Shah Nameh/Kaiúmers

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Shah Nameh by Hakīm Abol-Qāsem Firdawsī Ṭūsī, translated by James A. Atkinson
Kaiúmers


According to the traditions of former ages, recorded in the Bastan-námeh, the first person who established a code of laws and exercised the functions of a monarch in Persia, was Kaiúmers. It is said that he dwelt among the mountains, and that his garments were made of the skins of beasts.

  His reign was thirty years, and o'er the earth
  He spread the blessings of paternal sway;
  Wild animals, obsequious to his will,
  Assembled round his throne, and did him homage.
  He had a son named Saiámuk, a youth
  Of lovely form and countenance, in war
  Brave and accomplished, and the dear delight
  Of his fond father, who adored the boy,
  And only dreaded to be parted from him.
  So is it ever with the world--the parent
  Still doating on his offspring. Kaiúmers
  Had not a foe, save one, a hideous Demon,
  Who viewed his power with envy, and aspired
  To work his ruin. He, too, had a son,
  Fierce as a wolf, whose days were dark and bitter,
  Because the favoring heavens in kinder mood
  Smiled on the monarch and his gallant heir.
  --When Saiámuk first heard the Demon's aim
  Was to o'erthrow his father and himself,
  Surprise and indignation filled his heart,
  And speedily a martial force he raised,
  To punish the invader. Proudly garbed
  In leopard's skin, he hastened to the war;
  But when the combatants, with eager mien,
  Impatient met upon the battle-field.
  And both together tried their utmost strength,
  Down from his enemy's dragon-grasp soon fell
  The luckless son of royal Kaiúmers,
  Vanquished and lifeless. Sad, unhappy fate!

Disheartened by this disastrous event, the army immediately retreated, and returned to Kaiúmers, who wept bitterly for the loss of his son, and continued a long time inconsolable. But after a year had elapsed a mysterious voice addressed him, saying:--"Be patient, and despair not--thou hast only to send another army against the Demons, and the triumph and the victory will be thine.

 "Drive from the earth that Demon horrible,
  And sorrow will be rooted from thy heart."

Saiámuk left a son whose name was Húsheng, whom the king loved much more even than his father.

  Húsheng his name. There seemed in him combined,
  Knowledge and goodness eminent. To him
  Was given his father's dignity and station.
  And the old man, his grandsire, scarcely deigned
  To look upon another, his affection
  For him was so unbounded.

Kaiúmers having appointed Húsheng the leader of the army, the young hero set out with an immense body of troops to engage the Demon and his son. It is said that at that time every species of animal, wild and tame, was obedient to his command.

  The savage beasts, and those of gentler kind,
  Alike reposed before him, and appeared
  To do him homage.

The wolf, the tiger, the lion, the panther, and even the fowls of the air, assembled in aid of him, and he, by the blessing of God, slew the Demon and his offspring with his own hand. After which the army of Kaiúmers, and the devouring animals that accompanied him in his march, defeated and tore to pieces the scattered legions of the enemy. Upon the death of Kaiúmers Húsheng ascended the throne of Persia.