The greatest teacher I ever had


The greatest teacher I ever had
by IRANdokht

I had just finished second grade when my uncle who was spending his "sepah behdasht" in kurdestan visited us on his leave, brought me some story books and read them with me.

I don't know how much of the "life lessons" of those books I really understood, but I know those stories stuck with me all my life.

The first one was the little black fish ماهی سیاه کوچولو. The book was like a little treasure chest, the modest cover with the picture of a little black fish didn't give away the story line. I started reading it to my uncle and with every page and every sentence and every word, the little black fish took me to a different world, where fish could talk and tell stories... I couldn't stop reading, I wanted to know where he was going and how he would free himself of the dangers he faced. He was a brave one that little black fish.

This was no ordinary children's book, darker than anything I had read before, but it didn't feel dark, it was stimulating my imagination like nothing else ever had...

I started reading the rest of the books after my uncle left. The stories of Ulduz, the little girl who had nothing in common with me  took me to a different world where kids were not pampered and friendships were deeper than any friendship I had experienced in my life.  

I didn't know anything about the skillful writer of these treasures. I only knew his name: Samad Behrangi. I asked my mother about him. She told me he was a teacher who had died, that his books were secrets and not to be discussed outside the house. That was puzzling, but it made sense at the same time. Such wonderful stories can't be ordinary. They're written for special little children! Only the ones who'd cherished them like I did. I decided to keep my secret and the books in a little box in my closet, the one I would open carefully when I was alone and read them again and again.

Samad's ideology was unknown to me at the time, but his stories made a lasting impression on me, his stories gave me courage. I learned that no dream is too big, I learned that bullies are actually the ones who are most scared, I learned that obstacles are only impossible if you don't tackle them, I learned to think differently and not to be embarrassed to challenge the norm, I learned not to surrender without a fight. 

9 Shahrivar is the anniversary of this great teacher's untimely death. I read a lot about the circumstances of his drowning that summer of 1347 (1968)and I am not sure what really happened to him at such young age of 29, I could either accept that he was murdered or believe that whatever the circumstances, one little black fish found his way to the sea... 

His life lessons of courage and humanity are forever with me, and his memory is honored by all the special children who had the privilege of sharing the secret.

Roohash shad va yaadash gerami




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AmirAshkan Pishroo

Dear Botshekan

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

However, although all these things you say are true, they have no bearing on the suggestion that Behrangi was a good guy and believed in goodness.

As Nabokov insisted, goodness is something irrationally concrete, something to be captured by imagination rather than intellect.

Given his age, true, Behrangi failed intellectually, like the most Iranian intellectuals of his time, but he imagined a new world that "there's no countries... Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too." He did "Imagine all the people Living life in peace..." --John Lennon

Believe it or not, it is imagination, not reason, which is the chief instrument of cultural change. It was his little black fish which changed us, not his political affiliation: Stalinism.


Final thought!

by botshkan (not verified) on

No, I am not going to do a Jerry Springer but thouh to ask you all, to think about one apparently minor point.

Mr Pishroo, made a passing remark and did not follow it up:

"there is not much to be said except that one of Iran's best sons happened to be a Stalinist."

Had you paused for a few seconds and pondered what Stalinism meant, you would have seen Behrangi in a totally different light. Stalinism is not a philisophy. It is a method. The method of dealing with political dissent. The Tudeh party of Iran was, and is still is, under the spell of Stalinism, eversince Uncle Joe took the reins.

Perhaps you should give this area of political management a little though and why not start from the most common of all starting points:


By the way, among the most illustrious students of Stalinism were Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Hafiz Al Assad, and of course the rulers of North Korea, father and son.



by Abarmard on

Who knows where I could find "Afsaanehaaye Azarbaayijan", email me please. Desperately looking for a copy.


We all die one day...

by Honest Fan (not verified) on

"We all die one day, sooner or later; it does not matter how we die, what matters is what we die for." As a child reading these words and the story of the little black fish I was also inspired to grow up to fight against injustice even if it took death to achieve it, as scary as the thought of dieing was to a child, but decades later after studying other people's ideologies, especially the ones that advocate violence I have come to believe that there is no cause in this world that I would want to die for, if I have a say so in it. I want to live forever to see a day that I don't have to think about what I want to die for.

