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Zoroastrian Pre-Islamic Texts; Zadspram
The Selections of Zadspram
Translated by: W. E. West

Chapter 15: Five Karb brothers opposed to Zartosht and his four brothers

  1. About the brothers who were a band of opponents of Zartosht.
  2. The Karbs and Ausikhshes were brothers' sons, and have become the devastation (gastaragih) of the Iranians; the devastators of the Iranians (Eranan) were from Kokhared, and Kokhared was born from Eshm and Manushak, the sister of Manuschihar.
  3. At the place where Zartosht was born, five brothers have been, whose names were Brad-rukhsh, Brad-royishn, Brad-resh the Tur, Hazan, and Vadast.
  4. Their brotherhood of five -- of which the middle one was Brad-resh the Tur, who became more of an adversary of Zartosht -- was a semblance of the brotherhood of five who were sons of Pourushasp, of whom the middle one was Zartosht.
  5. Of the four brothers of Zartosht, the names of the two before Zartosht were Ratushtar and Rangushtar, and of the two after him Nodariga and Nivedis.
  6. The middle position of Zartosht is for the reason that he is so produced at that time, as an intermedium of the early narrators and the later narrators, that three millenniums came before him and three after.
  7. So that he has prescribed to the creatures in what manner he would teach the ancients as to what had occurred, and in what manner it is also to be done as regards what will occur; as is stated in the Gathas thus: 'Both those I ask of thee, O Ohrmazd! even whatever has happened till now, and whatever shall happen henceforth?'

Chapter 16: One Karb tries to kill Zartosht five times

  1. About the trials (auzmayishno) which occurred to him whose practice was lawful, and the signs of prophecy that are seen therein, it is thus declared, namely; 'Another day, when the child had been born, Pourushasp called one of those five brothers of the race of Karbs, and spoke thus: "Fully observe the marks and specks of my son Zartosht."'
  2. The Karb went and sat down before Zartosht, and the head of Zartosht was thereupon severely twisted by him, in order that he should be killed; but he, being fearless, watched the wizards whose terror was distressing.
  3. As it was in those ten nights for hospitality, Ohrmazd sent Spandarmad, Aredvisur, and Ardafrawash down to the earth, by way of female care; thereupon no variation occurred to the child, and, further, the hand of that Karb was withered, and that wizard demanded the life of Zartosht from Pourushasp for the harm from him, which sprang upon himself from his own action.
  4. At the same time Pourushasp took Zartosht, and gave him to the Karb, that he might do with him according to his own will.
  5. He seized him and threw him out, at the feet of the oxen who were going on a path to the water; the leader of that drove of oxen stood still in his vicinity, and 150 oxen, which walked behind it, were kept away from him thereby; and Pourushasp took him, and carried him back to the house.
  6. Also the second day, the Karb threw him out at the feet of the horses; and the leader of the horses stood still in the vicinity of Zartosht, and 150 horses, which walked behind it, were kept away from him thereby; and Pourushasp took him, and carried him back to the house.
  7. Also the third day, firewood is gathered together by the Karb, and Zartosht is deposited on it by him, the fire is stirred up by him, yet with the same result (ham-bun-ic), the child is not burnt by it, and those marks, which existed and were made upon him, were a preservation from it.
  8. And the fourth day, he is thrown by the Karb into the lair (ashyanako) of a wolf; the wolf was not in the lair, and when it wished to go back to the den (surako), it stopped when it came in front of some radiance, in the manner of a mother, at the place where its cub was.
  9. In the night, Vohuman and Srosh the righteous brought a woolly (kurushako) sheep with udder full of milk into the den, and it gave milk to Zartosht, in digestible draughts (guvarako guvarako), until daylight.
  10. In the dawn, the mother of Zartosht went to that place, in the expectation that it would be necessary to bring a skeleton out of the den, and the woolly sheep came out and ran away; his mother supposed that it was the wolf, and she spoke thus: 'Thou hast devoured to repletion; mayst thou endure for ever without it!' She went farther, and when she saw Zartosht quite safe, she then took him up and spoke thus: 'I will not give thee to any one during life, not though both the provinces of Ragh and Nodar should arrive here together.'
  11. Because these princes were among the spiritual from two provinces which are in Atur-padakan, such as are at sixty leagues (parasang) from Chist; Zartosht arose from Ragh, and Vishtasp from Nodar.
  12. And of these two provinces, Ragh was according to the name of Eriko, son of Durasrobo, son of Manuschihar, from whom arose the race of Zartosht; and Nodar was according to the name of Nodar, son of Manuschihar, from whom arose the race of Vishtasp.


