HISTORY OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE
Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New
York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VII: Ancient Persia, pp.
By the name of the
Creator Ahuramazda and by the good omen of good creation, may there be good
health and long life to all men good and righteous workers, and especially to
him for whom this book is written.
This book, which is
called the Yatkar-i-Zariran, was written at that time when King Vishtasp with
his sons, and brothers, family-chiefs, and equals accepted from Ahuramazda this
holy religion of the Mazdayasnians. Then Arjasp, the King of the Khyaonas, had
the startling news that King Vishtasp had, with his sons, brothers, and
family-chiefs and equals, accepted from Ahuramazda this holy religion of the
Mazdayasnians. Thereby he was much distressed.
He sent forward, to the country of Arian,
Vidarafsh the sorcerer, and Wamkhvast of Hazar, with two myriads of chosen
soldiers of good horsemanship. Then Jamasp, the leader of the leading men,
immediately entered and said to King Vishtasp, "From Arjasp, the King of
the Khyaonas, have come two messengers, than whom there is nobody more handsome
in the whole country of the Khyaonas. "One of them is Vidarafsh, and the
other Namkhvast of Hazar. They have with them two myriads of chosen troops. They
hold a letter in their hands and say, "Let us go in before Ring Vishtasp.'"
King Vishtasp said,
"Allow them to come in before me." Then they went in and paid homage
to King Vishtasp and gave the letter. Aprahim, the chief of the scribes, got up
on his feet and read the letter aloud. And in the letter it was thus written:
"I have heard that your Majesty has accepted from Ahuramazda the pure
Mazdayasnian religion. If you will not think of it, great harm and unhappiness
may result to us from that religion. But if it please your Majesty, and you give
up this pure religion, and be of the same religion with us, then we will pay
homage to you as a king and then we will give you, from year to year, plenty of
gold, plenty of silver, and plenty of good horses and the sovereignty of many
places. But if you will not give up this religion and will not be of the same
religion with us, then we will come to attack you. We will eat the green corn of
your country and burn the dry, and we will capture the quadrupeds and the bipeds
of your country, and we will order you to be placed in heavy chains and
distress." Then when King Vishtasp heard these words he was much afflicted.
Afterward when that
brave commander of the army, the hero Zarir, saw that King Vishtasp was
terrified he at once went in before him. He said to King Vishtasp, "If it
please your Majesty I will dictate a reply to this letter." King Vishtasp
ordered: "Make a reply to the letter." And that brave Commander of the
army, the hero Zarir, thus dictated a reply to the letter: "Greetings from
King Vishtasp, the King of Arian, to Arjasp, the King of the Khyaonas.
"Firstly, we will not give up this holy religion and will not be of the
same religion with you. We have accepted this holy religion from Ahuramazda, and
we will not give it up, and we will drink next month the drink of immortality
without you. There in the field of Hutosh-i-Razur and in Murv of Zartusht, where
there are neither high mountains nor deep caverns, on open plains or deserts,
horses and footmen will solve the question of our difference. You come from
there, so that we may proceed from here and you see us and we will see you. Then
we will show you how the demons are beaten at the hands of angels."
Aprahim, the chief of
the scribes, finished the letter, and Vindarfsh the sorcerer, and Namkhvast of
Hazar received it and made salutations to King Vishtasp and went away.
Then King Vishtasp gave
an order to his brother Zarir that ordered a fire to be kindled on a lofty hill
in high mountains. "Inform the city and inform our good troops that with
the exception of the priests who consecrate water and the fire-temples and take
care of them as their servants, nobody, from the age of 10 to the age of 80,
should stay in his house. They must act in this way that they should come
to the court of King
Vishtasp within two months. If they will not come within two months, then when
they do come they need not bring the gallows with them. We will order them to be
put to gallows there in their own country."
