by ramintork

The word serendipity was coined by Horace Walpole based on Persian fairy tales of three Princes of Serendip (Sri Lanka) who were on a mission but always found something irrelevant but useful.

They discovered these things by good fortune and use of wisdom.

In the camel story, the Three Princes use trace clues to precisely identify a camel they have never seen: they conclude that the camel is lame; blind in one eye; missing a tooth; carrying a pregnant maiden; and bearing honey on one side and butter on the other. (See Abductive reasoning.) Because of their cleverness and sagacity, they are accused of stealing the camel and are about to be put to death by Bahram Gur. Suddenly, and without anyone seeking him out, a traveler steps forward to say that he has just seen the missing camel wandering in the desert. Bahram spares the lives of the Three Princes, lavishes them with rich rewards and appoints them as his advisors. These rewards are the unsought (serendipitous) results of their sagacious insights.

The fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip is based upon the life of Persian King Bahram V, who ruled the Sassanid Empire (420440). Stories of his rule are told in epic poetry of the region (Firdausi's Shahnameh of 1010, Nizami's Haft Paykar of 1197, Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht of 1302), parts of which are based upon historical facts with embellishments derived from folklore going back hundreds of years to oral traditions in India and The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. With the exception of the well-known camel story, English translations are very hard to come by.

See full details in wiki:-



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I'm glad you enjoyed it

by ramintork on

What is more finding the Persian link to the word was itself a serendipitous accident!


very nice!

by IRANdokht on

I didn't know the origin of the word and the story of the three princes sounds vaguely familiar to me, I feel actually embarrassed for not remembering it. I think it's time for me to learn our old epics and stories agains.

I enjoyed reading your blog, thank you!


AmirAshkan Pishroo


by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

Very interesting post. Good job.