Dreams of kings often carry a portend or a message. A recurring dream was always considered either a caution, a warning or a sign of things to come.
One night, king Nosherwan had three intriguing dreams. In the first dream he saw that a huge tree had grown next to his throne. To celebrate this, he called a party and was surprised when a wild boar walked in, sat next to him and started drinking wine from his cup.
After the first dream, he had two other dreams in succession. In the second dream he saw cows in the field drinking milk from their calves. In the third dream, the king saw five wells, one big in the centre and four smaller ones around it. The central well was full with water and it kept giving water to the smaller wells when they asked for it. But when the central well was drained of all water, and asked for some water from the surrounding wells, they refused to give back, resulting in the drying up of the central well. The king kept having these dreams for a few nights.
One morning, the agitated king summoned dream interpreters to explain these strange dreams, but none was able to decipher them. The king was keen to understand the message behind the dreams. He sent ministers and envoys to different parts of his kingdom to find a person who could interpret the dreams, offering gold coins as rewards.
One of the messengers, Azad Sarv, reached the city of Mar, went to a Madressa where the Zoroastrian religion and religious scriptures were taught, and inquired with the teacher about the interpretation of dreams. The teacher politely expressed his inability to understand them. Just then, a bright young student named Buzorg-meher, who had overheard the conversation, volunteered to decipher their meaning. The teacher chastised him for eavesdropping, but Azad-Sarv encouraged him to respond and asked him for the interpretation.
The young student boldly maintained that he will explain the dreams only to the king. Azad-Sarv agreed, and made arrangements to take the young boy with him to the king. On the way, when they were resting, Azad-Sarv was surprised to see a black snake approach the sleeping Buzorg-meher, sniff him from head to toe and pass on after some time. This incident made Azad-Sarv realize that this was a special boy. He mentioned nothing about the snake to Buzorg-meher. After some time, the duo resumed the journey and reached the palace.
The following day, Azad-Sarv presented Buzorg-meher to the king, and recounted all that had happened. The king summoned the young boy and narrated the dreams to him.
As the interpretation of the first dream, Buzorg-meher stated that a man dressed as a woman was staying in the king’s harem, among the ladies. He asked the king to make all the ladies in the harem walk past him.
At first the king was reluctant, but then agreed to allow them to pass with their faces covered. The ladies were made to walk past the king and Buzorg-meher with their faces covered, but no male was spotted. However, Buzorg-meher insisted that there was a man among the women. He once again made the ladies pass before him and then declared that he had found the guilty person. The king was surprised and asked him, how he had found out. Buzorg-meher replied that he was able to identify the man by the gait of his walk.
The king summoned the man who came dressed as a woman. He was the half-brother of one of the queens, who was the daughter of the governor of Chāj province. The brother was very fond of his sister and wanted to accompany her wherever she went, and hence the queen had brought him with her. The king was furious. He immediately ordered them to be executed. However, their lives were saved by the timely intervention of Buzorg-meher, who asked for a mercy-plea for them.
Buzorg-meher then explained the meaning of the second dream in which the king had seen cows in the field drinking milk from their calves. He told the king that this dream conveyed that in his kingdom some parents forced their children to work as labourers, and subsisted on their income. Upon investigation, the king found this to be true and he passed stringent laws against child labour.
Then Buzorg-meher went on to explain the third and the last dream, in which the king saw five wells, one big in the centre and four smaller ones around it. Buzorg-meher explained that the central well symbolised parents and the smaller wells represented their children. The parents gave huge sacrifices and spent their entire fortune raising their children. However, after growing up, the children abandon their parents. The central well drained of all water symbolized the parents living in dire poverty during their old age, and dying of hunger. The king got this matter investigated and passed legislations regarding the responsibility of children to look after their parents in old age.
The king was highly impressed by the wisdom of Buzorg-meher. He decided to groom him and later give him a place amongst his cabinet of ministers. He made preparations for his further studies in the palace itself. After a few years, Buzorg-meher turned out to be not only wiser than other ministers, he also showed a greater grasp in administrating the kingdom. He had even gathered extensive knowledge of medicine and astrology.
One day the king invited all his ministers and asked them to enrich him with their wise words. When it was Buzorg-meher’s turn, he exhorted the king about many wise things, like:
1. Not to mindlessly amass wealth, as this world is a transitory place.
2. The nature of man depended on what types of desires he had.
3. Wise men should keep their body in this world and mind in the spiritual world.
Buzorg-meher compared the king to a shepherd and the subjects to his flock. He asked the courtiers and the subjects to always be faithful to the king. Everyone was impressed by his wise words and praised him. Awe-struck at the wisdom of this young man, the king presented him with gold coins. (End of Part 3….to be continued)