The Story of Khosrow and Shirin (Part IV)


Nazy Kaviani
by Nazy Kaviani

Let me tell you one of the most beautiful love stories ever written in Persian literature. It will be summarized. If you can, please do seek it in Farsi and in its original form, because any efforts to summarize or translate it fall hugely short of doing justice to this gem of a Persian tale. Remember this story. Tell it to your children. They will always remember that they heard about love from you first. Celebrate love Persian style.


Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI

In her lonely and melancholic castle, Shirin's only sustenance was milk. Transporting milk to the castle through the mountain was a difficult feat, and Shirin was aware that her caretakers had a hard time doing this everyday. She asked Shapour one time about a solution and Shapour told her that he had an old schoolmate, a young engineer, an expert sculpture artist who could create a canal through the mountain through which milk would run to Shirin's castle. He introduced Farhad to Shirin who fell in love with her on sight.

Farhad's love for Shirin motivated him to cut the canal through granite (sang-e-khara) in one month, complete with a beautiful pool by Shirin's castle. When Shirin saw the completed canal, impressed with Farhad's art and his obvious love for her, she removed her earrings and gave them to Farhad as his reward. Poor Farhad who couldn't talk, returned the earrings and took off into wilderness where he pined after Shirin, becoming famous for his undying love for her, writing love poems and telling the world about his love.

Soon Khosrow learned of the talk of Farhad's love for Shirin. Knowing that another man loved Shirin made him jealous and determined again to keep Shirin and her love to himself. Khosrow had to figure out a way to get Farhad out of Shirin's life, as Farhad was an excellent artist, good looking, in love with Shirin, and with enough potential to win Shirin away from him. He knew he couldn't leave him alone, but he was a king and honorable enough not to want to kill Farhad. So he called Farhad to his castle to try and bribe him and get him out of Shirin's life. (*In what is probably one of the most beautifully written passages of Nezami's story, Khosrow and Farhad have a poetic dialogue about Shirin, by the end of which Khosrow knows Farhad would never forget about Shirin and would never give up on winning her heart.)

Khosrow told Farhad that if he could cut a passage through the mountains outside of his castle, he would let him marry Shirin. Khosrow knew that the project was so immense and so treacherous, it would surely take Farhad the rest of his life to complete it. Farhad agreed and his work, his labor of love, started.

*نخستین بار گفتش از کجایی؟ بگفت از دار ملک آشنایی

بگفت آنجا به صنعت در چه کوشند؟ بگفت انده خرند و جان فروشند

بگفت از دل شدی عاشق بدین سان؟ بگفت از دل تو می گویی من از جان

بگفتا عشق شیرین بر تو چون است؟ بگفت از جان شیرینم فزون است

بگفتا دل ز مهرش کی کنی پاک؟ بگفت آنگه که باشم مرده در خاک

(To Be Continued...)



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Interesting....I guess I am seeing it

by Nadias on

in the wrong perspective. I must say I feel kinda bad for the other fellow trying to win Shirin's heart. I know Khosrow loves Shirin but perhaps the other guy is more worthy of her love.

I look forward to the further details of the competition. :o)


Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros)


Nazy Kaviani

Thank You

by Nazy Kaviani on

Thank You Nadia for your kind and continued support of the effort. Shirin loved Khosrow and followed him to his territory to be close to him, not to be owned by him. Khosrow's approach, also, was not one of ownership, as he knew he had no rights other than "the rights of heart" to Shirin, so he had to become industrious in crafting a way to eliminate his competition. Next installment will talk about that competition in more detail. Solh to you my friend!

Dear Midwesty:

Thank you for reading the story. Sorry for the way my Farsi text appeared. I did have the requisite spaces in each verse, but somehow everything got crunched after I published it. I'm glad you could make out the poem just the same.


Thanks Nazy

by Midwesty on

It took me a while to find the rhythm of the Parsi part but I finally got it. I think each line includes two verses.



by Nadias on

I am amazed that Khosrow thought he owned Shirin, enough to tell Farhad to serve him to gain Shirin for himself.

I must say this story does have a lot of twists and turns. I am most intrigued by it.

Thanks again Nazy for all your excellent work!:o)

I eagerly await the next installment


Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros)