The Ispahbad Khurshíd.

When Khurshíd was grown to man’s estate, his uncle summoned his sons before him and said, “My nephew is grown up, and hath sent me a message, saying, ‘The king­dom is my father’s, who set thee on the throne under covenant with me; therefore surrender unto me the trust.’” His sons said, “Thou art king, and the kingdom ought to pass from thee to us. We will never consent (f. 83a) to thy surrender of the kingdom to him.” The father replied, “Talk not like children, neither hammer cold iron, for I will be faithful to my covenant. Should I contravene the agreement, no blessing would it bring either to me or to you.” Then said they, “Since it is so, send and bid him come hither, that thou may’st make it over to him.” So he, knowing not their secret intentions, sent for Khurshíd, who, fully confiding in his uncle’s integrity, came with a few followers from Tammísha, and was received by his uncle with paternal kindness. On an auspicious day a great banquet was held; but Khurshíd’s cousins had conspired to kill him with a blow from a mace as soon as he should rise from the banquet and sit down to drink wine. The girl Ramja Harúya, however, was aware of their intended treachery, and informed Khurshíd of it. He thereupon summoned a foster-brother of his named Jalwánán, and bade him have two horses ready at the gate. Then, on some pretext, Khurshíd slipped out from the banquet, mounted his horse, drew his sword, and, with Jalwánán, rode away, with cries of defiance, back to Tammísha. His uncle reproached his sons bitterly for their meditated treachery, and wrote humble apologies to Khurshíd, declaring that he had no part nor lot in the conspiracy. For a year Khurshíd did not see his uncle, and was busy, assisted by the Nahapets of Sárí, in preparing for battle. Finally (f. 83b) he met his cousins in battle at Qaṣr-i-Dádaqán, a place midway between Tam­mísha and Sárí built by his father. He was victorious, slew or captured all of them, and pursued their army as far as Sárí. He then came before his uncle, exonerated him from all participation in the crime, and bade him choose for himself whatever residence and companions he pleased. His surviving cousins he banished to a mountain called Farru­khán Fírúz, where they remained till the end of their lives; and he married Ramja Harúya, and possessed himself of all the treasures of his father and his uncle, of whom the latter had reigned eight years. Khurshíd’s kinsmen gathered round him, amongst them Wandarand, Fahrán and Farrukhán, the sons of Jusnas (Gushnasf) b. Sárúya b. Farrukhán the Great, who were his cousins on his mother’s side. Of these he made the first marzubán of ´Amul, the second marzubán of the highlands (kuhistán), and the last he kept with himself. The command of his army he gave to Shahr-Khwástán b. Yazdán-Kard. He repaired the Palace of the Isfahbadán, enclosed 400 acres (<Arabic>) of land (now called Kísa), used in the author’s time by king Ardashír as a breeding-ground for Arab horses, and constructed a strong fortress called Si-dila (<Arabic>)*, and a market where he settled skilled artisans chosen from all parts of Ṭabaristán. Outside the fortress he built a great caravansaray, and he gave the city five gates, to wit the Highland Gate (<Arabic>), the Sea Gate, and the Gílán, Gurgán and Hunting Gates (<Arabic>). He also had a channel cut from the mountain to the sea to bring water to the town: and this he called Gílána-júy (f. 84a). Further he made fish-ponds (<Arabic>), and, outside the Hunting Gate, a great maydán and a deep ditch, of which the traces still remain. Near this were covers well preserved and stocked with all sorts of game, such as deer, wild pigs, hares, wolves and leopards; and during his absence none dared to interfere with his preserves. He never remained for more than a month in any one place, and at each of his hunting-lodges he caused a month’s provisions to be kept. In the highlands he had ninety-three wives, each of whom had her own special palace and servants and plate and furniture. For his first and favourite wife, Ramja Harúya, he built a lofty palace on the sea-shore at the village of Yazdán-ábád, on which he spent much money, furnishing it in the most sumptuous fashion; and he used to visit her always once a month, while to her care were entrusted his most precious possessions. If by any chance he was prevented from paying her this monthly visit, he used to send her an apology, and a gift of a thousand dínárs. She bore him a son named Hurmuz, whom he nominated as his successor. Amongst his other wives was ´Azarmí Dukht, the daughter of the Ispahbad Farrukhán, called Girán Gúshwár (“She of the Heavy Ear-rings”), and his cousin Yákand (“Jacinth” or “Hyacinth”, <Greek>), the daughter of Farrukhán the Lesser. The Ispahbad was particularly attached to the former, and often used to make his hunting expeditions a pretext for visiting her. Yákand was a quarrelsome and masterful woman, and, having discovered her husband’s clandestine visits to Girán Gúshwár, instructed her servants and the villagers to go with spades, pick-axes and other implements, and destroy and obliterate the road to Ispahbadán, where Girán Gúshwár dwelt, and to clear and improve the road to her own palace. So at midnight the Ispahbad, who had drunk freely, mounted his horse to go to Ispahbadán, but was directed by Yákand’s coadjutors to the abode of their mis­tress. On arriving there, he knew that a trick had been played on him, and he sent in a message, saying, “I have four hundred men with me: can’st thou provide food for such a multitude?” Yákand ordered 400 cows to be sent out to then, and with each cow 400 sheep and 400 ass-loads [of provisions], and entertained them all for three days, at the end of which time she gave to each horseman a foal aud a calf, and to each footman three suits of clothes and an embroidered blanket (<Arabic>).

The Ispahbad Khurshíd had a general named Qárin, after whom was named the village of Qárin-ábád in Panjáh-hazár and Mayándarúd, wherein he stored his treasures. It is now in ruins. His body-guard comprised 4000 men, and he always wore brocade, and sat on a golden throne, and exercised the fullest authority over the Ispahbad’s people, both men and women. And when the Isfahbad had reigned a long while (f. 85a), he became filled with pride and self-assurance, and took no heed of anyone, and paid no attention to the nobles, so that the hearts of his people were alienated by his tyranny and arrogance, and they sought a pretext to rebel against him.