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. SHÂHNÂMEH 

(The Epic of Kings)

THE STORY OF SIYÂWASH


 

On a certain day it came about that Tous, Giwe, Goudarz, and other brave knights of Iran went forth to chase wild asses in the forests of Daghoui. Now when they were come into the wood, they found therein a woman of surpassing beauty, and the hearts of Tous and Giwe burned towards her in love. And when they had questioned her of her lineage, and learned that she was of the race of Freydoun, each desired to take her to wife. But none would give way unto the other, and hot words were bandied, and they were like to come unto blows. Then one spake, and said-

"I counsel you, let Kay-Kavous decide between you." And they listened to the voice of the counsellor, and they took with them the Pari-faced, and led her before Kay-Kavous, and recounted to him all that was come about. But Kay-Kavous, when he beheld the beauty of the maid, longed after her for himself, and he said that she was worthy of the throne; and he took her and led her into the house of his women.

                Now after many days there was born to her a son, and he was of goodly mien, tall and strong, and the name that was given to him was Siawosh. And Kay-Kavous rejoiced in this son of his race, but he was grieved also because of the message of the stars concerning him. For it was written that the heavens were hostile unto this infant; neither would his virtues avail him aught, for these above all would lead him into destruction.

                In the meantime the news that a son had been born unto the King spread even unto the land of Rostam. And the Pahlewan, when he learned thereof, aroused him from his sorrow for Sohrab, and he came forth out of Zabolestan, and asked for the babe at the hands of its father, that he might rear it unto Iran. And Kay-Kavous suffered it, and Rostam bare the child unto his kingdom, and trained him in the arts of war and of the banquet. And Siawosh increased in might and beauty, and you would have said that the world held not his like.

                Now when Siawosh was become strong (so that he could ensnare a lion), he came before Rostam, bearing high his head. And he spake, saying-

"I desire to go before the King, that my father may behold me, and see what manner of man thou hast made of me."

                And Rostam deemed that he spake well. So he made great preparations, and marched unto Iran with a mighty host, and Siawosh rode with him at their head. And the land rejoiced when it looked on the face of Siawosh, and there was great joy in the courts of the King, and jewels and gold and precious things past the telling rained upon Rostam and Siawosh his charge. And Kay-Kavous was glad when he beheld the boy, and gave rich rewards unto Rostam; but Siawosh did he place beside him on the throne. And all men spake his praises, and there was a feast given, such as the world hath not seen the like.

                Then Siawosh stayed in the courts of his father, and seven years did he prove his spirit; but in the eighth, when he had found him worthy, he gave unto him a throne and a crown. And all was well, and men had forgotten the evil message of the stars. But that which is written in the heavens, it is surely accomplished, and the day of ill fortune drew nigh. For it came about that Soudabeh beheld the youth of Siawosh, and her eyes were filled with his beauty, and her soul burned after him. So she sent unto him a messenger, and invited him to enter the house of the women. But he sent in answer words of excuse, for he trusted her not. Then Soudabeh made complaint before Kay-Kavous that Siawosh had deafened his ear unto her request, and she bade the King send him behind the curtains of the women's house, that his son might become acquainted with his sisters. And Kay-Kavous did that which Soudabeh asked of him, and Siawosh obeyed his commands.

                But Soudabeh, when she had so far accomplished her longing that she had gotten him within the house, desired that he should speak with her alone. But Siawosh resisted her wish. And three times did Soudabeh entice him behind the curtains of the house, and three times was Siawosh cold unto her yearning. Then Soudabeh was wroth, and she made complaint unto the King, and she slandered the fair fame of Siawosh, and she spread evil reports of him throughout the land,

and she inflamed the heart of Kay-Kavous against his son. Now the King was angered beyond measure, and it availed nought unto Siawosh to defend himself, for Kay-Kavous was filled with the love of Soudabeh, and he listened only unto her voice. And he remembered how she had borne his captivity in Hamavaran, and he knew not of her evil deceits. And when she said that Siawosh had done her great wrong, Kay-Kavous was troubled in his spirit, and he resolved how he should act, for his heart went out also unto his son, and he feared that guile lurked in these things. And he could not decide between them. So he caused dromedaries to be sent forth, even unto the borders of the land, and bring forth wood from the forests. And they did so, and there was reared a mighty heap of logs, so that the eye could behold it at a distance of two farsangs. And it was piled so that a path ran through its midst such as a mounted knight could traverse. And the King commanded that naphtha be poured upon the wood; and when it was done he bade that it be lighted, and there were needed two hundred men to light the pyre, so great was its width and height. And the flames and smoke overspread the heavens, and men shouted for fear when they beheld the tongues of fire, and the heat thereof was felt in the far corners of the land.

                Now when all was ready, Kay-Kavous bade Siawosh his son ride into the midst of the burning mount, that he might prove his innocence. And Siawosh did as the King commanded, and he came before Kay-Kavous, and saluted him, and made him ready for the ordeal. And when he came nigh unto the burning wood, he commended his soul unto God, and prayed that He would make him pure before his father. And when he had done so, he gave rein unto his horse, and entered into the flame. And a great cry of sorrow arose from all men in the plains and in the city, for they held that no man could come forth alive from this furnace. And Soudabeh heard the cry, and came forth upon the roof of her house that she might behold the sight, and she prayed that ill might befall unto Siawosh, and she held her eyes fastened upon the pyre. But the nobles gazed on the face of Kay Kavous, and their mouths were filled with execrations, and their lips trembled with wrath at this deed.

                And Siawosh rode on undaunted, and his white robes and ebon steed shone forth between the flames, and their anger was reflected upon his helmet of gold. And he rode until he was come unto the end of the pathway, and when he came forth there was not singed a hair of his head, neither had the smoke blackened his garments.

                Now when the people beheld that he was come forth alive, they rent the welkin with their shouting. And the nobles came forth to greet him, and, save only Soudabeh, there was joy in all hearts. Now Siawosh rode till he came before the King, and then he got him off his horse, and did homage before his father. And when Kay-Kavous beheld him, and saw that there were no signs of fire about him, he knew that he was innocent. So he raised his son from off the ground, and placed Siawosh beside him on the throne, and asked his forgiveness for that which was come to pass. And Siawosh granted it. Then Kay Kavous feasted his son with wine and song, and three days did they spend in revels, and the door of the King's treasury was opened.

                But on the fourth day Kay-Kavous mounted the throne of the Key’ianides. He took in his hand the ox-headed mace, and he commanded that Soudabeh be led before him. Then he reproached her with her evil deeds, and he bade her make ready to depart the world, for verily death was decreed unto her. And in vain did Soudabeh ask for pardon at the hands of the King, for she continued to speak ill of Siawosh, and she said that by the arts of magic alone had he escaped the fire, and she ceased not to cry against him. So the King gave orders that she be led forth unto death, and the nobles approved his resolve, and invoked the blessings of Heaven upon the

head of the King. But Siawosh, when he learned it, was grieved, for he knew that the woman was beloved of his father. And he went before Kay-Kavous, and craved her pardon. And Kay-Kavous granted it with gladness, for his heart yearned after Soudabeh. So Siawosh led her back, and the curtains of the house of the women hid her once more behind them, and the King was glad again in her sight.

