he not
Done honour to thy country?--Is he not
A jewel in thy crown of sovereignty?
What arrogance inspired the fruitless hope!
Think of thy treachery to Saiáwush;
Thy savage cruelty, and never look
For aught but deadly hatred from mankind;
And in the field of fight defeat and ruin."
Thus scornfully he spoke, and not a man,
Though in the presence of Afrásiyáb,
Had soul to meet him; fear o'ercame them all
Monarch and warriors, for a time. At length
Shame was awakened, and the king appeared
In arms against the champion. Fiercely they
Hurled their sharp javelins--Rustem's struck the head
Of his opponent's horse, which floundering fell,
And overturned his rider. Anxious then
The champion sprang to seize the royal prize;
But Húmán rushed between, and saved his master,
Who vaulted on another horse and fled.
Having thus rescued Afrásiyáb, the wary chief exercised all his cunning and adroitness to escape himself, and at last succeeded. Rustem pursued him, and the Túránian troops, who had followed the example of the king; but though thousands were slain in the chase which continued for many farsangs, no further advantage was obtained on that day. Next morning, however, Rustem resumed his pursuit; and the enemy hearing of his approach, retreated into Chinese Tartary, to secure, among other advantages, the person of Kai-khosráu; leaving the kingdom of Túrán at the mercy of the invader, who mounted the throne, and ruled there, it is said, about seven years, with memorable severity, proscribing and putting to death every person who mentioned the name of Afrásiyáb. In the meantime he made splendid presents to Tús and Gúdarz, suitable to their rank and services; and Zúára, in revenge for the monstrous outrage committed upon Saiáwush, burnt and destroyed everything that came in his way; his wrath being exasperated by the sight of the places in which the young prince had resided, and recreated himself with hunting and other sports of the field. The whole realm, in fact, was delivered over to plunder and devastation; and every individual of the army was enriched by the appropriation of public and private wealth. The companions of Rustem, however, grew weary of residing in Túrán, and they strongly represented to him the neglect which Kai-káús had suffered for so many years, recommending his return to Persia, as being more honorable than the exile they endured in an ungenial climate. Rustem's abandonment of the kingdom was at length carried into effect; and he and his warriors did not fail to take away with them all the immense property that remained in jewels and gold; part of which was conveyed by the champion to Zábul and Sístán, and a goodly proportion to the king of kings in Persia.
When to Afrásiyáb was known
The plunder of his realm and throne,
That the destroyer's reckless hand
With fire and sword had scathed the land,
Sorrow and anguish filled his soul,
And passion raged beyond control;
And thus he to his warriors said:--
"At such a time, is valour dead?
The man who hears the mournful tale,
And is not by his country's bale
Urged on to vengeance, cannot be
Of woman born; accursed is he!
The time will come when I shall reap
The harvest of resentment deep;
And till arrives that fated hour,
Farewell to joy in hall or bower."
Rustem, in taking revenge for the murder of Saiáwush, had not been unmindful of Kai-khosráu, and had actually sent to the remote parts of Tartary in quest of him.
It is said that Gúdarz beheld in a dream the young prince, who pointed out to him his actual residence, and intimated that of all the warriors of Káús, Gíw was the only one destined to restore him to the world and his birth-right. The old man immediately requested his son Gíw to go to the place where the stranger would be found. Gíw readily complied, and in his progress provided himself at every stage successively with a guide, whom he afterwards slew to prevent discovery, and in this manner he proceeded till he reached the boundary of Chín, enjoying no comfort by day, or sleep by night. His only food was the flesh of the wild ass, and his only covering the skin of the same animal. He went on traversing mountain and forest, enduring every privation, and often did he hesitate, often did he think of returning, but honor urged him forward in spite of the trouble and impediments with which he was continually assailed. Arriving in a desert one day, he happened to meet with several persons, who upon being interrogated, said that they were sent by Pírán-wísah in search of Kai-káús. Gíw kept his own secret, saying that he was amusing himself with hunting the wild ass, but took care to ascertain from them the direction in which they were going. During the night the parties separated, and in the morning Gíw proceeded rapidly on his route, and after some time discovered a youth sitting by the side of a fountain, with a cup in his hand, whom he supposed to be Kai-khosráu. The youth also spontaneously thought "This must be Gíw"; and when the traveller approached him, and said, "I am sure thou art the son of Saiáwush"; the youth observed, "I am equally sure that thou art Gíw the son of Gúdarz." At this Gíw was amazed, and falling to his feet, asked how, and from what circumstance, he recognized him. The youth replied that he knew all the warriors of Káús; Rustem, and