Then this news reached
all men of the fine cavalry. They came to the court of King Vishtasp with their
brave soldiers. They blew their trumpets, played upon their flutes, and sounded
their drums. They formed themselves into a riding caravan. The elephant-keepers
went with their elephants, the keepers of the beasts of burden went with their
beasts, and the carriage-drivers went with their carriages. In that cavalcade
there were many spears of heroes like Rustem, many quivers full of arrows, and
many beautiful coats of mail, and many coats of mail with four folds. The
caravan of the country of Arian was such that its din went up to heavens and the
noise of the moving swords went up to hell. On the road where they passed they
dug up the way so much that owing to the dust the river stopped from flowing
with its water to such an extent that it was not possible to drink the water for
one month. For fifty days it was not clear, and birds did not find any
resting-place, except when they sat on the heads of horses, on the points of
spears, or on a mountain with lofty summit. Owing to the dust and smoke, night
and day could not be distinguished.
Then King Vishtasp gave
an order to his brother Zarir that said: "Prepare a camp so that Arian may
encamp, so that we may know whether it is night or day." Then Zarir came
out of the road of march and pitched a camp, and the Arianians went to camp, and
the dust cloud settled down. Then the stars and the moon appeared clear in the
heavens. Afterward 300 iron pegs were struck, with which 300 asses were tied. On
the two sides of every ass were 300 golden bells. Then Vishtasp sat on the
Kyanian throne and called before him his minister Jamasp, the foreteller, and
said: "I know that you, Jamasp, are wise and foreseeing and versed in
knowing the stars. Thou knowest this also, that when it rains for ten days, how
many drops fall over the earth and how many drops fall over drops. Thou knowest
also which trees will bloom; which will bloom during the time of the day, and
which during that of night, and which at noon time. Thou also knowest which
breeze contains moisture and which does not contain it. Thou also knowest this,
that in the constellation of the dragon the month will be in such a way. Then
tell me in the battle of Vishtasp which of my sons and brothers will live and
which will die?"
Jamasp Baetash said:
"I wish I was not born from my mother, or that if I was born I had, through
my luck, died a long time before, or that I had met with an accident and had
fallen into the sea, so that your Majesty would not have asked me this question.
But since you have asked me I do not like that I may say anything but the truth.
If it please your Majesty, your dagger may take my life. So take an oath by the
name of the glory of Ahuramazda, the Mazdayasnian religion, and the life of your
brother Zarir.---Rub three times for Dravasp your sharp and shining sword and
arrow made of the jaw-bone, and say, "I will not strike you, I will not
kill you, I will not place you in the position of defending yourself with a
shield, so that speak out what will be the result of the battle of Vishtasp.'"
Then King Vishtasp said:
"I swear by the name of the glory of Ahuramazda, the Mazdayasnian religion,
and the life of my brother Zarir, that I will not strike you, I will not kill
you, and also I will not place you in the position of defending yourself with a
shield." Then Jamasp Baetash said: "If it please your Majesty, you may
order this large army of the country of Arian to stay at the distance of a quick
arrow-shot from the priest of the king." Then King Vishtasp ordered that
the large army of the country of Arian should stay at the distance of a swift
arrow-shot from the exalted priest of Vishtasp.
Then Jamasp Baetash
said: "Fortunate is he who is not born of his mother, or if born dies
immediately, or to whom the measure of long duration has not reached. In a
month's time, when brave men will fight with brave men, and heroes with heroes,
many sons with mothers will be without fathers, and many fathers will be without
sons, and many brothers will be without brothers, and many wives with husbands
will be without husbands. Many Arianian horsemen would come who would walk in
toward the camp of the enemy happy and pompously. They would like to shed the
blood of the King of Khyaonas, but they would not find it. Fortunate is that man
who does not see the following persons: the magician Bidarafsh, when he comes
and excites the battle and works destruction and kills the brave commander Zarir
who is your brother, and snatches away from him his horse, the black iron-hoofed
horse of Zarir; and that Namkhvast of Hazar who comes and excites the battle and
works destruction and kills that Pat-khosrob who is a righteous man among the
Mazdayasnians and who is your brother, and snatches away from him his horse
also, the horse with golden handle; and that Namkhvast of EIazar who comes and
excites the battle and works destruction and kills that Farsh-havard who is your
son and who, since he was born, lives in the district of the fortress of liaiba,
and who is dearer to you than your other children. Out of your sons and brothers
twenty-three will be killed."
Then when King Vishtasp
heard these words, he fell down upon the ground from his exalted throne.
