Homa A. Ghahremani
was being and nonbeing, there was none but God, who had three
sons: Prince Jamshid , Prince Q-mars, and the youngest, Prince
Khorshid, who had no mother. He was the king's favorite because he
was the bravest of all.
the garden of the palace there grew a pomegranate tree with only
three pomegranates; their seeds were fabulous gems that shone like
lamps by night. When ripe, the pomegranates would turn into three
beautiful girls who were to become the wives of the three princes.
Every night, by the king's order, one of his sons guarded the tree
lest anyone should steal the pomegranates.
night when Prince Jamshid was guarding the tree he fell asleep
and, in the morning, one pomegranate was missing. The next night
Prince Q-mars was on guard, but he also fell asleep and the next
morning another pomegranate was missing. When it came Prince
Khorshid's turn, he cut one of his fingers and rubbed salt on it
so the burning would keep him awake. Shortly after midnight a
cloud appeared above the tree and a hand, coming out of it, picked
the last pomegranate. Prince Khorshid drew his sword and cut off
one of the fingers. The hand and the cloud hurriedly disappeared.
the morning when the king saw drops of blood on the ground he
ordered his sons to track them, find the thief, and bring back the
stolen pomegranates. The three princes followed the blood drops
over mountains and deserts until they reached a deep well where
the trail ended. Prince Jamshid offered to be lowered down the
well with a rope to investigate. Less than halfway down he
screamed: "Pull me up, pull me up, I am burning." His
brothers pulled him up. Next, Prince Q-mars went down and soon he
also cried out that he was burning. When Prince Khorshid decided
to go down he told his brothers that no matter how loudly he
shouted, they should not pull him up but let the rope down
farther; and they were then to wait for him only until dark. If
there was no sign of him, they could go home.
Khorshid entered the well and, in spite of unbearable heat, went
all the way down to the bottom where he found a young girl,
beautiful as a full moon. On her lap lay the head of a sleeping
giant, whose thunderous snores filled the air with heat and smoke.
"Prince Khorshid," she whispered, "what are you
doing here? If this Giant wakes up, he will surely kill you as he
has killed many others. Go back while there is still time."
Khorshid, who loved her at first glance, refused. He asked her who
she was and what she was doing there.
two sisters and I are captives of this Giant and his two brothers.
My sisters are imprisoned in two separate wells where the Giants
have hidden the stolen wealth of almost all the world."
Khorshid said: "I am going to kill the Giant and free you and
your sisters. But I will wake him first; I do not wish to kill him
in his sleep." The prince scratched the soles of the Giant's
feet until he opened his eyes and stood up. Roaring, the Giant
picked up a millstone and threw it at the prince, who quickly
stepped aside, drew his sword, and in the name of God cut the
Giant in half. Thereafter he went to the other two wells, finished
off the Giants and rescued the sisters of his beloved. He also
collected the treasure.
it was not yet dark, his brothers were still waiting for him and
when he called them they started to pull up the rope. The girl
whom Prince Khorshid loved wanted him to go up before her, because
she knew that when his brothers saw the jewels they would be
jealous and would not pull him up. But the prince insisted she go
up first. When she saw that she could not change his mind she
said: "If your brothers do not pull you up and leave you
here, there are two things you should know: first, there are in
this land a golden cock and a golden lantern that can lead you to
me. The cock is in a chest and when you open it, he will sing for
you. And when he sings, all kinds of gems will pour from his beak.
The golden lantern is self-illuminated, and it burns forever. The
second thing you should know is this: later in the night there
will come two oxen that will fight with each other. One is black,
the other white. If you jump on the white ox it will take you out
of the well, but if, by mistake, you jump on the black one, it
will take you seven floors farther down."
she had predicted, when the princes Jamshid and Q-mars saw the
girls and the boxes of gold and silver, they became jealous of
their brother's achievements. Knowing that their father would
surely give him the kingdom, they cut the rope and let him fall to
the bottom of the well. Then they went home and told their father
that they were the ones who had rescued the girls, killed the
Giants, and brought all the treasure, and that Prince Khorshid had
not come back.
Khorshid was heartbroken. He saw two oxen approaching and stood up
as they started to fight. In his excitement he jumped on the back
of the black ox and dropped with it seven floors down. When he
opened his eyes, he found himself in a green pasture with a view
of a city in the distance. He started walking toward it when he
saw a peasant plowing. Being hungry and thirsty he asked him for
bread and water. The man told him to be very careful and not to
talk out loud because there were two lions nearby; if they heard
him they would come out and eat the oxen. Then he said: "You
take over the plowing and I will get you something to eat."
Khorshid started to plow, commanding the oxen in a loud voice. Two
roaring lions came charging toward him, but the prince captured
the lions, turned the oxen loose and hitched the lions to the
plow. When the peasant returned, he was very much taken aback.