Kishwád, and Tús, and Gúdarz, and the rest, from their portraits in his father's gallery, they being deeply impressed on his mind. He then asked in what way Gíw had discovered him to be Kai-khosráu, and Gíw answered, "Because I perceived something kingly in thy countenance. But let me again examine thee!" The youth, at this request, removed his garments, and Gíw beheld that mark on his body which was the heritage of the race of Kai-kobád. Upon this discovery he rejoiced, and congratulating himself and the young prince on the success of his mission, related to him the purpose for which he had come. Kai-khosráu was soon mounted on horseback, and Gíw accompanied him respectfully on foot. They, in the first instance, pursued their way towards the abode of Ferangís, his mother. The persons sent by Pírán-wísah did not arrive at the place where Kai-khosráu had been kept till long after Gíw and the prince departed; and then they were told that a Persian horseman had come and carried off the youth, upon which they immediately returned, and communicated to Pírán what had occurred. Ferangís, in recovering her son, mentioned to Gíw, with the fondness of a mother, the absolute necessity of going on without delay, and pointed out to him the meadow in which some of Afrásiyáb's horses were to be met with, particularly one called Behzád, which once belonged to Saiáwush, and which her father had kept in good condition for his own riding. Gíw, therefore, went to the meadow, and throwing his kamund, secured Behzád and another horse; and all three being thus accommodated, hastily proceeded on their journey towards Irán.
Tidings of the escape of Kai-khosráu having reached Afrásiyáb, he despatched Kulbád with three hundred horsemen after him; and so rapid were his movements that he overtook the fugitives in the vicinity of Bulgharia. Khosráu and his mother were asleep, but Gíw being awake, and seeing an armed force evidently in pursuit of his party, boldly put on his armor, mounted Behzád, and before the enemy came up, advanced to the charge. He attacked the horsemen furiously with sword, and mace, for he had heard the prophecy, which declared that Kai-khosráu was destined to be the king of kings, and therefore he braved the direst peril with confidence, and the certainty of success. It was this feeling which enabled him to perform such a prodigy of valor, in putting Kulbád and his three hundred horsemen to the rout. They all fled defeated, and dispersed precipitately before him. After this surprising victory, he returned to the halting place, and told Kai-khosráu what he had done. The prince was disappointed at not having been awakened to participate in the exploit, but Gíw said, "I did not wish to disturb thy sweet slumbers unnecessarily. It was thy good fortune and prosperous star, however, which made me triumph over the enemy." The three travellers then resuming their journey:
Through dreary track, and pathless waste,
And wood and wild, their way they traced.
The return of the defeated Kulbád excited the greatest indignation in the breast of Pírán. "What! three hundred soldiers to fly from the valor of one man! Had Gíw possessed even the activity and might of Rustem and Sám, such a shameful discomfiture could scarcely have happened." Saying this, he ordered the whole force under his command to be got ready, and set off himself to overtake and intercept the fugitives, who, fatigued with the toilsome march, were only able to proceed one stage in the day. Pírán, therefore, who travelled at the rate of one hundred leagues a day, overtook them before they had passed through Bulgharia. Ferangís, who saw the enemy's banner floating in the air, knew that it belonged to Pírán, and instantly awoke the two young men from sleep. Upon this occasion, Khosráu insisted on acting his part, instead of being left ignominiously idle; but Gíw was still resolute and determined to preserve him from all risk, at the peril of his own life. "Thou art destined to be the king of the world; thou art yet young, and a novice, and hast never known the toils of war; Heaven forbid that any misfortune should befall thee: indeed, whilst I live, I will never suffer thee to go into battle!" Khosráu then proposed to give him assistance; but Gíw said he wanted no assistance, not even from Rustem; "for," he added, "in art and strength we are equal, having frequently tried our skill together." Rustem had given his daughter in marriage to Gíw, he himself being married to Gíw's sister. "Be of good cheer," resumed he, "get upon some high place, and witness the battle between us.
"Fortune will still from Heaven descend,
The god of victory is my friend."
As soon as he took the field, Pírán thus addressed him: "Thou hast once, singly, defeated three hundred of my soldiers; thou shalt now see what punishment awaits thee at my hands.
"For should a warrior be a rock of steel,
A thousand ants, gathered on every side,
In time will make him but a heap of dust."
In reply, Gíw said to Pírán, "I am the man who bound thy two women, and sent them from China to Persia--Rustem and I are the same in battle. Thou knowest, when he encountered a thousand horsemen, what was the result, and what he accomplished! Thou wilt find me the same: is not a lion enough to overthrow a thousand kids?
