Minister Maybud and his sons
Maybud was king Nosherwan’s trusted minister. He advised him in matters of religion and rituals. The king trusted him so much that he only ate food checked by Maybud or his two sons. Zurān, another senior minister was very envious of them. He tried to find ways and means to instigate the king against them, but was never successful.
Zurān had employed a Jewish servant in court who was in his debt. The servant knew black magic and he assured Zurān that he could kill Maybud and his sons with his black magic. Once when the king’s food was taken by the two sons, Zurān requested them to open the food, so that he could see it. The two youths opened the food, and at that moment the Jew cast a magic spell on it by his sight.
The king acts in haste
When the food reached the king, Zurān told him that the food was poisoned. He asked the bearers to taste them. The two bearers unsuspectingly tasted it and died on the spot. The king was furious and ordered Mehbud, his wife and sons to be killed. Zurān and the Jew came in the king’s favour, which was their desire since a long time. The king least suspected that they were the real culprits.
Zurān is caught
Once, when the king was to go hunting he saw the horse of Maybud. The sight of the horse reminded the king of his trusted minister, and he greatly grieved his loss. He could not believe that such a wise and righteous person could fall a prey to evil.
The evil Zurān was also a part of the king’s hunting entourage. As they were talking about other issues, the topic of black magic cropped up. The king said he did not believe in it, but Zurān said it was a fact. He further said that it is possible to turn any dish prepared from milk into poison by looking at it from afar. The king immediately started suspecting Zurān as he knew he was Maybud’s enemy.
The king summoned Zurān and asked him to recount the happenings before Maybud’s execution. The king detected a tremor in his voice and immediately realised that he was the culprit. On being interrogated, he confessed, but put the entire blame on the Jew.
The king atones for his mistake
The king immediately imprisoned Zurān and sent for the Jew. The Jew confessed the truth and also told him about Zurān’s role in the whole plot. Immediately, both of them were hanged.
As a mark of repentance, the king searched for the relatives of Mehbud and gave all of Zurān’s wealth to them. He agonized a lot and spent a long time in a pensive mood for hastily putting to death his trusted minister and his family. He sought forgiveness from God for his mistake.
War between Hephthalite and China
There was longstanding enmity between the kings of Hephthalite (Haetal) and China. The king (Khakan) of China was an ally of king Nosherwan, whereas the Hephthalite king was a descendant of Sasanian king Behram Gur, and so Nosherwan did not want them to fight.
The king of China did not heed Nosherwan’s counsel and attacked, but he was defeated. He started gathering a bigger army with the help of his allies to take revenge.
In the meantime king Nosherwan prepared a huge army and proceeded towards China. When the king of China came to know of this, he sent a letter seeking peace and requesting the king not to attack. King Nosherwan acceded to his request.
To ensure lasting peace between China and Iran, the king of China offered the hand of one of his daughters as a queen to king Nosherwan. The Iranian king accepted the offer and sent a wise man by the name Mehran Setād as his emissary to select a daughter who was not only beautiful, but also modest, wise and of a royal lineage, who could be his queen.
However, the king of China was not wanting to give his best princess in marriage, as he loved her very much. So he decided to give one of the four daughters of a lesser queen who was formerly a maid of the king Nosherwan.
After Mehran Setād reached China, he was taken into the queens’ harem where none was allowed to enter. There he was taken in a room where five princesses were sitting. Four were decked up in all finery and ornaments, but the fifth, the king’s favourite princess, was made to sit in simple clothes without ornaments, crown or make up. Mehran realised that the king was trying to fool him. He selected the girl with simple clothes. After some hesitation the king agreed to give his favourite daughter in wedding to the Iranian king.
The Khakan bid farewell to his daughter with forty maids and several precious gifts. He also sent a letter to king Nosherwan in which he highly praised him and expressed gratitude for his friendship. The Iranian emissary Mehran was also given handsome gifts. The Khakan accompanied the retinue till it crossed Jaihun river. Then winding its way through Marv, Bestām and Gorgān, they reached Ctesiphon in Iran where they were lovingly welcomed.
The Khakan gifted the cities of Turkestan, Sogdia, Samarkand and Chāch to the Iranian king and shifted his capital to Kāchār-bāshi. The chieftains of these regions approached the Iranian king with the request to make their lands prosperous, as they had all become barren. The king assured them of his help.
Golden reign of king Nosherwan
Nosherwan was overwhelmed by his good fortune. He went to the fire temple of Azar Goshasp, where with the Barsom in his hand, he recited from the Avesta before the fire. He handsomely donated wealth to the fire temple and also gave rich gifts to the priests serving there.
Iran was now experiencing the golden reign of Nosherwan where there was justice for everybody and all were happy. Even a thief would not pick up a fallen coin. All criminals were reformed and there was no oppression or violence. There was good produce in the farms, trade and commerce was prospering and there was happiness all around.
Counsels of Buzorg-meher
Nosherwan was fortunate to have the good guidance and counsel of ministers like Buzorg-meher. This wise ministers used to give valuable guidance and counsel to the king. Some of his well-known admonitions to the king are:
- The only things remembered for a long time are good words and good deeds.
- Always maintain innocence and be contented.
- The worst man is he, who does not fear God.
- There are ten vices, but men can protect himself from them using the armour of intelligence.
- Effort and destiny both are important as they work hand in hand, like the body and soul. One is unseen, the other is seen.
(To be continued….)