All the stories in this
book are adapted from:
Written down for the first time in the original Kermani and Bakhtiari and Translated by D.L.R. Lorimer and E.O. Lorimer
With illustrations by Hilda Roberts
Macmillan & Co., Ltd., St. Martin's Street, London, © 1919
The Kermani stories contain the following Openings and Closings:
Traditional Kermani Opening: Once upon a time there was a time when there was no one but God.
Traditional Kermani Closing: And now my story has come to an end but the sparrow never got home.
The Bakhtiari stories contain their own openings and closings—or none at all.
Kerman and Bakhtiar were separate countries in ancient Persia (present-day Iran).
The Persian words in italics in the text are defined in the Glossary.
The stories are not edited to be politically correct by 2004 standards.
This is left to the discretion of the storyteller in fleshing out the bones.
(Scroll down or click on your choice below)
#1 The Story of the Fortune-Teller
#2 The Story of the Wolf and the Goat
#3 The Story of Susku and Mushu
#4 The City of Nothing-in-the-World
#5 The Story of Nukhudu, or Master Pea
#6 The Story of the Marten-Stone
#7 The Story of the Snake-Head Sleepy-Head
#8 The Story of Little Fatima
#9 The Story of the Grateful Corpse
#10 The Story of the Jealous Sisters
#11 The Story of the Orange and Citron Princess
#12 The Story of the Baker and the Grateful Fish
#13 The Tale of the Wise Qazi
#14 The Story of the Wolf-Bride
#15 Tortoise Bowl-on-the-Back and the Fox
#16 The Story of the Impious Thorn-Gatherer
#17 The Story of the Man Who Went to Wake His Luck
#18 The Fox and his Order from the King
#19 The Story of the Merchant of Isfahan and his Faithless Wife
#20 The Story of the Prince Who Didn't Exist
#21 The Story of the Wolf-Aunt - A Moral for Husbands
#22 The Story of Taling, the Half-Boy
#23 The Story of the Boy Who Became a Bulbul
#24 The Story of Haider Beg and Samamber
#25 The Story of the Shepherd Who Found a Treasure
#26 The Story of the King and the Two Blind Beggars
#27 The Cowherd Who Woke the Princess
#28 The Story of Ramazan of Hamadan and the Poor Labourer
#29 The Story of the Fate of the King's Only Son
#30 The Story of the Golden Lamp-Stand
Here are the Persian bare bones:
#1 - The Story of the Fortune-Teller
Poor man and wife lived together in hovel.
Wife went to public baths; ordered out by rich woman who wanted to bathe privately.
Wife was furious; discovered rich woman was wife of King's Fortune-Teller in Chief.
Wife went home; ordered Husband to become King's Fortune-Teller.
Husband said he couldn’t tell fortunes, couldn’t divine and didn’t even know King; Wife said do it or else; threatened divorce.
Man sat in street, divining board on lap; didn’t know what to do.
King's daughter went to public baths; gave ring to servant to keep safe.
Servant hid ring in wall with a tiny hair coming out of hole, then couldn’t remember where it was when King's daughter demanded it. King's daughter threatened to beat her.
Servant found "Fortune-Teller" sitting in street; asked him to divine ring's whereabouts.
In a daze, Husband threw dice; looked at servant and saw little hole in her face with hair coming out.
Said: "I see a little hole and in the hole is a little hair."
Servant remembered and found ring.
Word got around.
King brought Husband to palace; made him Fortune-Teller in Chief; rewarded him.
King's treasury robbed; King ordered Fortune-Teller to find thieves on pain of death.
Fortune-Teller given 40 days to perform.
He returned home; scolded wife for endangering him and bringing about his death.
Man put 40 dates in jar; instructed wife to bring him one a night until his death.
Thieves heard about the Fortune-Teller's task to find them for the King.
First night one thief hid on Fortune-Teller's roof; heard "The first of 40, my dear!" as Wife brought Husband the first date.
Terrified thief feared discovery; fled back to thieves' den and told all.
Second night two thieves hid on roof; heard "Two of the 40, my dear!"
Fearing discovery, they fled back to den.
So on for 39 nights.
Last night, the leader of the thieves hid on roof; heard "It's the last and biggest of the lot."
Fearing for his life, he entered house and begged for mercy, promising to give back whole treasure if Fortune-Teller would not reveal any names.
Fortune-Teller agreed and returned all money, treasures, jewels to King; received rewards.
King and Fortune-Teller went hunting; on the third try, King caught locust in his hand; demanded Fortune-Teller reveal what was there.
Terrified, Fortune-Teller cast dice, muttered to himself:
"You hopped off safely once, little locust.
You hopped off safely twice, little locust.
The third time you are caught in a man's hand."
King amazed; rewarded him.
Fortune-Teller tried to get out of situation by acting crazy.
Naked, he ran into King's chamber, embraced him, carried him out of castle.
Just then, roof of King's chamber collapsed.
So Fortune-Teller claimed he had vision in bathtub and foresaw all.
King gave Fortune-Teller huge rewards; Fortune-Teller now stuck forever.
BUT, his wife went to public bath, spied wife of former Fortune-Teller in Chief.
Wife ordered other woman out of baths and thus got her revenge.
#2 - The Story of the Wolf and the Goat
Mother goat had four children: Alil, Balil, Ginger Stick and Black Eyes.
She left to get grass; warned kids to watch for wolf who might pretend to be her.
They must ask to see a hand at the crack of the door; if it was black, do not open; if it was red, ok.
Wolf overheard; dyed his hand red with henna.
Knocked at door; showed dyed red hand; kids let him in.
Wolf carried off all but Black Eyes, who hid.
Mother goat returned; Black Eyes told all.
The two climbed onto Wolf's roof and saw him making ash.
They threw dirt in it; wolf was furious.
Mother goat challenged wolf to a fight; they prepared.
Goat wrapped curds and butter in skin as gift; asked knife-grinder to sharpen her horns; he did so.
Wolf blew hot air into his skin and tried to trick tooth-puller into sharpening his teeth.
Tooth-puller discovered trick as hot air escaped from the skin...puff, puff, puff.
Tooth-puller pulled out all of wolf's teeth and replaced them with tooth-like wads of cotton-wool.
Goat and wolf now prepared for battle.
They came to a stream; goat pretended to drink; wolf bloated himself with water.
Goat jumped over stream.
Wolf so full he fell into stream as he jumped.
Goat tore Wolf's stomach open with her sharp horns.
Mother goat took all her kids home.
#3 - The Story of Susku and Mushu
A Mouse (Master Mushu) and a little Beetle (Miss Susku) lived close to each other.
Mushu stopped Susku as she was walking along: "Where are you going in your
beautiful cotton chader, silken vest and golden heels?" Susku: "I'm off to get married, eat only the finest white bread and ask no favor of any man."
Mushu immediately proposed.
Susku said if she got married, she refused to sleep on a basket of dates (too sticky-wicky), a skin of clarified butter (too greasy-weasy) or a sack of walnuts (too nobbly-wobbly). But she would sleep in Mushu's "own little arms."
Susku asked what Mushu would beat her with.
Mushu: "The pole of the weighing-machine."
Susku: "But I'll die." However, she did agree to let him beat her with his "own little tail."
Thus Susku consented to marriage.
Leaving the public baths, she fell into a stream and asked a farmer to tell Mushu to save her with a
little ladder of gold.
Mushu went to grocer, stole two carrots, gnawed them up and carved them into a ladder.
He saved Susku and so they were married, husband and wife.
One day Mushu asked his wife to cook some ash; Susku prepared soup with strips of dough.
Suddenly, a strong gust of wind blew her into soup; she drowned.
Mushu discovered his drowned wife; full of sorrow he threw ashes on his head.
A passing Crow questioned Mushu.
Mushu: [chorus] "Haven't you heard? Susku fell into the pot and I poured ashes on my head."
Crow sympathized, shook all his feathers out, and sat in tree.
Tree questioned Crow.
Crow: [chorus] "Haven't you heard? Susku fell into the pot, Mushu poured ashes on his head and the crow shook his feathers out.”
Tree sympathized, shook violently and shed all her leaves.
Passing Waters questioned Tree.
[Repeat chorus, adding "And the tree shed her leaves."]
Waters sympathized; turned muddy and began to water corn.
Corn questioned Waters.
[Repeat chorus, adding "And the waters turned muddy."]
Stalks of corn sympathized, put heads in ground and feet in air.
Passing Farmer questioned corn.
[Repeat chorus, adding "And the stalks of corn stood on their heads."
Farmer sympathized; fixed spade in ground, ran handle right through his body.
Farmer's daughter, bringing dinner, questioned Farmer.
[Repeat chorus, adding "And the farmer drove a spade through his body."
Farmer's daughter sympathized and threw bowl of curds all over her; ran to her mother.
Mother questioned Daughter.
[Repeat last chorus, adding "And your daughter is covered with curds."
Mother sympathized, cut off her two thumbs and threw them on the griddle.
Mother and Daughter ate the thumbs like delicious griddle-cakes.
#4 - The City of Nothing-in-the-World
(City’s name: Hich a Hich)
Girl fell; scraped her shin.
Went to aunt to get healing ointment.
Aunt didn’t have any; gave her two eggs to take to drug seller in bazaar to exchange.
Girl lost eggs on way.
Found coin in her pocket where eggs were.
Gave coin to people who built minaret out of a needle.
Girl climbed to top of minaret and looked out across city; spied her eggs.
One had turned into a hen in an old woman's house.
Other had turned into cock who was threshing corn in far-away village.
Girl went to get cock; demanded he be returned to her with all his wages.
Bargaining began, girl got 1/2 cow-load of rice crop.
Her share was 25 manns, but she had no bags to carry it away.
She killed a flea and skinned it to make "loading bag" of skin.
Put rice in loading bag; placed it on cock's back and left for market.
After two days, cock had sore back.
People told her to burn kernel of walnut and rub it on cock's back; she did so.
