Pahlavi Texts, Part IV (SBE37), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
1. The twentieth fargard, Vohû-khshathrem 1, is about the oppressive actions of the sovereignty which Dahâk 2 exercised over the earth of seven regions, and the forward progress of his commands owing to a surrounding of terrors.
2. About Dahâk's enquiry of the members of the assembly, regarding the reason of the affliction of the collected people, after the cutting up of Yim 3 and the accession (khûdâyih) of Dahâk; and the people's saying, in reply to Dahâk, that Yim had kept away want and destitution, hunger and thirst, decay and death, lamentation and weeping from the world, besides the cold and heat of the immoderate mingling of the demon with mankind. 3. And this, too, that 4 'a giver of comfort was Yimthat is, those things were produced by him which are the comfort of mankindand he was a giver of desire for them, so that his happiness was through the gratification producedthat is, mankind gratified him through virtue. 4. And Aûdak 5, who made
[paragraph continues] Yim the splendid and rich in flockswho was struck down by you through violent assaultunauthorisedly desirous (varak 1) and eager for the world, produced want and destitution, distress and greed, hunger and thirst, and the sanctifier 2 of Wrath the wounding assailant, Want without pastures, Terror, Destruction the secret-moving, Decay the decrepit 3, and the seven arch-demons 4.' 5. And this, too, that 'those who look for a son are made devoid of pregnancy by thee; evil-destined is the monster (sîpist) self-made, the uncompleted demon that it is impossible to seek a remedy for, who does not extend (lâ vâlêd) from himself, that is, no lineage proceeds from him. 6. And thou art a sheep that is a wide-traveller, and keeps the dog away from mankind; thou hast snatched away from us the bright radiance of Yim the splendid and rich in flocks, who came out on every evil contingency, at the approach of
every winter, or scorched by extreme heat, so as to act for the benefit of his place 1. 7. Thou art intelligent, O Bêvarâsp 2! do thou even tell how this opinion is so, that a bad ruler is a thing which is so bad; he who is a good ruler is our desire, we will give the revenue of taxation (bâhar-i madam-dedrûnisnîh) to him, and anything which is necessary for good government when he shall achieve it.'
8. About the smiting by Frêdûn 3, for the sake of killing Dahâk; the striking of his club upon the nape of the neck 4 (pilîk), the heart, and even the skull; and Dahâk's not dying from that beating. 9. Then smiting him with a sword, and the formation (vastanŏ) of noxious creatures of many kinds, from the body of Dahâk, at the first, second, and third blow. 10. The exclamation of the creator Aûharmazd to Frêdûn thus: 'Thou shouldst not cut him who is Dahâk, because, if thou shouldst cut him, Dahâk would be making this earth full of serpents, toads (khan-galâk), scorpions, lizards, tortoises, and frogs;' with the mode of binding him with awful fetters, in the most grievous punishment of confinement 5.
11. This, too, that when Az-î Dahâk was bound, the report of the same proceeded thus through all the regions, which are seven, that down-stricken is Az-î Dahâk, but he who smote him is Frêdûn the Âspîkân 6, the exalted and mighty. 12. And in the
tenth winter those particulars were believed, and thus they spoke, that it was owing to 1 Yim that Az-î Dahâk is now smitten by them, because the tidings which are good are not yet gathered unto all the regions, which are seven, and those which are evil do not mention Az, nor demand the virtuous maiden (karâtîk) with importunity, nor even coveted wealth 2. 13. This, too, that, when information came to him of women, or property, that seemed to him desirable to possess, they were then admitted by him into a golden cage 3, and that, which was completely impregnable (aîrîstŏ), came on through immaterial space (maînôg-dîvâkîh) to the den (grêstakŏ) of Az-î Dahâk.
14. This, too, that, though 4 he who smote him were his brother, or descendant, or kinsman, or any one whatever of his nearest relations, it did not seem to them as that which is grievous, and it was not thought of in their minds, so that it did not occasion them even a reminiscence again; and thus they talked, that if a householder be he that smote, he is one for whom all the fires of the religion are suitable, but that householder being a monarch, he that smote is one who is every way their ruler. 15. This,
too, that at every place where he came on, and upon which his horse's hoofs (safô) fell, the dense fire from them was for the protection of the horse's body. 16. This, too, that through his confused (gûmêzakŏ) practising of good deeds arose even the evil deeds of Az-î Dahâk.
