It was related by the Qáḍí Abú 'Abdi`r-Raḥmán Muḥam­mad b. al-Ḥasan b. 'Abdu`l-Ḥamíd al-Lamrásakí (<Arabic>) to Abu`l-Ḥasan 'Alí b. Muḥammad al-Yazdádí, on the authority of his father, who had it from men of ancient time, that there lived in the neighbourhood of Lamrásak a man named Shahr-Khwástán the son of Zardastán (<Arabic>), possessed of great wealth in personal and landed property and cattle, aged, experienced, and surrounded by numerous sons, cousins and kinsmen, all loyally attached to him. When Farrukhán, the great Ispahbad, had completed the construction of Sárí and the great Dyke, all the people, save Shahr-Khwástán, offered him their congratulations and eulogies. The Ispahbad was vexed at this omission (f. 37a), and despatched two horsemen to bring Shahr-Khwástán before him. When they arrived, he was holding a great ban­quet, at which all the local nobles and gentry were present. Ordering the two messengers to be hospitably entertained, he packed in sacks samples of all the products of Ṭabar­istán, garments of wool, silk, linen and cotton, bread-stuffs of all sorts, sweetmeats, apples, cereals, water-cresses, fresh and salted game, birds, fruits, wines, fragrant herbs, flowers, and the like, and, furnished with these, set off for Sárí, where he arrived at day-break. By chance the Ispahbad was giving a great banquet, at which he was presiding, seated on a high throne, whence, after pronouncing a khuṭba after the fashion of kings, he addressed the people as follows. “O men of Ṭabaristán, know that ye were a people dwelling apart in a corner of the world, of whom no fame was spread abroad, and to whose country none were attracted. Ye dwelt in jungles with the wild beasts and beasts of prey, ignorant of the enjoyments of life, the ways of men, soft raiment, good horses and agreeable perfumes. It was I who introduced you to nobler aims and a richer and more desirable life; who built for you fine cities which attracted travellers and merchants from afar, so that rare and precious merchandises flowed into your country, and ye became notable and famous in the world, and your cities celebrated for their wealth and splendour. For all this I deserve your thanks.” Then all those present, except Shahr-Khwástán, rose up and applauded. The Ispahbad, observing with displeasure Shahr-Khwástán’s silence (f. 37b), cried to him, “What ails thee that thou art tongueless as a fish and soulless as a serpent?” Said the other, “If per­mission be accorded me, I will speak;” and, on receiving permission, he produced and opened the ten sacks which he had brought with him, and displayed their contents. Then he spoke as follows: “May the Ispahbad-Ispahbadán live long! O assembly, we were in this land men indepen­dent of imports from other countries, contented with what sufficed for our needs, and enjoying ample ease and luxury. None hindered us, nor envied us, nor contended with us, nor coveted our country, nor was cognizant of its secrets. We had need of no one; we had houses, corn-lands and hunting-grounds within the Great Dyke, and every two parasangs was stationed a head-man, captain or squire, whom all man readily obeyed. Now this Prince hath made all strangers and foreigners to know us and our land, and hath caused them to flock hither and settle here, and ere long they will pick a quarrel with us, strive to take our land, and drive forth our children as wanderers and exiles.” Then the Ispahbad and the people perceived that he spoke truly, and asked what should now be done, to which he replied, “The thing is done, and there is now no averting it. Had you consulted with me sooner, I would have shewn you a way. Please, God that by the Prince’s good fortune no harm may result.”

The virtue, beauty, health and excellence of the women of Ṭabaristán have been already mentioned (f. 38a) in con­nection with the narrative of the building of ´Amul by Fírúz-sháh. 'Abdu`r-Raḥmán Khúrzád* says in his Book of Routes and Provinces (<Arabic>) that physicians and sages have agreed that the two healthiest and most charming countries are Ṭabaristán and Samarqand. Of the latter, Ḥuṣayn (<Arabic>) b. Mundhir ar-Raqqáshí said:


