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A Fresh story: Tale of Rustam and Sohrab

An Air Warrior and prolific writer with over 200 published short stories and 14 books on fiction


The beginning

As a small boy, I first heard of the tale of Rustam and Sohrab written by the Iranian poet Firdous by my grandfather. The tale of Rustam and Sohrab and the epic battle between them is very well known in the sub-continent. Rustam was a man of prodigious strength. He is greatly respected in the Indian subcontinent. The name of Rustom is associated with bravery and chivalry and is held up as an example to everybody. The title of the national champion in Indian style wrestling called "kushti" or " Dangal' is given the title Rustam-e-Hind. One of the most famous Indian wrestlers of all time Gama(Ghulam Bux) the world champion and Dara Singh were conferred with the title"Rustam-e-Hind."

The tale begins with the birth of Rustam. He was born into a royal household and from the beginning showed great strength and aptitude. People forecast that this child would be a great warrior. Rustom was a miracle baby. Within five days he had grown into a boy and within a few weeks, he had grown to the height and strength of a young man. My grandfather told me that as a child Rustam killed a white elephant that was rampaging through the palace. He became famous all over Iran as a great warrior. Rustam grew up and became the king of Zabulistan. He joined the service of the Emperor of Persia and soon became the commander of his army.

As Rustam grew older his father decided that he needed to be given a horse that was worthy of his prowess. He wanted to give him a horse that would be courageous in the midst of battle.

There were many wild horses roaming in the mountains of Zabolestan and Kabolestan. Out of this herd, there was one horse that many had tried to tame but had failed. This horse had eluded capture for almost 3 years. Defying all expectations Rustom was able to mount the horse and it willingly accepted Rustom as his master. He decided to give him the name Rakhsh, which in Persian means 'lightning'. Rakhsh then became a part and parcel of Rustum's life and accompanied him in all his battles.

Rustam's fame spread far and wide. He was so busy fighting that he forgot to marry. Many a time he felt the need of a woman and he prayed to the almighty that a woman would come in his life and give him a son.


Rustam Falls in Love

One day Rustom went for a long hunt. In between, he was tired and dismounted from his horse and lay down under a tree. He went to sleep and when he woke up he found that his horse was missing. Rustam was distraught and wondered who had taken Rakhsh.

He walked to the nearby kingdom of Samangan. He met the king and requested his help to find his horse. As Rustom stood in the court of the King, his daughter Tahmineh saw him through a small chink. She instantly fell in love with him and made up her mind that she would bear the child of Rustam. She was 16 years old and extremely beautiful like a cypress tree.

One day while Rustom was strolling in the garden, he saw a young girl make a hasty exit. One look at her and Rustom realized that he had found his love. The girl was Tahmineh, the daughter of the King. My grandfather told me that she was very beautiful with skin as white as a Lily. She was tall and slim with eyes large and shaped like an almond.

He went to his chamber and sat on his bed. At night he was wondering how he could meet Tahmineh. There was a knock on his door and when he opened it, he was surprised to see the Princess. The girl entered the room and said, "My name is Tahmineh and I am the princess of this house. Though I am born a princess, I am restless until I saw you in court today."

Rustam was smitten by her beauty and allowed her into the chamber.

"Are you not scared of me ?" he asked.

"No," she replied," when I saw you in court today I was smitten by you. I have heard the story of your heroic battles and the great glory that you have won. I know you have killed dragons and demons but I do not fear you. I want to put my face on your mighty chest and hope you will envelop me in your mighty arms."

The words had an aphrodisiac effect on Rustom. He moved forward and gathered her in his arms.

The princess continued, "I am glad God has brought you to this palace. If you desire me, I am yours and I can assure you that nobody can ever hear or see me from this day. I am yours forever. Make me your woman."

There were no further words spoken as Rustom lifted the princess like a doll and the 40-year-old warrior laid her on the palatial bed and began to undress her. Her legs went weak as Rustam closed the door. She felt his mouth on hers, his lips tasting her and his tongue deep inside her. She opened her mouth. At that moment she felt his hand come up beneath her dress and heard the rustle of material tearing away. Rustam believed in love in his way. She felt his large warm hand between her legs caressing her. She put her arms around his neck and hung there as he placed both hands beneath her bare buttocks and lifted her. The beautiful scene led to the gods from heaven to come down to witness the union.