                Then it came about that the love of Kay-Kavous for Soudabeh grew yet mightier, and he was as wax under her hands. And when she saw that her empire over him was strengthened, she filled his ear with plaints of Siawosh, and she darkened the mind of the King till that his spirit was troubled, and he knew not where he should Turn for truth.

                Now while Kay-Kavous thus dallied behind the curtains of his house, Afrasiyab made him ready with three thousand chosen men to fall upon the land of Iran. And Kay-Kavous, when he learned it, was sad, for he knew that he must exchange the banquet for the battle; and he was angered also with Afrasiyab, and he poured out words of reproof against him because he had broken his covenant and had once more attacked his land. Yet he made him ready to lead forth his army. Then a Mubid prayed him that he would not go forth himself, and he recalled unto Kay-Kavous how twice already he had endangered his kingdom. But Kay-Kavous was wroth when he heard these words, and he bade the Mubid depart from his presence, and he sware that he alone could Turn the army unto good issue.

                But Siawosh, when he heard it, took heart of grace, for he thought within his spirit,

"If the King grant unto me to lead forth his army, perchance I may win unto myself a name of valour, and be delivered from the wiles of Soudabeh."

So he girded himself with the armour of battle and came before the King his father, and made known to him his request. And he recalled unto Kay-Kavous how that he was his son, and how he was sprung from a worthy race, and how his rank permitted him to lead forth a host; and Kay-Kavous listened to his words with gladness, and assented to his desires. Then messengers were sent unto Rostam to bid him go forth to battle with his charge and guard him. And Kay-Kavous said unto his Pahlewan-

"If thou watchest over him, I can slumber; but if thou reposest, then doth it beseem me to act."

                And Rostam answered and said,

"O King, I am thy servant, and it behoveth me to do thy will. As for Siawosh, he is the light of my heart and the joy of my soul; I rejoice to lead him forth before his enemies."

                So the trumpets of war were sounded, and the clang of armour and the tramp of horsemen and of foot filled the air. And five Mobeds bare aloft the standard of Kaaveh, and the army followed after them. And they passed in order before Kay-Kavous, and he blessed the troops and his son, who rode at their head. And he spake, saying-

"May thy good star shine down upon thee, and mayst thou come back to me victorious and glad."

                Then Kay-Kavous returned him unto his house, and Siawosh gave the signal to depart. And they marched until they came unto the land of Zabolestan.

                Now when they were come there they rested them a while, and feasted in the house of Zal. And while they revelled there came out to join them riders from Cabul and from Ind, and wherever there was a king of might he sent over his army to aid them. Then when a month had rolled above their heads they took their leave of Zal and of Zabolestan, and went forward till they came unto Balkh. And at Balkh the men of Turan met them, and Garsivaz, the brother of Afrasiyab, was at their head. Now when he saw the hosts of Iran, he knew that the hour to fight was come. So the two armies made them in order, and they waged battle hot and sore, and for three days the fighting raged without ceasing, but on the fourth victory passed over to Iran. Then Siawosh called before him a scribe, and wrote a letter, perfumed with musk, unto Kay-Kavous his father. And when he had invoked the blessings of Heaven upon his head, he told him all that was come to pass, and how he had conquered the foes of Iran. And Kay Kavous, when he had read the letter, rejoiced, and wrote an answer unto his son, and his gladness shone in his words, and you would have said it was a letter like to the tender green of spring.

                But Afrasiyab, when he learned the news, was discomfited, and that which Garsivaz told unto him was bitter to his taste, and he was beside himself for anger. Now when he had heard his brother to an end, Afrasiyab laid him down to slumber. Yet ere the night was spent there came out one to the house of Garsivaz and told unto him that Afrasiyab was shouting like to a man bereft of reason. Then Garsivaz went in unto the King, and he beheld him lying upon the floor of his chamber roaring in agony of spirit. Then he raised him, and questioned him wherefore he cried out thus. But Afrasiyab said-

"Question me not until I have recovered my wits, for I am like to one possessed."

                Then he desired that torches be brought within to light up the darkness, and he gathered his robes about him and mounted upon his throne. And when he had done so he called for the Mobeds, and he recounted to them the dream that had visited his slumber. And he told how that he had seen the earth filled with serpents, and the Iranians were fallen upon him, and evil was come to him from Kay-Kavous and a boy that stood beside him on the throne. And he trembled as he related his dream, and he would take no comfort from the words of Garsivaz.

                Now the Mobeds as they listened were afraid, and when Afrasiyab bade them open their lips, they dared not for fear. Then the King said that he would cleave open their heads if they spake not, and he sware unto them a great oath that he would spare them, even though the words they should utter be evil. Then they revealed to him how it was written that Siawosh would bring destruction upon Turan, and how he would be victorious over the Turks, and how, even though he should fall by the hands of Afrasiyab, this evil could not be stayed. And they counselled Afrasiyab to contend no longer against the son of Kay-Kavous, for surely if he stayed not his hand this evil could not be Turned aside.

                When Afrasiyab heard this message, he took counsel with Garsivaz, and he said-

"If I cease from warring against Siawosh surely none of these things can come about. It beseemeth me to seek after peace. I will send therefore silver and jewels and rich gifts unto Siawosh, and will bind up with gold the eye of war."

                So he bade Garsivaz take from his treasures rich brocades of Roum, and jewels of price, and bear them across the Jihun to the camp of Siawosh. And he sent a message unto him, saying-

"The world is disTurbed since the days of Salam and Tur, the valiant, since the times of Iraj, who was killed unjustly. But now, let us forget these things, let us conclude an alliance together, and let peace reign in our borders."

                And Garsivaz did as Afrasiyab bade, and he went forth, and a train of camels bearing rich presents followed after him. And he marched till he came within the tents of Siawosh.

                Now when he had delivered his message unto Siawosh, the young King marvelled thereat; and he took counsel with Rostam how they should act, for he trusted not in the words of Afrasiyab, and he deemed that poison was hidden under these flowers. And Rostam counselled him that they should entertain Garsivaz the space of seven days, and that joy and feasting should resound throughout the camp, and in the mean season they would ponder their deeds. And it was done as Rostam said, and the sounds of revelry were abroad, and Garsivaz rejoiced in the presence of Siawosh. But on the eighth day Garsivaz presented himself before Siawosh in audience, and demanded a reply. And Siawosh said-

"We have pondered thy message, and we yield to thy request, for we desire not bloodshed but peace. Yet since it behoveth us to know that poison be not hidden under thy words, we desire of thee that thou send over to us as hostages an hundred chosen men of Turan, allied unto Afrasiyab by blood, that we may guard them as a pledge of thy words."