while of the former Buzurjmihr said, in reply to a question from Núshírwán, “Its name is Ṭarab (‘joy’) and Bustán (‘garden’).” 'Abdu`lláh b. Qutayba (A. has <Arabic> in error for <Arabic>) said that it ought to be called Tabaristán (with <Arabic> for <Arabic> as the first letter), for it was as though it had been pruned with axes (tabar). “As for its plains, its mountains, its seas and its swamps,” runs another saying, “its mountains are a stronghold and refuge for its kings, its swamps are a treasury for its people, its seas are a hunting ground for them, and its plains are a paradise.” (Here follows an Arabic poem of seven couplets in its praise). In it are no noxious reptiles or hurtful beasts, like the snakes of Sístán and India, the scorpions of Niṣíbín, Káshán, Jáshk and Múqán, the locusts of 'Askar, the tarantulas and fleas of Ardabíl, the beasts of prey of Arabia, or the crocodiles of Egypt; nor plagues like the alopecia of Baṣra, or the drought of Syria, or the excessive heat of 'Umán, Shíráz and Ahwáz. In short, all men agree that there is no country so delectable as a residence; there are abundant fruits, fire-wood, spices, mountains, plains, sulphur-mines (f. 38b), sul­phate of iron (<Arabic>), antimony (<Arabic>), gold and silver-mines*, and all sorts of fabrics for clothing. Of its products in his time al-Yazdádí thus speaks:


In illustration of this last statement, that poverty is unknown amongst the natives of Ṭabaristán, the author relates how a certain man of that province, settled at Mecca, boasted of this fact. The people of Mecca, anxious to dis­prove his assertion, hunted high and low till at length they found a beggar who said he was from the parish of Ḥázima-Kúy in ´Amul in Ṭabaristán. Him they confronted with the man who had uttered this boast (f. 39b). “What,” said the latter, “do they call a skirt (dáman) in your town?” “Dáman,” replied the other. “And a pocket (jayb)?” con­tinued he. “Jayb,” answered the beggar. “You are a liar,” said the other, “and no true-born Ṭabarí, for in ´Amul they call a skirt lunbur (<Arabic>) and a pocket gurívun (or giryún, <Arabic>).” The man then admitted that he had been born at Ray and only taken to ´Amul in childhood by his father and mother.

The taxes and imposts of Ṭabaristán are light, and especially was this the case under the rule of the House of Báwand, while the water is abundant, good, and freely accessible to all. The satraps, governors and Ispahbads of Ṭabaristán have always enjoyed a great influence, and Kis­rás and Caliphs alike have sought their advice and counsel. Their doctors, scribes, physicians, astronomers and poets also include many famous names, and, from the time of Ferídún and Minuchihr, who have been already mentioned, many great and notable men have sought refuge there Thus when Rustam-i-Zál was hurled into the sea of Qulzum (the Caspian) by Akwán Dív, he came ashore in Ṭabaristán, and was hospitably entertained by the inhabitants. His son Suhráb sought him through Túrán, Trán, India and Rúm, and at length found him in Rúyán, at a place called Líkash (<Arabic>), where the fatal fight took place between them, in which Suhráb was slain. Rustam intended to carry his coffin back to Zábulistán, but, owing to the heat, he deposited it at Sárí, at the place called Qasr-i-Tús, where, it is said, it was eventually buried (f. 39b). So too Dárá, fleeing before Alexander, took refuge in Ṭabaristán, and sent a message to the invader, saying, “I grant that you have conquered the Seven Climes, but what will you do with Farshwádjar?” The author adds that in A.H. 611 (= A.D. 1214—1215) the Castle known as Diz-i-Dárá (“The Fortress of Darius”) was still standing near the sea (<Arabic>). Again in the time of Khusraw Parwíz (A. D. 590—627) his uncle Gustahm (Bisṭám), because the King had cut off his brother Bindú`è’s hands and feet, fled from his Government of Khurásán and took refuge in Ṭabaristán, and was only slain at length by treachery on the part of Bahrám Chú­bína’s sister Gurdiya, who was instigated thereunto by the King. Again in Sásánian times a king named Salyán (<Arabic>) took refuge in Ṭabaristán, and built himself a residence at the place called Kiya-Salyán (<Arabic>), the meaning of kiya (<Arabic>) in the Ṭabarí dialect being “house”. This building was still standing in the author’s time, A.H. 613 (= A.D. 1216—1217).