« السابقةمتابعة »
matter where thou hidest thyself. For my father is the great Rustem.”
Rustem fell down in agony when he heard his son's words, and realized that his guile had prevented him from being made known the day before. He examined the onyx bracelet on Sohrab's arm ; it was the same he had given Tahmineh. Bethinking himself of a magic ointment possessed by KaiKaus, he sent for it that he might heal his dying son; but the foolish king, jealous of his prowess, refused to send it, and Sohrab expired in the arms of his father.
Rustem's heart was broken. He heaped up his armor, his tent, his trappings, his treasures, and flung them into a great fire. The house of Zal was filled with mourning, and when the news was conveyed to Samengan, he tore his gar ments, and his daughter grieved herself to death before a year had passed away.
To Kai-Kaus and a wife of the race of Feridoun was born a son called Saiawush, who was beautiful, noble, and virtuous. But his foolish father allowed himself to be prejudiced against the youth by slanderous tongues, so that Saiawush fled from the court and sought shelter with Afrasiyab in Turan. There he speedily became popular, and took unto himself for a wife the daughter of Afrasiyab. But when he and Ferandis his wife built a beautiful city, the hatred and jealousy of Gersiwaz was aroused, so that he lied to Afrasiyab and said that Saiawush was puffed up with pride, and at last induced Afrasiyab to slay his son-in-law.
Saiawush had a son, Kai-Khosrau, who was saved by Piran, a kind-hearted nobleman, and given into the care of a goatherd. When Afrasiyab learned of his existence he summoned him to his presence, but the youth, instructed by Piran, assumed the manners of an imbecile, and was accordingly freed by Afrasiyab, who feared no harm from him.
When the news of the death of Saiawush was conveyed to Iran there was great mourning, and war was immediately declared against Turan. For seven years the contest was carried on, always without success, and at the end of that time Gudarz dreamed that a son of Saiawush was living called Kai-Khosrau, and that until he was sought out and placed at the head of the army, deliverance could not come to Iran. Kai-Khosrau was discovered, and led the armies on to victory; and when Kai-Kaus found that his grandson was not only a great warrior, skilled in magic, but also possessed wisdom beyond his years, he resigned the throne and made Kai-Khosrau ruler over Iran.
Kai-Khosrau ruled many long years, in which time he brought peace and happiness to his kingdom, avenged the murder of his father, and compassed the death of the wicked Afrasiyab. Then, fearing that he might become puffed up with pride like Jemschid, he longed to depart from this world, and prayed Ormuzd to take him to his bosom.
The king, after many prayers to Ormuzd, dreamed that his wish would be granted if he set the affairs of his kingdom in order and appointed his successor. Rejoiced, he called his nobles together, divided his treasure among them, and appointed his successor, Lohurasp, whom he commanded to be the woof and warp of justice. Accompanied by a few of his faithful friends, he set out on the long journey to the crest of the mountains. At his entreaties, some of his friends turned back; those who stayed over night, in spite of his warnings, found on waking that they were covered by a heavy fall of snow, and were soon frozen. Afterwards their bodies were found and received a royal burial.
Lohurasp had a son Gushtasp who greatly desired to rule, and was a just monarch, when he succeeded to the throne. Gushtasp, however, was jealous of his son, Isfendiyar, who was a great warrior.
When Gushtasp was about to be overcome by the forces of Turan, he promised Isfendiyar the throne, if he would destroy the enemy; but when the hosts were scattered, and Isfendiyar reminded his father of his promise, he was cast into a dungeon, there to remain until his services were again needed. When he had again gained a victory, he was told that the throne should be his when he had rescued his sisters from the brazen fortress of Arjasp, where they had been carried and imprisoned.
On his way to this tower Isfendiyar met with as many ter
rible foes as Rustem had encountered on his way to the White Deev, and as successfully overcame them. Wolves, lions, enchantresses, and dragons barred the way to the impregnable fortress, which rose three farsangs high and forty wide, and was constructed entirely of brass and iron. But Isfendiyar, assuming the guise of a merchant and concealing his warriors in chests, won his way into the castle, gained the favor of its inmates, and made them drunk with wine. This done, he freed his sisters, slew the guards, and struck down Arjasp.
Instead of keeping his promise, Gushtasp hastened to set his son another task. Rustem was his Pehliva, but it pleased him to send forth Isfendiyar against him, commanding him to bring home the mighty warrior in chains. Isfendiyar pleaded in vain with his father. Then he explained the situation to Rustem, and begged that he would accompany him home in peace to gratify his father. Rustem refused to go in chains, so the two heroes reluctantly began the hardest battle of their lives.
At the end of the first day, Rustem and Rakush were severely wounded, and on his return home Rustem happened to think of the Simurgh. Called by the burning of the feather, the kind bird healed the wounds of the hero and of Rakush, and instructed Rustem how to slay his foe. * Seek thou the tamarisk tree, and make thereof an arrow. Aim at his eye, and there thou canst bilind and slay him."
Rustem followed the directions, and laid low the gallant youth. Isfendiyar died exclaiming, “My father has slain me, not thou, Rustem. I die, the victim of my father's hate ; do thou keep for me and rear my son!”
Rustem, who had lived so long and accomplished such great deeds, died at last by the hand of his half-brother. This brother, Shugdad, stirred up the king of Kabul, in whose court he was reared, to slay Rustem because he exacted tribute from Kabul.
Rustem was called into Kabul by Shugdad, who claimed that the king mistreated him. When he arrived, the matter was settled amicably, and the brothers set out for a hunt with the king. The hunters were led to a spot where the false king had caused pits to be dug lined with sharp weapons. Rustem, pleased with his kind reception and suspecting no harm, beat Rakush severely when he paused and would go no further. Stung by the blows, the gallant horse sprang forward, and fell into the pit. As he rose from this, he fell into another, until, clambering from the seventh pit, he and Rustem fell swooning with pain.
“ False brother !" cried Rustem ; “ what hast thou done? Was it for thee to slay thy father's son? Exult now; but thou wilt yet suffer for this crime !” Then altering his tone, he said gently : “ But give me, I pray thee, my bow and arrows, that I may have it by my side to slay any wild beast that may try to devour me."
Shugdad gave him the bow; and when he saw the gleam in Rustem's eyes, concealed himself behind a tree. But the angry Rustem, grasping the bow with something of his former strength, sent the arrow through tree and man, transfixing both. Then thanking his Creator that he had been given the opportunity to slay his murderer, he breathed his last.
SELECTIONS FROM THE SHAH-NAMEH.
THE RAJA OF INDIA SENDS A CHESSBOARD TO NUSHIRVAN.
" This account of the game of chess, written by Ferdusi more than eight hundred years ago, is curious as showing the antiquity of the game, its resemblance to it as now played, and the tradition that it was invented in India, and came originally from that country.”
A Mubid related, how one day the king
For the King of the world had received advices