17. About those of the Mâzendarân 1 country having consulted, after the smiting of Dahâk, as to turning (gâstanŏ) to Khvanîras 2, and driving out Frêdûn therefrom, and as to the residence offered by the same place through the great number fallen; also, on account of their tallness, there are parts of the wide-formed ocean 3 that come up to their mid-thigh, there are others that are up to the navel, and the deeper places are up to the mouth. 18. And, when they have come to this region, their producing grievous harm and destruction to the poor 4, and the coming of the people with complaints to Frêdûn, and their speaking thus: 'Why didst thou smite Az-î Dahâk, who was a good ruler as to prerogative, so that danger was kept away by him, and an inquisitor (vigôyîdâr) from him protected this region from those of the Mâzendarân country?' 19. And they also said this, about the vileness of the Mâzendarâns, and the wretched state of the people of this region as regards them, that is, they then speak thus: 'Since their habits are thus, since they
are filthy (dôs-hômônd)that is, dirt (karak) is theirspossessing holes 1 (sûlak-hômônd)that is, holes are theirsand having appellations (karîtunisnŏ-hômônd)that is, they call to one anotherwe men (vîr) think, and consider upon this, that they also are human beings.'
20. About the encountering of Frêdûn with those of the Mâzendarân country on the plain of Pêsânîgas 2, and disputing with them thus: 'You are of the Mâzendar country, and I (anmanŏ) have destroyed Az-î Dahâk by the swiftest ruin, him who was a grievous sovereign of every one, demons and men; for that smiting of him I am produced by Aûharmazd more overpowering than his limbs made paralyzed by his own enmity, and then you destroy this country of mine, you who are of the Mâzendar country.'
21. And the Mâzendarâns thought slightingly (sapûkŏ) of Frêdûn, and spoke in a tone of derision thus: 'Should it be so, that thou destroyedst Az-î Dahâk by the swiftest ruin, him who was a good sovereign of both demons and men, and thou art produced by Aûharmazd, for that smiting of him, more overpowering than his limbs, even then we will settle in this place and will stay in this place; and it is not thou that art exalted, who art an overgrown (kabed-ârôyisnŏ) huge sheep with the speech of a hero among other people, and we would not admit thee here.'
22. This, too, that 'nevertheless they afterwards fled, and the victorious Frêdûn pursued them to the
foremost upland, and his nostrils flamed upon it so that they split it through; from his right nostril is the cutting and sharp scorching of the ice that has fallen and of all the cold of winter; and from his left nostril is the cutting and sharp scorching of the rock that has fallen, which is similarly burning to a fire the size of a house, carrying the dust from the feet of the male ox, Barmâyûn 1, of the obstructed victor, the mighty Frêdûn. 23. And he made it rush up on the ascent, whereby they are made figures of stone, and they who are of the Mâzendar country are destroyed by him through the smiting of fifties, the smiting of hundreds, the smiting of thousands 2, the smiting of myriads, and the smiting of multitudes innumerable 3.'
24. 'Thus there are destroyed by him, the victorious and mighty Frêdûn, two-thirds of those of the Mâzendar country, and one-third came out beaten and sick; and never afterwards, O Spîtâmân Zaratûst! have they who are of the Mâzendar country marched upon this region of Khvanîras, and it has not been imagined by them, even in thinking about it, that they 4 should go there, except those 5 whose names were thus, Spîtîyôs, son of Spânsnâyôs 6, and Arezrâspâh, son of Spânsnâyôs 7, who have wandered (tag-îdŏ)
in search of wisdom and have proceeded unto Frashôstar 1 of the Hvôbas 2.'
25. Perfect excellence is righteousness.
212:1 The first two words of the fourth Gâtha (Yas. LI, 1), here written vohûk-khshatar (B) and vôhûk-khshatar (K) in Pahlavi.
212:2 See Bk. VIII, Chap. XIII, 8.
212:3 As mentioned in Yt. XIX, 46; Bd. XVII, 5 ('when Yim was cut up by them the fire Frôbak saves the glory of Yim from the hand of Dahâk') and XXXI, 5. Regarding Yim see Bk. VIII, Chap. XIII, 6-8.
212:4 What follows, as far as the end of § 7, appears to be quoted verbatim from the original Pahlavi text of the Nask.
