Shah Nameh/Dáráb


When Dáráb had ascended the throne, he conducted the affairs of the kingdom with humanity, justice, and benevolence; and by these means secured the happiness of his people. He had no sooner commenced his reign, than he sent for the washerman and his wife, and enriched them by his gifts. "But," said he, "I present to you this property on these conditions--you must not give up your occupation--you must go every day, as usual, to the river-side, and wash clothes; for perhaps in process of time you may discover another box floating down the stream, containing another infant!" With these conditions the washerman complied.

Some time afterwards the kingdom was invaded by an Arabian army, consisting of one hundred thousand men, and commanded by Sháíb, a distinguished warrior. Dáráb was engaged with this army three days and three nights, and on the fourth morning the battle terminated, in consequence of Sháíb being slain. The booty was immense, and a vast number of Arabian horses fell into the hands of the victor; which, together with the quantity of treasure captured, strengthened greatly the resources of the state. The success of this campaign enabled Dáráb to extend his military operations; and having put his army in order, he proceeded against Failakús (Philip of Macedon), then king of Rúm, whom he defeated with great loss. Many were put to the sword, and the women and children carried into captivity. Failakús himself took refuge in the fortress of Amúr, from whence he sent an ambassador to Dáráb, saying, that if peace was only granted to him, he would willingly consent to any terms that might be demanded. When the ambassador arrived, Dáráb said to him: "If Failakús will bestow upon me his daughter, Nahíd, peace shall be instantly re-established between us--I require no other terms." Failakús readily agreed, and sent Nahíd with numerous splendid presents to the king of Persia, who espoused her, and took her with him to his own country. It so happened that Nahíd had an offensive breath, which was extremely disagreeable to her husband, and in consequence he directed enquiries to be made everywhere for a remedy. No place was left unexplored; at length an herb of peculiar efficacy and fragrance was discovered, which never failed to remove the imperfection complained of; and it was accordingly administered with confident hopes of success. Nahíd was desired to wash her mouth with the infused herb, and in a few days her breath became balmy and pure. When she found she was likely to become a mother she did not communicate the circumstance, but requested permission to pay a visit to her father. The request was granted; and on her arrival in Rúm she was delivered of a son. Failakús had no male offspring, and was overjoyed at this event, which he at once determined to keep unknown to Dáráb, publishing abroad that a son had been born in his house, and causing it to be understood that the child was his own. When the boy grew up, he was called Sikander; and, like Rustem, became highly accomplished in all the arts of diplomacy and war. Failakús placed him under Aristátalís, a sage of great renown, and he soon equalled his master in learning and science.

Dáráb married another wife, by whom he had another son, named Dárá; and when the youth was twenty years of age, the father died. The period of Dáráb's reign was thirty-four years.