Sunday 4 April 2010

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

(But what if it comes in like a lamb?)
Up, Down.

SimurghBallard StreetI had it doubly inverted, doubly backwards & fucked up - "If March comes in like a lamb it will go out like a lion," Doh!? didn't even think about it 'till Larry, the guy at the office-supply store, said, "no, it's 'In like a lion and out like a lamb'," and even then I thought I had it right ... but of course not! nevermind the segway into Easter, then there is the 'If' except there is no logic here, it's just a statement

as for coming in like a lamb you could say it was the thin edge of the global warming wedge but you wouldn't dare eh? not even with the CRU reputation now cleared by the British House of Commons no less

walking up the street in the wee hours to buy smokes and thinking extinction is maybe for the best, now there's a thought that's specific to the age ... do you think? until then the darkest thought I had was that the next generation would soon come to see the changes as 'normal' and accept them, maybe it will happen too quickly for that though eh?

Bamyan aka Bamiyan aka Bamian (the cliff faces south ...):
Bamyan, Salsal on the left & Shamama on the rightBamyan, Salsal on the left & Shamama on the rightBamyan SalsalBamyan SalsalBamyan SalsalBamyan ShamamaBamyan ShamamaBamyan ShamamaBamyan Shamama
Some panoramic views, some YouTube background videos: 1, 2, and, Nancy Hatch Dupree, The Valley of Bamiyan, (a damned sideways pdf!!!).

so it's Easter, the cross is empty, so are the niches in Bamyan, I'd say the Buddhists have got the edge in the 'missing deity' realm ... or read the three stories of the Simurgh if you like stories: Zal, Rustem, & Rustem and Isfendiyar ... Isfendiyar is supposed to be the bad guy and as usual seems orders of magnitude more interesting, bah, that's not fair, a silver haired albino doing the very first caesarean section on his wife is pretty interesting ... yeah ok, on a par

Phoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, Samandar:
Phoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix from the cover of Lady Chatterley's LoverPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, SamandarPhoenix, Simorgh, Simurgh, Samandar

“For all we know, this is it — the beginning of the end.”
     Alex Matthiessen, president of the environmental group Riverkeeper (below).

Pearls Before Swine EnviromeentLetterman said it best, he was referring to the Republican National Committee (RNC) blowing donations at a strip bar, the 'Voyeur West' in Hollywood, but it resonates :-)

"Hey we're fat dumb rich guys, 'nuff said?"

that was excuses #3 & #10, #2 wasn't bad either, "If we can't spend donor money at a strip club the terrorists have won," meanwhile Obama is financing nuclear energy big time, and supporting expansion of off-shore oil drilling, and the oceans (yeah the OCEANS!) are many times more polluted with BPA (that's Bisphenol A, a potent endocrine disruptor) than permitted even by Environment Canada, especially the beach sand, 28,000 TIMES! dig it, wait for the stats telling us that only girl babies are being born alive ... whatever!

He who must be obeyed says he will allow some offshore drilling for oil. Personally, I think it’s an April fuels joke. – Jive Dadson in the NYT.

Simurgh Zalhere are some better pictures of the Simurgh; rescuing/abducting Zal, and (in an alternate eding) being vanquished by Isfendiyar:

Simurgh Isfendiyar

1. From Shahname, Ferdowsi, tr. Helen Zimmern:
     Rustem and Isfendiyar.

2-1. Vermont Senate Votes to Close Nuclear Plant, Matthew L. Wald, Feb 24 2010.
2-2. New York Denies Indian Point a Water Permit, David Halbfinger, Apr 3 2010.
     2a. Southern Co. spent $3.9M lobbying in 4Q, Mar 25.
     2b. U.S. Supports New Nuclear Reactors in Georgia, Feb 16.
     2c. Investing in Clean, Safe Nuclear Energy, video of Obama's speech, Feb 16.
     2d. Investing in Clean, Safe Nuclear Energy, transcript of Obama's speech, Feb 16.
     2e. Energy Security and Independence, video of Obama's speech, Mar 31.
     2f. Energy Security and Independence, transcript of Obama's speech, Mar 31.

3. BPA widespread in ocean water and sand, Martin Mittelstaedt, Apr 1 2010.

Zal, Shahname, Ferdowsi, tr. Helen Zimmern.

Seistan, which is to the south of Iran, was ruled by Saum, the Pehliva, girt with might and glory, and, but for the grief that he was childless, his days were happy. Then it came to pass that a son was born unto him, beautiful of face and limb, who had neither fault nor blemish save that his hair was like unto that of an aged man. Now the women were afraid to tell Saum, lest he be wroth when he should learn that his child was thus set apart from his fellow-men. So the infant had gazed upon the light eight days ere he knew thereof. Then a woman, brave above the rest, ventured into his presence. She bowed herself unto the dust and craved of Saum the boon of speech. And he suffered her, and she spake, saying-

“May the Lord keep and guard thee. May thine enemies be utterly destroyed. May the days of Saum the hero be happy. For the Almighty hath accomplished his desire. He hath given to him an heir, a son is born unto the mighty warrior behind the curtains of his house, a moon-faced boy, beautiful of face and limb, in whom there is neither fault nor blemish, save that his hair is like unto that of an aged man. I beseech thee, O my master, bethink thee that this gift is from God, nor give place in thine heart to ingratitude.”

When Saum had listened to her words he arose and went unto the house of the women. And he beheld the babe that was beautiful of face and limb, but whose head was like unto that of an aged man. Then Saum, fearing the jeers of his enemies, quitted the paths of wisdom. He lifted his head unto heaven and murmured against the Lord of Destiny, and cried, saying-

“O thou eternally just and good, O source of happiness, incline thine ear unto me and listen to my voice. If I have sinned, if I have strayed in the paths of Ahriman, behold my repentance and pardon me. My soul is ashamed, my heart is angered for reason of this child, for will not the nobles say this boy presageth evil? They will hold me up to shame, and what can I reply to their questions? It behoveth me to remove this stain, that the land of Iran be not accursed.”

Thus spake Saum in his anger, railing against fate, and he commanded his servants to take the child and cast it forth out of the land.

Now there standeth far from the haunts of men the Mount Alberz, whose head toucheth the stars, and never had mortal foot been planted upon its crest. And upon it had the Simurgh, the bird of marvel, builded her nest. Of ebony and of sandal-wood did she build it, and twined it with aloes, so that it was like unto a king’s house, and the evil sway of Saturn could not reach thereto. And at the foot of this mount was laid the child of Saum. Then the Simurgh, when she spied the infant lying upon the ground, bereft of clothes and wherewithal to nourish it, sucking its fingers for very hunger, darted to earth and raised him in her talons. And she bare him unto her nest, that her young might devour him. But when she had brought him her heart was stirred within her for compassion. Therefore she bade her young ones spare the babe and treat him like to a brother. Then she chose out tender flesh to feed her guest, and tended the infant forsaken of his sire. And thus did the Simurgh, nor ever wearied till that moons and years had rolled above their heads, and the babe was grown to be a youth full of strength and beauty. And his renown filled the land, for neither good nor evil can be hidden for ever. And his fame spread even unto the ears of Saum, the son of Neriman.

Then it came to pass that Saum dreamed a dream, wherein he beheld a man riding towards him mounted upon an Arab steed. And the man gave him tidings of his son, and taunted him, saying-

“O thou who hast offended against every duty, who disownest thy son because that his hair is white, though thine own resembleth the silver poplar, and to whom a bird seemeth fit nurse for thine offspring, wilt thou abjure all kinship with him for ever?”

Now when Saum awoke he remembered his dream, and fear came upon him for his sin. And he called unto him his Mubids, and questioned them concerning the stripling of the Mount Alberz, and whether this could be indeed his son, for surely frosts and heat must long since have destroyed him. Then the Mubids answered and said-

“Not so, thou most ungrateful unto God, thou more cruel than the lion, the tiger, and the crocodile, for even savage beasts tend their young, whilst thou didst reject thine own, because thou heldest the white hair given unto him by his Creator for a reproach in the sight of men. O faint of heart, arise and seek thy child, for surely one whom God hath blessed can never perish. And turn thou unto him and pray that he forgive thee.”

When Saum had heard these words he was contrite, and called about him his army and set forth unto the mountains. And when they were come unto the mount that is raised up to the Pleiades, Saum beheld the Simurgh and the nest, and a stripling that was like unto himself walking around it. And his desire to get unto him was great, but he strove in vain to scale the crest. Then Saum called upon God in his humility. And God heard him, and put it into the heart of the Simurgh to look down and behold the warrior and the army that was with him. And when she had seen Saum she knew wherefore the chief was come, and she spake and said-

“O thou who hast shared this nest, I have reared thee and been to thee a mother, for thy father cast thee out; the hour is come to part us, and I must give thee again unto thy people. For thy father is Saum the hero, the Pehliva of the world, greatest among the great, and he is come hither to seek his son, and splendour awaiteth thee beside him.”

When the youth had heard her words his eyes were filled with tears and his heart with sorrow, for he had never gazed upon men, though he had learned their speech. And he said-

“Art thou then weary of me, or am I no longer fit to be thy house-fellow? See, thy nest is unto me a throne, thy sheltering wings a parent. To thee I owe all that I am, for thou wast my friend in need.”