He took a knife in his
left hand and a sword in his right hand and caught hold of Jamasp tightly and
said: "You magician, deceitful slave! you are not right, since your mother
was a sorceress and your father a liar. If I had not taken an oath by the name
of the glory of God and the religion of the Mazdayasnians and the life of my
brother Zarir, these words would not have been spoken by you. Then I would have
cut your head with these two weapons, the sword and the knife, and thrown it
upon the ground."
Then Jamasp said:
"May it please your Majesty, get up from the ground and sit again on the
Kyanian throne, because what I have predicted to happen shall happen at the time
when it should happen!"
King Vishtasp did not
get up and did not look up again. Then the brave general, powerful Zarir, came
and said: "May it please your Majesty, get up from the ground and sit again
on the Kyanian throne, because in a month I will go and kill fifteen myriad
Khyaonas with my own strength." King Vishtasp did not get up and did not
look up again.
Then Patkhushro, the
righteous man among the Mazdayasnians, came and said: "May it please your
Majesty, get up from the ground and sit again on the Kyanian throne, because in
a month's time I will go and kill fourteen myriad Khyaonas with my own
strength." King Vishtasp did not get up and did not look up again.
Then Farsh-havard, the
son of King Vishtasp, came and said: "May it please your Majesty, get up
from the ground and sit again on the Kyanian throne, because in a month's time I
will go and kill thirteen myriad Khyaonas with my own strength." King
Vishtasp did not get up and did not look up again.
Then the hero, the
powerful Spendadad, went and said: "May it please your Majesty, get up from
the ground and sit again on the Kyanian throne, because in a month's time I will
go, and I swear by the name of the glory of Ahuramazda, the Mazdayasnian
religion, and the life of your Majesty that I will not let any Khyaona go alive
from that battle." At last King Vishtasp got up and sat again on the
Kyanian throne and called Jamasp Baetash before him and said: "If it is to
happen in the way which you have said, then I would order a fortress to be made
of copper, and I would order the railings of the gate of that fortress to be
made of iron, and I would order my sons and brothers and family-chiefs to go and
remain in that fortress. Then it is possible that they will not fall into the
hands of the enemy."
Jamasp Baetash said:
"If you will order a fort to be made of copper, and if you will also order
the railings of the gate to be made of iron, and if you, King Kae Vishtasp, will
order your sons and brothers and the family-chiefs of your happy country to
remain in that fort, then how will you be able to keep off from your country so
many of those enemies? How will that brave general, strong Zarir, your brother,
go and kill fifteen myriad Khyaonas? And how will that Patkhushro, the righteous
among the Mazdayasnians, go and kill fourteen myriad Khyaonas? And how will
Farsh-havard, thy son, go and kill thirteen myriad Khyaonas?"
King Vishtasp said:
"Now how many Khyaonas will come at first and, when they have once come,
how many will die and how many will return?" Jamasp Baetash said: "One
hundred and thirty-one myriad Khyaonas will come at first, and when they have
once come nobody will return alive except one who is Arjasp, the King of the
Khyaonas. The hero Spendadad will catch him also. He will cut his one hand, one
leg, and one ear, he will burn his one eye with fire, and he will send him off
back to his country on an ass whose tail is cut, and will say, "Go and tell
your countrymen what you have seen from my hand.'"
Then King Kae Vishtasp
said: "Although the sons and brothers and family-chiefs of myself, who am
King Kae Vishtasp, and those of Hutosh, who is like a sister to me and who is my
wife, and from whom about thirty sons and daughters are born to me, are to be
killed, I will not forsake this holy Mazdayasnian religion, since I have
received it from Ahuramazda." Then King Vishtasp sat on the summit of a
hill. He had with him the strength of twelve times twelve myriad men. Arjasp,
the King of the Khyaonas, sat on the summit of a hill. His strength was twelve
myriad myriads. Then the brave general, that powerful Zarir, fought the battle
as hard as the angel Atar [fire], which, when it falls in a mountainous district
and when also the wind helps him, works destruction. When he drew his sword
forward he slew ten Khyaonas and when he withdrew it eleven Khyaonas. When he
got hungry or thirsty he saw the blood of the Khyaonas and was satiated.