BUT overnight, walnut tree grew out of cock's back.
Kids threw rocks/dirt clods at cock.
Girl climbed branch of tree and saw that dirt clods had accumulated and covered 100 qasah.
She hired clod-breaker to level clods into rich, fertile dirt.
Girl planted musk and watermelons in dirt; next day found enormous melons.
She cut into watermelon and lost her knife.
Girl put on swimsuit and climbed into watermelon to find knife.
She found a big town with crowds and noise and traffic.
She went to a cook shop to buy a bowl of soup.
Licked the bottom of the bowl so hard it broke.
Found hair at bottom of broken bowl.
Pulled and pulled and pulled on hair; it was a camel's lead rope.
Seven strings of seven camels, all in a row, came out of bowl.
Girl's knife was tied to the tail of the last camel.
#5 - The Story of Nukhudu, or Master Pea
Husband came home to Wife: “Cook me a little ash, my dear, and then let someone bring it down to the shop for me.”
Wife cooked ash, then wished for a son to carry the bowl to Husband.
Suddenly, a pea hopped out of the ash: “I am your son. Fill the bowl and I’ll carry it to my father.”
Wife filled bowl, Master Pea put it on his head, carried it to his father.
Father: “Who are you?” Master Pea: “I am your son; my name is Nukhudu.”
Father laughed and then ordered son to fetch his farthing from the King.
Master Pea agreed, then ran, ran, ran; came to edge of stream and spied a woman washing clothes.
He asked woman to wash his cap; she said she had no more soap, so he put one foot on one bank and one on the other and drank the whole stream.
Ran, ran, ran; encountered Leopard; he explained his mission; Leopard decided to come too.
Leopard got tired after a couple of steps; Master Pea said “Take out your teeth and hop inside.”
Master Pea opened his big mouth wide; toothless Leopard jumped in.
Ran, ran, ran; encountered Wolf; explained all; Wolf decided to come too.
Wolf got tired; Master Pea said, “Take out your teeth and hop inside”; toothless Wolf jumped in mouth.
Ran, ran, ran; encountered Jackal; explained all; Jackal decided to come too.
Jackal got tired; Master Pea: “Take out your teeth and hop inside”; toothless Jackal jumped in mouth.
Master Pea ran, ran, ran until he reached the King; demanded farthing.
King laughed: “What a fool you are, you son of a burnt father! You cannot address your King thus.”
King ordered Master Pea to be thrown to his fighting-cocks that night so they could pick him to bits.
In the fighting ring, Master Pea opened his mouth, let Jackal out; ordered Jackal to strangle cocks.
Next morning, all the cocks were dead; Master Pea was alive and kicking.
King was angry: “Take him to my stables and throw him to my wild horses.”
In the stable, Master Pea opened his mouth, let Wolf out; ordered Wolf to eat up the horses.
Next morning, all the horses were torn into little bits; Master Pea was safe and sound.
King was furious: “Take him to the garden of my wild beasts.”
In the garden, Master Pea opened his mouth, let Leopard out; ordered Leopard to tear beasts apart.
Next morning, all the beasts were torn to pieces; Master Pea was well and happy.
King was livid: “Throw him in a room full of straw and set fire to it so he will suffocate.”
In the room, Master Pea squirted out all the water from the stream and put out the fire.
Next morning, Master Pea was alive, happy and sound asleep when they came for him.
King conferred with his Wazir; Wazir advised King to give Master Pea his farthing and be rid of him.
Left alone in the Treasury, Master Pea opened his big mouth and popped in all the gold, silver, precious jewels; Master Pea held up a small farthing in his hand, showed it to the King; ran, ran, ran back home.
Master Pea gave farthing to Father; instructed Mother to feed him ash, hang him upside down, and beat him with a little stick.
When she did, out poured all the King’s gold, silver, precious jewels.
The family became very rich, sat down to live their lives together: Father, Mother and Master Pea.
#6 - The Story of the Marten-Stone
A King had a daughter; he found fault with her all day long her whole life.
Princess grew very unhappy; took her Slave-girl and ran away.
They walked for days; came to a desert; found a door.
Princess pushed on door, fell inside into a garden, door slammed, Slave-girl left outside.
Princess strolled through beautiful garden; discovered handsome Prince asleep on terrace.
His body had been pricked and darned with thousands of needles; he could not wake up.
Piece of paper said if someone watched Prince for 40 days and 40 nights without falling asleep, eating only one walnut a day, drinking only what a walnut shell would hold, then pulling out all of the needles from his body, Prince would sneeze and wake up.
Day by day, Princess kept watch and when nearly asleep would talk to Slave-girl through the closed garden door to stay awake.
Princess got to 40th day with only three needles left to pull out.
Princess heard bells of a caravan; Slave-girl told her that passing caravan was bedding down.
Caravan leader agreed to lift up Slave-girl and put her into garden for 100 tumans.
Princess told Slave-girl the whole story.
Princess asked Slave-girl to watch the Prince because she felt ill from lack of sleep; drifted off.
Slave-girl lifted sheet from Prince's face and pulled out last 3 needles.
Prince sneezed and rose up.
Prince questioned Slave-girl; she told him whole story, pretending to be the Princess and the real Princess the Slave-girl.
Prince proposed; Slave-girl accepted.
The real Princess woke up but had no hope, so she became the Slave and the other the Princess.
Prince ordered that seven cities be decorated and illuminated; married Slave-girl.
Real Princess worked as servant in silence until after Prince and Slave-girl had 3 children.
Prince set off on journey; wife and children requested presents.
Real Princess/Slave-girl requested "marten-stone and china doll."
Prince got gifts for his family; went to caravanserai to get marten-stone and china doll. Merchant gasped and claimed that that woman must be daughter of a king.
Prince laughed it off, said it was for his Slave-girl; bought the marten-stone and china doll..
Merchant instructed Prince to give marten-stone to Slave-girl, said that she would finish her work and then sit in a quiet corner and tell the marten-stone and china doll everything. Finally, she would say: "Marten-stone, Marten-stone, You are marten, I am marten, Either you must break or I must break!"
Merchant instructed prince to run to her quickly and grasp her firmly around the waist; and if he didn't hold her tight she would break and die.
Prince did as he was told; heard the Princess' story; grabbed her around the waist; marten-stone burst and bled; Prince caressed and kissed the Princess.
Prince ordered that real Slave-girl, his wife, be tied to tail of wild horse and turned loose in desert.
Prince once again had seven cities decorated and illuminated and solemnly married the real Princess and they sat down to live their lives together.
#7 The Story of the Snake-Prince Sleepy-Head
The King’s wife and the Wazir’s wife were each expecting a child.
The two men vowed to marry their children to each other in the future.
A black snake was born to the King; a beautiful girl to Wazir.
King named his son Miz Mast o Khumar (Prince Sleepy-Head).
Wazir named his daughter Mer-Niga (Eye of Grace).
The children grew up and the King demanded they be married.
The reluctant, frightened Wazir agreed.
On wedding night, handsome Prince sloughed off skin of black snake.
When morning came, he once again became black snake.
The King heard rumors about changes.
King ordered Eye of Grace to prevent Prince from changing.
Eye of Grace asked Prince how she could burn his snake-skin.
Prince: "My skin could only be burnt in a fire made with shell of an egg, handle of a sweeping-brush and hair of a dog's tail. But if you burn my skin I shall disappear and you will never see me more."
Eye of Grace paid no heed; burned snake-skin next night.
Prince cried: "You have burnt my snake-skin, Never shall you see me more, unless you wear out seven pairs of iron shoes and seven paper cloaks in seeking me."
Then the Prince vanished.
Eye of Grace procured shoes and cloaks and started out; she walked all over in the world.
At last she wore out shoes and cloaks; came to stream, sat down to bathe her face.
Saw Slave-girl filling jug of water for her master, Prince Sleepy-Head.
Slave-girl said Prince was to be married soon to his aunt's daughter.
Eye of Grace dropped ring into water; instructed Slave-girl to pour water until ring fell into Prince's hands; Slave-girl obeyed.
Prince recognized ring; rushed to Eye of Grace; said she would be killed by aunt; gave her lock of his hair for protection; instructed her when in need to burn one hair and he would rescue her.
Prince blackened Eye of Grace's face; claimed she was new Slave-girl; Aunt agreed to keep her.
Prince warned Eye of Grace to do anything Aunt asked.
Aunt ordered Eye of Grace to sweep with pearl-studded brush; if one pearl fell out, Aunt would kill Eye of Grace's father.
All pearls fell out; Eye of Grace burned first hair; Prince appeared, restored pearls, did sweeping.
Suspicious, Aunt believed that Prince, not Eye of Grace, did the work.
Next day, Aunt gave Eye of Grace a colander; ordered her to sprinkle floor w/water; she could not; she burned second hair; Prince saved her; did sprinkling; again, Aunt believed Prince did the work.
Next day, Aunt gave Eye of Grace a casket full of biting insects, said it was pearls; instructed her to take it to a particular place, and when she was at a horse's manger, to throw some bones in there; to put down straw in front of tied-up dog, to leave all shut doors closed & go through any open door; but when she came to hollow full of dirt and blood, she must not go near.
Eye of Grace left but looked into casket; insects stung her; she burned third hair; Prince collected insects and closed casket; told Eye of Grace to do exact opposite of what Aunt said.
So Eye of Grace put straw in horse's manger, threw bones in front of dog, said "Peace be upon you!" to all doors; opened all shut doors; shut all open doors. And at hollow she said: "If only I had time, I should like to dip my finger into that nice honey and eat some."
Eye of Grace finally delivered casket to designated place; as she left, eerie voices tried
• to get open door to catch Eye of Grace; Door refused because Eye of Grace had closed it;
• to get closed door to catch Eye of Grace; Door refused because Eye of Grace had opened it;
• to get Dog to catch her; Dog refused because she had given him bones;
• to get Horse to catch her; Horse refused because she had given him straw;
• to get Hollow to catch her; Hollow refused because she called it honey.
