A Year Amongst the Persians: Yedz
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SCARCELY had I cleansed myself from the dust of travel, when I was informed that one had come who would have speech with me; and on my signifying my readiness to receive him, a portly old man, clad in the dull yellow raiment of the guebres, was ushered in. Briefly saluting me, he introduced himself as the Dastur Tir-andaz, high-priest of the Zoroastrians of Yezd, and proceeded to inform me that the Governor of the city, His Highness Prince 'Imadu'd-Dawla, having learned that a European had just arrived in the town, had instructed him to interview the said European and ascertain his nationality, the business which had brought him to Yezd, and his rank and status, so that, if he should prove to be "distinguished" mutashakhkhis), due honour might be shown him.

      "As for my nationality," I replied, "I am English. As for my business, I am travelling for my own instruction and amusement, and to perfect myself in the Persian language. And as for my rank, kindly assure the Governor that I have no official status, and am not 'distinguished' at all, so that he need not show


me any honour, or put himself out of the way in the least degree on my account."

      "Very good," answered the fire-priest, "but what brings you to Yezd? If your only object were to learn Persian, you could have accomplished that at Teheran, Isfahan, or Shiraz, without crossing these deserts, and undergoing all the fatigues involved in this journey."

      "Well," I said, "I wished to see as well as to learn, and my travels would not be complete without a sight of your ancient and interesting city. Besides which, I desired to learn something of those who profess the faith of Zoroaster, of which, as I understand, you are the high-priest."

      "You would hardly undergo all the fatigues of a journey across these deserts for no better reason than that," he retorted; "you must have had some other object, and I should be much obliged if you would communicate it to me."

      I assured him that I had no other object, and that in undertaking the journey to Yezd I was actuated by no other motive than curiosity and a desire to improve my mind. Seeing, however, that he continued sceptical, I asked him point-blank whether he believed my word or not; to which he replied very frankly that he did not. At this juncture another visitor was announced, who proved to be Ardashir Mihraban himself. He was a tall, slender, handsome man, of about forty-rive or fifty years of age, light-complexioned, black-bearded, and clad in the yellow garments of the Zoroastrians; and he spoke English (which he had learned in Bombay, where he had spent some years of his life) fluently and well. After conversing with me for a short time, he departed with the Dastur.

      Hardly had these visitors left me when a servant came from the Seyyids to whom I had letters of introduction, to inform me that they would be glad to see me as soon as I could come. I therefore at once set out with the servant, and was conducted by him first to the house of Haji Seyyid M---, who, surrounded


by some ten or a dozen of his friends and relatives, was sitting out in the courtyard. I was very graciously received by them; and, while sherbet, tea, and the kalyan, or water-pipe, were successively offered to me, the letter of introduction given to me by Mirza 'Ali was passed round and read by all present with expressions of approval, called forth, as I suppose, not so much by the very flattering terms in which it had pleased my friend to speak of me, as by what he had written concerning my eagerness to learn more of the Babi religion, to which my new friends also belonged. Nothing was said, however, on this topic; and, after about an hour's general conversation, I left in company with Mirza M--- to visit his father Haji Mirza M--- T--- to whom also I had a letter of introduction. There I remained conversing till after dusk, when I returned to the caravansaray, and, while waiting for my supper, fell into so profound a slumber that my servant was unable to wake me.

      To go supperless to bed conduces above all things to early rising, and by 6.30 a.m. on the following morning I had finished my breakfast, and was eager to see something of the city of Yezd. My servant wished to go to the bath, but the Erivani, who had attached himself to me since I first made his acquaintance, volunteered to accompany me. We wandered for a while through the bazaars, and he then suggested that we should enquire of some of the townsfolk whether there was any public garden where we could sit and rest for a time. I readily acquiesced in this plan, and we soon found ourselves in the garden of Dawlat- abad, where we sat in a shady corner and conversed with an old gardener who had been for thirteen months a slave in the hands of the Turcomans. He had been taken prisoner by them near the Kal'at-i-Nadiri about the time that Hamze Mirza was besieging Mashhad (1848), and described very graphically his experiences in the Turcoman slave-market; how he and his companions in misfortune, stripped almost naked, were inspected and examined by intending purchasers, and finally knocked down


by the broker to the highest bidder. He had finally effected his escape during a raid into Persian territory, in which he had accompanied the marauders as a guide, exactly after the manner of the immortal Haji Baba. He and the Erivani joined cordially in abusing the Turcomans, whom they described as more like wild beasts than men. "They have no sense of fear," said the latter, "and will never submit, however great may be the odds against them; even their women and children will die fighting. That was why the Russians made so merciless a massacre of them, and why, after the massacre was over, they piled up the bodies of the slain into a gigantic heap, poured petroleum over it, and set it on fire, that perhaps this horrible spectacle might terrify the survivors into submission."

      About mid-day we returned to the caravansaray, and I was again forced to consider my plans for the future, for Baba Khan came to enquire whether he should wait to convey me back to Dihbid, or whether I intended to proceed to Kirman on leaving Yezd. I paid him the remainder of the money due to him, gave him a present of seven krans, and told him that, unless he heard from me to the contrary before sunset, he might consider himself free to depart.

      Later in the afternoon, two Zoroastrians came to inform me that Ardashir Mihraban, in whose employment they were, was willing to place his garden and the little house in it at my disposal during my stay at Yezd. It had been occupied about a month before by another Englishman, Lieutenant H. B. Vaughan, who had undertaken a very adventurous and arduous journey across Persia, from Bandar-i-Linge, on the Persian Gulf, to Damghan or Shahrud, on the Mashhad-Teheran road, and who had tarried for some while at Yezd to make preparations for crossing the western corner of the great Salt Desert. I of course gratefully accepted this offer, for the caravansaray was not a pleasant dwelling-place, and besides this, I was anxious to enjoy more opportunities of cultivating the acquaintance of the Zoroastrians,


for which, as I rightly anticipated, this arrangement would give me exceptional facilities. I could not repress a feeling of exultation when I reflected that I had at length succeeded in so isolating myself, not only from my own countrymen, but from my coreligionists, that the most closely allied genus to which I could be assigned by the Yezdis was that of the guebres, for whom I already entertained a feeling of respect, which further knowledge of that much-suffering people has only served to increase.

      Haji Safar was out when this message was brought to me, and, as I could not leave the caravansaray until I had instmcted him as to the removal of my baggage, we were compelled to await his return. During this interval a message came from Haji Seyyid M---, asking me to go to his house, whither, accordingly, on my servant's return, I proceeded in company with the two Zoroastrians, one of whom, named Bahman, spoke English well.