212:5 The demon Uda who tries to make people talk when they ought to be silent (Bd. XXVIII, 19), and who seems to be identified p. 213 (in Pahl. Vend. XVIII, 70) with the fiend who confesses her amours to Srôsh, and is said (in Bd. XXXI, 6) to have been the mother of Dahâk, there named Udaî or Aûd, but more commonly called Vadak (see Chap. X, 3; Dd. LXXII, 5, LXXVIII, 2), whence possibly the matronymic Vadakân (Mkh. LVII, 25, the Av. vadhaghana of Vend. XIX, 6) of that monarch. The text here appears to allude to an amour with Yim.
213:1 Av. vara; or it may be a miswriting of vardak, 'astray' (Av. vareta).
213:2 Pahl. aîzisn-hômônd, 'one holding ceremonies,' alluding to Dahâk himself as the progeny of Aûdak.
213:3 These five demons are Aeshm, Nîyâz, Saham, Sêg, and Zarmân in Pahlavi, who, with the exception of Saham, 'terror,' are described in Bd. XXVIII, 15-17, 23, 26.
213:4 The seven arch-demons are the six mentioned in Bd. I, 27. XXVIII, 7-13, XXX, 29, whose Avesta names are Akem-manô, Indra, Sauru, Naunghaithya, Tauru, and Zairika (see Vend. X, 9, 10, XIX, 43), together with either Mithaokhta or Angramainyu himself (see Bd. I, 24).
214:1 K has only 'who came out at every place to act for its benefit.'
214:2 'With a myriad of horses,' a title of Dahâk.
214:3 See Bk. VIII, Chap. XIII, 8, 9.
214:4 Or, perhaps, 'the reins.'
214:5 In Mount Dimâvand (see Chap. XV, 2 n).
214:6 Av. Âthwyâna, a patronymic derived from Âthwya who, p. 215 according to Yas. IX, 7, was the father of Thraêtaona (Frêdûn); but Bd. XXXI, 4, 7, 8, XXXII, 1 n, make it a family name for many preceding generations.
215:1 Or min may mean 'apart from.'
215:2 Demands often made by Dahâk, as stated in § 13.
215:3 Pahl. sûlak-hômand, 'something having apertures;' compare the sûlâk-hômand which translates Av. sufrãm and suwraya in Vend. II, 7, 18, 30, and has sometimes been understood as a 'signet-ring.' Also compare § 19 below.
215:4 Assuming that mûn, 'who,' stands for amat, as in Chap. XIII, 2.
216:1 See Bk. VIII, Chap. XIII, 9.
216:2 See Bk. VIII, Chap. VIII, 2. Mâzendarân was considered to be outside of Khvanîras because it is separated from Irân by lofty mountains.
216:3 The Caspian is probably meant here, being considered a portion of the circumambient ocean.
216:4 K omits 'to the poor.'
217:1 Burrows, caves, and similar underground habitations are probably meant.
217:2 See Chap. XVI, 17.
218:1 This appears to have also been the name of a brother of Frêdûn (see Bd. XXXI, 8).
218:2 B omits 'the smiting of thousands.'
218:3 Compare Yt. V, 54, 58, 117; Pahl. Vend. VII, 137, 139.
218:4 Literally 'we.'
218:5 K has 'the two.'
218:6 These first two names are only in K, because B repeats here a previous phrase by mistake. The second name is written Sânsnâyôs here, but is spelt correctly on its next occurrence.
218:7 These two sons of Spânsnâyôs were the spiritual chiefs, or p. 219 supreme high-priests, of the two northern regions, Fradadafsh and Vîdadafsh. They are named Spîtôîd-î Aûspôsînân and Aêrêzrâsp-î Aûspôsînân in Bd. XXIX, 1; and the statement that they came from Mâzendarân, made in the text here, identifies that country with the two northern regions. The names of these two high-priests are evidently derived from the Avesta genitives Spitôis Uspãsnaos and Erezrâspahê Uspãsnaos in Yt. XIII, 121, persons concerning whom it is only stated that their fravashis, or guardian spirits, are to be reverenced.
219:1 See Bk. VIII, Chap. XXXVIII, 68.
219:2 Av. Hvôva, the family name of Frashôstar, Gâmâsp, and several other ancient personages (see Bk. VIII, Chap. XXIX, 25).