Chapter 17: Another foretells his glorious destiny

  1. These were his tokens at birth: -- One day, one of those five brothers of the Karbs saw Zartosht, and he looked a long while upwards, downwards, and on all sides around.
  2. Pourushasp inquired thus; 'What was there when thou lookedst upwards, what when thou lookedst downwards, and what when thou lookedst on all sides?'
  3. And he replied thus, namely: 'When I looked upwards, it was for this reason, when I saw that our souls that go up to the sky, will go up to the best existence, owing to the words of this soul of mankind.
  4. When I looked downwards, I saw that, owing to the action of this one, the demon and fiend, the wizard and witch become buried below the earth, and fall paralyzed back to hell.
  5. And when I looked on all sides, I saw that the words of this one will extend through the whole earth; and when they have become as the law of the seven regions, each person is kept clothed with a robe (kapah) of seven skins, in which the glory of the seven archangels has arisen.'
  6. And Brad-rukhsh the Tur went forth; when he went to the right side (arako), Zartosht hastened away to the left, and when he went to the left side, Zartosht hastened to the right, and he is thereby concealed from Brad-rukhsh the Tur, who has not met with him.

Chapter 18: His father disagrees with him

  1. About his diverse want of participation (gvid akhvesih) with his parents this also is declared, that the demons, at an assembly of wizards, produced an outcry for a conference (ham-vaco layishno) thus: 'That son of Pourushasp is senseless and foolish and secretly corrupted; no one, man or woman, will consider or accept him as exalted.'
  2. The tidings came to Pourushasp, and Pourushasp spoke unto Zartosht thus: 'I thought that I had begotten a son who would become a priest, a warrior, and a husbandman, and now thou wouldst be foolish and secretly corrupted; thou shouldst proceed to the Karbs, so that they may cure thee.'
  3. Zartosht gave answer thus: 'I am he that is thy son, a priest, warrior, and husbandman.'
  4. And, by command of Pourushasp he harnessed two horses to a chariot (vardino), and he went with Pourushasp.
  5. When they came to the place according to the decision of Pourushasp, into the presence of one Karb of those said five brethren, that wizard took a cup and made water, and spoke thus: 'This he should drink who is a son of thine, so that he may become well;' and he acted with this conviction, that so he would change to the same nature as theirs.
  6. Zartosht spoke to Pourushasp thus: 'Thou mayst give it back to him who is thy protector and high-priest;' and he arose (akhejid) and went back to their place.
  7. On the way, Zartosht gave their two horses water, on account of their thirst; and he thought thus: 'Unprofitable was my going to the residence of the Karbs, except in this manner, when, through giving water to the horses, my soul was then expanded.'


Chapter 19: And he disagrees with his father and the chief Karb

  1. About his interfering talk (andarg-gobishnoih) with the iniquitous, this also is declared, that one day Durasrobo the Karb, as it were from the same five brethren, came out to the house of Pourushasp; and Pourushasp placed a bowl (jamako) of mare's milk before him, and spoke to him thus: 'Consecrate it.'
  2. Zartosht expostulated with Pourushasp thus: I will consecrate it.'
  3. Pourushasp spoke thus: He should consecrate, and the grace is to be offered up by you;' and as many as three times they mutually disputed.
  4. Then up stood Zartosht, and his right foot struck at the bowl and emptied it, and he spoke thus: 'I reverence righteousness, I reverence the righteous and the poor, men and women; do thou, O Pourushasp! prepare a portion for him in whom there is worthiness.'
  5. And Durasrobo spoke unto Zartosht thus: 'As some of my portion of daily food was first thrown away by thee, it is I who will bring it on both thy lives, and will utterly destroy thee.'
  6. Zartosht spoke interruptingly thus: 'With complete mindfulness I will look upon thee with both eyes, and will utterly destroy thee.'
  7. And, for a long time, they constantly looked, one at the other, with unshrinking gaze; but the divine nature of Zartosht is victorious over the witchcraft of that wizard, and Durasrobo is further disturbed; he also asked for his horse and spoke thus: 'On account of this boy, it is impossible for me to stay.'
  8. He sat upon the horse, and when he had gone a little way, he fell off from the horse, through severe distress, and died; and the children of his children's children have died upon the same spot.