      On arriving at Haji Seyyid M---'s house, I was delighted to find a theological discussion in progress. An attempt was evidently being made to convert an old mulla, of singularly attractive and engaging countenance, to the Babi faith. Only one of the Babis was speaking, a man of about thirty-five years of age, whose eloquence filled me with admiration. It was not till later that I learned that he was 'Andalib ("the Nightingale"), one of the most distinguished of the poets who have consecrated their talents to the glory of the New Theophany. "And so in every dispensation," he resumed, as soon as I had received and returned the greetings of those present, "the very men who professed to be awaiting the new Manifestation most eagerly were the first to deny it, abandoning the 'Most Firm Handhold' of God's Truth to lay hold of the frail thread of their own imaginings. You talk of miracles; but of what evidential value are mirades to me, unless I have seen them? Has not every religion accounts of miracles, which, had they ever taken place, must, one would have thought, have compelled all men to


believe; for who would dare, however hard of heart he might be, to fight with a Power which he could not ignore or misunderstand? No, it is the Divine Word which is the token and sign of a prophet, the convincing proof to all men and all ages, the everlasting miracle. Do not misunderstand the matter: when the Prophet of God called his verses "signs" (ayat), and declared the Kur'an to be his witness and proof, he did not intend to imply, as some vainly suppose, that the eloquence of the words was a proof. How, for instance, can you or I, who are Persians, judge whether the eloquence of a book written in Arabic be supernatural or not? No: the essential characteristic of the Divine Word is its penetrative power (nufudh): it is not spoken in vain, it compels, it constrains, it creates, it rules, it works in men's hearts, it lives and dies not. The Apostle of God said, 'in the month of Ramazan men shall fast from sunrise to sunset.' See how hard a thing this is; and yet here in Yezd there are thousands who, if you bade them break the fast or die, would prefer death to disobedience. Wherever one arises speaking this Word, know him to be a Manifestation of the Divine Will, believe in him, and take his yoke upon you."

      "But this claim," said the old mulla, "this claim! It is a hard word that He utters. What can we do or say?"

      "For the rest, He hath said it," replied 'Andallb, "and it is for us, who have seen that this Divine Word is His, to accept it." There was silence for a little while, and then the old mulla arose witha sigh, and repeating, "It is difficult, very difficult," departed from our midst.

      Soon afterwards I too left, and, accompanied by my Zoroastrian friends, made my way to the garden of Ardashir Mihraban, situated at the southern limit of the town, hard by the open plain. I found my host and the old fire-priest awaiting me, and received from both of them a most cordial welcome. The latter informed me with some elation that the Governor, Prince 'Imadu'd-Dawla, had, in spite of my representations (which he,


like the Dastur, no doubt regarded as the fabrications of an accomplished liar, whose readiness in falsehood afforded at least some presumptive evidence of a diplomatic vocation), decided to treat me as "distinguished," and would on the morrow send me a lamb and a tray of sweetmeats as signs of his goodwill. "His Highness wished to send them sooner," he concluded "but I told him that you were not yet established in a suitable lodging, and he therefore consented to wait. When the presents come, you will have to call upon him and express your thanks." I was rather annoyed at this, for "distinction" in Persia means much useless trouble and expense, and I wished above all things to be free and unconstrained; but I did not then know Prince 'Imadu'd-Dawla for what he was, the most just, righteous, and cultured governor to be found in any town or province of Persia. Devotion to philosophical studies, and the most tolerant views of other religions, did not prevent him from strictly observing the duties laid upon him by his own creed; he was adored by the poor oppressed Zoroastrians, who found in him a true protector, and, I believe, by all well-disposed and law-abiding persons: and it was with a very sincere sorrow that I learned, soon after my return to England, that he had been dismissed from the office which he so nobly and conscientiously filled.

      The change from the hot, dusty caravansaray to this beautiful garden was in itself a great pleasure, and my delight was enhanced by the fact that I was now in an environment essentially and thoroughly Zoroastrian. My servant and the Erivani, indeed, still bore me company; but, except for them and occasional Musulman and Babi visitors, I was entirely thrown on the society of the yellow-robed worshippers of fire. The old priest, Dastur Tir-andaz, who at first seemed to regard me with some suspicion, was quite won over by finding that I was acquainted with the spurious "heavenly books" known as the Desatir, about the genuineness of which neither he nor Ardashir appeared to entertain the slightest doubt. Ardashir sat


conversing with me after the others had departed, for it had been stipulated by Haji Seyyid M--- that my meals were to be provided by himself; and as his house was at some distance from the garden, it was nearly 10 p.m. before I got my supper. "Khane- i-du ked-banu na-rufte bihtar" ("The house with two landladies is best unswept"), remarked my host, as the night advanced without any sign of supper appearing. However, the time was not wasted, for I managed to get Ardashir to talk of his religion and its ordinances, and especially of the kushti or sacred cord which the Zoroastrians wear. This consists of seventy-two fibres woven into twelve strands of six fibres each, the twelve strands being further woven into three cords of four strands each. These three cords, which are plaited together to form the kushti, represent the three fundamental principles of the Zoroastrian faith, good thoughts (hu-manishni), good words (hu-go'ishni), and good deeds (hu-kunishni), the other subdivisions having each in like manner a symbolical meaning. The investiture of the young Zoroastrian with the kushti admits him formally to the church of "those of the Good Religion" (Bih-di'nan); and he is then taught how to tie the peculiar knot wherewith it must be re-fastened at each of the panj-gah, or five times of prayer. Ardashir also spoke of the duty incumbent on them of keeping pure the four elements, adding that they did not smoke tobacco out of respect for fire.

      Although of the three weeks that I spent at Yezd there was not one day which passed unprofitably, or on which I did not see or hear some new thing, I think that I shall do better to disregard the actual sequence of events in recording what appears worthy of mention, so as to bring together kindred matters in one connection, and so avoid the repetitions and ruptures of sequence which too close an adherence to a diary must necessarily produce.

      First, then, of the Zoroastrians. Of these there are said to be from 7000 to 10,000 in Yezd and its dependencies, nearly all


of them being engaged either in mercantile business or agriculture. From what I saw of them, both at Yezd and Kirman, I formed a very high idea of their honesty, integrity, and industry. Though less liable to molestation now than in former times, they often meet with ill-treatment and insult at the hands of the more fanatical Muhammadans, by whom they are regarded as pagans, not equal even to Christians, Jews, and other "people of the book" (ahlu'l-kitab). Thus they are compelled to wear the dull yellow raiment already alluded to as a distinguishing badge; they are not permitted to wear socks, or to wind their turbans tightly and neatly, or to ride a horse; and if, when riding even a donkey, they should chance to meet a Musulman, they must dismount while he passes, and that without regard to his age or rank.

      So much for the petty annoyances to which they are continually subject. These are humiliating and vexatious only; but occasionally, when there is a period of interregnum, or when a bad or priest-ridden governor holds office, and the "lutis," or roughs, of Yezd wax bold, worse befalls them. During the period of confusion which intervened between the death of Muhammad Shah and the accession of Nasiru'd-Dfn Shah, many of them were robbed, beaten, and threatened with death, unless they would renounce their ancient faith and embrace Islam; not a few were actually done to death. There was one old Zoroastrian still living at Yezd when I was there who had been beaten, threatened, and finally wounded with pistol shots in several places by these fanatical Muslims, but he stood firm in his refusal to renounce the faith of his fathers, and, more fortunate than many of his brethren, escaped with his life.