And the Simurgh answered him saying, “I do not send thee away for enmity, O my son; nay, I would keep thee beside me for ever, but another destiny is better for thee. When thou shalt have seen the throne and its pomp my nest will sink in thine esteem. Go forth, therefore, my son, and try thy fortune in the world. But that thou mayst remember thy nurse who shielded thee, and reared thee amid her little ones, that thou mayst remain under the shadow of her wings, bear with thee this feather from her breast. And in the day of thy need cast it into the fire, and I will come like unto a cloud and deliver thee from danger.”

Thus she spake, and raised him in her talons and bore him to the spot where Saum was bowed to the dust in penitence. Now when Saum beheld his son, whose body was like unto an elephant’s for strength and beauty, he bent low before the Simurgh and covered her with benison. And he cried out and said-

“O Shah of birds, O bird of God, who confoundest the wicked, mayst thou be great for ever.”

But while he yet spake the Simurgh flew upwards, and the gaze of Saum was fixed upon his son. And as he looked he saw that he was worthy of the throne, and that there was neither fault nor blemish in him, save only his silvery locks. Then his heart rejoiced within him, and he blessed him, and entreated his forgiveness. And he said-

“O my son, open thine heart unto the meanest of God’s servants, and I swear unto thee, in the presence of Him that made us, that never again will I harden my heart towards thee, and that I will grant unto thee all thy desires.”

Then he clothed him in rich robes and named him Zal, which being interpreted meaneth the aged. And he showed him unto the army. And when they had looked on the youth they saw that he was goodly of visage and of limb, and they shouted for very joy. Then the host made them ready to return unto Seistan. And the kettledrummers rode at their head, mounted upon mighty elephants whose feet raised a cloud of dust that rose unto the sky. And the tabors were beat, and the trumpets brayed, and the cymbals clashed, and sounds of rejoicing filled the land because that Saum had found his son, and that Zal was a hero among men.

Now the news spread even unto Minuchihr that Saum was returning from the mountains with great pomp and joy. And when he had heard it he bade Nuder go forth to meet the Pehliva and bid him bring Zal unto the court. And when Saum heard the desires of his master he obeyed and came within his gates. Then he beheld the Shah seated upon the throne of the Kaianides, bearing his crown upon his head, and on his right hand sat Karun the Pehliva, and he bade Saum be seated on his left. And the Shah commanded Saum that he should speak. Then Saum unbosomed himself before the Shah and spake concerning his son, neither did he hide his evil deed. And Minuchihr commanded that Zal be brought before him. So the chamberlains brought him into the presence of the King, and he was clad in robes of splendour, and the King was amazed at his aspect. And he turned and said unto Saum-

“O Pehliva of the world, the Shah enjoineth you have a care of this noble youth, and guard him for the land of Iran. And teach him forthwith the arts of war, and the pleasures and customs of the banquet, for how should one that hath been reared in a nest be familiar with our ways?

Then the Shah bade the Mubids cast Zal’s horoscope, and they read that he would be a brave and prudent knight. Now when he had heard this the Pehliva was relieved of all his fears, and the Shah rejoiced and covered Saum with gifts. Arab horses did he give unto him with golden saddles, Indian swords in scabbards of gold, brocades of Roum, skins of beasts, and carpets of Ind, and the rubies and pearls were past the numbering. And slaves poured musk and amber before him. And Minuchihr also granted to Saum a throne, and a crown and a girdle of gold, and he named him ruler of all the lands that stretch from the Sea of China to that of Sind, from Zaboulistan to the Caspian. Then he bade that the Pehliva’s horse be led forth, and sent him away from his presence. And Saum called down blessings upon the Shah, and turned his face towards home. And his train followed after him, and the sound of music went before them.

Then when the tidings came to Seistan that the great hero was drawing nigh, the city decked itself in festive garbs, and every man called down the blessings of Heaven upon Zal, the son of Saum, and poured gifts at his feet. And there was joy in all the land for that Saum had taken back his son.

Now Saum forthwith called about him his Mubids, and bade them instruct the youth in all the virtues of a king.

And daily Zal increased in wisdom and strength, and his fame filled the land. And when Saum went forth to fight the battles of the Shah, he left the kingdom under his hands, and Zal administered it with judgment and virtue.

Rustem, Shahname, Ferdowsi, tr. Helen Zimmern.

Now ere the son of Zal was born, Rudabeh was sore afflicted, and neither by day nor night could she find rest. Then Zal in his trouble bethought him of the Simurgh, his nurse, and how she had given unto him a feather that he might use it in the hour of his need. And he cast the feather into the fire as she had commanded, and straightway a sound of rushing wings filled the air, and the sky was darkened and the bird of God stood before Zal. And she said unto him-

“O my son, wherefore art thou troubled, and why are the eyes of this lion wet with tears?”

Then he told her of his sorrow, and she bade him be of good cheer, “For verily thy nurse who shielded thee, and reared thee when thy father cast thee out, is come yet again to succour thee.”

And she told him how he should act, and when she had done speaking she turned her once more towards her nest. But Zal did as she had commanded, and there was born to him a son comely of limb. And when Rudabeh beheld the babe, she smiled and said-

“Verily he shall be called Rustem (which, being interpreted, meaneth delivered), for I am delivered of my pains.”

And all the land was glad that a son was come unto Zal the hero, and the sounds of feasting and joy were heard throughout its breadth.

Then fleet messengers brought the sweet tidings unto Saum. And they bare with them an image of Rustem sewn of silk, whereon were traced the features of this lion’s whelp, and a club was put into its hands, and it was mounted upon a dromedary. Now when Saum beheld the image his heart leaped up within him. He poured mountains of gold before the messengers, and gave thanks unto Ormuzd that he had suffered his eyes to look upon this child.

And when eight summers had rolled above their heads, Saum learned that Rustem was mighty of stature and fair of mien, and his heart yearned towards him. He therefore made ready a mighty host and passed unto Zaboulistan, that he might look upon his son. And Rustem rode forth to meet his sire, mounted upon an elephant of war, and when he beheld Saum he fell upon his face and craved his blessing. And Saum blessed Rustem, the son of Zal.

Then Rustem spake unto Saum and said, “O Pehliva, I rejoice in that I am sprung from thee, for my desires are not after the feast, neither do I covet sleep or rest. My heart is fixed upon valour, a horse do I crave and a saddle, a coat of mail and a helmet, and my delight is in the arrow. Thine enemies will I vanquish, and may my courage be like unto thine.”

And Saum, when he had heard these words, was astonished, and blessed Rustem yet again. And his eyes could not cease from gazing upon the face of the boy, and he lingered in the land until a moon had run her course.

Now it befell that when yet two springs had passed, Rustem was awakened from his slumber by a mighty roaring that shook the walls of the house, even unto the foundation, and a cry went forth that the white elephant of the King had broken its chain in fury, and that the housemates were in danger. And Rustem, when he learned it, sprang from his bed, and desired of the guards that they should suffer him to pass into the court that he might conquer the beast. But the guards barred the way from him, saying-

“How can we answer for it before the King if thou run into danger?”

But Rustem would not listen to their voice. He forced a passage for himself with his mighty arms, with his strong fists he broke down the barriers of the door. And when he was without he beheld how that all the warriors were sore afraid of the elephant, because that he was mad with rage. And Rustem was ashamed for them in his soul, and he ran towards the beast with a loud cry. Then the elephant, when he saw him, raised his trunk to strike him, but Rustem beat him upon the head with his club, and smote him that he died. And when he had done this deed, he returned unto his bed and slept until the morning. But the news of his prowess spread throughout the house of the King and far into the land, even unto the realms of Saum. And Zal, and all men with him, rejoiced because a hero was arisen in Iran.

Now, while these things were passing in the house of Zal, in the land of Zaboulistan, Minuchihr made him ready to pass from the world, for he had reached twice sixty years. He called before him Nauder his son, and gave him wise counsels, and exhorted him that he should ever walk in the paths of wisdom. And he bade him rest his throne upon the strength of Saum and Zal, and the child that was sprung from their loins. Then when he had spoken, Minuchihr closed his eyes and sighed, and there remained of him only a memory in the world.

But Nauder forgot the counsels of his father. He vexed the land and reigned in anger, and cruel deeds were committed in his name, so that the people rose up and cried against the King. And men of might came unto Saum and laid before him their plaints, and the petitions of the people, and they prayed that he would wrest the crown from the head of Nauder, and place it upon his own. But Saum was sore grieved when he had heard these words, and he spake, saying-

“Not so, for it beseemeth me not to put out my hand after the crown, for Nauder is of the race of the Kaianides, and unto them is given majesty and might.”

Then he girt his sword about his loins, and took with him a host, and rode before the face of the Shah. And when he was come unto him, Saum exhorted him with prayers and tears that he would turn him from the paths of evil. And Nauder listened unto the voice of Saum the Pehliva, and joy was abroad once more.

But the tidings spread, even into Turan, that Minuchihr the just was departed, and that the hand of Nauder was heavy upon the land. And Poshang, who was of the race of Tur, heard the news thereof with gladness, for he deemed that the time was ripe to remember the vengeance that was due unto the blood of his sire. Therefore he called about him his warriors, and bade them go forth to war against Iran, saying the time was come to avenge his father and draw unto himself the heritage. And while his son Afrasiyab made ready the host to fulfil the desire of his father, there spread the news that Saum the Pehliva had been gathered unto the dust, and that Zal tarried in his house to build him a tomb. And the news gave courage unto Afrasiyab and his men, and they made haste to gain the frontier.