"If but a man survive of thy proud host,
Brand me with coward--say I'm not a warrior.
Already have I triumphed o'er Kulbád,
And now I'll take thee prisoner, yea, alive!
And send thee to Káús--there thou wilt be
Slain to avenge the death of Saiáwush;
Túrán shall perish, and Afrásiyáb,
And every earthly hope extinguished quite."
Hearing this awful threat, Pírán turned pale
And shook with terror--trembling like a reed;
And saying: "Go, I will not fight with thee!"
But Gíw asked fiercely: "Why?" And on he rushed
Against the foe, who fled--but 'twas in vain.
The kamund round the old man's neck was thrown,
And he was taken captive. Then his troops
Showered their sharp arrows on triumphant Gíw,
To free their master, who was quickly brought
Before Kai-khosráu, and the kamund placed
Within his royal hands. This service done,
Gíw sped against the Tartars, and full soon
Defeated and dispersed them.
On his return, Gíw expressed his astonishment that Pírán was still alive; when Ferangís interposed, and weeping, said how much she had been indebted to his interposition and the most active humanity on various occasions, and particularly in saving herself and Kai-khosráu from the wrath of Afrásiyáb after the death of Saiáwush. "If," said she, "after so much generosity he has committed one fault, let it be forgiven.
"Let not the man of many virtues die,
For being guilty of one trifling error.
Let not the friend who nobly saved my life,
And more, the dearer life of Kai-khosráu,
Suffer from us. O, he must never, never,
Feel the sharp pang of foul ingratitude,
From a true prince of the Kaiánian race."
But Gíw paused, and said, "I have sworn to crimson the earth with his blood, and I must not pass from my oath." Khosráu then suggested to him to pierce the lobes of Pírán's ears, and drop the blood on the ground to stain it, in order that he might not depart from his word; and this humane fraud was accordingly committed. Khosráu further interceded; and instead of being sent a captive to Káús, the good old man was set at liberty.
When the particulars of this event were described to Afrásiyáb by Pírán-wísah, he was exceedingly sorrowful, and lamented deeply that Kai-khosráu had so successfully effected his escape. But he had recourse to a further expedient, and sent instructions to all the ferrymen of the Jihún, with a minute description of the three travellers, to prevent their passing that river, announcing at the same time that he himself was in pursuit of them. Not a moment was lost in preparing his army for the march, and he moved forward with the utmost expedition, night and day. At the period when Gíw arrived on the banks of the Jihún, the stream was very rapid and formidable, and he requested the ferrymen to produce their certificates to show themselves equal to their duty. They pretended that their certificates were lost, but demanded for their fare the black horse upon which Gíw rode. Gíw replied, that he could not part with his favorite horse; and they rejoined, "Then give us the damsel who accompanies you." Gíw answered, and said, "This is not a damsel, but the mother of that youth!"--"Then," observed they, "give us the youth's crown." But Gíw told them that he could not comply with their demand; yet he was ready to reward them with money to any extent. The pertinacious ferrymen, who were not anxious for money, then demanded his armor, and this was also refused; and such was their independence or their effrontery, that they replied, "If not one of these four things you are disposed to grant, cross the river as best you may." Gíw whispered to Kai-khosráu, and told him that there was no time for delay. "When Kavah, the blacksmith," said he, "rescued thy great ancestor, Feridún, he passed the stream in his armor without impediment; and why should we, in a cause of equal glory, hesitate for a moment?" Under the inspiring influence of an auspicious omen, and confiding in the protection of the Almighty, Kai-khosráu at once impelled his foaming horse into the river; his mother, Ferangís, followed with equal intrepidity, and then Gíw; and notwithstanding the perilous passage, they all successfully overcame the boiling surge, and landed in safety, to the utter amazement of the ferrymen, who of course had expected they would be drowned,
It so happened that at the moment they touched the shore, Afrásiyáb with his army arrived, and had the mortification to see the fugitives on the other bank, beyond his reach. His wonder was equal to his disappointment.
"What spirits must they have to brave
The terrors of that boiling wave--
With steed and harness, riding o'er
The billows to the further shore."
It was a cheering sight, they say,
To see how well they kept their way,
How Ferangís impelled her horse
Across that awful torrent's course,
Guiding him with heroic hand,
To reach unhurt the friendly strand.
Afrásiyáb continued for some time mute with astonishment and vexation, and when he recovered, ordered the ferrymen to get ready their boats to pass him over the river; but Húmán dissuaded him from that measure, saying that they could only convey a few troops, and they would doubtless be received by a large force of the enemy on the other side. At these words, Afrásiyáb seemed to devour his own blood with grief and indignation, and immediately retracing his steps, returned to Túrán.