      So likewise, as I was informed by the Dastur, about twelve years previously the Muhammadans of Yezd threatened to sack the Zoroastrian quarter and kill all the guebres who would not consent to embrace Islam, alleging as a reason for this atrocious design that one of the Zoroastrians had killed a Musulman. The


governor of Yezd professed himself powerless to protect the guebres, and strove to induce them to sign a document exonerating him from all blame in whatever might take place; but fortunately they had the firmness to refuse compliance until one of the Musulmans who had killed a Zoroastrian woman was put to death, after which quiet was restored.

      On another occasion a Musulman was murdered by another Musulman who had disguised himself as a guebre. The Muhammadans threatened to sack the Zoroastrian quarter and make a general massacre of its inmates unless the supposed murderer was given up. The person whom they suspected was one Namdar, a relative of the chief fire-priest. He, innocent as he was, refused to imperil his brethren by remaining amongst them. "I will go before the governor he said "for it is better that I should lose my life than that our whole community should be endangered." So he went forth, prepared to die; but fortunately at the last moment the real murderer was discovered and put to death. Ardashir's own brother Rashid was murdered by fanatical Musulmans as he was walking through the bazaars, and I saw the tablet put up to his memory in one of the fire-temples of Yezd.

      Under the enlightened administration of Prince 'Imadu'd- Dawla, the Zoroastrians, as I have already said, enjoyed comparative peace and security, but even he was not always able to keep in check the ferocious intolerance of bigots and the savage brutality of lutis. While I was in Yezd a Zoroastrian was bastinadoed for accidentally touching with his garment some fruit exposed for sale in the bazaar, and thereby, in the eyes of the Musulmans, rendering it unclean and unfit for consumption by true believers. On another occasion I heard that the wife of a poor Zoroastrian, a woman of singular beauty, was washing clothes near the town, when she was noticed with admiration by two Musulmans who were passing by. Said one to the other, "She would do well for your embraces." "Just what I was


thinking," replied the other wretch, who thereupon approached her, clasped her in his arms, and tried to kiss her. She resisted and cried for help, whereupon the Musulmans got angry and threw her into the stream. Next day the Zoroastrians complained to the Prince-Governor, and the two cowardly scoundrels were arrested and brought before him. Great hopes were entertained by the Zoroastrians that condign and summary punishment would be inflicted on them; but some of the mullas, acting in concert with the Maliku't-tujjar or chief merchant of Yezd (a man of low origin, having, as was currently reported, koli or gipsy blood in his veins), interfered with bribes and threats, and so intimidated an old Zoroastrian, who was the chief witness for the prosecution, that he finally refused to say more than that he had heard the girl cry out for help, and on looking round had seen her in the water. I know not how the matter ended, but I greatly fear that justice was defeated.

      On another occasion, however, the Prince-Governor intervened successfully to check the following unjust and evil practice. When a Zoroastrian renounces his faith and embraces Islam, it is considered by the Musulmans that he has a right to the property and money of his unregenerate kinsmen. A case of this sort had arisen, and a sum of ninety tumans (nearly 28 pounds) had been taken by the renegade from his relatives. The latter appealed to the Prince, who insisted on its restoration, to the mortification of the pervert and his new friends, and the delight of the Zoroastrians, especially old Dastur Tir-andaz, who, when he related the incident to me, was almost incoherent with exultation, and continually interrupted his narrative to pray for the long life and prosperity of Prince 'Imadu'd-Dawla. Nor was this the only expression of gratitude which the Prince's justice and toleration called forth from the poor oppressed guebres. One day, as he himself informed me, on the occasion of my farewell visit to his palace, he was riding abroad accompanied by three servants only (for he loved not ostentation)


when he met a party of Zoroastrian women. Reining in his horse, he enquired how things went with them, and whether they enjoyed comfort and safety. They, not knowing who he was, and supposing him to be an ordinary Persian gentleman, replied that, though formerly they had suffered much, now, by the blessing of God and the justice of the new governor, they enjoyed perfect safety and security, and feared molestation from none. Then they asked him to what part of the country he belonged; and he, when he had fenced with them for a while, told them, to their astonishment and confusion, who he was!

      I was naturally anxious to see some of the fire-temples, and finally, after repeated requests, a day was fixed for visiting them. I was taken first to the oldest temple, which was in a very ruinous condition (the Muhammadans not suffering it to be repaired), and presented little of interest save two tablets bearing Persian inscriptions, one of which bore the date A.Y. 1009 as that of the completion of the tablet or the temple, I know not which. Leaving this, we proceeded to a newer, larger, and much more flourishing edifice, on entering which I saw, to my great delight, in a room to the left of the passage of entry, the sacred fire burning bright on its tripod, while around it two or three mubads or fire-priests, with veils covering their mouths and the lower part of their faces, droned their Zend liturgies. These veils, as Ardashir informed me, are intended to obviate the danger of the fire being polluted by the officiating priest coughing or spitting upon it. I was not, however, allowed to gaze upon this interesting spectacle for more than a few moments, but was hurried on to a large and well-carpeted room in the interior of the building, looking out on a little courtyard planted with pomegranate trees. Here I was received by several of the fire- priests, who regaled us with a delicious sherbet. The buildings surrounding the other three sides of the courtyard were, as I was informed, devoted to educational purposes, and serve as a school for the Zoroastrian children. This temple was built


comparatively recently by some of Ardashir's relatives, and on one of its walls was the memorial tablet to his murdered brother Rashid.

      Leaving this, we visited a third temple, a portion of which serves as a theological college for the training of youths destined for the priesthood, who, to some extent at least, study Zend and Pahlavi; though I do not fancy that any high standard of proficiency in the sacred languages is often attained by them. The space allotted to these young theologians was not very ample, being, indeed, only a sort of gallery at one end of the chief room. At the opposite end was spread a carpet, on which a few chairs were set; and in a niche in the wall stood a little vase containing sprigs of a plant not unlike privet which the dastur called by a name I could not rightly catch, though it sounded to me like "nawa." This plant, I was further informed, was used in certain of their religious ceremonies, and "turned round the sun"; but concerning it, as well as sundry other matters whereof I would fain have learned more, my guides showed a certain reserve which I felt constrained to respect. Here also I was allowed a glimpse of the sacred fire burning in a little chamber apart (whence came the odour of ignited sandalwood and the droning of Zend chants), and of the white-veiled mubad who tended it. A picture of Zoroaster (taken, as Ardashir told me, from an old sculpture at Balkh), and several inscriptions on the walls of the large central room, were the only other points of interest presented by the building.

      On leaving this temple, which is situated in the very centre of the "Gabr-Mahalla," or Zoroastrian quarter, I was conducted to the house of Ardashir's brother, Gudarz, between rows of Zoroastrian men and boys who had come out to gaze on the Firangi stranger. To me the sight of these yellow-robed votaries of an old-world faith, which twelve centuries of persecution and insult have not succeeded in uprooting from its native soil, was at least as interesting as the sight of me can have been to them,


and I was much struck both by their decorous conduct and by the high average of their good looks. Their religion has prevented them from intermarrying with Turks, Arabs, and other non-Aryans, and they consequently represent the purest Persian type, which in physical beauty can hardly be surpassed.

