By: Karim Zayyani – Translated by: Shahriar Zayyani – Seven years of war between the forces of Iran and Touran, which had resulted in the siege of King Manouchehr and his army in Tabarestan, had left an ugly mark on Iranians. The peoples of Iran were despaired and heart-stricken, and yet all they could do was to pray at the altar of Ahouramazda.

© Photos by Sam Javanrouh


At last Manouchehr, shameful before his people, offered a cease-fire to the Touranians.  The Touranians, also fatigued by the long war, accepted the offer of peace, but under one condition.


The Touranians made it known that were the war to end, new frontiers would need to be established, and thus proposed that a soldier from the Iranian army cast an arrow, and wherever that arrow landed, the new border would be drawn.


There existed no desirable solution, none that would save face for the Iranian army, and thus Manouchehr had no choice but to accept the condition.


The leaders of the army along with the heads of divisions gathered in consultation and called forth the best of the Iranian archers, in the hopes of finding one among them, the most deserving and powerful.


At last, at the end of a day of searching and examining, the leaders, at the setting of the sun, chose and called forth their chosen archer, so that he may be presented to King Manouchehr: “Arash Fast-arrow!” He who was also called ‘strong of wrist’ and the ‘fastest of archers’.


Manouchehr blessed him and told him:

“Tomorrow … tomorrow morning shall be remembered in history … “


No sleep came to anyone’s eyes that night.  King Manouchehr, the captains of the army, Arash, and all the soldiers and peoples, none were restful.  The next day, the flight of a single arrow, would determine the greatness or insignificance of a people in the pages of history. Hearts beat restless, spirits were anxious, and all hopes rested on the flight of a single arrow.


All passed the night in prayer.


“Oh pure Ahouramazda!

I’ve come to give my life

Help me,

Because my Iran,

My family,

My people

Depend upon my efforts

Oh kind Ahura!

All my life I’ve been your follower and believer,

If I drew in a breath,

It has been for you,

If I’ve fought,

It has been as your soldier

And I’ve always fought for righteousness and decency,

Bless me with your power

So that I may

Push away the claws of the enemy

That has encroached on my land and my family.

I shall give freely life,

Help me oh pure Ahuramazda”


Dawn had not yet broken, when he felt his heart filling with light. He raised his head and looked to the east.  The stars still twinkled in the heavens but the black of the night was slowly turning to blue. All of a sudden, a brilliant light enveloped the body of Arash.  He felt a vibration from deep within, and a pleasant warmth spread in his body.  A beautiful creature of light appeared before him.  The joy and excitement in Arash knew no bounds.  Arash heard:

“It is I, Sepandarmaz! … “

Arash knew not whether he was awake or still dreaming. He heard once more:

“Take this …!”

Arash could clearly see the angel extending its hand towards him, gripping a bow and arrow:

“Take this, this is your bow and arrow; its wood taken from a special tree in mountains of Alborz, its feather, that of an eagle of the highest of its peaks, and its head, of steel …”

Arash, incredulous, extended forth his hands and took the bow and arrow from the angel.  They were real.  He was filled with awe and marvel.


The voice of the angel, once again, filled the space as he spoke:

“Arash! You must put all of your life into that arrow, and release it so that it may fly far.  Anyone who shall let fly this arrow, will release his earthly life, and his people shall be immortalized”


The angel then disappeared and Arash was left alone with his wonderful bow and arrow.  He felt amazingly strong, as though some one new had been born within him.


With the arrival of dawn, Arash was taken before King Manouchehr.  It was clear that Manouchehr already was aware of what had happened to Arash.  For during the night, after many hours of prayer, much like Arash, Manouchehr had witnessed the appearance of the angel Sepandarmaz, and its bestowing of the bow and arrow to Arash.


Manouchehr approached, and kissed the bow and arrow, as it were hanging upon the shoulder of Arash, and then put a hand on his shoulder and said:

“Blessed be your Godly bow and arrow”


Arash calmly bowed his head and said:

“For Iran”

The emissary of Afrasiab, with the permission of King Manouchehr, marked the Arash’s arrow with the sign of King of Touran, so that it would be distinguishable of all other arrows.


It is the 13th of the month of Tir, a day when the day-name and the month-name are the same, a day of festivities in the culture of his lands, but in this year all joy and festivities had escaped the hearts of all. All are anxious and worried, and he in hopes of restoring that joy to the hearts of his people, knowingly turns the final pages of the book of his life.


Standing on the summit of Alborz, bow and arrow in hand, Arash turns to face the east. He fills his lungs with the crisp, fresh mountain air, filled with the early dawn’s rays of light.  He takes out the one and only arrow in his quiver, kisses it and puts it to his bow.  He knows that he is passing the final moments of his life; but what does that matter if it means that Iran shall remain.  The eyes of an entire nation are upon him.




Arash is murmuring under his breath:

“Oh pure Ahuramazda!

I give my life

Aid me so that

My Iran,

My family,

My descendants,


And then with all his might, he pulled back his bow … and pulled … and at the moment that the arrow was released, his life left his body with it, for such was the arrangement.

And the arrow was released ….

And body of Arash fell upon the mountain.


It is said that the arrow flew until midday, and landed at last, in Marv, in a Walnut tree, the like and size of which in the world there was none.


Witnesses, and those present picked up the arrow, and on the 14th of the month of Tir reported all that they had witnessed to the King of Touran, who was awestruck by the reports of what had happened. But then, seeing his own mark inscribed upon the arrow, had no choice but to accept the accounts, and thus was the frontier between Iran and Touran established.




And today … every single Iranian youth, is an Arash.