Prince Khorshid said: "Don't be afraid. The lions are
harmless now and will not hurt you or your oxen. But if you are
not comfortable with them, I will let them go." When he saw
that the farmer was still reluctant to approach the lions, he
unfastened them and they went back where they had come from.
man had brought food but no water. He explained: "There is no
water in the city because a dragon is sleeping in front of the
spring. Every Saturday a girl is taken to the spring so that, when
the dragon moves to devour her, some water runs through the city's
streams and people can collect enough for the following week. This
Saturday the king's daughter is to be offered to the dragon."
Khorshid had the peasant take him to the king: "What will be
my reward if I kill the dragon and save your daughters life?"
The king replied: "Whatever you wish within my power."
came and the prince went with the girl to the spring. The moment
the dragon moved aside to devour her, Prince Khorshid called the
name of God and slew the monster. There was joy and celebration in
the city. When Prince Khorshid, asked to name his reward,
announced that his one wish was to return to his homeland, the
king said: "The only one who could take you up seven floors
is Simorgh, who has many manifestations; besides divine wisdom, it
may symbolize the perfected human being, Simorgh is a bird whose
abode is in the middle of a sea in a tree which contains all the
seeds of the vegetable world. Whenever Simorgh flies up from the
tree one thousand branches grow, and whenever she sits on it, one
thousand branches break and the seeds fall into the water.
abode is on top of the mountain Qaaf,. She lives nearby in a
jungle. Every year she lays three eggs and each year her chicks
are eaten by a serpent. If you could kill the serpent, she surely
would take you home."
Khorshid went to the jungle and found the tree in which Simorgh
had her nest. While he was watching, he saw a serpent climbing up
the tree to eat the frightened chicks. In the name of God he cut
the serpent into small pieces and fed some to the hungry chicks
who were waiting for their mother to bring them food. He saved the
rest for later and went to sleep under the tree. When Simorgh flew
over the nest and saw Prince Khorshid, she thought he was the one
who each year ate up all her chicks. She was ready to kill him,
when her chicks shouted that he was the one who had saved them
from the enemy. Realizing that he had killed the serpent, she
stretched her wings over Prince Khorshid's head to make shade for
him while he slept.
he awoke, the prince told Simorgh his story and asked whether she
could help him. Simorgh urged him to go back to the king and ask
him for the meat of seven bulls. "Make seven leather bags out
of their hides and fill them with water. These will be my
provisions for the journey; I need them to be able to take you
home. Whenever I say I am hungry you must give me a bag of water,
and when I say I am thirsty you must give me the carcass of a
bull." On their way up to the ground Prince Khorshid did
exactly as Simorgh had instructed him until only one bag of water
was left. When, instead of saying she was hungry Simorgh said she
was thirsty, Prince Khorshid cut off some flesh from his thigh and
put it in Simorgh's beak. Simorgh immediately realized it was
human flesh. She held it gently until they reached their
destination. As soon as he dismounted, the prince urged Simorgh to
fly back at once but, knowing he could not walk without limping,
she refused and with her saliva restored the piece of his flesh to
his thigh. Having learned how brave and unselfish the prince was,
she gave him three of her feathers, saying that if he were ever in
need of her he should burn one of them, and she would instantly
come to his aid. With that she flew away.
the town, Prince Khorshid learned that three royal weddings were
about to take place: for Prince Jamshid, and Prince Q-mars, and
the third for the Vizier's son, because the youngest son of the
king, Prince Khorshid, had never returned. One day some men came
to the shop where Prince Khorshid was apprenticed, saying they had
been to all the jewelry stores in town but no one would undertake
to make what the king had ordered. Prince Khorshid asked them what
it was and was told: "The girl who is to marry the Viziers
son has put forward one condition to the marriage! She will only
marry one who can bring her a golden cock from whose bill gems
will pour when it sings; she also wants a golden lantern which is
self-illuminated and burns for ever. But so far no jeweler can
build such things."
Khorshid, recognizing the signs, spoke up: "With my master's
permission I can build you a chest with such a golden cock and
also the golden lantern by tomorrow. The men gave him the jewels
needed to build those items and left. Prince Khorshid gave them
all to his master for, he said, he did not need them.
night Prince Khorshid left the town and burned one of the
feathers. When Simorgh came, he asked her to bring him what the
girl had demanded, and she did so. In the morning, the astounded
men took the precious items to the king, who at once summoned the
young man to the court and was overjoyed to discover it was none
other than his favorite son. Prince Khorshid told his story but he
begged the king not to punish his brothers for the wrong they had
whole town celebrated his return and there were three weddings
indeed. The king made Prince Khorshid his successor to the throne
and all lived happily every after.