      At the house of Ardashir's brother, Gudarz, I met the chief- priest of the Zoroastrians, who was suffering from gout, and a number of my host's male relatives, with whom I stayed conversing till 8.30 p.m., hospitably entertained with tea, wine, brandy, and kebabs. Wine-drinking plays a great part in the daily life of the guebre; but, though I suppose not one total abstainer could be found amongst them, I never but once saw a Zoroastrian the worse for drink. With the Musulmans the contrary holds good; when they drink, it is too often with the deliberate intention of getting drunk, on the principle, I suppose, that "when the water has gone over the head, what matters it whether it be a fathom or a hundred fathoms?" To a Zoroastrian it is lawful to drink wine and spirits, but not to exceed; to a Muhammadan the use and the abuse of alcohol are equally unlawful. The Zoroastrian drinks because he likes the taste of the wine and the glow of good fellowship which it produces; the Muhammadan, on the contrary, commonly detests the taste of wine and spirits, and will, after each draught, make a grimace expressive of disgust, rinse out his mouth, and eat a lump of sugar; what he enjoys is not drinking, but being drunk, even as the great mystical poet Jalalu'd-Din Rumi says--

      The drinking-cup (jam) used at Yezd and Kirman is not a glass but a little brass bowl. On the inside of this the Zoroastrians often have engraved the names of dead friends and relatives, to whose memory they drink as the wine goes round


with such formulae as "Khuda pidarat biyamurzad ("May God pardon thy father!"), "Khuda madarat biyamurzad ("May God pardon thy mother!"), "Kbuda biyamurzad hama-i-raftagan-ra" ("May God pardon all the departed!"). The following inscription from Ardashir's drinking-cup may suffice as a specimen:--

      "Sahiba-i-marhum Mirhraban ibn Rustam-i-Bahram. Har kas kar farmayad 'Khuda biyamurzl' bi-Mihraban-i-Rustam, va Sarvar-i-Ardashir, va Gulchihr- i-Mihraban bi-dihad: haftad pusht-i-ishan amurzide bad! 1286 hijri."

      "The wife of the beatified Mihraban, the son of Rustam, [the son] of Bahram. Let every one who may make use [of this cup] give a 'Godpardon!' to Mihraban [the son] of Rustam, and Sarvar [the son] of Ardashir, and Gulchihr [the daughter] of Mihraban: may they be pardoned unto seventy generations! A.H. 1286."

      In drinking to the health of companions the formula (used also by Muhammadans when they drink) is "Bi-salamati-i-shuma!" ("To your health!"), the answer to which is "Nush-i-jan-bad!" ("May it be sweet to your soul!"). I had ample opportunity of learning how to drink wine "according to the rite of Zoroaster," for almost every afternoon Ardashir, accompanied either by Dastur Tir-andaz, or by his brother Gudarz, or by his manager Bahman, or by other Zoroastrians, used to come to the garden and sit by the little stream, which for a few hours only (for water is bought for a price in Yezd) refreshed the drooping flowers. Then, unless Muhammadan or Babi visitors chanced to be present, wine and 'arak were brought forth by old Jamshid, the gardener, or his little son Khusraw; fresh young cucumbers, and other relishes, such as the Persian wine-drinker loves, were produced; and the brass drinking cups were drained again and again to the memories of the dead and the healths of the living.

      It was on these occasions that conversation flowed most freely, and that I learned most about the Zoroastrian religion and its votaries. This is not the place to deal with the subject systematically, and I shall confine myself to noticing a few matters which actually came under discussion.


      The Zoroastrian year is solar, not lunar like the Muhammadan, and consists of twelve months of thirty days each, and five additional days called gata (corresponding to the Muhammadan "khamsa-i-mustaraka") to bring the total up to 365. The year begins at the vernal equinox, when the sun enters the sign of Aries (about 21st March), and is inaugurated by the ancient national festival of the Nawruz, or New Year's Day, which, as has been already mentioned, is observed no less by the Muhammadans than by the Zoroastrians of Persia. Each day of the month is presided over by an angel or archangel (of whom there are seven, called Amshaspands, to each of which a day of the first week is allotted), save that three days, the 8th, 15th, and 23rd of the month, are, like the first, sacred to Ormuzd. These are holy days, and are collectively known as the Si-dey. The following is a list of the days of the month, each of which is called by the name of the angel presiding over it:--(1) Ormuzd; (2) Bahman, the angel of flocks and herds; (3) Urdi-bihisht, the angel of light; (4) Shahrivar, the angel of jewels, gold, and minerals; (5) Sipandarmaz, the angel of the earth; (6) Khurdad, the angel of water and streams; (7) Amurdad, the angel of trees and plants; (8) Dey-bi-Adhar, the first of the Si-dey, sacred to Ormuzd; (9) Adhar; (10) Aban; (11) Khir; (12) Mah; (13) Tir; (14) Gush; (15) Dey-bi-Mihr, the second of the Si-dey; (16) Mihr; (17) Surush; (18) Rashn; (19) Farvardin; (20) Bahram; (21) Ram; (22) Dad; (23) Dey-bi-Din, the third of the Si-dey; (24) Din; (25) Ard; (26) Ashtad; (27) Asman; (28) Zamyad; (29) Muntrasipand; (30) Anaram. Of these thirty names twelve belong also to the months, as follows:--

             1.  Farvardin.                       7.  Mihr.
SPRING       2.  Urdi-bihisht.      AUTUMN        8.  Aban.
(Bahar).     3.  Khurdad            (Pa'iz).      9.  Adhar.

SUMMER       4.  Tir.               WINTER       10.  Dey.
(Tabistan.)  5.  Amurdad.           (Zamistan.)  11.  Bahman.
             6.  Shahrivar.                      12.  Sipandarmaz.

The week has no place in the Zoroastrian calendar, with which,


as I have elsewhere pointed out (Traveller's Narrative, vol. ii, p. 414, n. 1; and J.R.A.S. for 1889, p. 929), the arrangement of the solar year instituted by the Babis presents many points of similarity which can hardly be regarded as accidental*. As an example of the very simple manner in which dates are expressed according to the Zoroastrian calendar, I may quote the following lines from a Persian poem occurring in a Zend-Pahlavi MS. of the Vendidad of which I shall have something more to say shortly:-- A little consideration will show the reader that one day in each month will bear the same name as the month, and will be under the protection of the same angel. Thus the nineteenth day of the first month will be "the day of Farvardin in the month of Farvardin," the third day of the second month "the day of Urdi- bihisht in the month of Urdi-bihisht," and so on. Such days are kept as festivals by the Zoroastrians.