But the grandson of Feridoun had learned of their coming, and he prepared him to meet the foes of his land. Then he sent forth an army that overshadowed the earth in its progress. But the army of Afrasiyab was great also, and it covered the ground like unto ants and locusts. And both hosts pitched their tents in the plains of Dehstan, and made them ready for the fight. And the horses neighed loud, and the pawing of their hoofs shook the deep places of the earth, and the dust of their trampling uprose even unto heaven. Then when they had put their men into array, they fell upon each other, and for two days did they rage in fierce combat, neither did the victory lean to either side. And the clamour and confusion were mighty, and earth and sky seemed blended into one. And the carnage was great, and blood flowed like water, and heads fell from their trunks like unto autumn leaves that are withered. But on the third day it came about that the upper hand was given unto the men of Turan, and Nauder the King, and the flower of his army with him, fell into the hands of the foe.

Then Afrasiyab cut off the head of Nauder the Shah, and sat himself down upon the throne of light. And he proclaimed himself lord of Iran, and required of all men that they should do him homage, and pour gifts before his face. But the people would not listen unto his voice, and they sent messengers into Seistan, and craved counsel of the Pehliva in their distress. And Zal, when he heard their tidings, cast aside the sorrow for Saum his father, and girded his loins in enmity against the son of Tur. And he bade the Iranians choose out Zew, the son of Thamasp, of the blood of Feridoun, of wisdom in speech, that he should rule over them on the throne of the Kaianides. And the people did as Zal commanded.

Now the throne of Feridoun grew young again under the sway of Zew. With power did he beat back the host of Turan, a covenant of peace did he wring from their hands. And it was written that the Jihun should divide the lands, and that the power of Zal the Pehliva should end where men take up their abode in tents. And Zew ruled rightly in the sight of Ormuzd, and God gave unto the land the key of abundance. Yet few were the years that he commanded with equity, and Garshasp his son reigned in his stead. But neither to him was it given to reign long with glory, and bitter fruit sprouted yet again from the tree of misfortune. For the throne of the Kaianides was empty, and Afrasiyab, when he learned thereof, followed the counsels of Poshang his father, and hurried him unto the land of Iran, that he might place himself upon the seat of power. And all the men of Iran, when they learned thereof, were sore afraid, and they turned them once again unto the son of Saum. And they spake unto him hard words, and heaped reproaches upon him that he had not averted these dangers from their heads. And Zal in his heart smiled at their ingratitude and lipwisdom, but he also sorrowed with them and with his land. And he spake, saying-

“I have ever done for you what was fitting and right, and all my life have I feared no enemy save only old age. But that enemy is now upon me, therefore I charge you that ye look unto Rustem to deliver you. Howbeit he shall be backed by the counsels of his father.”

Then he called before him his son, who was yet
of tender age, and he said unto him-

“O my son, thy lips still smell of milk, and thy heart should go out to pleasure. But the days are grave, and Iran looketh unto thee in its danger. I must send thee forth to cope with heroes.”

And Rustem answered and said, “Thou knowest, O my father, that my desires are rather after war than pleasures. Give unto me, therefore, a steed of strength and the mace of Saum thy father, and suffer that I go out to meet the hosts of Ahriman.”

Then Zal’s heart laughed within him when he heard these words of manhood. And he commanded that all the flocks of horses, both from Zaboulistan and Cabul, be brought before his son, that he might choose from their midst his steed of battle. And they were passed in order before Rustem, and he laid upon the backs of each his hand of might to test them if they could bear his weight of valour. And the horses shuddered as they bent beneath his grasp, and sank upon their haunches in weakness. And thus did he do with them all in turn, until he came unto the flocks of Cabul. Then he perceived in their midst a mare mighty and strong, and there followed after her a colt like to its mother, with the chest and shoulders of a lion. And in strength it seemed like an elephant, and in colour it was as rose leaves that have been scattered upon a saffron ground. Now Rustem, when he had tested the colt with his eyes, made a running knot in his cord and threw it about the beast. And he caught the colt in the snare, though the mare defended it mightily. Then the keeper of the flock came before Rustem and said-

“O youth puissant and tall, take not, I counsel thee, the horse of another.”

And Rustem answered him and asked, “To whom then pertaineth this steed? I see no mark upon its flanks.”

And the keeper said, “We know not its master, but rumours are rife anent it throughout the land, and men name it the Rakush of Rustem. And I warn thee, the mother will never permit thee to ride on it. Three years has it been ready for the saddle, but none would she suffer to mount thereon.”

Then Rustem, when he heard these words, swung himself upon the colt with a great bound. And the mare, when she saw it, ran at him and would have pulled him down, but when she had heard his voice she suffered it. And the rosecoloured steed bore Rustem along the plains like unto the wind. Then when he was returned, the son of Zal spake and said to the keeper-

“I pray thee, tell unto me what is the price of this dragon?”

But the keeper replied, “If thou be Rustem, mount him, and retrieve the sorrows of Iran. For his price is the land of Iran, and seated upon him thou wilt save the world.”

And Rustem rejoiced in Rakush (whose name, being interpreted, meaneth the lightning), and Zal rejoiced with him, and they made them ready to stand against Afrasiyab.

Now it was in the time of roses, and the meadows smiled with verdure, when Zal led forth his hosts against the offspring of Tur. And the standard of Kawah streamed upon the breeze, and Mihrab marched on the left, and Gustahem marched on the right, and Zal went in the midst of the men, but Rustem went at the head of all. And there followed after him a number like to the sands of the sea, and the sounds of cymbals and bells made a noise throughout the land like unto the day of judgment, when the earth shall cry unto the dead, “Arise.” And they marched in order even unto the shores of the river Rai, and the two armies were but some farsangs apart.

Albeit, when Afrasiyab heard that Rustem and Zal were come out against him, he was in nowise dismayed, for he said, “The son is but a boy, and the father is old; it will not, therefore, be hard for me to keep my power in Iran.” And he made ready his warriors with gladness of heart.

But Zal, when he had drawn up his army in battle array, spake unto them, saying-

“O men valiant in fight, we are great in number, but there is wanting to us a chief, for we are without the counsels of a Shah, and verily no labour succeedeth when the head is lacking. But rejoice, and be not downcast in your hearts, for a Mubid hath revealed unto me that there yet liveth one of the race of Feridoun to whom pertaineth the throne, and that he is a youth wise and brave.”

And when he had thus spoken, he turned him to Rustem and said-

“I charge thee, O my son, depart in haste for the Mount Alberz, neither tarry by the way. And wend thee unto Kai Kobad, and say unto him that his army awaiteth him, and that the throne of the Kaianides is empty.”

And Rustem, when he had heard his father’s command, touched with his eyelashes the ground before his feet, and straightway departed. In his hand he bare a mace of might, and under him was Rakush the swift of foot. And he rode till he came within sight of the Mount Alberz, whereon had stood the cradle of his father. Then he beheld at its foot a house beauteous like unto that of a king. And around it was spread a garden whence came the sounds of running waters, and trees of tall stature uprose therein, and under their shade, by a gurgling rill, there stood a throne, and a youth, fair like to the moon, was seated thereon. And round about him leaned knights girt with red sashes of power, and you would have said it was a paradise for perfume and beauty.

Now when those within the garden beheld the son of Zal ride by, they came out unto him and said-

“O Pehliva, it behoveth us not to let thee go farther before thou hast permitted us to greet thee as our guest. We pray thee, therefore, descend from off thy horse and drink the cup of friendship in our house.”

But Rustem said, “Not so, I thank you, but suffer that I may pass unto the mountain with an errand that brooketh no delay. For the borders of Iran are encircled by the enemy, and the throne is empty of a king. Wherefore I may not stay to taste of wine.”

Then they answered him, “If thou goest unto the mount, tell us, we pray thee, thy mission, for unto us is it given to guard its sides.”

And Rustem replied, “I seek there a king of the seed of Feridoun, who cleansed the world of the abominations of Zohak, a youth who reareth high his head. I pray ye, therefore, if ye know aught of Kai Kobad, that ye give me tidings where I may find him.”

Then the youth that sat upon the throne opened his mouth and said, “Kai Kobad is known unto me, and if thou wilt enter this garden and rejoice my soul with thy presence I will give thee tidings concerning him.”

When Rustem heard these words he sprang from off his horse and came within the gates. And the youth took his hand and led him unto the steps of the throne. Then he mounted it yet again, and when he had filled a cup with wine, he pledged the guest within his gates. Then he gave a cup unto Rustem, and questioned him wherefore he sought for Kai Kobad, and at whose desire he was come forth to find him. And Rustem told him of the Mubids, and how that his father had sent him with all speed to pray the young King that he would be their Shah, and lead the host against the enemies of Iran. Then the youth, when he had listened to an end, smiled and said-

“O Pehliva, behold me, for verily I am Kai Kobad of the race of Feridoun!”