When she returned, Aunt believed it was Prince who saved her.
Wedding day came; Aunt tied 10 burning candles to Eye of Grace's fingers to light the way.
She cried out with pain; Prince comforted her; saying what she felt was his own heart burning.
While wedding was going on, Prince asked Eye of Grace to bless everything in house and then leave.
Prince cut off head of new bride (aunt's daughter); tucked it under his arm; Prince and Eye of Grace ran away; took reeds, needle, salt and sea-foam with them.
Eye of Grace had forgotten to bid farewell to one one-pound weight; weight awakened Aunt.
Aunt and her Husband, both demons, flew into air in pursuit.
Prince threw down reed: [chorus]
O God, in the name of the Prophet Suleman
Let a reed-brake spring up
So that they cannot set one foot before another!
Aunt and Husband barely pushed through.
Prince threw down needle: [repeat chorus, changing second line to "Let a grove of needles spring up…"]
Aunt and Husband barely squeezed through.
Prince threw down salt [repeat chorus, changing second line to "Let a salt-marsh spring up…"]
Aunt and Husband barely waded through.
Prince threw down sea-foam: [repeat chorus, changing second line to "Let a sea spring up!"
A sea arose with bit of sea-foam in middle.
Aunt and Husband finally gave up chase at seashore; Aunt cried out to Prince to reveal how they had gotten across.
Prince instructed her and husband to stand on rock in middle of sea to cross over. Aunt and Husband stood on so-called “rock” (sea-foam); both sank and drowned.
Prince Sleepy-Head and Eye of Grace came back safely.
They decorated and illuminated seven cities and celebrated their marriage.
#8 The Story of Little Fatima
Fatima lived with mother and father; studied with learned woman, a mulla, who was a widow with a daughter also named Fatima.
Mulla instructed Fatima to ask her mother for vinegar, but not to take
any until mother stooped over the 7th jar; then to throw mother into jar;
fasten down top; and return to mulla. Fatima did so; was now motherless.
Mulla instructed Fatima to sprinkle coriander seeds over head; shake her head in front of her father and let seeds crackle in fireplace; tell her father the horrid things came because she had no mother to comb hair; tell father to take new wife.
Father hung liver over door; he would marry first woman to knock her head against it.
Mulla came to house; knocked her head on liver on purpose; father married her.
After 40 days, real mother emerged from vinegar jar, turned into yellow cow.
Mulla gave cow to Fatima; instructed her to take cow to meadow every day; gave her huge load of cotton to spin; Fatima could not complete task; Mulla beat her. Fatima in despair; cow appeared; ate up cotton; spit out spun cotton in exchange. Fatima not beaten this time; she and cow repeated these actions for many days.
One day strong wind blew cotton down well; Fatima desperate; cow instructed her to go into well; wish peace to the Div at well’s bottom; salam politely; do opposite of whatever Div told her to do.
Fatima obeyed; thus Div did not devour her.
• Div instructed her to break her (Div’s) head; instead, Fatima washed Div’s hair.
• Div ordered her to break water-jars; instead Fatima filled them with fresh water.
• Div commanded her to knock down house; instead Fatima swept all floors carefully with broom.
Gratified, Div told Fatima her cotton lay on top of the jewels in Treasury; gave permission for Fatima to take cotton and unlimited number of Div’s precious jewels.
Fatima took cotton only; climbed halfway up well’s wall.
Div ordered White Wind to shake her, no jewels fell out; then Fatima climbed almost to top.
Div ordered Black Wind to shake her, no jewels fell out; Fatima escaped.
Div blessed her: “Go away in safety, little girl, and may God make a moon grow on your forehead and a star on your chin!”; so it happened.
Fatima hid moon- and star-lit face under muslin kerchief at home; but when Mulla ordered her to fetch copper spoon in pitch-black night; Fatima had to open kerchief in order to see.
Mulla’s daughter spied; reported this to her mother; Mulla peeked; saw Little Fatima’s brightly lit face.
Mulla queried Fatima, who told whole truth, except she said she had obeyed the Div completely.
Mulla now treated her kindly with loaves of dates, butter, eggs; told her to show her stepsister the well.
Fatima told stepsister to go down well and obey Div.
• Div ordered girl to break her head; girl crushed Div’s head with stone.
• Div demanded girl to smash water-jars; she obeyed.
• Div commanded girl to break house apart; she did so.
Div sent girl to Treasury to take cotton and jewels; girl stuffed jewels in pockets and clothes; started to climb out of well. once again, Div commanded White Wind and then Black Wind to shake girl; winds buffeted her; shaking all the jewels out.
Div cursed her: “Go away in safety, little girl, and may God make donkey’s ears grow on your forehead and a donkey’s tail sprout from your chin!”; so it happened.
Mulla screamed; got scissors; cut ears and tail off; they grew back next morning.
Mulla and daughter went to wedding of King’s daughter; Mulla gave Fatima jar of beans and lentils to separate before her return;demanded Fatima must cry until jar was filled with tears.
Fatima hopeless; cow shook rooster and hen from her horns; they picked beans/lentils apart. Cow shook salt water from her horns; filled jar; shook silk clothes from her horns for Fatima.
Thus, Fatima went to palace in splendid clothes; she was seated in best seat.
Mulla and daughter sat with servants in outer hall where people took off shoes.
Wedding party ended, Fatima rushed out, King’s son fell in love at first sight,
followed her but she got away.
Running, Fatima lost slipper in stream, King’s son found it, ordered search to find girl whose foot fit into it.
At last, at Fatima’s house, Mulla brought out own daughter; no fit.
Cock flew on top of oven; began to crow; Mulla hit at him; messengers stopped her and listened.
You seek the owner of that fine shoe?
The oven is covered up, I fear,
And that’s the reason you can’t see ‘er,
But Little Fatima’s very near,
Under me in the oven here,
She is the owner of that fine shoe,
Cock a doodle-doo!
Messengers pulled Fatima out of oven; tried on slipper; it fit; she was carried off to marry King’s son.
Mulla and stepsister died of annoyance.
#9 The Story of the Grateful Corpse
The Chief of the Merchants gave 100 tumans to son to trade at bazar.
At cross-roads, Son saw dead man hanging, men beating him; learned that man died owing 100 tumans; men wanted passers-by to donate and clear his debt; Son gave them 100 tumans; they buried man.
Son got more money from father; traded at bazaar; going home, tested
fellow-caravaners to see if they would stand by him in case of an accident.
Borrowed water jug; went off-road; delayed return; caravan left him behind.
Son returned to city; went with second caravan; same thing happened.
Tried third time; fellow-travellers missed him; came back to find him.
Caravan bedded down for night; giant Youth approached from desert; offered to be Son’s servant.
Son agreed; Youth offered to stand sentry each night and vowed to bring caravan to safe end; but he made all caravaners promise not to question him or interfere with him; whatever he did they were to pretend to be his servants; they all agreed.
One night Youth saw leaping flames in desert; he seized his sword and approached blaze.
Discovered 40 thieves sitting on one carpet; sat knee to knee and cheek by jowel with them; Youth urged thieves to rob King’s Treasury with him; they agreed.
They all walked to King’s Treasury; strong Youth climbed up first; pulled each thief up behind him.
As each got to top, Youth lopped off his head, threw heads and bodies down inside wall; no one below suspected; once in Treasury, Youth arranged bodies in a row, placed leader’s head on his chest.
In King’s court, Youth discovered lion plotting to kill King; Youth slew him; put body on throne.
In King’s bedroom, King was asleep beside food, water and qalian; Youth marked the King’s leg, ate some food, drank some water, took a few whiffs of King’s pipe; Youth returned to caravan.
Next day in old fort they discovered Div, who robbed/killed/ate all caravaners.
Div attacked Youth; he cut her in half with his sword; found money, jewels, prisoners in her fort.
Youth freed prisoners; locked fort; hid keys; returned to caravan; all were asleep; he cried: “Get up! Morning has come.”
Meanwhile, King awoke at palace; discovered food/drink missing and pipe smoked; found lion on throne; Wazir advised King that 40 thieves’ bodies were lined up in Treasury; King threatened death to anyone in court who spoke about these events.
King promised his daughter to any man who could explain what happened; many came but none told the truth; King despaired of finding the right man.
Wazir advised that strange merchant had just arrived in city; King sent for him.
Son of Chief of Merchants reluctant but Youth urged him to obey; they went together to King.
Son pleaded ignorance, turned to Youth who explained whole story, including mark on King’s leg.
For reward, Son asked for King’s daughter in marriage; 700 strings each of camels and mules; loading bags, ropes, pack-saddles, muleteers and all other necessary items; King agreed; so it happened.
Going home, Youth demanded half the reward; Son agreed but could not divide King’s daughter.
They quarreled; Youth tied up girl to cut her in half; Son wept bitterly; Youth raised his sword; black snake flew out of her mouth and fled into desert.
Youth explained he meant only to drive black snake out of girl’s mouth; that all treasure now belonged to Son; revealed that he was the corpse Son paid 100 tumans for at the cross-roads.
#10 - The Story of the Jealous Sisters
Father had three daughters; mother died.
Father asked daughters to make sherbatu for him to dip his bread in for breakfast.
They did so, eating a little themselves, saving the rest for their father on the table.
The two eldest sisters snuck downstairs in the middle of the night; ate their father’s share.
They refilled the bowl with dirt and rubbish; put it back on the table.
In the morning, the angry father found the bowl, said nothing, but wished them ill.
Later that day, he took them out for an excursion with some bread and a skin of water for a picnic.
They went out far into the desert to the ruins of an old house.
The father told daughters to sit down and wait while he washed his hands.
He hung the skin of water up on a wall, cut a tiny hole in it, went away by himself.
Daughters waited, listening to the drip of the water, thinking he was washing up.
Splashing stopped; girls grew frightened; could not find “Father Splash-Splash” or anyone else.
