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