                When Garsivaz heard this answer, he sent it unto Afrasiyab by a messenger quick as the wind. And Afrasiyab, when he heard it, was troubled, for he said-

"If I give way to this demand I bereave the land of its choicest warriors; yet if I refuse, Siawosh will deny belief unto my words, and the evils foretold will fall upon me."

                So he chose out from among his army men allied to him by blood, and he sent them forth unto Siawosh. Then he caused the trumpets to sound, and retreated with his army unto Turan, and restored unto Iran the lands he had seized.

                Now when Rostam beheld the warriors, and that Afrasiyab had spoken that which was true, he suffered Garsivaz to depart; and he held counsel with Siawosh how they should acquaint Kay-Kavous with that which was come to pass, for Siawosh said-

"If Kay-Kavous desire vengeance rather than peace, he will be angered and commit a deed of folly. Who shall bear unto him these  tidings?"

                And Rostam said,

"Suffer that I go forth to tell them unto Kay Kavous, for verily he will listen unto that which I shall speak, and honour will fall upon Siawosh for this advenTure."

                    Wherefore Rostam went before the King, and told him they had conquered Afrasiyab, and how he was become afraid, and how there was concluded a peace between them. And he vaunted the wisdom of Siawosh that was quick to act and quick to refrain, and he craved the King to confirm what they had done. But Kay-Kavous was angered when he heard it, and he said that Siawosh had done like to an infant. And he loaded reproaches upon Rostam, and said that his counsels were vile, and he sware that he would be avenged upon Turan. Then he recalled all they had suffered in the days that were past at the hands of Afrasiyab, and he said the tree of vengeance could not be uprooted. And he desired Rostam that he Turn him back unto Balkh, and say unto Siawosh that he should destroy these hostages of Turan, and that he should fall again upon Afrasiyab, nor cease from fighting. But Rostam, when he had heard him to an end, opened his mouth and said unto the King-

"O King, listen to my voice, and do not that which is evil! Verily I say unto thee that Siawosh will not break his oath unto Afrasiyab, neither will he destroy these men of Turan that were delivered into his hands."

                When Kay-Kavous heard his speech his anger was kindled, and he upbraided Rostam, and said that his evil counsels had caused Siawosh to swerve from the straight path; and he taunted him and bade him go back unto Sistan, and he said that Tous should go forth as Pahlewan unto his son. Then Rostam too was angered, and he gave back the reproaches of the King, and he Turned him and quitted the courts and sped him back unto his kingdom. But Kay-Kavous sent Tous unto the army at his borders, and he bade him speak his desires unto Siawosh his son.

                Now Siawosh, when he learned what was come about, was sore discomfited, and he pondered how he should act. For he said,

"How can I come before Urmazd if I depart from mine oath? Yet, however I shall act, I see around me but perdition."

                Then he called for Bahram and Zengueh, and confided to them his troubles. And he said how that Kay-Kavous was a king who knew not good from evil, and how he had accomplished that wherefore the army went forth, yet how the King desired that vengeance should not cease. And he said-

"If I listen to the commands of the King, I do that which is evil; yet if I listen not, surely he will destroy me. Wherefore I will send back unto Afrasiyab the men he hath placed within my hands, and then hide me from sight."

                Then he sent Zengueh before Afrasiyab with a writing. And he told therein all that was come about, and how that discord was sprouted out of their peace. And he recalled unto Afrasiyab how he had not broken their treaty though Kay-Kavous had bidden him do it, and he said how he could not reTurn unto the King his father. Then he prayed Afrasiyab that he would make a passage for him through his dominions, that he might hide him wheresoever God desired. For he said-

"I seek a spot where my name shall be lost unto Kay-Kavous, and where I may not know of his woeful deeds."

                And Zengueh set forth and did as Siawosh desired, and he took with him the hundred men of Turan, and all the gold and jewels that Afrasiyab had sent. And when he was come within the gates Afrasiyab received him right kindly, but when he had heard his message he was downcast in his spirit. Then he called for Piran, the leader of his hosts, and he took counsel with him how he should act. And Piran said-

"O King, live for ever! There is but one road open unto thee. For this Prince is noble, and he hath done that which is right, for he would not give ear unto the evil designs of Kay-Kavous, his father. Wherefore I counsel thee, receive him within thy courts, and give unto him a daughter in marriage, and let him be to thee a son; for verily, when Kay-Kavous shall die, he will mount upon the throne of Iran, and thus may the hate of old be quenched in love."

                Now Afrasiyab, when he had listened to the words of Piran, knew that they were good. So he sent for a scribe, and dictated a writing unto Siawosh. And he said unto him how the land was open to receive him, and how he would be to him a father, and how he should find in Turan the love that was denied of Kay-Kavous. And he said-

"I will demand of thee nought but what is good, neither will I suffer suspicion against thee to enter my soul."

                Then he sealed the letter with his royal seal, and gave it unto Zengueh the messenger, and bade him depart there with speed. And Siawosh, when he had read it, was glad, and yet he was also troubled in his spirit, for his heart was sore because he was forced to make a friend of the foe of his land. Yet he saw that it could in nowise be altered. So he wrote a letter to Kay-Kavous, and he told him therein how it seemed that he could not do that which was right in his eyes, and he recalled unto him the troubles that were come upon him from Soudabeh, and he said how he could not break an oath he had made. Then he confided this writing unto Bahram, and he bade him take the lead of the army till that Tous should be come forth from Iran. And when he had chosen out an hundred warriors of renown from out the host, he departed with them across the border.

                Now when Tous arrived and learned what was come to pass, he was confounded; and when tidings thereof reached Kay-Kavous, he was struck down with dismay. He cried out against Afrasiyab, and against Siawosh his son, and his anger was kindled. Yet he refrained from combat, and his mouth was silent of war.

                In the meantime Siawosh was come into Turan, and all the land had decked itself to do him honour. And Piran came forth to greet him, and there followed after him elephants, white of hue, richly caparisoned, laden with gifts. And these he poured before Siawosh, and gave him welcome. And he told him how Afrasiyab yearned to look upon his face, and he said-

"Turn thee in amity unto the King, and let not thy mind be troubled concerning that which thou hast heard about him. For Afrasiyab hath an ill fame, but he deserveth it not, for he is good."

                 Then Piran led Siawosh before Afrasiyab. And when Afrasiyab saw him, he rejoiced at his strength and his beauty, and his heart went out towards him, and he embraced him, and spake, saying-

"The evil that hath disTurbed the world is quieted, and the lamb and the leopard can feed together, for now is there friendship between our lands."