Hand in hand, they wandered even further out into the desert, completely lost.
King’s Son was hunting; spied the three maidens; questioned them; took them home with him.
Married the youngest, fairest daughter.
Prince ordered the two elder sisters to serve his wife (their younger sister), and not to wander off.
They were jealous; tried to do their younger sister harm at every opportunity.
Young wife became ill; sisters bribed attending nurse to stay silent and bring them two puppy dogs
The sisters hid the puppy dogs away.
Young wife recovered; bore two lovely twins: a boy with golden hair, a girl beautiful as the moon.
Elder sisters stole babies; substituted puppies; put babies in closed box; threw them in river.
King’s son furious that his wife had puppies; ordered her to stand in a pillar of lime at the cross-roads to be stoned by passers-by.
Fuller found babies; took them home; raised them; sent them to mulla to learn to read and write.
Every day children saw the woman (their mother) at the cross-roads and noticed how everyone threw stones at her.
But children threw rose-leaves; woman wept bitterly; revealed that she recognized her own babies.
King’s Son heard all; sent for fuller, who told whole story.
Discovered date and year children were found matched the appearance of the puppy dogs.
King’s Son called for nurse, who under threat of death revealed the treachery of the two elder sisters.
He sent for sisters, asked them what was proper punishment for woman who does evil.
Elder sisters thought he would punish younger sister further; recommended that two vicious dogs be put in each of her pantlegs, that she be tied to tail of a wild horse and driven into the desert.
King’s Son put a vicious dog in each of the elder sisters’ pantlegs; tied one sister to wild horse’s tail and strapped the other over horse’s back; drove them into desert, saying: “Evil overtake the evildoer!”
He released his wife from her pillar; took her to the public baths; brought her back in great honor.
He brought his children home.
They all sat down to live their lives together.
#11 The Story of the Orange and Citron Princess
King sent Son to school; Mulla loved and blessed boy: “God grant that the Princess of the Orange and Golden Citron may fall to your lot!”
King’s Son inquired about Princess; Mulla told him to ask his mother, who ordered boy never to ask again on pain of death; but boy fell
violently in love with Princess even without having seen her.
Mulla then advised boy to force mother to fry eggs; when pan was on fire to grab her by wrists, threaten to cut them off and throw them into the pan if she didn’t reveal Princess’ whereabouts.
Mother pleaded in vain; told Son he was forfeiting his life; finally told him to buy seven pairs of iron shoes, travel for seven years, come to a well in one year, salam the huge Div at the bottom, kiss her hand, inquire about the Princess; do what Div told him to do; King’s Son obeyed; Div first wanted to eat him, but he praised her and begged for help.
Div relented; agreed to take him to Princess if he promised to marry her (Div) after he married the Princess; then give her his bride as Slave-girl; King’s son agreed; Div warned that her seven sons would tear him to bits and eat him when they returned; she turned him into needle, pinned it to corner flap of her head kerchief. Her seven sons returned, claimed to smell a human being; Div denied hiding anyone; sons ate dog’s and donkey’s flesh; slept; departed in morning.
Div restored King’s Son to human form; sent him with letter to older sister in next well; informed him there were seven sisters in seven wells with seven sons each; that he could tell Div’s ages by number of horns encircling their heads (1,000 years each horn); instructed him to obey each and every Div.
He traveled for seven years; gave letter to each sister who then saved him from sons by changing him into flower, broom, fan, water-jug, knife; each time forcing him to agree to marry them.
Giant seventh Div had seven horns; King’s son salamed, bowed, kissed her hands, feet, knees.
Div agreed to take him to Princess if he promised to marry her and make his new bride her slave; he agreed; her seven sons returned; she turned boy into skin rug, sat on it; her angry sons searched the house to no avail; they departed in morning.
Div restored King’s Son to human form; prayed over pieces of reed, glass, needle, knife, salt, charcoal and sea-foam; gave them to him.
Div instructed him to walk down road to garden; knock, give money to gardener, enter, find orange tree by stream, give much money to gardener to buy all oranges, cut each orange in half, throw into stream, orange that cried “Ah!” contained Princess, tuck orange under arm, fly away.
Div warned that all Divs and Peris in love with Princess; they would pursue him to death; so when they closed in on him, he must throw down the reed first, repeat this refrain:
O God, in the name of the Prophet Suleman,
Let this desert, waste within waste and world upon world,
Become a reed-brake!
King’s Son must never look back; if the Divs crossed reeds and closed in again, he was to repeat refrain with glass (place of glass), then needle (needle grove), knives (place of knives), salt (salt marsh), charcoal (fire), sea foam (sea); he obeyed; Divs and Peris tried to stand on sea foam in middle of sea, sank, drowned.
King’s Son approached home, peeled orange, out stepped maiden beautiful as moon on fourteenth night; her hair covered whole body, but naked underneath, so he left to get her clothes and servants; ordered her to hide in tree to await his return.
Dark-skinned Slave-woman from nearby house fetched water from stream, spied face reflected from beautiful Princess in tree; thought it her own reflection; pride soared; smashed water-jars, vowed never to work again; but in home mirror discovered she was same old Slave-woman; blamed smashed jars on winds; wept, begged Mistress to forgive her.
Mistress sent her back to stream to wash baby’s clothes; again Slave-woman saw same reflection, vowed never to work again, tore up baby’s clothes, threw them in stream, but in home mirror saw real reflection; blamed strong winds again; wept, begged forgiveness; Mistress beat her first, then sent her out to walk baby.
Slave-woman again saw reflection, about to kill baby for same reason, Orange and Citron Princess in tree stopped her, explained all; Slave-woman begged to become her slave; Princess agreed, but instructed her to take baby home first.
Slave-woman returned, climbed up tree by long hair of Princess; offered to wash and comb her tangled, dirty locks; they climbed down; Princess fell asleep; Slave-woman slit her throat; threw body into stream; blood of Princess fell on ground, sprouted into rose tree with flowers beautiful and sweet; Slave-woman took place of Princess in tree.
King’s Son returned; stunned at sight of new “Princess”; Slave-woman said sun burnt her skin dark, crows pecked pock-marks on her face, voice changed from shoo-ing off crows; promised to return to normal after one year.
King’s Son befuddled; took beautiful rose tree home to palace with them; and wept every day under rose tree for beloved Princess; pined away.
Jealous Slave-woman had son; ordered despised rose tree chopped down; made cradle out of wood; baby boy always got sick in cradle; she ordered cradle burned.
At that moment, old neighbor woman begged a little fire from King’s kitchen; at hearth saw some wood dancing about, flinging itself around; she took this wood; gave some to carpenter to make a box for her spinning cotton.
Old woman lived alone; she returned home one day to find whole house washed, sprinkled; swept; another day and another came, same thing happened; old woman astonished.
Third day she hid on neighbor’s roof; saw rose-wood box turn into beautiful maiden who cleaned her house; old woman crept down, seized girl, demanding truth; girl begged only to be her daughter.
King’s Son got thin (sides of his stomach stuck together), weak, sad since rose tree chopped down; took stroll on rooftop, spied real Princess, his beloved, in old woman’s yard; cried out and fainted.
He sent for old woman; forced her to tell truth; she told whole story.
King’s Son sent for Princess, threw his arms around her, weeping; found out about the wicked Slave-woman’s deeds.
King’s Son ordered evil woman and her son tied to tail of wild horse and driven out into desert.
Seven cities were decorated and illuminated; he married the Orange and Citron Princess; she became his wife, he became her husband; they began to live their lives together.
#12 The Story of the Baker and the Grateful Fish
Every morning Baker mixed his dough, threw burnt and spoiled bread into river for fish food.
Traveling Merchant offered to pay 100 tumans for servant who would do no work for 40 days but on 40th day would work two hours; Baker agreed to so serve; for 39 days Merchant was kind and generous.
On 40th day, Merchant took Baker, mules and loading-bags out of town; they killed cow, skinned it, loaded skin and meat on mules; went on.
At foot of mountain Merchant lighted fire, took cow’s skin and ordered Baker to climb into skin; unsuspecting Baker did so; Merchant tied up neck of skin; threw meat of cow into fire.
Large bird passing by seized skin with Baker inside; carried it off to the mountain; pecked until hole appeared in skin; emerging Baker scared bird away.
Baker yelled at Merchant how to get down; Merchant told him to throw down jewels first; he would then show Baker the way.
Baker discovered jewels everywhere, threw all of them down.
Merchant then disclosed there was no way down, Baker would die there as the others had and be devoured by vultures and crows; Merchant returned to town with jewels.
Baker looked around, saw thousands of bones; decided he would rather be eaten by fish in river, climbed to mountain top, threw himself down thousands of feet into river.
Fish recognized him as Baker who had fed them; they formed a raft to carry him safely to shore.
Months passed; Baker spied Merchant making same offer of employment; disguised himself; took job.
Cow killed, skinned as before; they went to foot of mountain.
Merchant ordered Baker to get into skin; Baker acted confused, didn’t know how to do it; Merchant got in first to show him how; Baker tied top of skin; giant bird carried it off to mountain top.
Baker revealed himself to Merchant, said he knew how to escape; Merchant threw down the jewels; Baker told him to jump into river.
Merchant jumped, river carried him away, he drowned.
Baker returned to town with jewels; settled down to take his ease.
#13 The Tale of the Wise Qazi
Weak-minded villager found horse-shoe in desert; took it to wise Qazi to identify.
Qazi laughed at stupidity; pretended it was the moon that grew old and fell to Earth.
Later Crow flew into village; perched on treetop; said: “Caw, caw.”
People summoned Qazi to decipher what “God’s messenger” (Crow) was saying.
Qazi climbed tree to talk to Crow; villagers tied ropes to his feet in case Crow tried to abduct him.
He poked head between two boughs, tried to tie Crow’s leg down, but Crow flew away.
Villagers thought Crow was carrying Qazi away; pulled on ropes as hard as they could.