And Rustem, when he had heard these words, fell on the ground before his feet, and saluted him Shah. Then the King raised him, and commanded that the slaves should give him yet another cup of wine, and he bore it to his lips in honour of Rustem, the son of Zal, the son of Saum, the son of Neriman. And they gave a cup also unto Rustem, and he cried-

“May the Shah live for ever!” Then instruments of music rent the air, and joy spread over all the assembly. But when silence was fallen yet again, Kai Kobad opened his mouth and said-

“Hearken, O my knights, unto the dream that I had dreamed, and ye will know wherefore I called upon you this day to stand in majesty about my throne. For in my sleep I beheld two falcons white of wing, and they came out unto me from Iran, and in their beaks they bare a sunny crown. And the crown they placed upon my head. And behold now is Rustem come out unto me like to a white bird, and his father, the nursling of a bird, hath sent him, and they have given unto me the crown of Iran.”

And Rustem, when he had heard this dream, said, “Surely thy vision was given unto thee of God! But now, I pray thee, up and tarry no longer, for the land of Iran groaneth sore and awaiteth thee with much travail.”

So Kai Kobad listened to the desires of Rustem, and swung him upon his steed of war; and they rode day and night, until they came down from the hills unto the green plains that are watered by murmuring streams. And Rustem brought the King safely through the outposts of the enemy; and when the night was fallen, he led him within the tents of Zal, and none knew that he was come save only the Mubids. For seven days did they hold counsel together, and on the eighth the message of the stars was received with joy. And Zal made ready a throne of ivory and a banquet, and the crown of Iran was placed upon the head of the young Shah. Then the nobles came and did homage before him, and they revelled in wine till the night was far spent. And they prayed him that he would make him ready to lead them against the Turks. And Kai Kobad mustered the army and did as they desired.

And soon the battle raged hot and strong many days, and deeds of valour were done on either side; but the men of Turan could not stand against the men of Iran, neither could the strength of Rustem be broken. For he put forth the power of a lion, and his shadow extended for miles. And from that day men named him Tehemten (which being interpreted, meaneth the strong-limbed), for he did deeds of prowess in the sight of men. And Afrasiyab was discomfited, and fled before him, and his army followed after, and their hearts were bruised and full of care.

But the Iranians, when they beheld that their foes had vanished before them, turned them unto Kai Kobad and did homage before his throne. And Kai Kobad celebrated the victory with much pomp, as is the manner of kings; and he placed Rustem upon his right hand and Zal upon his left, and they feasted and made them merry with wine.

In the meantime Afrasiyab returned him unto Poshang his father, who was of the race of Tur. And he came before him right sorrowful and spake, saying-

“O King, whose name is glorious, thou didst evil to provoke this war. The land which Feridoun the great did give in ancient time unto Tur the valiant, it hath been delivered unto thee, and the partition was just. Why, therefore, seekest thou to enlarge thy border? Verily I say, if thou haste not to make peace with Iran, Kai Kobad will send out against us an army from the four quarters of the earth, and they will subdue us, and by our own act we shall make the land too narrow for us. For the world is not delivered of the race of Irij, and the noxious poison hath not been converted into honey. For when one dieth another taketh his place, and never do they leave the world without a master. And there is arisen of the race of Saum a warrior called Rustem, and none can withstand him. He hath broken the power of thine host, and the world hath not seen his like for stoutness; and withal he is but little more than a weanling. Ponder therefore, O King, how shall it be when he may be come to years of vigour. Surely I am a man who desireth to possess the world, the stay of thine army, and thy refuge in danger, but before this boy my power fadeth like unto the mists that rise above the hills.”

When the King of Turan had listened to these words, the tears of bitterness fell from his eyes. Then he called before him a scribe and he bade him write a letter unto Kai Kobad, the Shah. And the scribe adorned it with many colours and fair designs. And the scribe wrote-

“In the name of Ormuzd, the ruler of the sun and moon, greeting and salutation unto Kai Kobad the gracious from the meanest of his servants. Listen unto me, O valiant Shah, and ponder the words that I shall write. May grace fall upon the soul of Feridoun, who wove the woof of our race! Why should we any longer hold the world in confusion? That which he fixed, surely it was right, for he parted the world with equity, and we do wrong before him when we depart from the grooves that he hath shaped. I pray thee, therefore, let us no longer speak of Tur and his evil acts unto Irij, for if Irij was the cause of our hates, surely by Minuchihr hath he been avenged. Let us return, then, within the bounds that Feridoun hath blest, and let us part the world anew, as it was parted for Tur, and Selim, and Irij. For wherefore should we seek the land of another, since in the end each will receive in heritage a spot no larger than his body? If then Kai Kobad will listen unto my prayer, let the Jihun be the boundary between us, and none of my people shall behold its waters, nay, not even in a dream, neither shall any Iranian cross its floods, save only in amity.”

And the King put his seal upon the letter and sent it unto Kai Kobad, and the messenger bare with him rich gifts of jewels and steeds of Araby. And when Kai Kobad had read the letter he smiled in his spirit and said-

“Verily not my people sought out this war but Afrasiyab, who deemed that he could wrest unto himself the crown of Iran, and could subdue the masterless land unto his will. And he hath but followed in the footsteps of Tur his father, for even as he robbed the throne of Irij, so did Afrasiyab take from it Nauder the Shah. And I say to you that I need not make peace with you because of any fear, but I will do it because war is not pleasing unto me. I will give unto you, therefore, the farther side of the river, and it shall be a boundary between us, and I pray that Afrasiyab may find rest within his borders.”

And Kai Kobad did according to his word. He drew up a fresh covenant between them, and planted a new tree in the garden of power. And the messenger took the writing unto Poshang, King of Turan, and Kai Kobad proclaimed that there was peace throughout the land.

Now for the space of an hundred years did Kai Kobad rule over Iran, and he administered his realm with clemency, and the earth was quiet before him, and he gat his people great honour, and I ask of you what king can be likened unto him? But when this time had passed, his strength waned, and he knew that a green leaf was about to fade. So he called before him Kai Kaous his son, and gave unto him counsels many and wise. And when he had done speaking he bade them make ready his grave, and he exchanged the palace for the tomb. And thus endeth the history of Kai Kobad the glorious. It behoveth us now to speak of his son.

Rustem and Isfendiyar, Shahname, Ferdowsi, tr. Helen Zimmern.

When a little while had been passed in feasting, Isfendiyar came before Gushtasp, his father, and demanded the fulfilment of the promises that he had made unto him. And he recalled unto Gushtasp how he had mistrusted him and thrown him into chains. And he spake of the doughty deeds that he had done at his behest, and he craved him to remember that Isfendiyar was his son. And Gushtasp knew that that which was spoken was right, but he desired not to abandon the throne. Wherefore he communed within him what he should do. Then he opened his mouth and spake, saying-

“Verily thou hast done that which thou sayest, and there is none who is thine equal in this world, save only Rustem, the son of Zal. And he acknowledgeth none his like. Now because he is grown proud in his spirit, and hath rendered no homage unto me, neither is come forth to aid me against Arjasp, I desire that thou go forth unto Zaboulistan, and that thou lead out the Pehliva, and bring him bound before me, that he may know that I am the Shah, and that he must do my behests. And when thou shalt have done it, I swear unto thee by Him from whom cometh all strength, and who hath kindled the sun and the stars unto light, that I will step down from the throne, neither withhold it from thee any longer.”

Then Isfendiyar said, “O King, I would entreat of thee that thou ponder the words that thou hast spoken. For thine ancestors held this old man, ripe in wisdom, in much honour, and he was a staff unto their throne. Now since thou calledst him not forth, it was not fitting he should aid thee against Turan.”

But Gushtasp would not listen unto the words of Isfendiyar, and he said-

“If thou lead not Rustem bound before me, I will not grant unto thee the throne.”

Then Isfendiyar said, “Thou sendest me forth in guile on this emprise, for verily no man hath stood against the might of Rustem, wherefore I perceive that thou desirest not to abandon unto me the throne. I say unto thee, therefore, that I desire it no longer; but since I am thy slave, it beseemeth me to obey thy behests. I go forth therefore, and if peradventure I fall before Rustem, thou wilt answer unto God for my blood.”

And when he had so spoken, Isfendiyar went out of the presence of the Shah, and he was exceeding sorrowful. Then he gathered together an army, and he set forth upon the road that leadeth to Seistan.

Now when they were gone but a little way, the camel that walked at their head laid him down in the dust. And the drivers struck him, but he would not rise from the earth. Then Isfendiyar said, “The omen is evil.” But he commanded the driver that he cut off the head, that the evil might fall upon the beast and tarnish not the glory of the Shah. And it was done as Isfendiyar desired, but he could not rid him of his sadness, and he pondered in his spirit this sign.

Now when they were come unto the land of Zaboulistan, Isfendiyar spake, saying-

“I will send an envoy unto Rustem, a man prudent and wise. And I will entreat of the Pehliva that he come before me with gladness, for I desire no evil unto him, and I come forth only at the behest of the Shah.”

Then he called before him Bahman, his son, and he spake long unto him, and he charged him with a message unto Rustem. And he bade him speak unto the son of Zal how Gushtasp was angered because he sought not his courts, wherefore he deemed that Rustem was grown proud in his spirit, and would uplift himself above his Shah. And he said-

“The King hath sent me out that I lead thee before him. I pray thee, therefore, come unto me, and I swear unto thee that no harm shall befall thee at his hands. For when I shall have led thee before him, I will demand as my guerdon that he suffer thee to go unharmed.”