                Then he called down blessings upon the head of Siawosh, and he took him by the hand and seated him beside him on the throne. And he Turned to Piran, and said-

"Kay-Kavous is a man void of sense, or surely he would not suffer a son like unto this to depart from out his sight."

                And Afrasiyab could not cease from gazing upon Siawosh, and all that he had he placed it at his command. He gave to him a palace, and rich brocades, and jewels and gold past the counting; and he prepared for him a feast, and there were played the games of skill, and Siawosh showed his prowess before Afrasiyab. And the sight of Siawosh became a light to the eyes of the King of Turan and a joy unto his heart, and he loved him like to a father. And Siawosh abode within his courts many days, and in gladness and in sorrow, in gaiety or in sadness, Afrasiyab would have none other about him. And the name of Siawosh abode ever upon his lips. And in this wise there rolled twelve moons over their heads, and in the end Siawosh took unto himself to wife the daughter of Piran the Pahlewan. And yet again the heavens revolved above his head, and he continued to abide within the house of Afrasiyab. Then Piran gave counsel unto Siawosh that he should ask of Afrasiyab the hand of his daughter to wife. For he said-

"Thy home is now in Turan, wherefore it behoveth thee to establish thy might; and if Afrasiyab be thy father indeed, there can no hurt come near to thee. And peradvenTure, if a son be born unto thee of the daughter of Afrasiyab, he will bind up for ever the enmity of the lands."

                And Siawosh listened to the counsel of Piran, for he knew that it was good, and he asked the hand of Farangiss of her father, and Afrasiyab gave it to him with great joy. Then a mighty feast was made for the bridal, and Afrasiyab poured gifts upon Siawosh past the telling, and he bestowed on him a kingdom and a throne, and he blessed him as his son; and when at length he suffered him to go forth unto his realm, he sorrowed sore at his loss.  Now the space of one year did Siawosh abide in his province, and at the end thereof, when he had visited its breadth, he builded for himself a city in the midst. And he named it Gangdis, and it was a place of beauty, such as the world hath not seen the like. And Siawosh built houses and planted trees without number, and he also caused an open space to be made wherein men could rejoice in the game of ball. And he was glad in the possession of this city, and all men around him rejoiced, and the earth was the happier for his presence, and there was no cloud upon the heaven of his life. Yet the Mobeds told unto him that Gangdis would lead to his ill-fortune, and Siawosh was afflicted thereat. But when a little time was sped and he beheld no evil, he put from him their words, and he rejoiced in the time that was; and he was glad in the house of his women, and he put his trust in Afrasiyab.

                But that which is written in the stars, surely it must be accomplished! So it came about after many years that Garsivaz was jealous of the love which Afrasiyab his brother bare unto Siawosh, and of the power that was his; and he pondered in his heart how he might destroy him. Then he came before Afrasiyab, and prayed the King that he would suffer him to go forth and visit the city that Siawosh had builded, whereof the mouths of men ran over in praises. And Afrasiyab granted his request, and bade him bear words of love unto Siawosh his son. So Garsivaz sped forth unto the city of Gangdis, and the master thereof received him kindly, and asked him tidings of the King. And he feasted him many days within his house, and he showed freely unto him all that was his; and when he departed he heaped gifts upon his head, for he knew not that Garsivaz came in enmity unto him, and that these things but fanned his envy.

                Now when Garsivaz returned unto Afrasiyab, the King questioned him concerning his darling. Then Garsivaz answered and said-

"O King, he is no longer the man whom thou knewest. His spirit is uplifted in pride of might, and his heart goeth out towards Iran. And but that I should make my name to be infamous unto the nations, I would have hidden from thee this grief. But it behoveth me to tell unto thee that which I have seen and which mine ears have heard. For it hath been made known unto me that Siawosh is in treaty with his father, and that they seek to destroy thee utterly."

                When Afrasiyab heard these words he would not let them take root in his spirit, yet he could not refuse countenance to the testimony of his brother. And he was sad, and spake not, and Garsivaz knew not whether the seeds he had strewn had taken root. So when a few days were gone by he came again before the King and repeated unto him the charges that he had made, and he urged him to act, and suffer not Turan to be disgraced. Then Afrasiyab was caught in the meshes of the net that Garsivaz had spread. And he bade Garsivaz go forth and summon Siawosh unto his courts, and invite him to bring the daughter of Afrasiyab to feast with her father. And Garsivaz sped forth with gladness, and delivered the message of Afrasiyab unto the young King. Then Siawosh said-

"I am ready to do the will of Afrasiyab, and the bridle of my horse is tied unto thy charger."

                Then Garsivaz thought within him,

"If Siawosh come into the presence of Afrasiyab, his courage and open spirit will give the lie unto my words."

                So he feigned before Siawosh a great sorrow, and when the King questioned him thereof he consented to pour out before him the griefs of his spirit. And he said to him how that he loved him tenderly, and how he was in sorrow for his sake, because that the ear of Afrasiyab had been poisoned against him, and he counselled him that he should not seek the courts of the King. And he said-

"Suffer me to reTurn alone, and I will soften the heart of Afrasiyab towards thee; and when he shall be returned unto a right spirit, I will summon thee forth unto his house."

                Now Siawosh, who was true and void of guile, listened unto these words, for he knew not that they were false. So he sent words of greeting and of excuse unto Afrasiyab, and he said that he could not quit the chamber of Farangiss, for she was sick and chained unto her couch. And Garsivaz rode forth bearing the letter, and he sware unto Siawosh that he would cement the peace that was broken. But when he came unto Afrasiyab he delivered not the writing, but spake evil things of Siawosh, and maligned him. And he fed the anger of Afrasiyab, until the King commanded that the army be led forth to go against Siawosh his friend, and he took the lead thereof himself.

                Now when the men of Turan came nigh unto the city that Siawosh had builded, Garsivaz sent an envoy unto Siawosh, saying-

"Flee, I counsel thee, for my words have availed nought, and Afrasiyab cometh forth in enmity against thee."

                When Siawosh learned this he was sore downcast in his spirit, and he went unto Farangiss and charged her how she should act when he should be fallen by the hands of Afrasiyab, for he held it vile to go forth in combat with one who had been to him a father. So he made ready his house for death. Now when he came to his steed of battle he pressed its head unto his breast, and he wept over it and spake into its ear. And he said-

"Listen, O my horse, and be brave and prudent; neither attach thyself unto any man until the day that Kay-Khosrow, my son, shall arise to avenge me. From him alone receive the saddle and the rein."