Samad Behrangi told stories from his ideological view, they were beautifully written, thought provoking, and inspirational, but conveyed a message of violence. We have to renounce violence, especially for social change. Like everything else in this life, we need to take the positive message of his writings and leave the negative behind, and that's called making progress.


good teachers

by maziar 58 (not verified) on

thank you for sharing your respect for your teacher,did you read his other book like 24 saaat dar khab va bidari?
all his writting was reffeltive of majority of us the truth was told by his pen.
roohesh shad.
ooh my dad was a high school teacher too for 30 yrs.

peace on earth


Thank you all

by IRANdokht on

I appreciate the time you spent to read my blog and leave a much appreciated comment.

To the ones who are apprehensive about giving credit to Samad, I hope you read those books (especially Mahi Siah koocholoo) one more time and forget about the ideology that you think or you know he had.... Now imagine you're a little girl, or imagine your daughter is reading these children stories. Would you rather have her read Mahi siah koocholoo or Cindrella or sleeping beauty?

Samad inspired a lot of us who read and liked his books. I never knew about his political views, I didn't even know how he died or whether or not there was a conspiracy. That was the point I was trying to convey here: he inspired me with his books, there is no mention of anything political in them, they're about humanity, courage and character.

Ok maybe the video was a little over the top but that's what I found online and it had to do... I wish I had posted my dear Mr Khar's link instead. I already knew a lot of my friends are over sensitive about different political views. I just wish we could let go of the grudges and focus on the positive contributions of people instead of dismissing them completely.

Thanks Mr Pishroo for your beautifully written explanation, you are right about everything you mentioned and especially about how a lot could have happened if Samad had the chance to grow beyond his 29 yrs...

Ebi jan thanks for the link. That was great.

Majid jan lets not blame everyone who was hoping for a better life, more freedom etc... it's everyone's right to hope for a better life. The lies and deceptions were harmful but idealistic artists are a part of every society.

BN jan the links are there for both Farsi and english copies. Please let me know what you think.

Thanks David (we finally agreed on something!) :0)

jan: I would appreciate that link although I totally believe you guys :0)

and to the dear ones who were worried:

Dear Botshekan: paying respect to people is not idolizing them and besides, I am soooo not romantic!

Dear Ali P.: Plenty of good teachers but they came along much later in life and for shorter period of time while Samad taught me all those valuable lessons very early and stayed with me since.

Thanks again

AmirAshkan Pishroo

A great article by IRANdoxt about Iran's great son

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

On the question of the relation between Behrangi and his mysterious death and his radical politics, there is not much to be said except that one of Iran's best sons happened to be a Stalinist. 

Some of the comments about him do not do justice to the role Behrangi's The Little Black Fish has come to play in the moral education of the Iranian and the Turk young, and in forming the self-image of the intellectual.

He taught children the value of justice, freedom, solidarity, and questioning what they have been, what they shall be, and, most importantly, what they can become.

Let us not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Jose Saramago as the novelist is considered second best in the world (second to Philip Roth) and yet he remains a Portuguese Stalinist in 2008.

I strongly believe that had Behrangi lived long enough, there was a great chance for him to recreate himself as to become Iran's most original liberal thinkers. But the guy was denied the opportunity either by the brute power of nature( the powerful Aras river) or by the cruelty of the SAVAK, which remains a trivial issue as to the big moral message the little fish tries to carry.


IranDokht Jaan Thank You....

by Khar on

Very much for this awesome blog, Smamad is one of the greatest teachers/writers that our country has ever produced. Yadash Gerami, Roohash Shad indeed!

I also love this song for Samad:


ebi amirhosseini


by ebi amirhosseini on


علی‌ آقای پی.


علی‌ جان ، "شهید" مصطفی خمینی از فرط  پر خوری ترکیدند، میگی‌ نه؟ به عکس‌های ایشون دقت کن! "ایر  بگ" ایشون رو میبینی‌ چه جوری قبل از "شهید شدن" داره منفجر میشه ؟ من نمیدونم  عکاس بدون جلیقه ضد گلوله  با چه جراتی رو به روی ایشون می‌‌ایستاد !     