So Bahman laid up these words in his spirit, and he went with all speed unto the courts of Rustem. Now, he found therein none but Zal, for Rustem was gone forth with his warriors to chase the wild ass. And Zal came forth with courtesy to greet Bahman, and he asked of him his desires, and he invited him unto a feast. But Bahman said-

“My mission doth admit of no delay. Isfendiyar hath bidden me not tarry by the road. Tell me, therefore, where I may find thy son.”

Then Zal showed unto him the way. Now when Bahman was come unto the spot, he beheld a man like unto a mountain, who was roasting a wild ass for his supper. And in his hand was a wine-cup, and about him stood brave knights. Then Bahman said within himself, “Surely this is Rustem,” and he watched him from where he was hid, and he beheld that Rustem devoured the whole of a wild ass for his meal, and he was amazed at the might and majesty of this man. Then he thought within him, “Peradventure if I cast down a rock upon him, I may slay him, for surely even Isfendiyar, my father, shall not withstand his strength.” So he loosened a rock from the mountain-side, and set it rolling unto the spot where Rustem was encamped. Now Zevarah heard the sound thereof, and beheld the rock, and he said unto Rustem-

“Behold a rock that springeth forth from the mountain-side.”

But Rustem smiled, and arose not from his seat; and when the rock was upon him, he lifted up his foot and threw it far unto the other side. Then Bahman was amazed, but he was affrighted also, and he dared not come forth at once. Yet when he was come before the Pehliva, Rustem greeted him kindly, and would have entertained him. And Bahman suffered it, and he marvelled yet again when he beheld that which was eaten of Rustem, and he was afraid. Then he delivered unto him the message of Isfendiyar, his father. And Rustem listened unto it, and when it was ended he spake, saying-

“Bear greeting unto the hero of renown, and say unto him that I have longed to look upon his face, and that I rejoice that he is come forth unto Zaboulistan. But his demand is the device of Deevs, and I would counsel him that he depart not from the paths of wisdom. And I say unto him, Count not upon thy strength, for it is given to no man to shut up the winds within a cage, neither can any man stand against my might. And I have ever done that which was right before the Shahs, thy fathers, and no man hath beheld Rustem in chains. Therefore thy demand is foolish, and I bid thee abandon it, and honour my house with thy presence. And when we shall have feasted, I will go forth with thee before Gushtasp, thy father, and the reins of my horse shall be tied unto thine throughout the journey. And when I shall be come before the Shah, and shall have taken counsel with him, I know that his anger against me, which is unjust, will vanish like unto smoke.”

Then Rustem sent a messenger unto Rudabeh, his mother, to make ready a great feast in his courts. And Bahman sped back unto his father.

Now Isfendiyar, when he had listened unto the words sent by Rustem, mounted his steed, and rode forth to meet him. And Rustem was come forth also, and they met beside the stream. Then Rakush swam across its breadth, and the hero of the world stood before Isfendiyar, and he greeted him, and did homage unto the son of his Shah. And Rustem rejoiced in the sight of Isfendiyar, and he deemed that he beheld in him the face of Saiawush. And he said unto him-

“O young man, let us commune together concerning the things that divide us.”

And Isfendiyar assented unto the desires of Rustem, and he pressed him unto his bosom, and his eyes could not cease from gazing upon his strength. Then Rustem said-

“O hero, I have a prayer to make before thee; I crave that thou enter into my house as my guest.”

And Isfendiyar said, “I cannot listen unto thy demand, for the Shah commanded me neither to rest nor tarry until I should have brought thee unto him in chains. But I entreat of thee that thou consider that the chains of the King of kings do not dishonour, and that thou listen willingly unto the desires of the Shah, for I would not lift my hand in anger against thee, and I am grieved that it hath been given unto me to do this thing. But it behoveth me to fulfil the commandments of my father.”

Thus spake Isfendiyar in the unquietude of his spirit, for he knew that what was demanded of Rustem was not fitting or right. And Rustem replied, saying“

It would be counted shame unto me if thou shouldst refuse to enter into my house. I pray thee, therefore, yet again that thou accede to my desires, and when it shall be done I will do that which thou desirest, save only that I cannot submit unto the chains. For no man hath beheld me fettered, neither shall any do so while I draw my breath. I have spoken, and that which I have said, it is true.”

And Isfendiyar said, “I may not feast with thee, and if thou listen not to my voice, I must fall upon thee in enmity. But to-day let there be a truce between us, and drink thou with me in my tents.”

And Rustem said, “I will do so gladly, suffer only that I go forth and change my robes, for I am clad for the chase. And when thy meal shall be ready, send forth a messenger that he may lead me thither.”

And when he had so spoken, Rustem leaped upon Rakush and returned unto his courts. Now when he had arrayed himself for the banquet, he awaited the envoy that Isfendiyar should send. But Isfendiyar was full of cares, and he said unto Bashuntan, his brother-

“We have regarded this affair too lightly, for it is full of danger. Wherefore I have no place in the house of Rustem, neither should he enter into mine, for the sword must decide our strife. For which cause I shall not bid him unto my feast.”

Then Bashuntan answered and said, “A Deev hath led thee astray, O my brother, for it is not fitting that men like unto Rustem and Isfendiyar should meet in enmity. Wherefore I counsel thee that thou listen not unto our father, for his desires are evil, and he seeketh but to ensnare thee. Yet thou art wiser than he; abandon, therefore, this device of evil.”

But Isfendiyar answered and said, “If I obey not the words of the King, my father, it will be a reproach unto me in this world, and I shall have to render account for it in the next before God, my Maker. And I would not lose both worlds because of Rustem.”

Then Bashuntan said, “I have given unto thee counsel according to my wisdom, it resteth with thee to do as thou desirest.”

Then Isfendiyar bade the cooks serve before him the banquet, but he sent not forth to call Rustem unto the feast.

Now Rustem, when he had waited a long while and beheld that Isfendiyar sent not to call him forth, was angered, and he said-

“Is this the courtesy of a King?” And he sprang upon Rakush and rode unto the tents of the prince that he might question him wherefore he regarded Rustem thus lightly. Now the warriors of Iran, when they beheld the Pehliva, murmured among themselves against Gushtasp, and they spake as with the voice of one man, that surely the Shah was bereft of reason or he would not thus send Isfendiyar unto death. And they said-

“Gushtasp loveth yet more his treasures and his throne as age creepeth upon him, and this is but a device to preserve them unto himself.”

Now Rustem, when he had presented himself before Isfendiyar, spake and said-

“O young man, it would seem unto me that thou didst not deem thy guest worthy a messenger. Yet I say unto thee that it is I who have made the throne of Iran to shine out unto all the world, and I have ever been the Pehliva of its Shahs, and have endured much pain and toil for their sakes. And I have not passed a day save in doing that which is right, and I have purged the land of its enemies. I am the protector of the Kings of Iran, and the mainstay of the good in all places of the earth. Wherefore it behoveth thee not to treat me thus disdainfully.”

Then Isfendiyar said, “O Rustem, be not angered against me, but listen wherefore I sent not forth to call thee. For the day was hot and the road long, and I bethought me that fatigue would come upon thee from this course. Therefore I had resolved to visit thee in the morning. But since thou hast taken upon thee this fatigue, I pray of thee that thou rest within my tents, and that we empty the wine-cup together.”

Then he made a place for him at his left hand. But Rustem said, “This is not my place. It is not fitting that I should sit upon thy left, for my seat hath ever been at the right hand of the Shah.”

Then Isfendiyar bade a chair of gold be brought, and he caused it to be placed upon his right, and he bade Rustem be seated upon it. And Rustem sat him down, but he was angered in his spirit because of the dishonour that Isfendiyar had shown unto him.

Now when they had drunk together awhile, Isfendiyar lifted up his voice and said-

“O Rustem, it hath been told unto me that thine origin is evil, for thou art sprung from a Deev whom Saum cast forth from his house. And he was reared of a vile bird, and his nourishment was garbage.”

Then Rustem said, “Why speakest thou words that do hurt?” And he told unto him of his father, and Saum, and Neriman who was of the race of Husheng the Shah. And he vaunted the great deeds done of his house, and he hid not that which he had accomplished himself, and he said-

“Six hundred years have passed since I came forth from the loins of Zal, and for that space I have been the Pehliva of the world, and have feared neither that which was manifest, nor that which was hid. And I speak these things that thou mayest know. Thou art the King, and they that carry high their heads are thy subjects, but thou art new unto the world, wherefore thou knowest not the things that are come to pass.”

When Isfendiyar had listened unto the words of Rustem, he smiled and spake, saying-

“I have given ear unto thy voice, give ear now also unto the words that I shall speak.”

Then he vaunted him of his forefathers, and he recounted unto Rustem how that he had overcome the Turks, and how Gushtasp had cast him into chains, and he told him of the seven stations, and that he had converted the world unto the faith of Zerdusht. And he said-

“We have spoken enough concerning ourselves, let us drink until we be weary.”

But Rustem said, “Not so, for thou hast not heard all the deeds that I have done, for they are many, and the ear sufficeth not to hear them, nor the mouth to tell. For if thou knewest them, thou wouldest not exalt thyself above me, or think to cast me into chains.”

And he recounted to him yet again of his deeds of might.

But Isfendiyar said, “I entreat of thee that thou apply thyself unto the wine-cup, for verily thou shalt fall tomorrow in the fight, and the days of thy feasting shall be ended.”