Qazi’s head caught between two boughs, while body pulled to ground.
Villagers puzzled; thought Qazi used to have head; asked Qazi’s wife if that was true.
She said, “I can’t be sure whether he had or not. I only know that when he munched his bread his beard used to wag.”
#14 The Story of the Wolf-Bride
Father went to akhund to obtain his son’s horoscope.
Akhund foretold: “Your son is fated to be torn in pieces by a wolf.”
Father built underground chamber and placed son in it; hired Akhund to tutor child.
Son learned to read and write; finally reached marriage age; his uncle had beautiful daughter.
The youth married Uncle’s daughter; ceremony lasted seven days and seven nights.
Fathers brought newlyweds to underground chamber, put their hands together, left them alone.
Son put arms around girl’s waist, she turned into wolf, tore him to pieces, turned back into girl.
Servant women found her in morning; inquired what happened.
Girl remembered only that she turned into wolf, tore youth to pieces, turned back into girl.
She knew not why.
Amid great sorrow and lamentation, men said: “Whatever is willed by fate, that verily comes to pass.”
#15 Tortoise Bowl-on-the-Back and the Fox
Tortoise known as Bowl-on-the-Back was sowing seed when Fox passed, saying: “May God give you strength”; corn sprang up in summer, Fox again passed: “God give you strength”; at harvest-time, after corn was threshed and winnowed, Fox brought huge bags to threshing-floor: “I have come for my share”; Tortoise: “Your share of what?” Fox: “Didn’t I say ‘God give you strength’”? Back and forth, back and forth they quarreled. They agreed to race from a distance to threshing-floor; whoever got there first owned all the grain. Tortoise told his brother to hide on the threshing-floor; when Fox showed up saying “Eight and twenty, you’ve lost!” he was to step forward as if he had already finished the race. Fox ran as hard as he could, found Tortoise’s brother already there, saying “Eight and twenty, you’ve lost!” Fox screeched: “May your house be ruined!” Tortoise: “You’re not allowed to stand about here, be off!” and he turned Fox out. Fox hung his head in shame and confusion.
And so everyone who is greedy is put to shame.
#16 The Story of the Impious Thorn-Gatherer
Thorn-gatherer went out every day to mountain, brought back thorn-bushes, sold them for a qran a load.
He berated God for forcing him to earn his daily bread like this; vowed to quit this country of God’s and go to somewhere where there was no God.
He left; came upon a man; told him all; man offered to share his 200 tumans to trade on their journey.
They bought and sold and made profit of 300 tumans.
Thorn-gatherer wanted to split profit right there; other man refused to divide until they returned to spot where they first entered partnership.
Passing a village, they bought piece of bread and earthen jug of water; continued until they reached the spot.
Other man put 300 tumans as one lot; bread and water as another; told Thorn-gatherer to take his pick.
Thorn-gatherer refused, wanted to share bread and water and split the money between them; other man would not agree.
Thorn-gatherer took money, other took bread and water; went their separate ways.
Thorn-gatherer walked and walked; grew hungry and thirsty; felt as though he would die.
Came upon a man with bread; asked price; man said 100 tumans; Thorn-gatherer hesitated; man said: “If you want it, take it; if you don’t want it, don’t take it.” Thorn-gatherer paid and ate the bread.
Further on, he saw man with water; he also wanted 100 tumans; Thorn-gatherer sighed, paid and drank the water.
Thorn-gatherer developed terrible stomach pains; another man had a pill; Thorn-gatherer paid 100 tumans; took pill; got well.
He returned to his old village; stranger asked him why he was back in country of God; he said he was still going to leave; stranger said Thorn-gatherer would have to pay 300 tumans a day, which was due to God; Thorn-gatherer objected saying that God had never paid him more than a qran a day so why should he pay God 300 tumans a day.
Stranger reminded him that he had paid 200 tumans for bread and water a few days previously plus 100 tumans for medicine to make him well; Thorn-gatherer agreed.
Stranger said: “Then know that if God wished to afflict you every day He could do so, and if He wished not to give you bread He could likewise withhold it from you. Know, then, that God exists.” He then confessed to being an angel and vanished.
Thorn-gatherer repented his former actions, impious speech, remained in country of God.
In time, he became possessed of much wealth.
#17 The Story of the Man Who Went to Wake His Luck
Two brothers, one rich, one poor; poor brother went to rich brother’s ranch; discovered man in black felt coat rounding up mares and foals; demanded explanation; Horseherd said, “I am your brother’s Luck.”
Poor Brother decried his own lack of Luck; Horseherd directed him to cave to find his own Luck.
Poor Brother came to garden; Gardener told him to ask Luck why his garden yielded no fruit.
Next he came to mountain ruled by King who was woman, though no one knew that; King wanted to know why no one would obey her orders.
Next he came upon Wolf, who wanted to know why he got nothing to live on.
Next he came upon Thorn-gatherer, who wanted to know why he had to earn his daily bread by gathering thorns.
Poor Brother promised all to ask Luck these questions.
Luck asleep on his stomach; Poor Brother prodded Luck with his toe to wake him; Luck annoyed; wanted to continue to sleep, but agreed to answer questions.
Poor Brother asked him Gardener’s question; Luck replied, “There are four earthenware jars full of gold coins hidden in his garden. After he digs them up, his garden will flower”; to King’s question, he said: “Say to him: ‘You are a woman, that’s the reason why people don’t obey you.’”; to Wolf’s question, he replied: “Whenever you meet a foolish man, eat him. That’s the provision that has been made for you”; to the Thorn-gatherer’s question, he said: “Tell him that as long as he lives, things will go on just the same with him, neither better nor worse.”
Poor Brother began journey home; told Thorn-gatherer the answer; told King the answer; King wanted to marry him, but he refused, claiming not to be such a fool once he’d seen his Luck; told Gardener the answer, Gardener offered to share, he refused; told the Wolf: “Whenever you see a foolish man, eat him. That is your portion.”
Wolf thanked Poor Brother; asked him to look up at the sky to count all the stars.
Poor Brother did so; Wolf grabbed him by the throat saying: “I’ve seen no greater fool than you!”
Wolf ate Poor Brother up.
#18 The Fox and his Order from the King
Fox went to village to find hen to eat; dogs chased him out of hen-houses; he flew through a school-house and piece of paper stuck to his tail.
At home, brother foxes asked him about paper; Fox said it wan an order from the King that dogs were not to attack him; brother foxes thrilled, offered to go with him any time he wanted to steal a hen.
Party of Sowars (Horsemen) with dogs and hounds approached; dogs took off after foxes, who ran this way and that to escape until they were worn out, exhausted, upset.
Brother foxes furious: “You told us you had an order from the King that dogs were not to chase you.”
Fox replied: “That’s right, but the dogs have to be able to read to obey the order!”
Brother foxes fumed that they had never been in such a tight spot; they had been completely tricked.
#19 The Story of the Merchant of Isfahan and his Faithless Wife
Rich man with much property had handsome son.
Daughter of merchant walked by, veil flew up, son (with 100 hearts) fell in love at first sight; so in love he had barely enough strength to get home.
Rich man sent emissary to girl’s father to ask for marriage; girl’s father agreed with condition that Son go to Isfahan to discover why Merchant kept his wife in chains, fed her with dog leftovers.
Young man turned away from city toward desert; lost his way, ended up in unknown wood; slept at foot of chenar tree.
A sound “shif, shif” awoke him; he saw dragon in tree making its way toward bird’s nest; little ones screeched in terror; man threw rock, killed dragon (who had eaten baby birds other years); fell asleep.
Simurgh returned to nest with food, saw young man sleeping at base of tree, wrongly assumed he was murderer, got rock to throw down “I shall dash his brains into his mouth”; unhappy baby birds squawked; told her whole story; she dropped rock elsewhere; protected sleeping youth with her wings.
After waking, young man told Mother bird of his task; she warned him, but told him that after he asked Merchant about his wife and Merchant tried to cut off his head, he was to beg to go to roof to pray, promising he would then allow Merchant to kill him; then while on rooftop, he was to burn her feather; she would come, fly him home. She gave him feather.
Simurgh then flew him to Merchant’s castle; Merchant welcomed him, took him into elaborate dining room where Merchant groomed/fed/kissed his dog, dressed in silk, at table; when dog was full, Merchant tied him up.
Merchant left room to wife’s chamber, placed iron chain around her neck, beat her with switch, fed her dog’s leftovers, beat her again until she fainted; Merchant then tied her up, too.
Young man refused to eat with Merchant until he explained his wife beating; Merchant threatened death if he told story, brought bones to prove how many he had killed; young man insisted on truth.
Merchant confessed he adored wife, built castle and enormous water tank for her; wife would not bathe with Merchant in tank because she refused to expose her private parts to fish, so he poisoned fish.
Merchant discovered starving horses in stable, learned wife had ordered them to be ridden to excess.
He discovered wife was drugging him with his nightly wine; so he threw wine out, pretended to sleep.
Wife stole his seal, wrote order for groom to prepare horse for her to ride, Merchant followed her.
They arrived at cave where hideous Div lived; wife entered cave; Merchant secretly followed, found out that wife and Div were passionate lovers; he shouted out in rage; turmoil erupted.
Wife ordered Div to kill Merchant; huge battle ensued, wife joined in against husband. but dog bit Div, enabling Merchant to cut off Div’s head; he praised dog, berated wife (“Shorn-locks”) for her evil treachery/faithlessness; dragged her back to castle in chains, adopted and worshiped faithful dog.
Merchant told young man that he must now kill him so that no one would know the story.
Young man begged to go to roof to pray; Merchant agreed because there was no way out of castle.
On roof, young man burned feather, Simurgh appeared, carried him off on her wings.
Merchant devastated by young man’s escape, sliced off his wife’s head with his sword, then the dog’s head, finally drove dagger into his own body; all died.
Simurgh let young man off at tree; young man returned to his country, told whole story; married girl.
The story is ended.
