After the customary doxology, the author, Muḥammed b. al-Ḥasan b. Isfandiyár, states that, on returning from Baghdad to 'Iráq in the year A. H. 606 (?? A. D. 1209—1210), he was overwhelmed with grief at the news of the murder of Rustam b. Ardashír b. Ḥasan b. Rustam, the ruler of Ṭabaristán, on the 21st of Shawwál in that year (April 1, A. D. 1210), on which he exclaims:


For two months (f. 3a) he remained in Ray, weighed down with sorrow, and finding his only consolation in the perusal of books. One day he found in the library of the College founded by the Sháhinsháh Rustam b. Shahriyár a few quires on the history of Gáwbára, and thereupon remembered that the late king Ḥusámu`d-Dawla Ardashír had repeatedly enquired of him whether he had ever come across any mention of a king of Ṭabaristán called Gáwbára in Arabic or Persian books (f. 3b), to which he was obliged to reply that he had not, and that he knew of no history of Ṭabaristán save the Báwand-náma, a work filled with fables and popular legends compiled for the king Ḥusámu`d-Dawla Shahriyár b. Qárin. On examining these quires, he found them to contain the 'Uqúdu siḥr wa qalá`idu durar of Abu`l-Ḥasan Muḥammad Yazdádí, a work wherein the author sought rather to display his mastery over the Arabic language than to impart information to the reader. This he translated into Persian, adding to it some account of king Ḥusámu`d-Dawla Ardashír and his illustrious ancestors, and, encouraged by some of his literary friends, he was preparing to make a fair copy of his rough draft when he received a letter from his father warning him of his approaching end. Thereupon he at once started (f. 4b) with a single servant for his home, without saying good bye to any one, and by the morning of the following day reached the castle of Ustúnáwand*, where he was set upon and robbed by brigands. He ulti­mately, however, reached his father, and remained for a while at ´Amul in Mázandarán, whence, after a short time, he journeyed to Khwárazm (f. 5a), at that time a most flourishing and populous city, where he remained for five years. One day he found in a bookseller’s shop there a volume containing ten separate treatises, one of which was a translation from Hindf into Arabic (<Arabic>) made for a native of Sind named 'Alá b. Sa'íd by a certain Dá`úd of Yazd in the year A. H. 197 (?? A. D. 812—813), while another was a translation from Pahlawí into Arabic, made by the celebrated 'Abdu`lláh ibnu`l-Muqaffa' († circ. A. D. 760), of the answer returned to Jasnafsháh, Prince of Ṭabaristán, by Tansar of Párs, the chief herbad (<Arabic>) of Ardashír Bábakán, the founder of the Sásánian dynasty. These also the author used for the compilation of his work, which he constructed on the following plan (f. 5b):

Section I. On the first foundation of the kingdom of Ṭabaristán.
Ch. I. Ṭranslation of the above-mentioned tract of ibnu`l-Muqaffa'.
Ch. II. First settlement of Ṭabaristán and its cities.
Ch. III. Virtues and marvels of Ṭabaristán.
Ch. IV. Its princes, nobles, doctors, hermits, writers, physicians, astronomers, philosophers, poets and notable men.
Section II. History of the rise and continuance of the dynasties of Washmgír and Buwayh in Ṭabaristán.
Section III. How Ṭabaristán passed from Núshírwán b. Minúchihr b. Qábús, the last prince of the House of Washmgír, to the kings of the Houses of Ghazna and Seljúq.
Section IV. From the beginning of the second ascendancy of the House of Báwand to their decline and fall.