And Rustem answered, “Boast not thus rashly, thou shalt yet repent thee of thy words. But tomorrow will we meet in conflict since thou desirest it, and when I shall have lifted thee from off thy saddle, I will bear thee unto my house and spread a feast before thee, and pour upon thee my treasures. And when it shall be done, I will return with thee unto the courts of the Shah, thy father, and uproot from his spirit this plant of evil. And when thou shalt be mounted into his seat, I will serve thee with gladness as thy Pehliva.”

But Isfendiyar said, “Thy words are idle, and we waste but our breath in talk of combat. Let us therefore apply us to the banquet.”

And they did so, and ate and drank until the night was far spent, and all men were amazed at the hunger of Rustem.

Now when it was time for him to depart, he prayed Isfendiyar yet again that he would be his guest, and yet again Isfendiyar refused it to him, and he said“-

Suffer that I put chains about thee, and lead thee forth into Iran, that Gushtasp be satisfied. But if thou wilt not do this thing, I must attack thee with the spear.”

Now Rustem, when he heard these words, was sorrowful in his soul. And he thought within him-

“If I suffer these chains it is a stain that cannot be wiped out, and I cannot outlive my dishonour, for men will mock at Rustem, who permitted a boy to lead him bound. Yet if I slay this youth, I do evil, for he is son unto the Shah, and my glory will be tarnished, for men will say I lifted my hand against a Kaianide. And there can arise no good out of this combat. Wherefore I will strive yet again to win him unto wisdom.”

So he lifted up his voice and said, “I pray thee listen not to the counsel of Deevs, and shut thy lips concerning these chains. For it seemeth unto me that Gushtasp desireth evil against thee, that he sendeth thee forth against Rustem, the unvanquished in fight. Dishonour, therefore, not the champion of thy fathers, but feast within my gates, and let us ride forth in friendship unto Iran.”

But Isfendiyar said, “I charge thee, old man, that thou waste not words concerning this thing, for I will not disobey the behests of my father. Prepare, therefore, for combat; for to-morrow I will make the world dark unto thine eyes.”

Then Rustem said, “O foolish youth! when I grasp my mace, the head of my foe is lost. Prepare thee rather for thine end.”

And when he had so spoken, he rode forth from out the tents of Isfendiyar, and he was exceeding sorrowful. But Isfendiyar smiled after him and said-

“The mother that hath borne thee shall weep. I will cast thee down from Rakush, I will lead thee bound into Iran.”

But once again did Bashuntan come before Isfendiyar, and he pleaded with him for Rustem, and he bade him remember the great deeds that he had done unto Iran, and he desired him not to lift his hand against the Pehliva.

But Isfendiyar said- “He is a thorn in my rosegarden, and through him alone can I attain unto the throne. Strive not, therefore, to hinder me, for thy pains will be in vain. For Zerdusht hath spoken that whosoever honoureth not the behests of his king, he shall surely suffer the pains of hell. And my father hath told unto me to do this thing, and though I grieve to do hurt unto Rustem, the desires of the Shah must be accomplished.”

Then Bashuntan sighed and said, “Alas! a Deev hath taken possession of thy spirit.”

Now Rustem, when he was come into his house, commanded that his leopard-skin should be brought before him, and his helmet of Roum, his spear of Ind also, and the war garb of Rakush. And when he saw them, he said-

“O my raiment of battle, ye have rested a long time from strife, yet now must I take you forth again to combat, and it is for the hardest fight that ye have fought. For I must lift my hand against the son of my master, or suffer that he disgrace me in the sight of men.”

And Rustem was sad, and all night he spake unto Zal of his end, and what he should do if he fell in battle.

Then when the morning was come he girded on his armour, but he resolved in his spirit that he would strive again with Isfendiyar in words. So he rode forth unto the tents of the young King; and when he was come nigh unto them he shouted with a loud voice. And he said-

“O Isfendiyar, hero of great renown, the man with whom thou wouldst wrestle is come forth; make thee ready, therefore, to meet him.”

Then Isfendiyar came out from his tents, and he was armed for battle. Now when they were met, Rustem opened his mouth and prayed him yet again that he would stay his hand from this impiety. And he said“-

If thy soul thirsteth after blood and the tumult of battle, suffer that our hosts meet in combat, that thy desires may be satisfied.”

But Isfendiyar said, “Thy talk is folly; thou art armed for the conflict, let not the hours be lost.”

Then Rustem sighed and made him ready for combat. And he assailed Isfendiyar with his lance, but with a nimble stroke Isfendiyar resisted his attack. And they fought with their lances until they were bent, and when that was done they betook them unto swords. And ever the heroes parried the strokes that were dealt. And when their swords were broken they seized upon maces, but either hero warded off the blows. And they fought until that their shields were rent and their helmets dinted with the blows, and their armour was pierced in many places. And it was a bitter fight. But the end thereof came not, and they were weary, and neither had gained the upper hand. So they rested them awhile from combat. But when they were rested they fell again one on another, and they fought with arrows and bows. And the arrows of Isfendiyar whizzed through the air and fastened into the body of Rustem and of Rakush his steed; and twice thirty arrows did Isfendiyar thus send forth, until that Rakush was like to perish from his wounds. And Rustem also was covered with gore, and no man before this one had ever done harm unto his body. But the arrows of Rustem had done no ill unto Isfendiyar, because Zerdusht had charmed his body against all dangers, so that it was like unto brass.

Now Isfendiyar, when he beheld that Rustem staggered in his seat, called out unto him to surrender himself into his hands and suffer chains to be put about his body. But Rustem said-

“Not so, I will meet thee again in the morning,” and he turned and swam across the stream, so that Isfendiyar was amazed, for he knew that the steed and rider had been sore wounded. And he exulted in his heart, and he reviled Rustem with his lips, but in his soul he was filled with wonder at the Pehliva, and his heart went out to him.

Now when Zal and Rudabeh beheld the Pehliva and that he was wounded, they rent the air with their cries, for never yet was he returned unto them vanquished, neither had any man done hurt unto the elephant-limbed. And they wailed sore in their distress, and Rustem joined his lamentations unto theirs. Then they pondered how they should act, and Zal bethought him of the Simurgh that had been his nurse, and the feather that she had given him from her breast that he might call upon her in the day of his need. So he brought it and cast it into the fire as she had commanded, and straightway a sound of rushing wings filled the air and the sky was darkened, and the bird of God stood before Zal. And she spake and said unto him-

“O my son, what is come about that thou callest upon thy nurse that shielded thee?”

Then Zal told her all, and how Rustem was
nigh to die of his wounds, and how Rakush too
was sick unto death. Then the Simurgh said-

“Bring me before them.” And when she had seen them, she passed her wings over their hurts and forthwith they were whole. Then she spake unto Rustem and questioned him wherefore he sought to combat the son of the Shah, and Rustem told her. Then she said-

“Seek yet again to turn Isfendiyar unto thyself; yet if he listen not unto thy voice, I will reveal unto thee the secrets of Fate. For it is written that whosoever sheddeth the blood of Isfendiyar, he also shall perish; and while he liveth he shall not know joy, and in the life to come he shall suffer pains. But if this fate dismay thee not, go forth with me and I will teach thee this night how thou shalt close the mouth of thine enemy.”

Then the Simurgh showed unto Rustem the way he should follow, and Rustem rode after her, and they halted not until they were come unto the sea-coast. And the Simurgh led him into a garden wherein grew a tamarisk, tall and strong, and the roots thereof were in the ground, but the branches pierced even unto the sky. Then the bird of God bade Rustem break from the tree a branch that was long and slender, and fashion it into an arrow, and she said-

“Only through his eyes can Isfendiyar be wounded. If, therefore, thou wouldst slay him, direct this arrow unto his forehead, and verily it shall not miss its aim.”

Then she exhorted him once more that he bring this matter to a good end, and she led him on the path of return unto Zaboulistan, and when he was come there she blessed him and departed from out his sight.

Now when the morning was come, Rustem came unto the camp of Isfendiyar, and he was mounted upon Rakush his steed. And Isfendiyar slumbered, for he thought that of a surety Rustem was perished of his wounds. Then Rustem lifted up his voice, and cried-

“O man, eager to fight, wherefore slumberest thou when Rustem standeth before thee?”

Now Isfendiyar, when he heard his voice and saw that it was truly Rustem that stood before him, was amazed, and he said unto his nobles-

“This is the deed of Zal the sorcerer.” But unto Rustem he cried, “Make ready for combat; for this day thou shalt not escape my might. May thy name perish from off the earth.”

Then Rustem spake, saying- “I am not come forth to battle, but to treaty. Turn aside thine heart from evil, and root out this enmity. Make not, I pray thee, thy soul to be a dwelling-place for Deevs. And suffer that I recall unto thee the deeds I have done for Iran, and the list thereof is long. And feast this day within my house, and let us ride forth together unto the courts of the Shah, that I may make my peace with Gushtasp thy father.”

But Isfendiyar was angered at these words, and he said- “Wilt thou never cease from speaking? Thou exhortest me to quit the paths of God, for I do wrong when I obey not the voice of my father. Choose, therefore, betwixt chains and the combat.”