Then Arjasp, the King of
the Khyaonas, saw from the summit of the hill, and said: "Who is there
among you Khyaonas who would go and fight with Zarir and would kill him, the
brave general, strong Zarir? So that I would give him for wife my daughter
Zarstun, than whom there is no woman more beautiful in the whole country of the
Khyaonas. "I will make him the master of the whole country of the Khyaonas,
because if Zarir were to remain alive up to night then it would not be long when
not anybody out of us Khyaonas would remain alive."
Then the magician
Vidarafsh got up on his feet, and said: "Get a horse saddled for me so that
I may go." They saddled the horse, and the magician Vidarafsh rode upon it.
He took that weapon which was operated upon with magic in the hell by the demons
through anger, and which was impregnated with the poison of the water of sin. He
held it on in his hand and rushed into the battle and saw how bravely Zarir was
fighting. He could not go before him in the front. He quietly came running from
behind and struck the weapon upon the back of Zarir below his waist-girdle and
above his sacred thread and pierced it in his heart and threw him down upon the
ground, and then the movement of bows and the din of brave men subsided.
Then King Vishtasp saw
from the top of the hill, and said, "I think on good grounds that they have
killed our Zarir, the general of Arian, because the movement of bows and the din
of brave men do not come to us now. "Who is there among you Arianians who
would go and ask for revenge for Zarir so that I may give him in marriage that
Homak who is my daughter, a more beautiful woman than whom there is none in the
whole country of Arian? "I will give him a residence in the mansion of
Zarir and command in chief of Arian."
No good and great man
gave a reply except that son of Zarir, a boy of about seven years of age. He got
up on his feet and said: "Order a horse to be saddled for me so that I may
go and see the war of Arian, and see the family-chief of Vishtasp, and whether
that brave general, powerful Zarir, my father, is living or dead. I will tell
your Majesty how matters stand."
Then King Vishtasp said:
"You do not go because you are still a child, and you do not know how to
act with caution in war, and your fingers are not rubbed with arrows. Perhaps
the Khyaonas would come and kill you because they have killed Zarir also. Then
the Khyaonas will take the credit of two names that "We have killed Zarir,
the commander-in-chief of Arian, and we have killed his son Bastur.'"
secretly said to the master of the horse: "Vishtasp has ordered, "Give
to Bastur that horse on which sat Zarir, when he was a boy.'" The master of
the horse ordered the horse to be saddled, and Bastur sat over it, and he let go
the horse and killed the enemy until he reached that place where he saw his
brave father dead. He did not wait long, and said, "Oh, increaser of the
delight of my soul! why are you silent? Oh, brave man, decorated with precious
amulets, why silent? Oh, why is thy fast horse silent? When this was your wish
that "I may be allowed to fight with the Khyaonas,' how is it that you have
fallen dead in our war like a man without a place or corner? The winds have
spoilt your crown, hair, and beard; the horses have crushed your clean body with
their feet; the dust has covered your garment. But now what am I to do? Because
if I were to alight from the horse and if I were to hold yours, my father's
head, into my sides, and if I were to remove the dust from thy garment, and then
if I could not get up again on my horse expeditiously. Then perhaps the Khyaonas
might come and kill me also as they killed you. Then they will take the credit
of two names that "We have killed Zarir, the commander-in-chief of Arian,
and we have killed Bastur who is his son.'"
Afterward Bastur let go
his horse and killed the enemy until he came before King Vishtasp, and said:
"I had gone and I had seen well the battle fought by Arian and the officers
of Vishtasp. I saw dead the brave general, powerful Zarir, who is my father. But
if it please your Majesty, let me go so that I may go and ask revenge for my
father." Then Jamasp Baetash said: "Let this speaker go because he
rests upon his luck and he will kill the enemy."
At last King Vishtasp
ordered the horse to be saddled. And Bastur sat over it. He [the King] gave him
an arrow from his quiver and blessed him and said, "Take this quiver from
me and go. May your every art of war be victorious. May you gain victory in all
offensive and defensive battles. In return may you bring glory. For all days
fetch your enemies dead. And now you command the horse and the banner of these
our soldiers of Arian and Arum, and always live long as a leader."