#20 The Story of the Prince Who Didn’t Exist
King had three sons, two dead, one didn’t exist. also had three treasure-houses, two empty, third had no door; third treasure-house held three bows and arrows, two broken, third had no string; also, three knives, two broken, third had no blade; in stable were three horses, two dead, third had given up the ghost; three sets of saddles and bridles, two rotted away, third left without trace.
The King’s Son who didn’t exist went into treasure-house with no door, carried off bow and arrow without string, knife without blade; went into stable, saddled horse who had given up the ghost with saddle and bridle without trace; mounted and rode off to hunt.
Came upon three deer, two dead, third lifeless; shot stringless bow and arrow at lifeless deer, cut off its head with bladeless knife, tied it on back of horse who had given up ghost.
Proceeded until he came to ruin with three rooms in it; two had fallen down, third had no roof; he went into roofless room, saw three cooking pots, two with no sides, third with no bottom.
King’s Son cut up deer with bladeless knife, put into pot with no bottom, lit fire under it until bones were burnt; meat hadn’t even heard news of fire; he ate until thirsty from meat that had no news of fire.
King’s son mounted horse who had given up ghost, rode until he reached three streams of water, two dry, third hadn’t a drop in it; he stooped over stream without a drop; drank until he lost his head.
#21 The Story of the Wolf-Aunt — A Moral for Husbands
Old and poor Thorn-gatherer had wife, seven daughters; sold thorns each evening in bazar; wife and daughters spun all day; the family was barely able to keep from starving.
One evening he returned very late; call to evening prayer had already sounded; he met old woman dressed in outdoor clothes, with black mantle and white veil, coming out of a door.
Old woman greeted him warmly, calling him Brother, asked where he had been, how many were in his family, what he did to earn his bread; she invited him in to tell her everything and pour out his woes.
Thorn-gatherer told his newly-discovered Sister everything; she told him she was rich, had many goods, chattels, storehouses, landed properties, wealth; explained they had been separated many years before, but she recognized him; she invited him and his whole family to come live with her.
Thorn-gatherer told wife and daughters the good news; they packed bags, walked to Sister’s house; she entertained them kindly with good food, nice clothes; little by little they all became fit and well.
Wife touched by Sister’s kindness and generosity; suggested they cook her a nice dish; Thorn-gatherer wondered what they could cook; Wife sent him to bazar to buy liver; Wife washed liver well, cooked it nicely, sent daughter to deliver it; child peeped in room, saw Aunt had turned into wolf and was eating a man; child cried out, fainted; Wife/Mother revived her, asked what happened; child told all.
Wife told husband that Sister was planning to fatten them up and eat them all; husband berated her, pointing out that his Sister had only been kind to them; he refused to listen or believe.
Wife woke up daughters; stole away in night to old home, leaving husband behind.
Next day he laughed and told Sister what Wife had said; she laughed, waited until night, turned into wolf, jumped on him in his bed; gave him choice of her eating him from head to foot (“juicy”) or foot to head (“tasty”); he told her to do whichever she preferred; Sister tore him into tiny pieces, ate him.
Thorn-gatherer should have listened to his Wife.
#22 The Story of Taling, the Half-Boy
Wealthy man had seven wives, no children; he felt worthless, abandoned everything, went off into the world.
He sat down at cross-roads; at sunset, saw a dervish approaching.
Dervish saw man’s despair, wanted to help; man told Dervish to mind his own business; Dervish threatened to cut off man’s head if he kept silent.
Man confessed he had seven wives, no children, no one to leave all his wealth to; therefore, he was looking for a place to live alone.
Dervish took seven apples from his pocket; gave them to wealthy man, told him to have his wives eat them, promised that children would result.
Wealthy man rejoiced, returned home, gave his wives apples to eat.
Youngest wife ate only half the apple; set it aside for later; sheep came along and ate it up.
In 9 months, all wives had children, each one a son; youngest wife also had son, but he had only one arm and one leg, they called him Taling (“One-Leg” or “Half-Boy”). All others were normal; grew up.
Eldest son prepared for journey, led a caravan, arrived at cave, discovered seven pots full of cooked ash; they entered cave, sat down; saw man’s beard rising out of ground; beard came up and up until it reached 40 plus yards; beard’s owner, Forty-Yards-and-One-Span-Beard, appeared; challenged him to wrestling match; if eldest son threw other man to ground, he would get all seven pots; if other way around, beard’s owner would then own eldest son, along with his belongings, and bind his hands.
Other man was a Div; he won match; bound eldest son and tied his hands with hair of beard, collected all belongings and brought them into cave.
Eldest son spied beautiful woman nearby, both of them bound in chains; many other prisoners as well; each day Div would kill, roast and eat one of them.
One by one the five other brothers came along in the same way and met the same fate.
Taling wanted to search for his brothers; his father pointed out that with only one arm and one leg he didn’t have a chance; begged him not to go; Taling went anyway.
He arrived at Div’s cave, saw seven pots of ash on fireplace, saw white beard coming up out of ground measuring forty yards and one span, owner appeared and challenged him to wrestling match; reward: if Taling won, he must cut off Div’s head, roll it down hill, and follow after it wherever it might go; if Div won, all Taling’s property was Div’s, who would bind up Taling and tie his hands; Taling agreed.
Match began; Taling called out name of God, heaved Div up and flung him to ground, cut off his head, sent it rolling down hill, followed it, came to cave containing his brothers and other prisoners, set them free with all their belongings.
Taling’s brothers were displeased that he succeeded where they failed; decided to lower him on rope into pit to get their property, then to cut rope, letting him fall to his death; no one would ever know the truth.
Taling overheard, praised God to himself, went into pit on rope, passed up brothers’ yakdans (leather-covered chests) one by one, told brothers he would be in last chest, but hid in next-to-last chest; they pulled it up, then let last chest drop back into pit and shatter to pieces killing Taling, they believed.
Brothers returned home with all belongings; bragged about their adventures and bravery, how they killed the Div; said they hadn’t seen Taling anywhere.
Taling shouted out from inside chest, telling the true story; brothers put to shame, hung their heads, mother proud that Taling had performed wonderful deeds; everyone celebrated except brothers.
The story is ended.
#23 The Story of the Boy Who Became a Bulbul
Widower with small son and daughter took another wife, so children would have stepmother.
Father and son set out to collect thorn-bushes for firewood; stepmother told them to make wager that whoever collected more firewood should cut off the head of the other; they agreed; son collected more than father, but son got thirsty as they were tying up bundles, ran off to stream to drink.
Father took some of son’s thorn-bushes, added them to his own; son returned; they weighed bundles.
Father’s heavier, so son lay down, father cut off his head; carried head home to stepmother.
Stepmother put head in pot on fire to boil; hungry sister came home from mulla; stepmother told her to take some soup from pot; sister recognized top-knot of brother’s hair, ran crying to tell mulla.
Mulla instructed her not to eat any soup and after soup was gone to gather all the bones, wash them in rose-water, bury them in corner of garden, plant a reed to mark place.
Every Friday evening, sister was to repeat a sura of the Qur’an; sprinkle rose-water over spot.
Sister obeyed; on seventh Friday evening she saw bulbul peep out of hollow of reed, singing:
I am a bulbul, who lost my way,
Through mountains and valleys I wandered astray.
An evil father foiled me;
A wicked woman boiled me;
My sorrowing sister my bones she found,
In rose-water she washed them round,
And buried them in the garden ground.
For seven weeks she has come to pray
Beside my grave each seventh day,
And sprinkled rose-water where I lay,
Till up out of the watered earth
A bulbul at last I have come to birth.
With a whirr Bulbul flew away to needle-maker’s shop; sang song again; needle-maker asked him to sing again; bird ordered him to shut eyes; when needle-maker’s eyes were shut, bulbul sang, seized paper of needles, whirred away.
Bulbul flew to his stepmother’s spinning-wheel, perched on its foot, sang same song; stepmother asked him to sing again; bulbul ordered her to open mouth and shut eyes; she did; in a whish like lightning, bulbul threw paper of needles down her throat and whirred away.
Bulbul flew to sugar-stick-maker’s shop; sang same song; was asked to sing again; told man to close eyes, bulbul sang, seized big stick of sugar-candy and whirred away.
Bulbul flew to sister’s spinning-wheel, perched there, sang same song, sister begged him to sing again; she had to shut her eyes; he popped stick of sugar-candy into her mouth and whirred away.
#24 The Story of Haider Beg and Samamber
Haider Beg was one of Shah Abbas’s Qizilbash. Samamber, skilled in
medicines, was daughter of the Qazi of Kashmir; Samamber came once a year to mountain in Bakhtiari to gather medicinal herbs.
Haider Beg came to same area for sport; in her tent tied with silk ropes through pegs of gold, he saw Samamber, beautiful beyond compare.
Longing to speak with her, Haider Beg approached; Samamber’s woman companion informed him that the tent belonged to a maiden, he was not allowed to enter; Haider Beg did not listen, continued toward tent. Samamber ordered her followers to strike tent, load and move on.
They came near lake, with Haider Beg following. Samamber spied him, berated him for his greed in trying to steal a defenseless woman’s property, said she owned fighting he-lion in jungle; she moved on out of sight.
As Haider Beg rounded curve, Samamber jumped out from behind rock, sword in hand; fight ensued; Haider Beg held back because she was a woman, Samamber smote him across his forehead; he fell to ground by rock, bleeding profusely.
Samamber returned to camp, felt deep remorse, pity, confessed her actions to her companion, requested her to take bag of money and kerchief to wounded man, believing money would pay for funeral or for medical care, the scarf to shade his face; companion did so; Samamber and party left for Kashmir.
Haider Beg lay at foot of rock for days; passing caravan picked him up; he recovered but head wound still visible; he proceeded to Isfahan and presented himself to Shah.
Shah wondered who had wounded Haider Beg, who had never been wounded before; Haider Beg told whole story to Shah in private; Shah requested H-B to bring Samamber to court.