                Then he bade the men of Iran that were about him go back unto their land, and when all was ready he went forth beyond the gates. But even yet he hoped to Turn from him the suspicions of Afrasiyab, and he would not suffer his men to offer combat unto the men of Turan. So he went before Afrasiyab, and questioned him wherefore he was come out in anger against him. Now Garsivaz suffered not Afrasiyab to reply, but heaped reproaches upon Siawosh, and said that he had received him vilely, and that he had slandered his benefactor. And Siawosh, when he had listened, was confounded, and in vain did he strive to bear down the upbraiding of his foe. For the heart of Afrasiyab was angered yet the more, now that his eyes rested yet again upon the face of Siawosh, whom he loved, because he deemed that he must give credit unto the words of his brother, and because distrust of Iran was graven in his soul. So he hardened himself against the speech of Siawosh, and he bade the army fall upon his beloved. But Siawosh remembered his oath, and he stretched not forth his hand against Afrasiyab, neither did he defend himself from the assaults of his men, and he bade the warriors that were with him that they unsheathe not the sword. So speedily were they mown down, and their bodies lay round about Siawosh their King. And when all were slain a knight stretched out his hand against Siawosh, yet he slew him not, but bound him with cords, and led him before Afrasiyab the King. And Afrasiyab commanded that Siawosh be led forth into a desert place, and that his head be severed from off his trunk. Now the army murmured when they heard this command, and beheld the beauty of Siawosh and his face of truth, and there stepped forth one from among the nobles to plead for him. But Garsivaz would not suffer the heart of Afrasiyab to be softened.

                Now while Garsivaz yet spake evil of the young King, there came forth from the house of the women Farangiss, the daughter of Afrasiyab, and she demanded audience of her father. And when he would have denied it, she forced herself into his presence, and she pleaded for her lord, and she sware that evil tongues had maligned him, and she entreated of her father that he would not destroy the joy he had given to her. And she said-

"Listen, O King! if thou destroyest Siawosh, thou becomest a foe unto thyself. Deliver not by thy folly the land of Turan unto the winds, and remember the deeds that have been done of Iran in the days that are gone by. An avenger will arise from out the midst of the Key’ianides. Mayest thou never recall my counsel too late."

                But the world grew dark before the eyes of Afrasiyab with anger. And he spake, and said-

"Go hence, and trouble not again my face; for how canst thou judge of that which is right?"

                Then he commanded that she should be bound, and cast into a dungeon.

                Now Garsivaz, when he beheld the anger of the King, deemed that the time was ripe. He therefore gave a sign unto the men that held Siawosh in bondage, and desired that they should slay him. And by the hairs of his head they dragged him unto a desert place, and the sword of Garsivaz was planted in the breast of the royal cedar. But when it was done, and they had severed the head from the trunk, a mighty storm arose over the earth, and the heavens were darkened. Then they trembled and were sore afraid, and repented them of their deed. And clamour arose in the house of Siawosh, and the cries of Farangiss reached even unto Afrasiyab her father. Then the King commanded that she should be killed also. But Piran spake, and said-

"Not so, wicked and foolish man. Wouldst thou lift thine hand against thine offspring, and hast thou not done enough that is evil? Shed not, I counsel thee, the blood of yet another innocent. But if thou desire to look no more upon Farangiss, I pray thee confide her unto me, that she may be to me a daughter in my house, and I will guard her from sorrow."

                Then Afrasiyab said,

"Do that which seemeth best in thy sight."

                And he was glad in his heart, for he desired not to look upon the face that should recall to him the friend that he had loved. So Piran took Farangiss unto his house beyond the mountains, and Afrasiyab returned unto his courts. But the King was sorrowful in his spirit and unquiet in his heart, and he could not cease from thinking of Siawosh, and he repented of that which he had done.

 

 

 

 

THE RETURN OF KAY-KHOSROW

 

                In a little time it came about that there was born unto Farangiss, in the house of Piran, a son of the race of Siawosh. And Piran, when he had seen the baby, goodly of mien, who already in his cradle was like unto a king, sware a great oath that Afrasiyab should not destroy it. And when he went before the King to tell unto him the tidings, he pleaded for him with his lips. Now the heart of Afrasiyab had been softened in his sorrow for Siawosh, wherefore he shut his ear unto the evil counsellors that bade him destroy the babe which should bring vengeance upon Turan. And he said-

" I repent me of mine evil deed unto Siawosh, and though it be written that much evil shall come upon me from this child sprung from the loins of Tur and Kay-Ghobad, I will strive no more to hinder the decree of the stars; let him, therefore, be reared unto manhood. Yet I pray that he be brought up among shepherds in the mountains far from the haunts of men, and that his birth be hidden from him, that he may not learn of his father or of the cruel things I did unto Siawosh."

                And Piran consented unto the desires of Afrasiyab, and he rejoiced because he had spared the babe. Then he took the infant from its mother and bare it unto the mountains of Kalun, and confided the boy unto the shepherds of the flocks. And he said- 

"Guard this child even as your souls, so that neither rain nor dust come near him."

                Thus it came about that no man knew of the babe, neither did Farangiss know whither it was vanished. But oftentimes was Piran sore disTurbed in his spirit, for he knew that the beginning of strife was yet to come, and that much evil must befall Turan from this infant. Yet he forgot not his promise of protection given unto Siawosh his friend, whom he had led to put his trust in Afrasiyab. So he quieted his spirit from thinking, for he knew that no man can change the course of the stars.

                Now when some time was passed the shepherds came out to Piran and told him how they could not restrain this boy, whose valour was like to that of a king. Then Piran went forth to visit Kay-Khosrow, and he was amazed when he looked upon him and beheld his beauty and his strength, and he pressed him unto his heart with tenderness. Then Kay-Khosrow said- 

"O thou that bearest high thy head, art thou not ashamed to press unto thee the son of a shepherd? "

                But Piran was inflamed with love for the boy, so he pondered nothis words, but said-

"O heir of kings, thou art not the son of a shepherd."

Then he told him of his birth, and clad him in robes befitting his station, and took him back with him unto his house. And henceforward was Kay Khosrow reared in the bosom of Piran and of Farangiss his mother. And the days rolled above their heads in happiness.

                Then it came about one night that Piran was awakened by a messenger from Afrasiyab the King. And the King bade Piran come before him. And when he was come unto him, he said-

"My heart is disquieted because of the child of Siawosh, and I repent me of my weakness which kept him alive; for in my dreams I have beheld that he will do much evil unto Turan. Wherefore I would now slay him to avert calamity."

                Then Piran, wise in counsel, opened his mouth before Afrasiyab and spake, saying-

"O King, disquiet not thyself because of this boy, for he is devoid of wit; and though his face be like unto that of a Pari, his head, which should bear a crown, is empty of reason. Commit, therefore, no violence, but suffer that this innocent continue to dwell among the flocks."

    Afrasiyab, when he had listened to these words of wile, was comforted; yet he said-

"Send Kay-Khosrow before me, that I may behold with mine eyes his simplicity."

