Sacred Texts  Asia  Myths/Legends  Index  Previous  Next 

Armenian Legends and Poems [1916] at

p. 65

Click to enlarge



From the History of Armenia,

AFTER the death of Artashes his son Artavasd reigned, and he drove all his brothers and sisters to the lands of Aghyovd and Arberan, that they might not live in Aïrarat, on the territory of the King. And when he had reigned but a little while, as he was riding over the bridge of Artashat to hunt deer and wild asses on the banks of the Ghin, he was seized by some visionary terror and lost his reason. And urging his horse down a steep bank he fell into a chasm, wherein he sank and disappeared.

The singers of Ghogtan tell concerning him, that when his father was dying many people killed themselves according to the customs of the heathen; and they say that Artavasd was wroth, and said unto his father:

"Now that thou art gone
And hast taken with thee the whole land,
How shall I reign over the ruins?"

[paragraph continues] Therefore Artashes cursed him, and said:

"When thou ridest forth to hunt
Over the free heights of Ararat,
The Strong Ones shall have thee,
And shall take thee up
On to the free heights of Ararat.
There shalt thou abide,
And never more see the light."

Old women also tell of him how that he is confined in a cavern and bound with iron chains. And his two dogs do daily try to gnaw through the chains to set him free, that he

p. 66

may come and put an end to the world; but at the sound of the hammers striking on the anvil, the chains are strengthened. So also even in our own times many blacksmiths do keep up the tradition and strike the anvil three or four times on a Monday, to strengthen, as they say, the chains of Artavasd. But the truth concerning him is as we have declared above.

Others say that at his birth the women of the house of Ahasuerus did try to bewitch him, and therefore Artashes tormented them much; and these same singers say also that the Children of the Dragons stole the infant Artavasd and put a devil in his place. But unto us it seemeth that being full of wickedness from his very birth, so also did he end.


Next: Charm Verses