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Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. [1880], at


1. Regarding the three-legged a ass 4 they say, that it stands amid the wide-formed ocean, and its feet are three, eyes six, mouths 5 nine, ears two, and horn

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one, body white, food spiritual, and it is righteous. 2. And two of its six eyes are in the position of eyes, two on the; top of the head, and two in the position of the hump 1; with the sharpness of those six eyes it overcomes and destroys. 3. Of the nine mouths three are in the head, three in the hump, and three in the inner part of the flanks; and each mouth is about the size of a cottage, and it is itself as large as Mount Alvand 2. 4. Each one of the three feet, when it is placed on the ground, is as much as a flock (gird) of a thousand sheep comes under when they repose together; and each pastern 3 is so great in its circuit that a thousand men with a thousand horses may pass inside. 5. As for the two ears it is Mâzendarân which they will encompass. 6. The one horn is as it were of gold and hollow, and a thousand branch horns 4 have grown upon it, some befitting 5 a camel, some befitting a horse, some befitting an ox, some befitting an ass, both great and small. 7. With that horn it will vanquish and dissipate all the vile corruption due to the efforts of noxious creatures.

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8. When that ass shall hold its neck in the ocean its ears will terrify (asahmêd), and all the water of the wide-formed ocean will shake with agitation, and the side of Ganâvad 1 will tremble (shîvanêd). 9. When it utters a cry all female water-creatures, of the creatures of Aûharmazd, will become pregnant; and all pregnant noxious water-creatures, when they hear that cry, will cast their young. 10. When it stales in the ocean all the sea-water will become purified, which is in the seven regions of the earth—it is even on that account when all asses which come into water stale in the water—as it says thus: 'If, O three-legged ass! you were not created for the water, all the water in the sea would have perished from the contamination which the poison of the evil spirit has brought into its water, through the death of the creatures of Aûharmazd.'

11. Tîstar seizes the water 2 more completely from the ocean with the assistance of the three-legged ass. 12. Of ambergris also (ambar-ik) it is declared, that it is the dung of the three-legged ass; for if it has much spirit food, then also the moisture of the liquid nourishment goes through the veins pertaining to the body into the urine, and the dung is cast away.

13. Of the ox Hadhayôs 3, which they call Sarsaok 4, it says, that in the original creation men passed from region to region upon it, and in the

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renovation of the universe they prepare Hûsh (the beverage producing immortality) from it. 14. It is said, that life is in the hand of that foremost man, at the end of his years 1, who has constructed the most defences around this earth, until the renovation of the universe is requisite.

15. Regarding the bird Kâmrôs 2 it says, that it is on the summit of Mount Albûrz; and every three years many come from the non-Iranian districts for booty (gird3, by going to bring damage (zîyân) on the Iranian districts, and to effect the devastation of the world; then the angel Bûrg 4, having come up from the low country of Lake Arag 5, arouses that very bird Kâmrôs, and it flies upon the loftiest of all the lofty mountains, and picks up all those non-Iranian districts as a bird does corn.

16. Regarding Karsipt 6 they say, that it knew how to speak words, and brought the religion to the enclosure which Yim made, and circulated it; there they utter the Avesta in the language of birds.

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17. Regarding the ox-fish they say, that it exists in all seas; when it utters a cry all fish become pregnant, and all noxious water-creatures cast their young.

18. The griffon bird 1, which is a bat, is noticed (kard) twice in another chapter (babâ).

19. Regarding the bird Ashôzus2, which is the bird Zobara 3-vahman and also the bird Sôk 4, they say that it has given an Avesta with its tongue; when it speaks the demons tremble at it and take nothing away there; a nail-paring, when it is not prayed over (afsûd), the demons and wizards seize, and like an arrow it shoots at and kills that bird. 20. On this account the bird seizes and devours a nail-paring, when it is prayed over, so that the demons may not control its use; when it is not prayed over it does not devour it, and the demons are able to commit an offence with it.

21. Also other beasts and birds are created all in opposition to noxious creatures, as it says, that when the birds and beasts are all in opposition to noxious creatures and wizards, &c. 5 22. This, too, it says, that of all precious 6 birds the crow (valâgh) is the most precious. 23, Regarding the white falcon it

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says, that it kills the serpent with wings. 24. The magpie (kâskînak) bird kills the locust, and is created in opposition to it. 25. The Kahrkâs 1, dwelling in decay, which is the vulture, is created for devouring dead matter (nasâî); so also are the crow (valâk) 2 and the mountain kite.