H-B discovered Samamber was about to wed her cousin; H-B found lodging, bribed children with silver shahis to identify bridegroom as he came out of baths by shouting “Samamber has a lover in Iran!” Bridegroom heard children’s chant, went livid with jealousy, but took Samamber’s hand, led her to her private apartment, then cursed her for having a lover in Iran; they quarreled.
H-B had followed bridegroom to S’s apartment, cut hole in back of fireplace in her room, listened to all.
Bridegroom threw Samamber down, kicked her, beat her; S remembered and cried out for H-B, saying that he had been kind to her during their fight before, now she would obey him if he would save her.
HB prayed to God for help; he had snuck into room and stolen bridegroom’s sword earlier; now bridegroom could not find it.
H-B sprang out from fireplace with sword; following Samamber’s orders he beheaded bridegroom; they lowered themselves out window by rope, saddled horses, rode away. Next day came, bridegroom’s mother looked for son, found him murdered, wrapped in quilt; women wailed; body buried.
Upon arrival, H-B took Samamber to Shah’s harem; Shah asked her if she wanted H-B or him; she chose H-B because of all he had endured on her behalf and because she had wounded him so badly
previously; Shah kissed her for her choice, offered any of his possessions to her.
H-B and Samamber married; celebration lasted seven nights, seven days; marriage was consummated.
H-B’s friend Mahmud was like a brother; he came for extended visit; passed Samamber in street, wind blew up her veil, he was so smitten with passion he could barely make his way home; his face turned yellow like saffron.
H-B asked about his color; Mahmud told all; H-B went to Samamber, told her he was giving her to his friend in marriage as a present; she wailed and lamented; H-B was adamant, did not want to grieve his friend; ordered Samamber to obey; their marriage was annuled by Qazi, new marriage took place between Mahmud and Samamber; celebration lasted seven days, seven nights.
Samamber wept and wailed without end; Mahmud begged her in God’s name to tell him the truth; through her tears, she told all. Mahmud proclaimed her his sister, not his bride; shedding his own tears, he went to H-B, said he had been put to shame by H-B’s actions, that Samamber would be only a sister to him in this life and the next.
Marriage was annuled; H-B and Samamber were again married; Mahmud later married another wife and settled down in Isfahan where they all abode together until they died.
#25 The Story of the Shepherd Who Found a Treasure
Two shepherds tending their flocks were pasturing them out in open country; first shepherd fell asleep, second shepherd saw green fly come out of sleeper’s nose into open air.
Second shepherd milked some sheep, got bowl of milk, put rennet in it; milk turned to cheese.
He laid knife across milk bowl; fly came and lighted on knife, walked from one end to other of knife; second shepherd kept watching it all the time; then fly flew off knife and lighted on middle stone of three in row; sat there long time.
Second shepherd cried out; told sleeping shepherd that flock had escaped, wild beast would eat them; first shepherd only wanted to go back to sleep.
Second shepherd knew green fly was first shepherd’s soul, which had left his body during sleep; he offered to pay all wages he would get for tending flock to buy sleeping shepherd’s dream; they agreed.
First shepherd related that in his dream (1) he went over iron bridge, beneath his feet was a great abyss; water below that was white; he crossed bridge and sat in place where it was all rocks and broken stones under his feet; he knew there was treasure hidden there, but second shepherd had awakened him before he could find it.
Second shepherd drove his flock away, went to camp, got his wages; gave them to sleeping shepherd.
He then went to rocks where fly had landed, pulled up middle stone; found four jars full of precious jewels; he took them home, hid them, never worked as a shepherd again.
(1)The green fly was really the sleeping man’s soul, and the dream was what it had seen when it came out of him. The iron bridge was the knife and the white water the milk in the bowl.
#26 The Story of the King and the Two Blind Beggars
Two blind men went every day to sit by side of road to beg; first one said, “Akbar, give me something,”; second man prayed: “God of Akbar, do Thou give unto me!”; their king’s name was Akbar.
Passing by, King heard them; put 100 tumans at bottom of dish of ash, said to servants: “Take this to blind man who said: ‘Akbar, give me something’”; messengers did so.
First blind man ate a little of the ash, gave the rest to second blind man.
Second blind man put his hand into dish, found money under ash, put it in his bag, went on his way.
Morning came, first blind man said: “Akbar, give me something”; second blind man prayed: “O God of Akbar, Thou hast given, give again!”
Shah listened, realized that God had given the money to the second blind beggar, not the first. He said: “Good fellow, you said: ‘Akbar, give me something’ and I gave you something, but the God of Akbar gave it to that other blind man. It’s not my fault. Ask God for it. If God wanted to give you anything, He has plenty He can give you.”
#27 The Cowherd Who Woke the Princess
Old woman had son, only a cowherd but very wise, clever and intelligent.
Son asked Mother to go to Kadkhuda and get his daughter to become Son’s wife; Mother pointed out how poor they were, he was only a cowherd, etc.; Cowherd told her to get the girl; the rest was none of her business.
When Mother arrived, Kadkhuda agreed to marriage after her son took letter to a particular town and brought him an answer; Mother carried letter home.
Cowherd set out on journey; traveled months with little food; in a town, he passed aromatic chilau-maker’s shop; soon became apprentice to chilau-maker to earn food; Master Cook was pleased with all that Cowherd did.
One day Cowherd saw men’s heads hanging in spikes of castle; Master Cook told him King had daughter who promised to wed any man who could wake her up three times without talking to her or putting his hand on her. But anyone who tried and failed would lose his head.
Cowherd wangled introduction to Princess, said he would wake her that night; agreed to her terms.
That night, Cowherd took Akhund with him, sat near sleeping Princess, told this story to mulla:
Three traveling men—a mulla, a carpenter, a tailor— rested one night in dangerous place; agreed to keep watch in turn. Carpenter first: got sleepy, took axe, hewed piece of wood to look like a man, woke Tailor for his turn. Tailor second: saw carved man, took scissors, cut out suit of clothes, dressed wood figure; woke Mulla. Mulla last: saw dressed wood man, did ablutions, prayed to God to give life to lifeless wood man; Lord of Universe bestowed life on wood man. Upon waking; each man laid claim to the living wood man because of his unique contribution.
Cowherd turned for answer to Akhund, who said mulla was rightful owner; Cowherd claimed it belonged to Tailor for clothing him; fierce quarrel began. Princess, only pretending to be asleep, jumped into argument, saying it was Carpenter’s because he had shaped it. She was awake! Cowherd insisted on written token that he had won first round; Princess agreed, went back to feigned sleep.
Cowherd told this story to Akhund: Two brothers, one a bullying tyrant, the other pious and devout, in mountains as night fell; Bully required water, but Devotee refused to go to stream with him, Bully left by himself; later Devotee got thirsty, went to stream by himself; Bully saw him, thought he had been up to mischief with his (Bully’s) wife or property, drew sword, provoked fight; Devotee also drew sword; they beheaded each other. The wife cried out to God that this happened for no reason; she put heads by their bodies, prayed, God brought them both back to life, but heads were reversed. They immediately began to quarrel, the Bully on Devotee’s body claimed wife, the Devotee on Bully’s body claimed wife.
Cowherd turned for answer to Akhund, who said wife belonged to Bully’s body; Cowherd disagreed, said wife belonged to Bully’s head; fierce quarrel. Wide-awake Princess jumped in, said wife belonged to Bully’s body, that a person’s body was what really counted. She gave Cowherd second victory token.
Princess had something in box; if Cowherd could identify it, she would be his lawful property; if he could not, she would no longer claim right to kill him because of his other victories. She brought out box, Cowherd put hand in, said:
Round things they are, round as a ball,
Pleasant to see and to taste are all,
Oranges, lemons, and pears withal.
Cowherd guessed correctly, asked for third token in writing and necklace as pledge; he and Akhund left.
Morning came, King discovered that daughter had lost, so Cowherd married Princess; they celebrated marriage; couple settled down to live happily together.
#28 The Story of Ramazan of Hamadan and the Poor Labourer
Poor man forced to work as common labourer; toiled hard for several years; finally saved 100 tumans, put them in bag, started his journey home.
Night came, Labourer slept under tree in desert, put money under his head; someone stole it all.
Morning came, two men approached, asked what happened; man told whole story; men cast divining earth to find money; told Labourer it was in hamban; he promised to reward them; one man said:
To recover your hamban
Seek the town of Hamadan
And the house of Ramazan
Who dwells amidst the misgeran.
They all traveled together to quarter of coppersmiths, found house of Ramazan, entered, accused Ramazan of stealing Labourer’s money; angry Ramazan denied accusations.
Travelers went to Governor with complaints; Governor ordered parties away until next day when he would hold trial by wager. If travelers won, Governor would recover money and return it to them; if they failed, he would have them mutilated.
All returned next day; Governor asked: “If you can say what these things in the bag are, then Ramazan has stolen your money, but if you cannot tell what they are, then your claim will be dismissed.”
Man who picked up bag said:
Round things, round as a ball are these,
But balls they are not, for God decrees
That sight and taste alike they please.
He put bag down; his friend picked it up.
Round things, round as a ball are these,
Sight and taste alike they please,
Oranges, lemons, and pears from the trees.
So it was proved that Ramazan had stolen the money. (1)
Governor ordered Ramazan to pay the claimants 200 tumans; Governor himself gave them 100 tumans.
The travelers divided the money amongst themselves, departed each to his own home.
Labourer began to trade, gradually became merchant, bought land, cows, sheep, and prospered.
(1) Query? Was Ramazan really guilty? (This question appeared in 1919 book)
#29 The Story of the Fate of the King’s Only Son
A King had no children; in time he had son; instructed his three Astrologers to divine Prince’s destiny.
First astronomer: “When he is 14 years old, a snake will bite him.”
Second astronomer: “When he is 14 years old, he will fall down from a height.:
Third astronomer: “When he is 14 years old, he will be drowned in water.”