      The angel Rashn, who presides over the eighteenth day of each month, corresponds, in some degree, to the angels Munkar and Nakir in the Muhammadan system. On the fourth day after a Zoroastrian dies this angel comes to him, and weighs in a balance his good and his bad deeds. If the former are in excess, the departed is admitted into paradise; if the latter, he is punished--so my Zoroastrian friends informed me--by being


re-incarnated in this world for another period of probation, which re-incarnation is what is signified by the term "hell" (duzakh)*. Paradise, in like manner, was understood by my friends of Yezd in a spiritual sense as indicating a state rather than a place. I shall not readily forget an altercation on this subject which arose between the Dastur Tir-andaz and my Muhammadan servant Haji Safar. The latter had, I think, provoked the dispute by applying the term atash-parast ("fire- worshipper") to the followers of Zoroaster, or it had been otherwise introduced. The Dastur at once flashed out in anger. "What ails you if we prostrate ourselves before the pure element of fire," said he, "when you Muhammadans grovel before a dirty black stone, and the Christians bow down before the symbol of the cross? Our fire is, I should think, at least as honourable and appropriate a kibla as these, and as for worshipping it, we no more worship it than do you your symbols. And you Muhammadans" (turning to Haji Safar) "have of all men least right to charge us with holding a gross or material creed; you, whose conception of paradise is as a garden flowing with streams of milk and wine and honey, and inhabited by fair boys and languishing black-eyed maidens. Your idea of paradise, in short, is a place where you will be able to indulge in those sensual pleasures which constitute your highest happiness. I spit on such a paradise!" Haji Safar cried out upon him for a blasphemer, and seemed disposed to go further, but I bade him leave the room and learn to respect the religion of others if he wished them to respect his. Later on, when the Zoroastrians had gone, he renewed the subject with me, remarking that the Dastur deserved to die for having spoken such blasphemy; to which I replied that, though I had no desire to interfere with his conscience, or, in general, to hinder him in the discharge of the duties imposed upon him by his religion, I must request him to put a check


upon his zeal in this matter, at least so long as he remained in my service.

      In general, however, I found my Zoroastrian friends very tolerant and liberal in their views. Ardashir was never tired of repeating that in one of their prayers they invoked the help of "the good men of the seven regions" (khuban-i-haft kishvar), i.e. of the whole world; and that they did not regard faith in their religion as essential to salvation. Against the Arabs, indeed, I could see that they cherished a very bitter hatred, which the Dastur at least was at little pains to conceal; Kadisiyya and Nahavand were not forgotten, and, with but little exaggeration, the words of warning addressed to the Arabs settled in Persia in the second century of the hijra by Nasr ibn Seyyar, the Arab Governor of Khurasan, might be applied to them:--

      From these poor guebres, however, I received more than one lesson in meekness and toleration. "Injustice and harshness," said Bahman to me one day, "are best met with submission and patience, for thereby the hearts of enemies are softened, and they are often converted into friends. An instance of this came within my own experience. One day, as I was passing through the meydan, a young Muhammadan purposely jostled me and then struck me; crying, 'Out of the way, guebre!' Though angered at this uncalled-for attack, I swallowed down my anger, and replied with a smile, 'Very well, just as you like. ' An old Seyyid who was near at hand, seeing the wanton insolence of my tormentor, and my submission and patience, rebuked him sharply, saying, 'What harm had this poor man done to you that you should strike and insult him?' A quarrel arose between the two, and finally both were taken before the Governor, who, on learning the truth of the matter, caused the youth to be beaten. Now,


had I in the first instance given vent to my anger, the Seyyid would certainly not have taken my part, every Musulman present would have sided with his co-religionist against me, and I should probably have been beaten instead of my adversary."

      On another occasion I had been telling another of Ardashir's assistants named Iran about the Englishman at Shiraz who had turned Muhammadan. "I think he is sorry for it now," I concluded, "for he has cut himself off from his own people, and is regarded with suspicion or contempt by many of the Musulmans, who keep a sharp watch over him to see that he punctually discharges all the duties laid upon him by the religion of Islam. I wish him well out of it, and hope that he may succeed in his plan of returning to his home and his aged mother; but I misdoubt it. I think he wished to join himself to me and come here, that he might proceed homewards by way of Mashhad; but I was not very desirous of his company."

      "It is quite true," replied Iran, "that a bad companion is worse than none, for, as Sa'di says, it is better to go barefoot than with tight shoes. Yet, if you will not take it amiss, would you not do well, if you return to Shiraz, to take this man with you, and to bring him, and if possible his Muhammadan wife also, to England? This would assuredly be a good action: he would return to the faith he has renounced, and his wife also might become a Christian; they and their children after them would be gained to your religion, and yours would be the merit. Often it happens that one of us Zoroastrians, either through mere ignorance and heedlessness, or because he is in love with a Muhammadan girl whom he cannot otherwise win, renounces the faith of his fathers and embraces Islam. Such not unfrequently repent of their action, and in this case we supply them with money to take them to Bombay, where they can return, without the danger which they would incur here, to their former faith. Often their Muharnmadan wives also adopt the Zoroastrian religion, and thus a whole family is won over to our creed."


      "I was not aware," I remarked, "that it was possible under any circumstances for one not born a Zoroastrian to become one. Do you consent to receive back a renegade after any lapse of time?"

      "No," answered Iran, "not after six months or so; for if they remain Musulmans for longer than this, their hearts are turned black and incurably infected by the law of Islam, and we cannot then receive them back amongst us."

      Of the English, towards whom they look as their natural protectors, the Persian Zoroastrians have a very high opinion, though several of them, and especially Dastur Tir-andaz, deplored the supineness of the English Government, and the apathy with which it regards the hands stretched out to it for help. "You do not realise," said they, "what a shield and protection the English name is, else you would surely not grudge it to poor unfortunates for whom no one cares, and who in any time of disturbance are liable to be killed or plundered without redress." After my return to England I, and I think Lieutenant Vaughan also, made certain representations to the Foreign Office, which I believe were not ineffectual; for, as I subsequently learned, a Zoroastrian had been appointed British Agent in Yezd. This was what the Zoroastrians so earnestly desired, for they believed that the British flag would protect their community even in times of the gravest danger.

      Although the Zoroastrian women do not veil their faces, and are not subjected to the restrictions imposed on their Muhammadan sisters, I naturally saw but little of them. Twice, however, parties of guebre girls came to the garden to gaze in amused wonder at the Firangi stranger. Those composing the first party were, I believe, related to Ardashir, and were accompanied by two men. The second party (introduced by old Jamshid the gardener, who did the honours, and metaphorically stirred me up with a long pole to exhibit me to better advantage) consisted of young girls, one or two of whom were extremely pretty. These


conducted themselves less sedately, and, to judge by their rippling laughter, found no little amusement in the spectacle.

      Old Dastur Tir-andaz was to me one of the most interesting, because one of the most thoroughgoing and least sophisticated, of the Zoroastrians. He appeared to be in high favour with the governor, Prince 'Imadu'd-Dawla, from whom he was continually bringing messages of goodwill to me. In three of the four visits which I paid to the Prince, he bore me company, standing outside in the courtyard while I sat within. My first visit was paid the morning after I had received the lamb and the tray of sweetmeats wherewith the Prince, on the representations of the Dastur, already described, was graciously pleased to mark his sense of my "distinction." Accompanied by the Prince's pishkhidmat, or page-in-waiting (an intolerably conceited youth), and several farrashes, who had been sent to form my escort, we walked to the Government House, which was situated at the other end of the town, by the Arg or citadel. The Dastur, who walked by my side, was greatly troubled that I had not a horse or attendants of my own, and seemed to think that my apparel (which, indeed, was somewhat the worse for wear) was hardly equal to the occasion. As I preferred walking to riding, and as I had not come to Yezd to see princes or to indulge in ostentatious parade, these considerations did not affect me in the least, except that I was rather annoyed by the persistence with which the Dastur repeated to the Prince-Governor that I had come chapar (by post-horses) from Shiraz with only such effects as were absolutely necessary, and that a telegram must be sent to Shiraz to have my baggage forwarded with all speed to Yezd. The Prince, however, was very good-natured, and treated me with the greatest kindness, enquiring especially as to the books on philosophy and mysticism which I had read and bought. I mentioned several, and he expressed high approval of the selection which I had made, especially commending the Lawa'ih of Jami, Lahiji's Commentary on the Gulshan-i-Raz, and Jami's


Ashi'atu'l-Lama'at, or Commentary on the Lama'at of 'Iraki. Of Haji Mulla Hadi's Asraru'l-Hikam, on the other hand, he did not appear to have a very high opinion. He further questioned me as to my plans for the future, and, on learning that I proposed to proceed to Kirman, promised to give me a letter of recommendation to Prince Nasiru'd-Dawla, the govemor of that place, and also, to my consternation, expressed his intention of sending an escort with me. I was accompanied back to the garden by the farrashes, to whom I had to give a present of two tumans (about 13s.).