                And Piran assented to his request, because he venTured not to gainsay it. So he returned him unto his house and sought out the boy, and told him how he should disguise his wit before the King. Then he led him unto the court mounted upon a goodly charger, and all the people shouted when they beheld his beauty and his kingly mien. And Afrasiyab too was confounded at his aspect, and he gazed with wonder at his limbs of power, and he strove to remember the promise that he had given unto Piran that he would not hurt a hair of the head of this boy. Then he began to question him that he might search his spirit. And he said-

"Young shepherd, how knowest thou the day from the night? What doest thou with thy flocks? How countest thou thy sheep and thy goats?"

                And Kay-Khosrow replied-

                                "There is no game, and I have neither cords nor bow and arrows."

                Then the King questioned him concerning the milk that was given of the herds. And Kay-Khosrow said-

                                "The tiger-cats are dangerous and have mighty claws."

                Then Afrasiyab put to him yet a third question, and he asked of him-

                                "What is the name of thy mother?"

                And Kay-Khosrow answered and said-"

                                "The dog venTureth not to bark when a lion threateneth him."

                Then Afrasiyab asked him yet again whether he desired to go forth into the land of Iran and be avenged upon his enemies. And Kay-Khosrow answered and said-

"When a leopard appeareth, the heart of a brave man is torn with fear."

                And Afrasiyab smiled at these answers and questioned him no further. And he said unto Piran-

"Restore the boy unto his mother, and let him be reared with kindness in the city that Siawosh hath builded, for I behold that from him can no harm alight upon Turan."

                When Piran heard these words he hastened to remove Kay-Khosrow from the court, and his heart was glad because of the danger that had passed by. So Kay-Khosrow was reared in the house of his father, and Farangiss spake unto him of Siawosh and of the vengeance that was due. And she instructed him concerning the heroes of Iran and their deeds of prowess, as she had learned them from Siawosh her lord.

                In the mean season Kay-Kavous had learned of the death of Siawosh his son, and a mighty wailing went forth throughout the land of Iran, so that even the nightingale in the cypress was silent of her song, and the leaves of the pomegranate tree in the forest were withered for sorrow. And the heroes that stood about the throne of Kay Kavous clad themselves in the garb of woe, and bare dust upon their heads in place of helmets. And Rostam, when he learned of it, was bowed to the earth with agony, and for seven days he stirred not from the ground, neither would he let food or comfort come near him. But on the eighth he roused him from the earth, and caused the trumpets of brass to be sounded into the air. And he assembled his warriors, and marched with them into Iran, and he came before Kay Kavous and demanded audience.

                Now when he was come into the presence-chamber he found the King seated upon his throne. He was clothed in dust from his head unto his feet, because of his grief. But Rostam regarded it not, and straightway reproached him, and said-

"O King of evil nature, behold the harvest that is sprung from the seed that thou didst sow! The love of Soudabeh and her vile intents have torn from off thy head the diadem of kings, and Iran hath suffered cruel loss because of thy folly and thy suspicions. It is better for a king that he be laid within his shroud than that he be given over to the dominion of a woman. Alas for Siawosh! Was ever hero like unto him? And henceforward I will know neither rest nor joy until his cruel death be avenged."

                When Kay-Kavous had listened to the words of his Pahlewan, the colour of shame mounted into his cheek, but he held his peace, for he knew that the words spoken of Rostam were deserved. Then Rostam, when he saw that the King answered him not, strode out from his presence. And he went into the house of the women, and sought for Soudabeh, who had given over Siawosh unto death. And when he had found her, he tore her from off her throne, and he plunged his dagger into her heart, and he quitted her not until the life was gone from her. And Kay-Kavous, when he learned it, trembled and was afraid, for he dared not oppose himself unto Rostam. Then Rostam commanded that the army of vengeance be made ready. And he said-

"I will make the earth to tremble before my mace, as it shall tremble on the day of judgment."

                And when all was prepared they made them haste to be gone, and the air was full of the gleaming of armour, and the rattling of drums was heard on all sides.

                Now when Afrasiyab learned that a great army was come forth from Iran to avenge the death of Siawosh, he bade Sarkha, the best beloved of his sons, lead forth the hosts of Turan against them. But he craved Sarkha have a care that Rostam, the son of Zal, put not his life in danger. And Sarkha set forth, bearing aloft the black banner of Turan, and he went towards the plains where Rostam was encamped. Now when the armies beheld one another, their hearts were inflamed, and the battle raged sore, and many were the brave heads laid low on that day. And Sarkha fell into the hands of Rostam, and he spared him not, because he was the best beloved son of Afrasiyab. So he gave orders that Sarkha be slain, even as Siawosh was slain, that the heart of his enemy might be rent with anguish.

                And when Afrasiyab learned it he was beside himself with grief. And when he had torn his hair and wailed in the dust for his son, he arose to go forth unto the army, that he might avenge his death. And he said unto his knights-

"Henceforth ye must not think of sleep or hunger, neither must ye breathe aught but vengeance, for I will never stay my hand until this murder be avenged."

                Now when the army that was with Afrasiyab came nigh unto Rostam, PilSaam, that was brother to Piran, a warrior valiant and true, challenged Rostam unto single combat. Then Piran sought to stay him because of his youth, but PilSaam listened not unto his counsel. So Rostam came forth against him, and he was armed with a stout lance, and he was wrapped about with his anger. And he fell upon PilSaam with fury, and he lifted him from his saddle, and he took him by the girdle and flung him, as a thing that is vile, into the midst of the camp of the Turanians. Then he shouted with a voice of thunder-

"I counsel you, wrap ye this man in robes of gold, for my mace hath made him blue."

                Now when the Turanians beheld that PilSaam was dead, they wept sore, and their courage departed from out of them. And in vain did Afrasiyab pray them to keep their hearts. Yet he said within himself-

                                "The good fortune that watched over me is asleep."

                And when they were met in battle yet again, and the army of Rostam had beaten down once more that of Afrasiyab, the King bethought him of flight. And the hosts of Turan vanished like to the wind, but they left behind them much riches and goodly treasure.

                Now while they were flying from the face of Rostam, Afrasiyab said unto Piran-

                                "Counsel me how I shall act concerning this child of Siawosh."

                And Piran said,

"Haste not to put him to death, for he shall in nowise do thee hurt. But f thou wilt listen unto my voice, send him far into Khoten, that he be hidden from sight, and that the men of Iran learn not of his being."

                And Afrasiyab did as Piran counselled, and a messenger was sent forth to lead out the young King and his mother unto the land of Cathay. And Afrasiyab himself fled until that he came within the borders of China, and no man knew where he was hidden. And the land of Turan was given over to plunder, and the Iranians scathed it with fire and sword because of Siawosh, whom Afrasiyab had foully slain. And Rostam seated himself in the seat of Afrasiyab, and for the space of seven years did he rule over the land. But in the eighth messengers came out to him, and said how that Kay-Kavous was without a guide in Iran, and how they feared lest folly might result from his deeds. So Rostam went forth to stand beside his King.