26. The mountain ox, the mountain goat, the deer, the wild ass, and other beasts devour all snakes. 27. So also, of other animals, dogs are created in opposition to the wolf species, and for securing the protection of sheep; the fox is created in opposition to the demon Khava; the ichneumon is created in opposition to the venomous snake (garzak) and other noxious creatures in burrows; so also the great musk-animal is created in opposition 3 to ravenous intestinal worms (kadûk-dânak garzak). 28. The hedgehog is created in opposition to the ant which carries off grain 4, as it says, that the hedgehog, every time that it voids urine into an ant's nest, will destroy a thousand ants; when the grain-carrier travels over the earth it produces

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a hollow track 1; when the hedgehog travels over it the track goes away from it, and it becomes level. 29. The water-beaver is created in opposition to the demon which is in the water. 30. The conclusion is this, that, of all beasts and birds and fishes, every one is created in opposition to some noxious creature.

31. Regarding the vulture (karkâs) it says, that, even from his highest flight, he sees when flesh the size of a fist is on the ground; and the scent of musk is created under his wing, so that if, in devouring dead matter, the stench of the dead matter comes out from it, he puts his head back under the wing and is comfortable again. 32. Regarding the Arab horse they say, that if, in a dark night, a single hair occurs on the ground, he sees it.

33. The cock is created in opposition to demons and wizards, co-operating with the dog; as it says in revelation, that, of the creatures of the world, those which are co-operating with Srôsh 2, in destroying the fiends, are the cock and the dog. 34. This, too, it says, that it would not have been managed if I had not created the shepherd's dog, which is the Pasus-haurva 3, and the house watchdog, the Vis-haurva 3; for it says in revelation, that the dog is a destroyer of such a fiend as covetousness,

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among those which are in the nature (aîtîh) of man and of animals. 35. Moreover it says, that, inasmuch as it will destroy all the disobedient, when it barks it will destroy pain 1; and its flesh and fat are remedies for driving away decay and pain from men 2.

36. Aûharmazd created nothing useless whatever, for all these (kolâ aê) are created for advantage; when one does not understand the reason of them, it is necessary to ask the Dastûr ('high-priest'), for his five dispositions (khûk) 3 are created in this way that he may continually destroy the fiend (or deceit).


67:4 The Av. khara, 'which is righteous and which stands in the middle of the wide-shored ocean' (Yas. XLI, 28). Darmesteter, in his Ormazd et Ahriman (pp. 148-151), considers this mythological monster as a meteorological myth, a personification of clouds and storm; and, no doubt, a vivid imagination may trace a striking resemblance between some of the monster's attributes and certain fanciful ideas regarding the phenomena of nature; the difficulty is to account for the remaining attributes, and to be sure that these fanciful ideas were really held by Mazdayasnians of old. Another plausible view is to consider such mythological beings as foreign gods tolerated by the priesthood, from politic motives, as objects worthy of reverence; even as the goddess Anâhita was tolerated in the form of the angel of water.

67:5 This is the traditional meaning of the word, which (if this p. 67 meaning be correct) ought probably to be read yông, and be traced to Av. eeaungh (Yas. XXVIII, ii). In the MSS. the word is marked as if it were pronounced gûnd, which means 'a testicle.'

68:1 The hump is probably supposed to be over the shoulders, as in the Indian ox, and not like that of the camel.

68:2 Near Hamadân, rising 11,000 feet above the sea, or 6000 above Hamadân. It may be one of the Av. Aurvantô of Zamyâd Yt. 3. The Pâzand MSS. read Hunavand.

68:3 Literally, 'the small of the foot,' khûrdak-i ragelman.

68:4 Or, 'a thousand cavities (srûbŏ, Pers. surub, ‘cavern’) have grown in it.'

68:5 Reading zîyâk; compare Pers. ziyîdan, 'to suit, befit.'

69:1 A mountain (see Chap. XII, 29, 34).

69:2 See Chap. VII, 11.