When Isfendiyar had so spoken, Rustem knew that his speech was of no avail. So he sighed and made ready for combat; and he took forth the arrow that was given to him of the Simurgh, and he let it fly towards his enemy. And it pierced the eye of the young King, and he fell upon the mane of his steed, and his blood reddened the field of battle. Then Rustem said unto him-

“The bitter harvest thou hast sown hath borne fruit.” Now Isfendiyar swooned in his agony and fell upon the ground. And there came out to him his brother and Bahman, his son; and they wailed when they beheld how his plight was evil. But when he was come unto himself he called after Rustem, and the Pehliva got him down from Rakush and came unto where he lay, and knelt beside him. And Isfendiyar said-

“My life ebbeth unto the close, wherefore I would confide unto thee my wishes. And thou shalt behold how greatly I honour thee, for it is not thou that hast brought me unto death, but Gushtasp, my father; and verily the curse of the prophet shall fall upon his head, for thou wert but the instrument of Fate. And listen now unto the words that I shall speak, for it is not given unto me to say many- I desire that thou take unto thyself Bahman, my son, and that thou rear him in the land of Zaboulistan, and that thou teach him the arts of war and of the banquet. And when the hour of Gushtasp shall be come, I charge thee that thou put Bahman in his place, and aid him with thy counsels that he may be upright in the sight of men.”

And Rustem sware unto him that it should be done at his desire. Then Isfendiyar made him ready to depart, and he spake words of comfort unto his son, and he sent greetings unto his mother and to his wives that were in Iran. And he made them say unto his father that hence-forward he need not fear him beside the throne; and he cursed the name of Gushtasp, and he said that the Shah had done that which was worthy of his black soul. And he bade them speak before the throne and say-

“We shall meet again before the judge, and we shall speak, and listen to His decree.”

Then he said unto Rustem, “Thou hast done this deed by the arts of magic.”

And Rustem said, “It is true, for thou wouldst not listen unto my voice, and I could not bend my spirit unto chains.”

And Isfendiyar said, “I am not angered against thee; thou hast done that thou couldst not alter, for it was written in the stars, and surely that which is written in the stars is accomplished.”

Then Rustem said, “God is my witness that I strove to turn thee from thy resolve.”

And Isfendiyar said, “It is known unto me.” And when he had thus spoken he sighed, and the sun of that King was set. And there was great lamentation for him in the army, and Rustem, too, bewailed the hero that was fallen, and he prayed God for his soul. And he said-

“May thine enemies reap that which they have sown.” Then Rustem made ready for Isfendiyar a coffin of iron, and he caused it to be lined with silken stuffs, and he laid therein the body of the young King. And it was placed upon the back of a dromedary and forty others followed in its wake, and all the army of Isfendiyar came after them, clad in robes of mourning. And Bashuntan marched at the head of the train, and he led the horse of Isfendiyar, and its saddle was reversed, and its mane and its tail were shorn. And from its sides hung the armour of the young King. And weeping resounded through the ranks, and with sorrow did the army return unto Iran.

But Rustem remained in Zaboulistan, and he kept beside him Bahman, the son of Isfendiyar.

Now when Gushtasp learned the tidings of woe, he was bowed down to the earth with sorrow, and remorse came upon him and he strewed dust upon his head and he humbled himself before God. And men came before him and reproached him with that which he had done unto Isfendiyar, and he knew not how he should answer them. And Bashuntan came in and saluted him not, but upbraided him with his vile deeds. And he said-

“Neither the Simurgh, nor Rustem, nor Zal have made an end of Isfendiyar, but only thou, for thou alone hast caused him to perish.”

And for the space of one year men ceased not to lament for Isfendiyar, and for many years were tears shed for that arrow. And men cried continually, “The glory of Iran hath been laid low, and it is at the hands of her Shah that it hath been done.”

But Bahman grew up in the courts of Rustem, and the Pehliva guarded him like to a son.

Vermont Senate Votes to Close Nuclear Plant, Matthew L. Wald, Feb 24 2010.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — In an unusual state foray into nuclear regulation, the Vermont Senate voted 26 to 4 Wednesday to block operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant after 2012, citing radioactive leaks, misstatements in testimony by plant officials and other problems.

Unless the chamber reverses itself, it will be the first time in more than 20 years that the public or its representatives has decided to close a reactor.

The vote came just more than a week after President Obama declared a new era of rebirth for the nation’s nuclear industry, announcing federal loan guarantees of $8.3 billion to assure the construction of a twin-reactor plant near Augusta, Ga.

While it is unclear how Vermont Yankee’s fate could influence the future of nuclear power nationally, the reactor’s recent troubles are viewed by some as a challenge to arguments that such plants are clean, well run and worth building.

Vermont’s governor, Jim Douglas, a Republican, said after the Senate’s vote that he and other governors had met with Mr. Obama on Monday and that Mr. Obama had spoken “passionately” about the need for more reactors.

“It’s ironic that at the same time the president is advancing a strong commitment to nuclear energy, that we’re taking a step in another direction here,” said Mr. Douglas, who had sought to delay a vote until public outrage about several recent missteps at the plant cooled a bit.

In a small, ornate chamber packed with plant opponents, the Vermont senators voiced frustration over recent leaks of radioactive tritium at the 38-year-old plant as well as the collapse of a cooling tower in 2007 and inaccurate testimony by the plant’s owner, the Louisiana-based nuclear operator Entergy.

Plant officials had testified under oath to two state panels that there were no buried pipes at Vermont Yankee that could leak tritium, although there were. No tritium has turned up in drinking water, but even plant supporters expressed dismay at the leak and the misstatements.

“If the board of directors and management of Entergy were thoroughly infiltrated by antinuclear activists, I do not think they could have done a better job of destroying their own case,” said one senator, Randolph D. Brock III, a St. Albans Republican who cast several votes friendly to the plant.

In the hours of debate, one virtue of nuclear power emphasized by proponents at the national level — production of electricity without emissions of greenhouse gases — was hardly mentioned, even by supporters.

Entergy said in a statement after the vote, “We remain determined to prove our case to the legislature.”

Under Vermont law, any extension of the plant’s license beyond 2012 would have to be approved by both houses. Unless the Senate reverses itself and the House also approves an extension, the plant must close by March of that year.

All members of the House and the Senate are up for re-election in November, raising the possibility that a vote next year on the plant’s fate could yield a different outcome. Democrats have large majorities in both chambers.

But the company faces a struggle in allaying the concerns of lawmakers and their constituents. In debate, senators cited estimates of over $1 billion for decommissioning the plant, although only about $450 million is on hand for the job. Tritium leaks could raise the bill, they said.

Before debate began Wednesday morning, Entergy said it had instructed a law firm to examine the misstatements its officials had made under oath and concluded that officials had not intended to deceive the state. It said communications had “led to misunderstandings,” and a result was that “the responses were incomplete and misleading.”

Curt L. Hébert, a spokesman for the company, said that Entergy had put five senior employees on administrative leave and that “all the discipline taken had financial consequences for the employees involved.”

Mr. Hébert acknowledged in an interview that the leaks, the cooling tower collapse in 2007 and other problems had been “almost a perfect storm” for the plant.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said his agency would investigate the issue of the company’s providing false information to the state.

The commission said the structure that collapsed, one of several cooling towers at the plant, was not required for the safe shutdown of the plant, but the distinction did little to buff the plant’s image.

In a move that has also deepened public unease, Entergy has been trying to spin off the reactor and five others, including the Indian Point reactors in New York, into a new company that would borrow money to pay back Entergy and sell stock on Wall Street.

Many opponents in Vermont worry that this would allow Entergy, based in New Orleans, to avoid legal liability for any problems at the plants and that a spinoff could be detrimental to the state.

“It’s a dump job,” said Nancy Braus, a plant opponent from Putney who watched the Senate action from a corner of the chamber.

In theory, the debate here was over the plant’s reliability, an area over which the state has jurisdiction. Over all, the plant has run far more days of the year under Entergy than under its former owners, a group of local utilities. National nuclear specialists like Entergy are often viewed as having more operating expertise than local utilities, but in many cases they lack local support.

In their culminating vote, senators defeated a resolution that would have authorized the state to issue a certificate of “public good,” which would be necessary to keep Vermont Yankee operating.

Vermont got its foot in the nuclear regulatory door by getting Entergy to agree several years ago that its original certificate would expire when the original license did, in March 2012. A new certificate therefore requires approval by both houses.

Some plant supporters have raised the possibility of a lawsuit should the two houses decline to extend Vermont Yankee’s operating license next year.

But Christopher M. Kilian, director of the Vermont office of the Conservation Law Foundation, said that because of the structure of the law requiring affirmative action of both houses for the plant to stay open, a suit would face difficult hurdles.

“There will not be an act of the legislature for anyone to challenge,” Mr. Kilian said.

The controversy in Vermont is viewed with deep apprehension and some anger by the nuclear industry. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, which normally makes the decisions on safety issues, is poised to give the plant 20 more years. Commission officials declined to comment on Vermont’s action.

The last time a reactor in the United States was closed by a vote of the public or its representatives was in June 1989, when the voters of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District decided to shut the Rancho Seco reactor. The issues in that case were mostly economic; the plant kept breaking down, forcing the district to buy electricity from neighbors, and it had been shut from late 1985 to early 1988 for repairs.

Commissioned in August 1966 and given its operating license in March 1972, Vermont Yankee is one of the older plants in the American inventory of 104 power reactors. The oldest still running is Oyster Creek, near Toms River, N.J., which is of a similar design and opened in December 1969.

Oyster Creek recently won a 20-year extension of its initial 40-year license, although, to the anger of its opponents, plant owners announced a few days later that it, too, was leaking tritium.