      The Prince's attentions, though kindly meant, were in truth somewhat irksome. Two days after the visit above described, he sent his conceited pishkhidmat to enquire after my health, and to ask me whether I had need of anything, and when I intended to visit a certain waterfall near the Shir-Kuh, which he declared I must certainly see before quitting his territories For the moment I escaped in polite ambiguities; but two days later the pishkhidmat again came with a request that, as Ramazan was close at hand, I would at once return with him to the Government House, as the Prince wished to see me ere the fast with the derangement of ordinary business consequent on it began. I had no resource but to comply, and after giving the pishkhidmat tea, which he drank critically, I again set out with him, the Dastur, and the inevitable farrashes, for the Prince's residence. On leaving the palace shortly before sunset, the Dastur mysteriously asked me whether, if I were in no particular hurry to get home, he might instruct the farrashes to take a more devious route through the bazaars. I consented, without at first being able to divine his object, which was no doubt to show the Musulmans of Yezd that I, the Firangi, was held in honour by the Prince, and that he, the fire-priest, was on the most friendly and intimate terms with me.

      After this visit I enjoyed a period of repose, for which, as I imagine, I was indebted to the fast of Ramazan. The Zoroastrians,


of course, like myself, were unaffected by this, and so was my servant Haji Safar, who came to me on the eve of the fast to know what his duty in the matter might be. He explained that travellers were exempt from the obligation of fasting, provided they made good the omission at some future date; but that if I could promise to remain at Yezd for ten clear days of Ramazan, he could fast for those ten days, postponing the remainder of his fast till some more convenient time. It was of no use, he added, to begin fasting unless he could reckon on ten consecutive days, a shorter period than this not entering into computation. I declined to bind myself by any such promise (feeling pretty sure that Haji Safar would not be sorry for an excuse to postpone the period of privation till the season of short days), and so, though it was not till Ramazan 13th that I actually quitted Yezd, he continued to pursue the ordinary tenor of his life.

      Amongst the minor annoyances which served to remind me that even Yezd was not without its drawbacks, were the periodical appearances in my room of scorpions and tarantulas, both of which abound in the dry, sandy soil of this part of Persia. Of these noxious animals, the latter were to me the more repulsive, from the horrible nimbleness of their movements, the hideous half-transparent grayness of their bodies, and the hairiness of their legs and venomous mandibles. I had seen one or two in the caravansaray where I first alighted, but, on removing to the clean arid tidy little house in Ardashir's garden, hoped that I had done with them. I was soon undeceived, for as I sat at supper the day after my arrival, I saw to my disgust a very large one of singularly aggressive appearance sitting on the wall about three feet above the floor. I approached it with a slipper, intending to slay it, but it appeared to divine my intentions, rushed up the wall and half across the ceiling with incredible speed, dropped at my feet, and made straight for the window, crossing in its course the pyramid of sweetmeats sent to me by the Prince, over which


its horny legs rattled with a loathsome clearness which almost turned me sick. This habit of dropping from the ceiling is one of the tarantula's many unpleasant characteristics, and the Persians (who call it roteyl or khaye-gaz) believe that it can only bite while descending. Its bite is generally said to be hardly less serious than that of the scorpion, but Ardashir assured me that people were seldom bitten by it, and that he had never known its wound prove fatal. The Yezdis, at all events, regarded its presence with much more equanimity than I did, and the Kalantar, or mayor, of the Zoroastrians displayed no alarm when a large specimen was observed sitting on the ceiling almost exactly over his head. The Prince-Governor manifested somewhat more disgust when a tarantula made its appearance in his reception- room one evening when I had gone to visit him; but then he was not a Yezdi.

      As regards scorpions, I killed a small whitish one in my room shortly after I had missed my first tarantula. A day or two afterwards old Jamshid the gardener brought me up another which he had just killed in the garden, and seized the occasion to give me a sort of lecture on noxious insects. The black woodlouse- like animal which I had slain at Chah-Begi he dedared to have been a "susmar" (though this word is generally supposed to mean a lizard). Having discussed this, he touched briefly on the tir-mar (earwig? ), sad-pa (centipede), and hazar-pa (millipede), concluding with the interesting statement that in every ant-hill of the large black ants two large black scorpions live. I suggested that we should dig up an ant-hill and see if it were so, but he declined to be a party to any such undertaking, seeming to consider that such a procedure would be in very indifferent taste. "As long as the scorpions stay inside," said he, "we have no right to molest them, and to do so is to incur ill-luck." So my curiosity remained unsatished.

      Old Jamshid was very particular in the observance of his religious duties, and I constantly heard him muttering his


prayers under my window in that peculiar droning tone which so impressed the Arabs that they invented a special word for it. Ardashir, who had seen the world and imbibed latitudinarian ideas, affected to regard this performance with a good-natured contempt, which he extended to many of the Dastur's cherished convictions. One day, for instance, mention was made of ghuls and other supernatural beings. "Tush," said Ardashir, "there are no such things." "No such things!" exclaimed the Dastur, "why I have seen one myself." "No, no," rejoined Ardashir, "you saw a man or a mule or some other animal in the gloaming, and, deceived by the half-light, the solitude, or your own fears, supposed it to be a ghul." Here I interposed, begging the Dastur to narrate his experience, which he readily consented to do.

      "I was riding back from Taft to the city one evening," said he, "when, nearly opposite our dakhme, I lost my way. As I was casting about to discover the path, I suddenly saw a light before me on the right. I thought it must come from the village of Kasim-abad, and was preparing to make for it, when it suddenly shifted to my left hand and began to approach me. It drew quite near; and then I saw a creature like a wild pig, in front of which flitted a light like a large lantern. I was horribly frightened, but I repeated a prayer out of the Desatir, whereupon the thing vanished. It soon reappeared, however, this time in the form of a mule, preceded by a man bearing a lantern, and thus addressed me: 'Ey adami-zad! Inja che mi-kuni?' ('O son of man! What dost thou here?') I replied that I had lost my way. Thereupon it pointed out a path, which, as it assured me, would lead me to the city. I followed this path for some distance, but it only led me farther out of my way, until at last I reached a village where I found some of our own people. These set me in the right road, and would have borne me company to the city, but I would not suffer them to do so, believing that I should have no further difficulty. On reachmg a bridge hard by the city, I again saw


the creature waiting for me by the roadside: it again strove to mislead me, but this time I paid no heed to it, and, pushing past it, reached my house in safety. Its object was to lead me into some desolate spot and there destroy me, after the manner of ghuls. After this experience you will understand that I am firmly convinced of the existence of these creatures."