The little black fish

by Majid on

There was a time that we were "looking up" to writers with that kind of mentality and mind set, to name a few.... late Gholaam Hosein Saaedi, Naader Ebraahimi, Mahmood Dowlat Aabaadi, Abbaas Pahlevaan, and..... 

This story was one of the few followed by "aaghaa-ye chokh bakhtiyaar" that got my attention in my early years.

S. Behrangy was drawned in "Aras River" due to strong current and lack of swimming skills, Naader Ebraahim was arrested and after he was "towjeeh'ed" by Savak, he came out to become the head of book review "Baaz negari / saansoor" branch of Savak located in "Baagh-e Mehraan, Zarraab Khaaneh", later he was allowed to redeem himeslf by writing the screen play for "Aatash bedoon-e dood" for T.V

Quiet honestly, looking back... I think some of these icons were PLAYING whith "young" minds! like mine!

Another example is.....listen to "Shaghaayegh ,Zendooni, Jangal, booy-e gandom" by Daariuosh, and then........listen to "abar mard-e mashreghi" by the same Daarioush !!!!!


ebi amirhosseini

Irandokht aziz !

by ebi amirhosseini on

I bet BN aziz is among the few Iranians,who have n't read this book!?.As Ali.p aziz said,this book was like a lot of other books that I read at the time.The only story that is still haunting me is " Se Taar" by Jalal Al ahmad.

As for teachers:sure,there were few who really shaped me,wether in high school or university,but my greatest teacher ever was & is my Dad.


David ET


by David ET on

I too read his books when a child. They were fun and educational. Bless his soul

Ali P.

Behrangi, Shariati, Takhti, Mostafa Khomeini,...

by Ali P. on

...were all murdered by SAVAK, supposedly.

 I, too, read "The little black fish", and it didn't leave any impression on me. I just didn't get it.

  I read an interview with the gentleman samsam is talking about (Rahmani, or Rahman) on Roozonline . The man drives a taxi these days in Germany, but back then, he was an Army officer and a friend of Samad Behrangi. He wrote a book recently , explaining how Behrangi went swimmimg, but the current took him away, and despite the efforts by him, Behrangi drowned, and how later the Iranian "Left" decided to accuse the Shah and SAVAk of his murder.

Yet another lie, shoved down our throats...

(If there is a heaven, and if he is in it now, he could be writing a book about us:"SUCKERS"!)

Ali P.

P.S. IRANdokht, Greatest teacher ever? Really? No other teacher touched your life any better?

 Now you got me thinking about mine. Stay put! :-)

bajenaghe naghi

irandokht jan

by bajenaghe naghi on

you are right to say that you gain so much knowledge from a good teacher and you benefit from his or her wisdom. i never forget my good teachers. i never read this book but will if i get the chance. 


He was not murdered!

by samsam1111 on

I read it as a kid too and It made me very sad for days onward..

After 35 years His best friend who was there on the day that he died drowning opened up out side Iran & confessed that He conspiracy..Then He was asked on an interview on why He kept mumb all these years & his answer was that He was overwhelmed by all the attention that samad was getting and didn,t have the courage to come out and say the truth..The interview was on Gooya news last year..It,s a known fact now and some of the Conscious leftist writers(Negahdar?) are pretty decent to write about it and expose the myth and blame the left for hypocracy on truth..I,m baffled as why after the truth is out You still persist on calling it a murder..I don,t have the name of his comrade..but I will search later and try to find that article..if some body or youself find it please give link to Irandokht blog since she might have missed that interview.

Kind Regards!


Do you realize what you are saying?

by botshekan (not verified) on

or are you, like thousands of other Iranians slave to your romantic views of figures like Behrangi, Amir Entezam and so on?

Behrangi was a dedicated marxist/communist who had no qualms about an armed struggle otherwise terroristic actvities. All the people shown in that video were of the same genere: Dehghani, Saaedi, Pooyan were advocating revolution by violent means. This is exactly the way the Botsazi factory of the communist/islamist was working and you were no dount one of their willing recruits.

Stop being so romantic Irandokht!