69:3 Written Hadayâvs in the MSS. in Chap. XXX, 25, and Hadhayãs in the Dâdistân-i Dînîk, Part II, reply 89; it is a Pâzand reading in all three places.

69:4 See Chaps. XV, 27, XVII, 4.

70:1 Transcribing the Pâz. svadyi into Pahlavi we have snatîh, 'term of years.' The whole sentence is very obscure.

70:2 Written Kamrôs in Chap. XXIV, 29. It is the Av. Kamraos (gen. of Kamru) of Fravardîn Yt. 109. See also Chap. XVII, 3.

70:3 Or, 'to an assembly.'

70:4 The Av. Beregya of Yas. I, 21, II, 27, III, 35, 'a spirit cooperating with the Ushahina Gâh, who causes the increase of herds and corn.'

70:5 Or, 'of the district of Arag' (see the note on Chap. XII, 23). Although no Lake Arag is described in Chap. XXII, some of the epithets referring to its Avesta equivalent Rangha are more applicable to a lake than to a river, as in Bahrâm Yt. 29. Possibly the low lands between the Caspian and Aral, or on the shores of the Caspian, are meant.

70:6 The Av. vis karsipta of Vend. II, 139, where, however, vis p. 71 does not mean 'bird,' and the Pahlavi translator calls it 'a quadruped.' In the Pahl. Visp. I, 1, 'the Karsipt is the chief of flying creatures,' and the Bundahis also takes it as a bird (see Chaps. XIV, 23, XXIV, 11).

71:1 See Chaps. XIV, 11, 23, 24, XXIV, 11, 29.

71:2 The Av. Ashô-zusta of Vend. XVII, 26, 28.

71:3 Compare Pers. zûlah, 'a sparrow or lark.'

71:4 Compare Pers. sak, 'a magpie.'

71:5 This quotation is evidently left incomplete.

71:6 The Pahlavi word is ambiguous; it may be read zîl, 'cheap, common,' or it may be zagar = yakar, 'dear, precious,' but the p. 72 latter seems most probable, although the crow is perhaps as 'common' as it is 'precious,' as a scavenger in the East. Singularly enough Pers. arzân is a synonym to both words, as it means both 'cheap' and 'worthy.'

72:1 The Av. kahrkâsa of Vend. III, 66, IX, 181, Âbân Yt. 61, Mihir Yt. 129; its epithet zarmân-mânisn, 'dwelling in decay,' is evidently intended as a translation of the Av. zarenumainis, applied to it in Bahrâm Yt. 33, Dîn Yt. 13.

72:2 The text should probably be valâk-i sîyâk va sâr-i gar, 'the black crow and the mountain kite,' which are given as different birds in Shâyast-lâ-shâyast, II, 5.

72:3 K20 omits the words from this 'opposition' to the next one.

72:4 The môr-i dânak-kash is the Av. maoiris dânô-karsô of Vend. XIV, 14, XVI; 28, XVIII, 146.

73:1 Comparing sûrâk with Pers. surâgh in preference to sûrâkh or sûlâkh, 'a hole.'

73:2 Av. Sraosha, the angel who is said specially to protect the world from demons at night; he is usually styled 'the righteous,' and is the special opponent of the demon Aêshm, 'Wrath' (see Chap. XXX, 29).

73:3 These are the Avesta names of those two kinds of dog (see Chap. XIV, 19).

74:1 Or it may be thus: 'For it says thus: Wherewith will it destroy? When it barks it will destroy the assembly (gird) of all the disobedient.'

74:2 This is the most obvious meaning, but Spiegel (in a note to Windischmann's Zoroastrische Studien, p. 95) translates both this sentence and the next very differently, so as to harmonize with Vend. XIII, 78, 99.

74:3 The five dispositions (khîm) of priests are thus detailed in old Pahlavi MSS.: 'First, innocence; second, discreetness of thoughts, words, and deeds; third, holding the priestly office as that of a very wise and very true-speaking master, who has learned religion attentively and teaches it truly; fourth, celebrating the worship of God (yazdân) with a ritual (nîrang) of rightly spoken words and scriptures known by heart (narm naskîhâ); fifth, remaining day and night propitiatingly in his vocation, struggling with his own resistance (hamêstâr), and, all life long, not turning away from steadfastness in religion, and being energetic in his vocation.'

Next: Chapter XX