King reasoned that Prince was only a child, all three disasters could not possibly happen; decided two of the Astronomers must be lying; made all three sign agreement that whoever prophesied falsely would have his head chopped off; all three signed and went their separate ways.
King gave his son to guardian, warning Prince was not to go outside garden in courtyard; on top of tree in the garden, sparrow built nest; at foot of tree sat large tank of water.
When Prince was 14, he climbed tree to bring down nest; a snake hidden in nest bit his hand, he fell out of tree into tank of water; drowned; King devastated; Prince’s body buried.
Verily, whatsoever is written on the forehead cannot prove false.
#30 The Story of the Golden Lamp-Stand
Merchant had beautiful daughter, mother dead.
Merchant jealous, wanted daughter to marry ugly old rich friend, kept her hidden away.
Locked her in house every day. Daughter told Merchant she would marry his friend, but first she wanted money enough to get golden lamp-stand made, big as a house, that could carry 40 little lamps at once; he agreed.
Daughter told goldsmith to make lamp-stand that looked normal on outside, but inside contained rooms where she could live, with a door that locked from inside and didn’t show on the outside; Goldsmith brought lamp-stand to house; Daughter stocked it with 4-months’ supply of food, took off shoes, placed them at edge of well, disappeared into lamp-stand, closed and locked door.
Merchant came home, frantic to find daughter, found her shoes by well, assumed she had drowned
herself, mourned, blamed himself. He told no one of her death.
Merchant began to hate lamp-stand, it reminded him of his guilt, took it to goldsmith’s shop to sell.
King’s son passed by, spied lamp-stand, bargained for it, took it home to castle, put it in his bedroom.
Every evening, he had supper brought to his room, ate some of it, laid the rest aside for breakfast; found that someone had eaten his left-overs, wondered who it was; next night the same, and so on.
Decided to stay awake, about midnight saw girl step out of lamp-stand, eat his left-overs, go back into lamp-stand, shut the door. He watched her again and again and fell in love with a hundred hearts.
One night as she ate he grabbed her wrist, demanding to know if she was human, jinn or peri; girl confessed all; they declared love for each other, decided to spend every evening together in pleasure, conversation and love, but she would hide in lamp-stand during days.
King’s slave-woman overheard voices, peeped in, saw Prince with beautiful maiden; word got around; reached ears of uncle’s daughter, betrothed to Prince; she instructed slave-woman to discover where girl came from; learned that she went in and out of lamp-stand.
While Prince was hunting, uncle’s daughter demanded that lamp-stand be put in her room, Prince’s mother refused at first but finally gave in. Uncle’s daughter lit all 40 candles one by one, finally burned Merchant’s daughter, forced her to leave lamp-stand, throw herself into tank of water. Slaves wrapped her in piece of felt carpet, one slave took body to throw in moat, but heard noise coming out of carpet, discovered girl, took her home, gave her medicine, food, God healed her; she stayed with him.
Prince returned from hunting, everyone too afraid to tell him what happened; he grew ill with sorrow, developed fever for 40 days, took no medicine, no food. All physicians in kingdom examined him, no diagnosis; finally, one said that Prince was in love, nothing would cure him but sight of his beloved.
King sent out crier out announcing that eligible men were to cook a dish, bring it to castle to tempt Prince to eat; old slave man came home with news, Merchant’s daughter cooked barley meal, hid ring given to her by Prince in it, sent old man to castle. Prince, touched by old man, ate spoonful of ash, got hungry, ate it all, discovered ring. Prince called for old man, who told all. Prince’s messengers brought Merchant’s daughter to castle; they were reunited, prince decorated, illuminated seven cities; marriage took place. Poor old slave man got robes of honor, presents and high offices in plenty.
Glossary of Persian Words
ash - Thick soup, something like Scotch broth, made of meat, vegetables, rice, often flavored with some kind of vinegar or bitter pickle. Thin strips of ribbon-like dough are often put into it.
bazar - Streets with rows of raised, open-fronted shops. The streets forming a bazar and the places round about are frequently roofed in.
bulbul - A bird, like a nightingale.
burnt “Son of a burnt father,” etc. - Muhammadans believe that at the Resurrection, people’s bodies will be revived and rise up covered with flesh and skin. If their bodies have been burnt there will be nothing to revive, and if you can’t produce your body, of course you (if there is any “you” left) won’t be allowed into Paradise. So these expressions mean that a man’s father will never get into Heaven, or that you will take care that he doesn't. That is annoying to his son and discreditable to the family.
chader - The all-over mantel which the Muhammadan woman wears out of doors. It is usually black. In Kerman, how ever, among the poorer classes, it is white, and in country villages it is often “butcher’s blue.” The chader is like a nun’s outer habit, except that it covers the head as well as the whole body down to the feet. Well-to-do women have the chader of black silk or satin and cover their face with a veil of fine white cloth with drawn- thread work to form a peephole across the eyes. Poorer women have the chader of cotton and draw it right over their faces as a veil when out-of-doors
chenar - The Oriental plane-tree that grows to a very large size.
chilau - A favorite dish of plain cooked rice.
dervish - A Muhammadan “holy man” who lives by begging.
hamban - A bag made of a goat-skin prepared to keep dry things in, such as flour.
henna - A sort of plant, the leaves of which are dried and ground into powder. This powder is used for dyeing certain parts of the body, especially the hair and beard, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, and the
fingernails and toenails. It is moistened and bound on the hands or head with cotton bandages and left so all night By morning, the color has caught. The color is a bright orange red, but when the hair is dark, it only gives it a sort of dark red undertone. On the other hand, when an old man dyes his white beard with henna, it turns a bright orange color. Most of the henna used in Persia is grown in the districts of Bam and Nermashir, east of Kerman. The bulk of it is then taken and ground in Yezd, whence it is sent by caravan all over the country.
Iran - Iran is what the Persians themselves call Persia; Irani is “Persian” or “a Persian.”
jinn - Jinns are beings something between men and angels. The “genie” of the Arabian Nights is the same word, but the Arabian Nights’ “genie” is more like the Div of these Persian stories. The Qur’an tells about jinns, and many Persians quite believe in them. They are supposed to appear sometimes as cats, etc., and people are said to be “possessed” by them when we only think they are suffering from an epileptic or hysterical fit.
kadkhuda - Headman of a village; literally, “the master of the house (or houses).”
mann A measure of weight of very variable value. The Kermani mann is about six and three-quarter pounds
marten-stone - It is uncertain what this is. Presumably it is in some way connected with the animal whose name it bears.
misgeran - Coppersmith.
mulla or akhund - A Muhammadan holy man, able to read and write, and knowing a great deal about religion. For this reason, he is usually a teacher. He can also perform burial and marriage ceremonies, and write divorce
certificates. A woman teacher may also be called a mulla. The Kermanis and Bakhtiaris also call anyone wh can read and write a mulla.
nasteran - A tree-rose, growing to 20 or 30 feet in height, of an umbrella shape, not unlike a weeping willow, but that all the branches spring from the ground. The long sprays are covered with small glossy dark green foliage, an studded thick with large white blossoms like big dog-roses which have velvety petals, a yellow center, and a most delicious perfume.
peri - A supernatural being, usually a woman, beautiful and kind, but unfortunately liable to fall in love with human beings, which is inconvenient for their real wives and husbands. Peri is really the same word as the English “fairy.”
pulau - A dish in which the principal ingredient is rice, well washed and cooked in ghee or butter. Almonds, raisins, and shredded fried onions are mixed up in it, and often well-cooked chicken or other meat.
qalian - A pipe in which the smoke is cooled by passing through cold water. It is sometimes called “bubble- bubble” in English from the noise it makes.
qasab - A square measure, roughly about 25 square yards.
Qazi - A sort of magistrate who dispenses justice according to Muhammadan religious law. He is also allowed to perform marriage ceremonies and to write divorces.
Qizilbash - The “Red Caps” were hired soldiers of some Moghul race, who used to be thought the best and bravest soldiers of the Persian army, in the days when there was one.
qran - A silver coin; ten qrans are equal to one tuman. For some time before the Great War, a qran had been worth about fourpence or fivepence, but long ago it used to be worth more, and during the War it went up to ninepence or tenpence.
Qur’an - The holy book of the Muhammadans, corresponding to the Bible of Christians.
Ramazan - The Muhammadan month of Fasting, when the pious Muslim (i.e., Muhammadan) will not eat, drink, or smoke from sunrise to sunset.
salam - “Peace” greetings
Shah - King; King of Persia.
Shah Abbas - The greatest of the later kings of Persia; he reigned from A.D. 1587 to 1629, and so was partly contemporaneous with Queen Elizabeth I.
shahi - A small copper coin equal to one-twentieth part of qran. It seems from one of the stories that there existed in older times a “silver shshi” of some value.
sherbatu - A sort of treachly liquid into which you can dip your bread. It is made with loaf sugar, butter, and spices.
simurgh - A magic bird. He is sometimes said to have been the griffin.
sowar - A horseman, rider.
Suleman - “Hazrat Suleman” is our “King Solomon.” The Muhammadans believe that he was a great magician and understood the language of the beasts and birds. The Kermanis and Bakhtiaris usually pronounce his name Sulemun.
sura - A chapter of the Qur’an.
tuman - A Persian “dollar” equal in value to ten qrans. The tuman, like our guinea, isn’t a real coin, it is only a “money of account.” In former days, the tuman used to be worth three pounds and upwards; nowadays (1919) it varies in value from about 4 to 8 English shillings.
wazir - King’s chief adviser and administrator.
yakhdan - A sort of wooden mule-trunk, covered with leather.
Information about the printed book:
Size: 8-1/2 x 11
Plastic covers front and back
30 detailed story skeletons from Persia dated 1919
Glossary of Persian words
Breakdown of Themes/Motifs
Index of Keywords
Clip Art of Persian illustrations from 1919
Price: $15.00 plus shipping
Created 2004; last update 6/25/10
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