New York Denies Indian Point a Water Permit, David Halbfinger, Apr 3 2010.

In a major victory for environmental advocates, New York State has ruled that outmoded cooling technology at the Indian Point nuclear power plant kills so many Hudson River fish, and consumes and contaminates so much water, that it violates the federal Clean Water Act.

The decision is a blow to the plant’s owner, the Entergy Corporation, which now faces the prospect of having to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build stadium-size cooling towers, or risk that Indian Point’s two operating reactors — which supply 30 percent of the electricity used by New York City and Westchester County — could be forced to shut down.

Entergy officials said that they were “disappointed” in the ruling and that they might fight it in court. The original federal licenses for the two 1970s-era reactors expire in 2013 and 2015, and a water quality certificate is a prerequisite for a 20-year renewal by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But a prolonged appeal in New York could delay a shutdown, Diane Screnci, a spokeswoman for the commission, said late Saturday.

An Entergy spokesman said that converting Indian Point’s cooling system would cost $1.1 billion and would require shutting both reactors down entirely for 42 weeks.

The ruling in New York comes after President Obama pressed for the construction of new nuclear plants in his State of the Union address. But it is the second instance since of a state asserting its power to threaten an existing nuclear plant. In Vermont, the State Senate voted overwhelmingly in February to block operation of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant after 2012, citing leaks of radioactive tritium, inaccurate testimony by company officials and other problems.

Nuclear proponents said they hoped that the federal government would determine that the nation’s energy needs should take precedence over such state-level actions. “The N.R.C. may decide this is not a policy they’re going to give credence to,” said Arthur J. Kremer, chairman of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, of which Entergy is a member. “It’s bad news for investors in new power facilities and in upgrading old ones.”

The battle over Indian Point, which is in Buchanan, about 35 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, has been raging for decades, and the latest decision will not soon end that fight.

But the strongly worded letter from the Department of Environmental Conservation, issued late Friday, said flatly that Indian Point’s cooling systems, even if modified in a less expensive way proposed by Entergy, “do not and will not comply” with New York’s water quality standards.

It said the power plant’s water-intake system kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year, including the shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species. The letter also said that radioactive material had polluted the Hudson after leaking into the groundwater.

The ruling concerned the cooling system at Indian Point Units 2 and 3, which were commissioned in the early 1970s. (Indian Point 1 was shut down in 1974.) Both take in enormous volumes of river water — a combined 2.5 billion gallons a day, or more than twice the average daily water consumption of all of New York City — and use it to create steam for turbines and to cool the reactors. The water is then pumped back into the Hudson, 20 or 30 degrees hotter.

Sucking so much water causes plankton, eggs and larvae to be drawn into the plant’s machinery, or entrained, and the water pressure also causes fish to be trapped, or impinged, against intake screens, the state said.

The plant’s “once-through” cooling system was obsolete by the late 1970s, when the state of the art became “closed-cycle” cooling — more akin to a car’s radiator — which consumes less than 10 percent as much water and kills fewer organisms.

“Conversion from a once-through cooling system to a closed-cycle cooling system, while expensive and involving a potentially lengthy construction process, is nevertheless the only available and technically feasibly technology” for Indian Point to satisfy the “best technology available” requirement of state water-quality regulations, an official of the Department of Environmental Conservation official wrote.

If Entergy fails to overturn the state’s ruling, it could take the fight to Washington. And the New York region’s economic reliance on Indian Point could give the corporation considerable leverage. Even Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat who is one of the plant’s loudest critics, said he expected Entergy to “try to get the N.R.C. to back off the requirement” for a water quality certificate.

Other opponents of the plant hailed the ruling.

“The era in which you can take 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Hudson River every day, and return it to the river untreated and polluted — those days are over,” said Mr. Brodsky, who, with the folk singer Pete Seeger, successfully sued to get the state to enforce the clean-water laws at Indian Point. “Entergy has to either stop polluting the river or close the plant. End of discussion.”

Alex Matthiessen, president of the environmental group Riverkeeper, said it was conceivable that Entergy could spend the money to retrofit its cooling system and then reapply to the state. But that would cause a huge delay, he added.

“For all we know, this is it — the beginning of the end,” he said.

Ms. Screnci, the spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the commission was “a ways away from reaching a decision on whether to renew the license.” But she added: “It’s my understanding that the law says that this certification must be in place for us to renew the license. So we’ll be watching to see what occurs in the meantime.”

BPA widespread in ocean water and sand, Nartin Mittelstaedt, Apr 1 2010.

Scientists have detected the chemical along the shorelines of 20 countries

Japanese scientists testing ocean water and sea sand have found widespread contamination with high levels bisphenol A, a chemical used to make plastic that's able to mimic the female hormone estrogen in living things.

Its presence in sea water comes from the breakdown of the plastic trash being dumped into the sea and from the use of the compound in anti-rusting paints applied to the hulls of ships. BPA is man-made and does not occur naturally in the environment.

The researchers took samples at more than 200 sites, mainly on the coasts around North America and Southeast Asia. They detected the chemical along the shorelines of 20 countries and in every batch of water or sand tested.

Worry over BPA water contamination is relatively new, and few standards exist to protect wildlife from becoming overloaded with the chemical or to suggest bathers would be prudent to avoid going to the beach.

But last fall, Environment Canada proposed a maximum concentration of BPA in industrial effluent. The lowest levels detected by the Japanese scientists were already at least six times higher than the limit being considered by Environment Canada, which was based in part on the ability of even trace amounts of the chemical to impair semen quality in fish.

The research results were presented last week in San Francisco at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, and one of the scientists who conducted the sampling says it shows there is widespread decomposition in the environment of the hard type of plastic, known as polycarbonate, made from BPA. Products ranging from lenses on eyeglasses to big, office-style water jugs are made from polycarbonate.

“We were quite surprised to find that polycarbonate plastic biodegrades in the environment,” said one of the researchers, Katsuhiko Saido, a chemist at Nihon University in Japan.

He thought another big source was from a resin, known as epoxy and made partly from BPA, that is commonly applied onto ship hulls to prevent them from rusting out or becoming covered with barnacles. “This new finding clearly demonstrates the instability of epoxy and shows that BPA emissions from epoxy do [contaminate] the ocean,” Dr. Saido said.

A spokesman for the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group representing BPA manufacturers, was skeptical of the findings, and criticized them for being presented at a scientific conference rather than in a peer reviewed journal.

"Quite a few studies from other researchers have been published with data on BPA in seawater, freshwater and sediment. None of these researchers have reported BPA at levels even remotely close to what is claimed by the Japanese researchers. The extensive data on BPA that has been published indicates that BPA, if found at all, is present in the environment only at very low trace levels," said Steve Hentges, the spokesman.

Mr. Hentges said it is possible that epoxy resins are used on ships. Because the compounds are highly stable and durable, he said it is "unlikely that they will degrade" to form BPA.

Because BPA is able to stick to substances, the highest levels detected were in sand, at a staggering 28,000 times Environment Canada's proposed limit for water.

“What's really astonishing here is the amounts,” said Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri, who did not participate in the research.

Dr. vom Saal, a major authority on hormones, is worried that people going to the beach could be exposed to BPA and either absorb it through their skin while swimming or from sand. He said it was “a scary finding that the levels in the ocean could already be at levels where you would not want to swim … This is shocking.”

He says regulatory authorities need to enact measures to prevent BPA from getting into the environment from the degradation of products containing it.

Many scientists have been concerned about BPA because it has a shape that allows it to fool the body's cells into viewing it as the same thing as naturally occurring estrogen. Estrogen levels in people are typically in the low parts per trillion, but the new research showed ocean concentrations were at least 10,000 times higher and started at 10 parts per billion.

Hormones are some of the most powerful biological agents in existence, the reason tiny amounts of synthetic chemicals resembling them are potentially dangerous. A part per trillion is vanishingly small – the equivalent of one second of time during a 32,000-year span. A part per billion is a second in 32 years.

The Canadian government has announced that it views BPA as a toxic substance because of concerns the chemical could contaminate wildlife and is a possible human health threat, although the government still allows its use in consumer products such as tin cans, which contain an liner made from it, based on a view that exposures aren't high enough to cause harm.

Independent researchers have linked BPA to a wide range of possible human health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cancer (breast, prostate and uterine), cardiovascular disease and asthma, sometimes at levels below Canada's current safe exposure standard. But industry-funded studies have been unable to find harm from the chemical.

Concerns over the possible impact of the compound led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to this week announced it is considering whether BPA should be added to its list of chemicals of concern, following similar action already taken by Environment Canada.

The Japanese researchers found BPA in the oceans and sand in amounts ranging from 10 ppb to 50,000 ppb. Environment Canada's proposed water pollution limit for industry is 1.75 ppb.

Trace amounts of the chemical are showing up in fresh water as well. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment released details earlier this year of sampling it undertook that found the chemical in 12 per cent of treated municipal drinking water. The highest amount was 99 ppt.

BPA eventually breaks down into harmless compounds in the presence of light and oxygen. But the pollutant is constantly being replenished by a continuous supply of new plastic being added to the oceans.

Dr. Saido said with so much plastic floating around in the oceans, including a huge patch in the middle of the Pacific that is twice the size of Texas, these products “will certainly constitute a new global ocean contamination [source] for long into the future.”

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