Chapter 20: Legends indicative of his good disposition

  1. About the righteousness of his desires it is thus declared, that when he became fifteen years old, the sons of Pourushasp demanded a portion from their father, and their portions are allotted out by him.
  2. Among the clothes there was a girdle, the width of which was four finger-breadths; and of the four portions around and the girdle, which it was possible to bring forth, Zartosht selected the latter and tied it on himself.
  3. This was owing to the precepts (parvanakan) of Vohuman who came into his reason at birth; as to whatever is not the custom his mind was now quite closed, and in that which is the custom it was impetuously exercised by him.
  4. About his compassionate disposition and the streams of the Arag province, this also is declared, that there was a river, and from them the body of a naked woman floated, for the reason that, on account of the strength and swiftness of the river, a woman, except when she was quite naked while she was in it, was not able to pass; and an old person, such as he who is of seventy years and is called in revelation a Hano, for want of power (apadiyavandih rai), was not able to go back through it by his own strength.
  5. Zartosht came on to the bank of the water, and of women and old people seven persons had come, and are passed on by him, in the manner of a bridge; it was an emblem of the spiritual performers of bridging work, that is, of those providing a passage to heaven.
  6. About his liberal disposition it is declared, that the fodder of Pourushasp, which was stored for the beasts of burden, was not only for the beasts of Pourushasp in a scarcity, but also for distribution among the beasts of others, which, owing to their hunger on account of the scarcity, then constantly ate off the tails of each other; and it was given to them plentifully.
  7. About his abandoning worldly desire, and his laying hold of righteousness of way, this, too, is declared, that when he became twenty years old, without the consent (ben akamakih) of his father and mother, he wandered forth and departed from their house, and openly inquired thus: 'Who is most desirous of righteousness and most nourishing the poor?'
  8. And they spoke thus: 'He who is the youngest (kehisto) son of Aurvaito-dih the Tur, who every day gives an iron caldron (jamak), which is the height of a horse, full of bread and milk and other food, unto the poor.'
  9. Zartosht went on to that place, and with his cooperation, for the nourishment of the poor, some of the chief men performed duty by carrying forth food for the poor.
  10. About his compassion, not only upon mankind, but also his other creatures, this, too, is declared, that a bitch was seen by him, which had given birth to five puppies, and it was three days then that she had not obtained food.
  11. Whomever she saw, she then advanced her mouth towards him, and became as it were prostrated; Zartosht provided a remedy, by swiftly bringing up bread for her, but when he was bringing it she had expired.
  12. About his own desire for the good quality of a wife, on account also of the will of his parents, and his not mingling his own seed before a suitable obtainment, this, too, is declared, that when his father sought a wife for him, Zartosht argued with the bride (nesha) thus: 'Show me thy face, so that may find out (barkham) its kind of appearance, and this, too, whether its appearance be undesirable, or shall not be gratifying;' and the bride turned away her face from him.
  13. And Zartosht spoke thus: 'Whoever takes away a sight from me, does not practice respect for me.'
  14. About his having accepted progress even from the iniquitous, that listened sinfully desirous, who accepted so much advantageousness as was manifest, this, too, is declared, that he came into an assembly who were well known in the place for much knowledge, and he inquired of them thus: 'What is most favorable for the soul?'
  15. And they spoke thus: 'To nourish the poor, to give fodder to cattle, to bring firewood to the fire, to pour Haoma-juice into water, and to worship many demons with words, with the words which are called revelation (deno).'
  16. Then Zartosht nourished the poor, foddered the cattle, brought firewood to the fire, and squeezed Haoma into water, but never are any demons whatever worshipped with words by Zartosht.

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