      I was not so much troubled at Yezd by applications for medical advice and treatment as I had feared, partly because, after my experiences at Dihbid and God-i-Shirdan, I had forbidden Haji Safar and Baba Khan to say a word about my having any medical knowledge, and partly because Ardashir would not suffer strangers of whom he knew nothing to come to his garden to see me. Once, however, when I was sitting talking to Bahman and Iran in Ardashir's office (situated on the ground floor of one of the chief caravansarays in the city), a crowd of people assembled outside to stare at me, from which a Seyyid presently disengaged himself, and asked me whether I would cure him of an enlarged spleen. I asked him how he knew that it was his spleen that was affected. He replied that the Persian doctors had told him so. "What the Persian doctors can diagnose, can they not treat?" I enquired. "Yes," he replied, "they can; but they prescribe only two remedies, sharab and zahrab*, of which one is unlawful and the other disgusting." I finally told him that I could not undertake to treat him without first examining him, and that if he wished this he must come and see me in Ardashir's garden. He never came, however; or, if he did, he was not admitted.

      The Zoroastrians are, as a rule, good gardeners, and have some skill in the use of simples. From Ardashir and his gardener, Jamshid, I learned the names and supposed properties of many plants which grew in the garden. Unfortunately the little botanical knowledge I ever possessed had grown so rusty by long disuse that often I was unable to supply the English


name, or even to refer the plant to its proper order. However, I give the following list as a contribution towards a better knowledge of the Persian nomenclature. Pudana or pudanak; kasni, accounted "cool" and good for the liver; from it is prepared a spirit called 'arak-i-kasni; turb (radish); gav-gush (fighting- cock); aftab-gardan, or gul-i-khurshid (sunflower); bid-anjir, or bid-angir (castor-oil plant); razdane (fennel), said to be an analgesic; yunje (clover); tare, a small plant resembling garlic and with a similar smell, said to be good for haemorrhoids; shah-tare, accounted "hot and moist"; a decoction of it, taken in the morning on an empty stomach, is said to be good for indigestion and disorders of the stomach; shavij, a "hot" umbelliferous plant with a yellow blossom; gashnij, a "cold" umbelliferous plant with a white flower; chughandar (beetroot); gul-i-khatmi (holly- hock); kalam (cabbage), called by the guebres in their dialect kumni; isfinaj (spinach?); kahu (lettuce); kaduje (ragged-robin or campion); karanfil (passion-flower).

      I have alluded to the dialect spoken amongst themselves by the Zoroastrians of Persia, and by them called "Dari." This term has been objected to by M. Clement Huart, who has published in the Journal Asiatique several valuable papers on certain Persian dialects, which he classes together under the name of "Pehlevi-Musulman," and regards as the descendants of the ancient Median language preserved to us in the Avesta. The chief ground of his objection is that the description of the Dari dialect given in the prolegomena of certain standard Persian dictionaries does not at all agree with the so-called Dari spoken by the guebres of Yezd and Kirman. Personally, I confess that I attach but little importance to the evidence of the Persian lexicographers in this matter, seeing that it is the rarest thing for an educated Persian to take any interest in local dialects, or even to recognise their philological importance; and I shall therefore continue provisionally to call the dialect in question by the name given to it by those who speak it. That it is closely allied to the


Kohrudi, Kashani, Sivandi, Luri, and other dialects spoken in remote and isolated districts of Persia, and generically termed by the Persians "Furs-i-kadim" ("Old Persian"), is, however, not to be doubted.

      This Dari dialect is only used by the guebres amongst themselves, and all of them, so far as I know, speak Persian as well. When they speak their own dialect, even a Yezdi Musulman cannot understand what they are saying, or can only understand it very imperfectly. It is for this reason that the Zoroastrians cherish their Dari, and are somewhat unwilling to teach it to a stranger. I once remarked to Ardashir what a pity it was that they did not commit it to writing. He replied that there had at one time been some talk of translating the Gulistan into Dari, but that they had decided that it was inexpedient to facilitate the acquisition of their idiom to non-Zoroastrians. To me they were as a rule ready enough to impart information about it; though when I tried to get old Jamshid the gardener to tell me more about it, he excused himself, saying that a knowledge of it could be of no possible use to me.

      The following is a list of the Dari words and phrases which I collected at Yezd:--

Hamushtudwun, to arise (shortened in speaking to hamushtun); imperative,< hamusht; present tense (1 sing.) hamushtude' or hamushtudem; (2 sing.)

      hamushtudi, (3 sing.) hamushtud, (1 plur.) hamushtudim, (2 plur.)

      hamushtudid, (3 plur.) hamushtu-dand. Wotwun,to say; imperative, ve-va; past tense, am-vut, ud-vut or t'ad-vut, osh-vut or inoshvut, (plur.) ma-vut or ma-ma-vut, do-vut, sho-vut.

      Don't talk= vuj khe ma-ku' (khe= khud, self; ma-ku'= makun, do not do or make). Graftun, to take; ashnuftan, to hear; didwun, to see; kushtwun to strike. Venodwun, to throw. "Turn (lit. throw) the water into that channel," "Wow de o ju ve-ven" (wow = water; de = to, into; o = that). Nashte' or nashtem, I sat; (2 sing.) nashti; (3 sing.) nasht; (1 plur.)

      ma-nashtun. Imperative (2 sing.) unik; (2 plur.) unigit. Ve-shu, go; ko'ishi, whither goest thou? Hamashtun va-shim, let us arise and go; ma ve-shim, let us go. Ve-shu gau, go down; shuma gav-shit, do you go down. Me-wu ve-she, I want to go. Bi-yu, come; mune u, come here; me byu'i, may I come?


Omuda ve-bu, be ready. Wow, water. Dumined, 'arak, spirit (so called, they say, because it distils "from the end of the pipe," dum-i-ney). Kilowel, wine (said to be onomatopoeic, from the noise it makes as it is poured out of the bottle). Wakt-i-kilowel davarta, the time for wine has passed. Gaff, talk; gaff zadan, to talk. Bawz, a bee. Ruzhgarat nyak, good day.

      Those who desire fuller information about this interesting dialect, which well deserves a more careful and systematic study than it has yet received, may consult General Houtum-Schindler's admirable paper on the Zoroastrians of Persia (Die Parsen in Persien, ihre Sprache, etc.) in vol. xxxvi of the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft (pp. 54-88); Ferdinand Justi's article in vol. xxxv of the same periodical (pp. 327-414); Beresine's Dialectes Persanes (Kazan, 1853); and the articles of M. Huart in series viii of the Journal Asiatique (vol. vi, p. 502; vol. xi, p. 298; vol. xiv, p. 534).

