King Hoshang was the grandson of king Kayomars, also known as Gayomard. His title is Paradhata “the first law giver” from which the first royal dynasty Peshdad got its name. After ascending the throne, king Hoshang pledged to rule justly and compassionately for the betterment of mankind.
King Hoshang was a noble king. He was greatly pained seeing his subjects toil all day to get food. He taught his subjects to extract metals from ores and then make implements. The first such metal to be extracted was iron, and the profession of blacksmith was born. For the first time in human civilisation, iron axes, saws, spades, ploughs, hoes and several other useful implements were made.
Happy by this success, the king taught his subjects to till the land by the newly made implement of plough and then sow seeds. With improved iron implements, the practice of agriculture flourished. As more seeds were sown, there was a good production of crops, which inspired people to develop the arts of reaping and harvesting of crops.
The more the people worked, the greater ideas they got. Gradually they started digging canals from rivers upto the fields, so that there was all round availability of water.
All these beneficial changes, resulted in the people stopping their nomadic life and living in small groups, near their own fields, tilling their own personal lands. Thus started the first settled civilisations.
With the development of agriculture started the practice of domesticating animals like goat, sheep, cows, bulls and donkeys, which would be helpful in the farm. Certain domestic animals were used for fieldwork and others for purposes like guarding and riding.
Domestic animals also came in handy in another way. People learnt to make clothes from their wool and fur. This was another great stride in civilisation.
The Majesty of Fire
Once, when King Hoshang had gone hunting along with his retinue, they saw a huge, long, black slithering creature with red shiny eyes. This was an Azdah, which was a large dragon like creature found in ancient times, now extinct. On seeing them, the creature fled. King Hoshang and a few of his soldiers followed it to hunt it down. In those days they used huge stones as weapons. When they started hurling the stones, they missed their mark and hit other stones causing sparks to fly. This ignited the dry branches of the Sadeh tree, resulting in a huge fire.
On seeing this gigantic blaze, the soldiers were terrified and started running away. However, king Hoshang instantly recognised the majesty of God in the blazing fire. He bowed down before it and offered praises to its Creator. He stopped the terrified soldiers from fleeing and exhorted, “Don’t fear this majestic Fire. It is the radiance of God. He who is wise shall revere it.”
Relieved by their king’s assurance, the soldiers returned, bowed down before the fire and fed it with wood. At night the King and his subjects performed a thanksgiving ritual called Jashan around this fire with great zest and festivity. They celebrated this day as the festival of Sadeh, which was exactly fifty days before the New Year.
Firdausi, the great poet, while recounting this story in his Shahnameh, cautions people not to call the Iranians fire-worshippers. He says: Ma gui ke ātash parastā budand, Parastande-e pāk yazdān budand, which means, “Do not call them fire worshippers, they are worshippers of God through fire.”
King Hoshang ruled for forty years. He is recognised as a Saoshyant, that is, a benefactor of mankind.