Then Bastur let his
horse go and killed the enemy and fought the battle as bravely as Zarir, the
commander-in-chief of Arian. At last Arjasp, the King of the Khyaonas, saw from
the summit of the hill, and said, "Who is he? Who is that brave Kyanian
fellow there, who has a horse like that of a warrior and who keeps his saddle
like a warrior and who fights as bravely as Zarir, the commander-in-chief of
Arian? However, I think thus that he, of the lineage of Vishtasp, desires to
take vengeance for Zarir. Who is there among you Khyaonas who will go and fight
with that fellow and kill him? I will give to him in marriage Bashastun, my
daughter, than whom there is no woman more beautiful in the whole country of
Khyaona. And I will make him the master of the whole country of Khyaona, because
if the fellow would remain alive until night then it would not be long when out
of us Khyaonas nobody would remain alive."
Then Vidarafsh, the
magician, got up on his feet and he said, "Get a horse saddled for me so
that I may go." They saddled the iron-hoofed horse, which was the horse of
Zarir, and Vidarafsh, the magician, rode upon it. He took that weapon which was
operated upon with magic in the hell by the demons through anger and which was
impregnated with the poison of the water of sin. He held it on in his hand and
rushed into the battle, and saw how bravely Bastur was fighting. He could not go
to him in the front, so quietly went forward from behind.
Bastur cast a glance and
said, "Oh, wicked magician! come in front of my humble self, because I
think that I do not know how to make my horse run fast under my thighs and I
think that I do not know well to throw the arrow from the quiver. So come
forward in the front of my humble self so that I may destroy thy sweet life as
you did that of my father, the brave general Zarir."
And Vidarafsh, the
magician, presumptuously proceeded farther and went forward before Bastur, and
that black iron-hoofed horse of Zarir, when he heard the loud voice of Bastur,
struck his four feet on the ground and raised nine hundred and ninety-nine
cries. And Vidarafsh drew his weapon and Bastur took it away in his hand.
Then the soul of Zarir
shouted: "Throw away the weapon from your hand and take an arrow from your
quiver and give a reply to the wicked man with that." And Bastur threw away
the weapon from his hand, and he took an arrow from his quiver and shot it at
Vidarafsh at his heart, and it passed through his back and threw him upon the
ground. And he killed him. He took away from him that
white boot covered with
pearls and gold which Zarir kept together with him. He sat upon the horse of
Zarir and held the bridle of his own horse in his hand, and then he let his
horse go forward and killed the enemy till he came to that place where
Geramik-kard, the son of Jamasp, had held the victorious banner in his teeth and
fought with both his hands.
Geramik-kard and that
great Arianian army, when they saw Bastur, all mourned for Zarir, and said,
"Oh, young helper! why have you come to fight when you have not yet
sufficiently rubbed your fingers with arrows, and when you still do not know the
ways of caution to be observed in war? "Perhaps the Khyaonas may come and
kill you as they have also killed Zarir. Then they will take the credit of two
names that "We have killed Zarir, the commander-in-chief, and we have
killed Bastur his son.'"
Then Bastur said:
"O Geramik-kard, son of Jamasp, you carry victoriously this victorious
banner. If I will go alive before King Vishtasp I will tell him how bravely you
have fought." Then Bastur rode forward and killed the enemy until he came
to that place where the brave hero Spendadad was.
When Spendadad saw
Bastur he left the large Arianian army with Bastur and himself went over the top
of the hill and made an attack upon Arjasp with his twelve myriad soldiers and
drove them down from the top of the hill to the plain below, and Spendadad
thrust the work of further attack upon Geramik-kard. Geramik-kard carried an
assault upon them and thrust the work upon Bastur.
Thereupon it was not
long before there was not left any person alive among them, except that one,
Arjasp, the King of the Khyaonas. The hero Spendadad caught him also. He cut one
of his hands, one leg, one ear, and burned one of his eyes with fire and sent
him off back to his country on an ass whose tail was cut.
He said: "Go and
tell what you have seen from my---the hero Spendadad's---hand; otherwise how can
the Khyaonas know what has happened on the day Farvardin, in the constellation
of the dragon, in the war of Vishtasp?"