                Now when Afrasiyab learned that Rostam was departed out of the land of Turan, his fears forsook him, and he gathered together a mighty army, and he fell upon his borders, and he regained them unto himself. And he wept when he beheld the havoc that was come upon Turan, and he incited his army to be avenged. So they fell into Iran, and shattered its host, and they suffered not that repose come near unto their foes. And they pursued them with fire and sword, and laid waste their fields. And during seven years the heavens withheld their rains, and good fortune was Turned away from Iran, and the prosParity of the land was quenched. And men groaned sore under these misfortunes, neither did Rostam come forth from Zabolestan unto their aid.

                Then it came about one night that Goudarz, who was descended from Kaaveh the smith, dreamed a dream. He beheld a cloud heavy with rain, and on the cloud was seated the Soroush the blessed. And the angel of God said unto Goudarz-

"Open thine ears, if thou wilt deliver thy land from anguish, and from Afrasiyab the Turk. There abideth in Turan the son of a noble race, an issue sprung from the loins of Siawosh, who is brave, and beareth high his head. And he is sprung from Kay-Ghobad and from Tur, and from him alone can deliverance come to Iran. Suffer, therefore, that Giwe, thy son, go forth in search of Kay-Khosrow, and bid him remain in his saddle until he shall have found this boy. For such is the will of Urmazd."

                When Goudarz awoke, he thanked God for his dream, and touched the ground with his white beard. And when the sun was risen and had chased away the ravens of night, he called before him his son, and he spake to him of his dream. And he commanded him that he go forth to do the behests of God.

                And Giwe said,

"I will obey thine orders while I live."

                Then Goudarz said,

"What companions wilt thou take with thee?

                And Giwe said,

"My cord and my horse will suffice unto me for company, for it is best to take none with me into Turan. For behold, if I lead out an host, men will ask what I am, and wherefore I come forth; but if I go alone, their doubts will slumber."

                Then Goudarz said,

"Go, and peace be upon thee."

                So Giwe made ready his steed, and when he had bidden farewell unto the old man his father, he set out upon his travels. And wherever he met a man walking alone, he questioned him concerning Kay Khosrow; and if the man knew not the name, he struck off his head, that none might learn his secret or wherefore he was come forth.

                Now Giwe wandered thus many days throughout the length of Turan, like to a man distraught, and he could learn nought concerning Kay Khosrow, the young king. And seven years rolled thus above his head, and he grew lean and sorrowful. And for house he had nought save only his saddle, and for nourishment and clothing the flesh and skin of the wild ass, and in place of wine he had only bad water. And he began to be downcast in his spirit, and afraid lest the dream dreamed of his father had been sent unto him by a Deev. Now it came about one day that while he pondered thus he entered a forest, and when he was come into its midst, he beheld therein a fountain, and a young man, slim as a cypress, seated beside it. And the youth held in his hand a wine-cup, and on his head was a crown of flowers, and his mien was such that the soul of Giwe rejoiced thereat, and the

door of his cares was loosened. And he said within himself-

"If this be not the King, then must I abandon my search, for I think to behold in him the face of Siawosh."

                Then he went nigh unto him. Now when Kay-Khosrow beheld the warrior, he smiled and said-

"O Giwe, thou art welcome unto my sight, since thou art come hither at the behest of God. Tell unto me now, I pray thee, tidings of Tous and Goudarz, of Rostam, and of Kay-Kavous the King. Are they happy? Do they know of Kay-Khosrow?"

                When Giwe heard this speech, he was confounded; and when he had returned thanks unto God, he opened his mouth and spake, saying-

"O young King, who bearest high thy head, reveal unto me who hath told thee of Goudarz and of Tous, of Rostam and of Kay-Kavous, and how knowest thou my name and aspect."

                Then Kay-Khosrow said,

"My mother hath told me of the things which she learned of my father. For I am son unto Siawosh, and before he entered upon death he foretold unto Farangiss how Giwe would come forth from Iran to lead me unto the throne."

                Then Giwe said, "Prove unto me thy words. Suffer that mine eyes behold the mark of the Key’ianides which thou bearest about thy body."

                Then Kay-Khosrow uncovered his arm, and when Giwe looked upon the mark that was borne of all the royal house since the time of Kay Ghobad, he fell down upon the ground and did homage before this youth. But Kay-Khosrow raised him from the dust and embraced him, and questioned him concerning his journey and the hardships he had passed through. Then Giwe mounted the young King upon his charger, and he walked before him bearing an Indian sword unsheathed in his hand. And they journeyed until they came to the city that Siawosh had builded.

                Now when Farangiss saw them she received them joyfully, for her quick spirit divined what was come to pass. But she counselled them to tarry not in whatsoever they would do. For she said-

"When Afrasiyab shall learn of this he will neither eat nor sleep, he  will send out an army against us. Let us flee, therefore, before he cometh. And listen now unto the words that I shall speak. Go forth unto the mountain that is raised unto the clouds, and take with thee a saddle and a bridle. And when thou shalt have scaled its crest thou wilt behold a meadow green as a paradise, and browsing upon it the flocks of Siawosh. And in their midst will be Behzah the steed of battle. Go nigh unto him, my son, and embrace him, and whisper thy name into his ear; and when he shall have heard it he will suffer thee to mount him, and seated upon him thou shalt escape from the slayer of thy father."

                Then Giwe and Kay-Khosrow went out and did as Farangiss told unto them; and they found the steed, and when Behzah beheld the saddle of Siawosh and the leopard-skin he had worn, he sighed, and his eyes were filled with tears. Then he suffered Kay-Khosrow to mount him, and they Turned back unto Farangiss. And she chose forth the armour of Siawosh from among her treasures and gave it to her son, and she clad herself in mail of Roum like unto a warrior, and she sprang upon a horse of battle, and when all was done they set forth to fly from the land of Afrasiyab.

                Now one brought tidings unto Piran of these things, and he was dismayed thereat, for he said-

"Now will be accomplished the fears of Afrasiyab, and mine honour will be tarnished in his eyes."

                So he bade Kelbad and three hundred valiant knights pursue Kay Khosrow and bind him and bring him back in chains.

                Now Farangiss and her son slept for weariness by the roadside, but Giwe held guard over them. And when he beheld Kelbad and the men that were with him, he knew that they were come in pursuit; yet he awakened not Kay-Khosrow, but of his strength alone put them to flight. But when they were gone he roused the sleepers, and he urged haste upon them.