As soon as Gíw entered within the boundary of the Persian empire, he poured out thanksgivings to God for his protection, and sent intelligence to Káús of the safe arrival of the party in his dominions. The king rejoiced exceedingly, and appointed an honorary deputation under the direction of Gúdarz, to meet the young prince on the road. On first seeing him, the king moved forward to receive him; and weeping affectionately, kissed his eyes and face, and had a throne prepared for him exactly like his own, upon which he seated him; and calling the nobles and warriors of the land together, commanded them to obey him. All readily promised their allegiance, excepting Tús, who left the court in disgust, and repairing forthwith to the house of Fríburz, one of the sons of Káús, told him that he would only pay homage and obedience to him, and not to the infant whom Gíw had just brought out of a desert. Next day the great men and leaders were again assembled to declare publicly by an official act their fealty to Kai-khosráu, and Tús was also invited to the banquet, which was held on the occasion, but he refused to go. Gíw was deputed to repeat the invitation; and he then said, "I shall pay homage to Fríburz, as the heir to the throne, and to no other.
"For is he not the son of Kai-káús,
And worthy of the regal crown and throne?
I want not any of the race of Poshang--
None of the proud Túránian dynasty--
Fruitless has been thy peril, Gíw, to bring
A silly child among us, to defraud
The rightful prince of his inheritance!"
Gíw, in reply, vindicated the character and attainments of Khosráu, but Tús was not to be appeased. He therefore returned to his father and communicated to him what had occurred. Gúdarz was roused to great wrath by this resistance to the will of the king, and at once took twelve thousand men and his seventy-eight kinsmen, together with Gíw, and proceeded to support his cause by force of arms. Tús, apprised of his intentions, prepared to meet him, but was reluctant to commit himself by engaging in a civil war, and said, internally:--
"If I unsheath the sword of strife,
Numbers on either side will fall,
I would not sacrifice the life
Of one who owns my sovereign's thrall.
"My country would abhor the deed,
And may I never see the hour
When Persia's sons are doomed to bleed,
But when opposed to foreign power.
"The cause must be both good and true,
And if their blood in war must flow,
Will it not seem of brighter hue,
When shed to crush the Tartar foe?"
Possessing these sentiments, Tús sent an envoy to Gúdarz, suggesting the suspension of any hostile proceedings until information on the subject had been first communicated to the king. Káús was extremely displeased with Gúdarz for his precipitancy and folly, and directed both him and Tús to repair immediately to court. Tús there said frankly, "I now owe honor and allegiance to king Káús; but should he happen to lay aside the throne and the diadem, my obedience and loyalty will be due to Fríburz his heir, and not to a stranger." To this, Gúdarz replied, "Saiáwush was the eldest son of the king, and unjustly murdered, and therefore it becomes his majesty to appease and rejoice the soul of the deceased, by putting Kai-khosráu in his place. Kai-khosráu, like Feridún, is worthy of empire; all the nobles of the land are of this opinion, excepting thyself, which must arise from ignorance and vanity.
"From Nauder certainly thou are descended,
Not from a stranger, not from foreign loins;
But though thy ancestor was wise and mighty
Art thou of equal merit? No, not thou!
Regarding Khosráu, thou hast neither shown
Reason nor sense--but most surprising folly!"
To this contemptuous speech, Tús thus replied:
"Ungenerous warrior! wherefore thus employ
Such scornful words to me? Who art thou, pray!
Who, but the low descendant of a blacksmith?
No Khosráu claims thee for his son, no chief
Of noble blood; whilst I can truly boast
Kindred to princes of the highest worth,
And merit not to be obscured by thee!"
To him then Gúdarz: "Hear me for this once,
Then shut thy ears for ever. Need I blush
To be the kinsman of the glorious Kavah?
It is my humour to be proud of him.
Although he was a blacksmith--that same man,
Who, when the world could still boast of valour,
Tore up the name-roll of the fiend Zohák,
And gave the Persians freedom from the fangs
Of the devouring serpents. He it was,
Who raised the banner, and proclaimed aloud,
Freedom for Persia! Need I blush for him?
To him the empire owes its greatest blessing,
The prosperous rule of virtuous Feridún."
Tús wrathfully rejoined: "Old man! thy arrow
May pierce an anvil--mine can pierce the heart
Of the Káf mountain! If thy mace can break
A rock asunder--mine can strike the sun!"