      In this connection I may also cite a verse written in the Kashani dialect by a Kashi who wished to "take off"* the speech of his fellow-townsmen.

      While I am on the subject of these linguistic curiosities, I may as well mention a method of secret communication sometimes employed in Persia, the nature and applications of which were explained to me by my Erivani friend a few days before his departure for Mashhad. Such of my readers as have studied Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Hindustani will know that besides


the ordinary arrangement of the letters of the Arabic alphabet there is another arrangement called the "abjad" (from the four letters alif, ba, jim, dal which begin it) representing a much older order. The order of the letters in the abjad is expressed by the following series of meaningless words, consisting of groups of three or four letters each supplied with vowel-points to render them pronounceable:--abjad, hawaz, hoti, kalaman, sa'fas, karashat, thakhadh (sakhadh) dadhagha (zazagha). In this order each has a numerical value; alif = 1, ba= 2, jim= 3, dal= 4, and so on up to ya = 10; then come the other tens, kaf = 20, lam = 30, and so on up to kaf = 100; then the other hundreds up to gheyn= 1000. The manner in which, by means of this abjad, words and sentences may be made to express dates is familiar to all students of these languages and I will therefore only give as a specimen, for the benefit of the general reader, the rather ingenious chronogram for the death of the poet Jami, premising that he was a native of the province of Khurasan; that "smoke" or "smoke of the heart" is a poetical term for sighs; and that to "come up from" in the case of a number means to be subtracted from.

      This, then, is the chronogram: "Dud az Khurasan bar amad," "Smoke (sighs) arose from Khurasan," or "dud (dal = 4, vav = 6, dal = 4; total 14) came up (i.e. was subtracted) from Khurasan" (kha = 600, ra = 200, alif = 1, sin = 60, alif = 1, nun = 50; total 912). Taking 14 from 912 we get the date of Jami's death, A.H. 898 (= A.D. 1492).

      The method of secret communication above alluded to consists in indicating first the word of the abjad in which the letter to be spelt out occurs, then its position in that word. In communicating by raps, a double rap knocks off each word of the abjad, while on reaching the word in which the desired letter occurs its position in that word is indicated by the requisite number of single raps. An instance will make this clearer. It is desired to ask, "Nam-i-tu chist?" ("What is thy name?" ): the


letters which spell out this message are--nun, alif, mim, ta, vav, jim for chim), ya, sin, ta. Nun is in the fourth word of the abjad, and is the fourth letter in that word (kalaman). It is therefore indicated by three double raps (removing or knocking off the three first words, abjad, hawaz, hoti, and thus bringing us to the next word, kalaman), followed by four single raps (showing that it is the fourth letter in this word). The remaining letters Are expressed in similar fashion, so that if we represent double raps by dashes and single raps by dots, the whole message will run as follows: - - -.... (nun); . (alif); - - -... (mim); - - - - -.... (ta); -.. (vav); ... (chim or jim); - -... (ya); - - - -. (sin); - - - - -.... (ta).

      Messages can be similarly communicated by a person smoking the kalyan or water-pipe to his accomplice or partner, without the knowledge of the uninitiated. In this case a long pull at the pipe is substituted for the double rap, and a short pull for the single rap. Pulling the moustache, or stroking the neck, face, or collar (right side for words, left side for letters), is also resorted to to convert the system from an auditory into a visual one. It is expressed in writing in a similar fashion, each letter being represented by an upright stroke, with ascending branches on the right for the words and on the left for the letters. This writing is called, from the appearance of the letters, khatt-i-sarvi ("cypress- writing") or khatt-i-shajari ("tree-writing"). In this character (written, in the usual way, from right to left) the sentence which we took above ("nam-i-tu chist?") will stand as follows:--

      The mention of enigmatical writings reminds me of a matter which I omitted to speak of in its proper place--I mean the Pahlavi and Zend manuscripts preserved in the fire-temples of Yezd. Although I knew that Yezd had long since been ransacked for such treasures, and that, even should any old manuscripts remain, it would be impossible to do more than examine them


(a task which I, who knew no Pahlavi and only the merest rudiments of Zend, was but little qualified to undertake), I naturally did not omit to make enquiries on the subject of the Dastur and Ardashir. As I expected, most of the manuscripts (especially the older and more valuable ones) had been sent to the Parsees of Bombay, so as to be safe from the outbursts of Muhammadan fanaticism to which the Zoroastrians of Yezd are always liable; but in one of the fire-temples I was shown two manuscripts of the sacred books, the older of which was, by the kindness of the Dastur, lent to me during the remainder of my stay at Yezd, so that I was enabled to examine it thoroughly.

      This manuscript, a large volume of 294 leaves, contained, so far as I could make out, the whole of the Vendidad, with interspersed Pahlavi translation and commentary written in red, the headings of the chapters being also in red, and the Avesta text in black. On f. 158 was inscribed a Persian poem of fifty- nine couplets, wherein the transcriber, Bahram, the son of Marzaban, the son of Feridun, the son of Bahram, details the circumstances of his life and the considerations which led him to undertake the transcription of the sacred volume. From this it appeared that when the aforesaid Bahram was thirteen years of age, his father, Marzaban-i-Feridun, left his country presumably Yezd), and, at the command of the reigning king settled in Kazvin. After a while he went to Khurasan, and thence to Kirman, where he died at the age of fifty-seven. The death of his father turned Bahram's thoughts to his religion, which he began to study diligently with all such as could teach him anything about it. At the age of sixteen he seems to have transcribed the Yashts; and at the age of twenty he commenced the transcription of the Vendidad, of which he completed the first half (as stated in the verses cited on p. 413, supra), on the 14th day of the month of Amurdad, A.Y. 977. On the page facing that whereon this poem is written are inscribed the dates of the deaths of a number of Zoroastrians (belonging, probably,


to the family of the transcriber), beginning with Bahram's father Marzaban-i-Feridun, who died on the day of Varahram (Bahram), in the month of Farvardin, A.Y. 970. The last date is A.Y. 1069. The writing of the manuscript is large, clear, and legible, and it bears throughout the signs of careful work. One side of f. 29 is occupied by a diagram indicating, I believe, the successive positions in which the officiating priest or mubad must stand in relation to the fire-altar while performing some of the ceremonies connected with the homa-sacrifice. This sacred plant (the homa, or hum, as it is now called) is found in the mountains about Yezd, but I could not succeed in obtaining or even in seeing a specimen while I was there. After my return to Cambridge, however, the Dastur kindly sent me some of the seeds and stalks of it packed in a tin box. I gave some of the former to the Cambridge Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately they did not grow up, but they were identified by Mr Lynch, the curator, as a species of Ephedra.

      Near the end of the volume I found the following short prayer in Persian: "Shikast u zad bad Ahriman-i-durvand-i-kaj, ava hama divan u drujan u jaduvan," "Defeated and smitten be Ahriman the outcast, the froward, with all the demons and fiends and warlocks." Some of the original leaves of the manuscript had been lost, and replaced by new ones written in a bad hand on common white paper.

      It is time, however, to leave the Zoroastrians, and to say something of the Babis of Yezd, with whom also I passed many pleasant and profitable hours. But this chapter has already grown so long that what I have to say on this and some other matters had better form the substance of another.

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