                But Piran, when he beheld that Kelbad returned unto him defeated at the hand of one man, was loath to credit it, and he was angered against him, and said that he would go forth himself. So Piran made him ready, and a thousand brave warriors went with him. For Piran was afraid of the anger of Afrasiyab, and that he would put this flight unto his account, and not unto that of the rotation of the stars. Now when he was come unto the fugitives Giwe and the young King slumbered, but Farangiss was keeping watch. And when she beheld the army she woke them and bade them prepare for combat; but Giwe suffered not that Kay-Khosrow should go forth, for he said-

"If I fall, what mattereth that? my father hath seventy and eight sons like unto me; but thou art alone, and if thy head shall fall, what other is worthy of the crown?"

                And Kay-Khosrow did as Giwe desired. Then Giwe gave combat unto Piran, and by his courage he overcame the army; and he caught the old man Piran in the meshes of his cord. Then he brought him bound before Farangiss and Kay-Khosrow her son.

                Now Piran, when he beheld Kay-Khosrow, demanded not mercy at his hands, but invoked the blessings of Heaven upon his head, and he mourned the fate of Siawosh. And he said-

"O King, had thy slave been nigh unto Afrasiyab, surely the head of thy father would not have fallen at his hands. And it was I who preserved thee and Farangiss thy mother, yet now is it given unto me to fall under thy hands."

                When Kay-Khosrow heard these words his heart went out unto Piran, and when he looked towards his mother he saw that her eyes were filled with tears. Then she opened her mouth and poured forth curses upon Afrasiyab her father, and she wailed the fate of Siawosh, and she pleaded for the life of this good old man. For she said-

"His tenderness hath been an asylum unto our sorrow, and now is it given unto us to remember the benefits we have received at his hands."

                But Giwe, when he heard it, said-

"O Queen, I pray thee speak not thus, for I have sworn a great oath that I would stain the earth with the blood of Piran, and how can I depart from my vow?"

                Then Kay-Khosrow said, "O hero like unto a lion, thou shalt not break the oath that thou hast made before God. Satisfy thy heart and accomplish thy vow. Pierce with thy dagger the ear of Piran, and let his blood fall on the earth, that thy vengeance and my clemency may both be satisfied."

                Then Giwe did as Kay-Khosrow bade, and when he had crimsoned the earth with the blood of Piran, they mounted him upon a charger fleet of foot and bound him thereon, and caused him to swear unto them that none other but Gulshehr his wife should release him from these bonds. And Piran sware it and went forth, and his mouth poured blessings upon Kay-Khosrow.

                Now while these things were passing Afrasiyab grew impatient, and set forth himself at the head of a great army that he might learn tidings of Kay-Khosrow. And when he heard that the armies had been beaten at the hand of one man, his cheeks grew pale with fear; but when he met Piran his Pahlewan tied upon his charger, his anger knew no bounds, so that he cried aloud, and commanded Piran that he depart from out his presence. Then he sware that he would himself destroy this Giwe, and lay low the head of Kay-Khosrow and of his mother. And he made great haste after them, and he urged upon his men that they must find Kay-Khosrow before he should have crossed the Jihun and have entered upon the land of Iran; yet before ever he was come nigh to them, the three were come unto its banks.

                Now, a boat was lying ready, and a boatman slumbered beside it; and Giwe roused him, and said that he should bear them across the river. But the man was greedy of gain, and beheld that Giwe was in haste. So he said-

"Why should I carry thee across? Yet, if thou desire it, I demand that thou give unto me one of four things: thy coat of mail, or thy black horse, yon woman, or the crown of gold worn by this young man."

                Then Giwe was angry, and said-

                                "Thou speakest like a fool; thou knowest not what thou dost ask."

                Then he Turned unto Kay-Khosrow, and said-

"If thou be Kay-Khosrow indeed, thou wilt not fear to enter this river and cross it, even as it was crossed by Freydoun thy sire."

                Now the river was swollen with the rains, but the young King regarded it not. He entered upon its surge with Behzah his steed, and the horse of his father bare him across the boiling waters. And Farangiss followed after him and Giwe the bold. And when Kay-Khosrow was come unto the other side, he dismounted and knelt and kissed the ground of Iran, and gave thanks unto God the mighty.

                Yet scarce were they come to the other side than Afrasiyab came up with his army. And Afrasiyab demanded of the boatman wherefore he had borne them across, and when the man told him how it was come to pass, the King was bowed down with anguish, for he knew now that that which was written would be accomplished. So he returned him right sorrowful unto his house.

                Now when Kay-Khosrow came nigh unto the courts of the King, Giwe sent a writing unto Kay-Kavous and told him all that was come to pass. And Kay-Kavous sent forth riders to lead before him his son; and the city was decked to give him welcome, and all the nobles received him joyfully, and Kay-Kavous was glad at the sight of him, and all men regarded Kay-Khosrow as the heir, and only Tous was sorrowful at that which was come to pass. But Tous was angered, and said that he would pay homage only unto Fariborz, and to none other. And he came before Kay-Kavous and said-

"Fariborz is thy son also, why therefore wilt thou give the crown unto one who is sprung from the race of Afrasiyab?

                Then Giwe said,

"It is fitting that the son of Siawosh should succeed unto the throne."

                But Tous listened not, and refused allegiance unto Kay-Khosrow, and there was strife among the nobles of Iran.

                Then one came before Kay-Kavous and begged of him that he would declare himself, for he said-

"If we are divided among ourselves we shall fall a prey into the hands of Afrasiyab. Let the King, therefore, bind up this quarrel."

                Then Kay-Kavous said, "Ye ask of me that which is hard, for both my sons are dear unto me, and how should I choose between them? Yet I will bethink me of a means to quiet this dissension. Let Kay-Khosrow and Fariborz go forth unto Bahman, the fortress that is upon my borders which no man hath conquered, for it is an abode of Deevs, and fire issueth thence continually. And let them take with them an army, and I will bestow my crown and my treasures upon him at whose hands the castle shall be subdued."

                So Fariborz and Kay-Khosrow set forth, and Kay-Khosrow suffered that his elder take the lead. But in vain did Fariborz strive against the Deevs that were hidden behind the walls, and when seven days had passed he returned discomfited from his emprise. Then Kay-Khosrow set forth, and he wrote a letter, amber-perfumed, and in it he desired the evil Deevs that they give place unto him in the name of Urmazd. And he affixed the letter unto the point of his lance, and when he was come nigh unto the burning fort he flung it beyond the walls. Then a great noise rent the air like thunder, and the world became darkened, and when the light returned unto the sky the castle was vanished from off the face of the earth.

                Now when Kay-Kavous heard it, he knew that the son of Siawosh was learned in the arts of magic, as was fitting unto a king; and he beheld also that he was wise and brave. And because that he was weary he surrendered the throne unto him, and Kay-Khosrow wore the crown of the Key’ianian in his stead.

[ Continue: Foroud ]

 

 

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