The anger of the two heroes beginning to exceed all proper bounds, Káús commanded silence; when Gúdarz came forward, and asked permission to say one word more: "Call Khosráu and Fríburz before thee, and decide impartially between them which is the most worthy of sovereignty--let the wisest and the bravest only be thy successor to the throne of Persia." Káús replied:
"The father has no choice among his children,
He loves them all alike--his only care
Is to prevent disunion; to preserve
Brotherly kindness and respect among them."
After a pause, he requested the attendance of Fríburz and Khosráu, and told them that there was a demon-fortress in the vicinity of his dominions called Bahmen, from which fire was continually issuing. "Go, each of you," said he, "against this fortress, supported by an army with which you shall each be equally provided, and the conqueror shall be the sovereign of Persia." Fríburz was not sorry to hear of this probationary scheme, and only solicited to be sent first on the expedition. He and Tús looked upon the task as perfectly easy, and promised to be back triumphant in a short time.
But when the army reached that awful fort,
The ground seemed all in flames on every side;
One universal fire raged round and round,
And the hot wind was like the scorching breath
Which issues from red furnaces, where spirits
Infernal dwell. Full many a warrior brave,
And many a soldier perished in that heat,
Consumed to ashes. Nearer to the fort
Advancing, they beheld it in mid-air,
But not a living thing--nor gate, nor door;
Yet they remained one week, hoping to find
Some hidden inlet, suffering cruel loss
Hour after hour--but none could they descry.
At length, despairing, they returned, worn out,
Scorched, and half-dead with watching, care, and toil.
And thus Fríburz and Tús, discomfited
And sad, appeared before the Persian king.
Then was it Khosráu's turn, and him Káús
Despatched with Gíw, and Gúdarz, and the troops
Appointed for that enterprise, and blessed them.
When the young prince approached the destined scene
Of his exploit, he saw the blazing fort
Reddening the sky and earth, and well he knew
This was the work of sorcery, the spell
Of demon-spirits. In a heavenly dream,
He had been taught how to destroy the charms
Of fell magicians, and defy their power,
Though by the devil, the devil himself, sustained,
He wrote the name of God, and piously
Bound it upon his javelin's point, and pressed
Fearlessly forward, showing it on high;
And Gíw displayed it on the magic walls
Of that proud fortress--breathing forth a prayer
Craving the aid of the Almighty arm;
When suddenly the red fires died away,
And all the world was darkness, Khosráu's troops
Following the orders of their prince, then shot
Thick clouds of arrows from ten thousand bows,
In the direction of the enchanted tower.
The arrows fell like rain, and quickly slew
A host of demons--presently bright light
Dispelled the gloom, and as the mist rolled off
In sulphury circles, the surviving fiends
Were seen in rapid flight; the fortress, too,
Distinctly shone, and its prodigious gate,
Through which the conquerors passed. Great wealth they found,
And having sacked the place, Khosráu erected
A lofty temple, to commemorate
His name and victory there, then back returned
Triumphantly to gladden king Káús,
Whose heart expanded at the joyous news.
The result of Kai-khosráu's expedition against the enchanted castle, compared with that of Fríburz, was sufficient of itself to establish the former in the king's estimation, and accordingly it was announced to the princes and nobles and warriors of the land, that he should succeed to the throne, and be crowned on a fortunate day. A short time afterwards the coronation took place with great pomp and splendor; and Khosráu conducted himself towards men of every rank and station with such perfect kindness and benevolence, that he gained the affections of all and never failed daily to pay a visit to his grandfather Káús, and to familiarize himself with the affairs of the kingdom which he was destined to govern.
Justice he spread with equal hand,
Rooting oppression from the land;
And every desert, wood, and wild,
With early cultivation smiled;
And every plain, with verdure clad,
And every Persian heart was glad.
Hope you guys have enjoyed it thanks for reading
Yes ma'am understood
Also do you think i should send it partition cuz iididnt realized how long it was until i sent it
Intrigue, scheming, betrayal, epic battles, even demon excorcism! A lot of interesting stuff. It did tend to read more like a long and complicated plot summary in many places though - this would be cool as a longer novel or series where it has a bit more space to develop and breath.
Actually charcters are connected thtough the book
Think of it a game of thrones books but a very old one with pg rating
Glad you guys liked it wow iit made me super happy
I will look more on the web to arrange the scattered stroies (it seems they aren't well organized ) and then share it with you guys
Actually i must add the book of king is fully poem what you is the translation of concepts of each verse sometimes they just cut off details for easier understanding but anyway through my explores in the desert of internet i have finally found the translation which is loyal to verses but is exactly and througly just verses like the original book click here https://archive.org/details/shahnama01firduoft start from page 125 thats were the Tale begins