The entire night was spent in rare transports of joy and by morning the princess went back to her chamber. Rustam went to the Kings Court in the morning and asked for the hand of the Tahmineh. The king was overjoyed and Rustom married the Princess. He also found his horse.

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Their union was, however, short-lived and after a few weeks, Tahmineh told him that she was with child. Rustam was overjoyed but he had to go as the emperor had called him to lead the army in another battle.

Before Rustam left he gave the Tahmineh a small amulet and told her that in case the baby is a boy then wear it on his bicep and in case a girl, make it as a braid in her hair. He also told her to tell him when the birth takes place.

Eight months after Rustam left the Princess gave birth to a boy and named him Sohrab. She, however, sent a message to Rustam, that a girl had been born as she feared that in case Rustom came to know it was a boy he would take her son away from her. Sourabh grew up like his father and became a mighty warrior as well.


The Bloody Battle and Death

Rustom was unaware that he had a son. He continued his battles while Sohrab grew up at home. At the age of 14, the bravery and chivalry of Sohrab spread far and wide and people talked of him with awe.

One day, he asked his mother, who his father was. After a moment's silence, she told him, his father was none other than the great warrior Rustam. Sohrab was overjoyed because he had heard of the mighty deeds of the warrior Rustom and he exulted in the fact that he was the son of such a great man

He told his mother," I will go to search for my father and I will take a big army with me for this purpose."

Sohrab set out for battle with his army. The force under his leadership won battle after battle and he headed towards the emperors Palace. Everywhere he went and after every victory, he would ask, "who is Rustam? where is he?."

People would ask," why do you ask this question?."

Sohrab would reply that it was his secret but he wanted to know who is Rustam and where he is.

The news of a warrior seeking Rustom spread like wildfire and the Emperor called Rustam and told him, "a young warrior as brave as you is advancing with an army and he is always asking for you. Most likely he wants to defeat you and kill you so that he can make a name, that he has killed the mighty Rustom. So you must go and face this warrior who is known as Sohrab."

Rustam mounted Rakhsh and set out for battle. At the back of his mind, he wondered how this warrior could be as strong and brave as he was. Then he thought of his wife and remembered that she had told him that a daughter had been born, so he dismissed the thought from his mind.

Both armies faced each other with Rustom at the head of his army and Sohrab at the head of the other army. Sohrab shouted to Rustam, "look, old man, I am only looking for Rustom, therefore, I suggest that we both have combat together to avoid bloodshed."

Rustam agreed and both the warriors faced each other. The 54-year-old Rustam and the 14-year-old Sohrab. Both drew their swords and rushed at each other on the horses. Rustam was in for a surprise as with one blow of Sohrab he fell from the horse. He wondered what had happened as such a thing had never happened to him in his life earlier.

He lay on the ground as Sohrab dismounted and came towards him with his sword. He looked at the older man and said, "I don't want to kill you. Just tell me who is Rustam and where he is."

Rustam kept silent and said, "give me one more chance brave warrior, and I will tell you who Rustam is. You are strong but as a brave man,. give a vanquished man one more chance."

Sohrab allowed Rustom to mount his horse and once more the battle commenced. This time again they faced each other but one mighty blow from Sohrab and Rustom again fell from his horse.

Sohrab came to Rustam and told him, " look, old man, I have already said I don't want to kill you, I just want to know who is Rustom."

At the back of his mind, Sohrab had a lurking feeling that the man lying on the ground was Rustam. He went away and told Rustom that they would again battle tomorrow and this time he must tell him who is Rustam.

That night Rustom prayed to the gods to keep his respect and give him the strength to fight the young warrior. Suddenly the rock on which Rustom was standing broke into two and Rustom knew that his strength has come back.

The next day the battle commenced but Sohrab was in a listless mood as he suspected the opposing warrior to be Rustom. In a moment of indiscretion, Rustom was able to prevail and drive the spear through the body of Sohrab. Rustam came up to him and said, "let me tell you that I am Rustam."

Sohrab held out his arms and said, "you are my father."

Rustam saw the amulet on the bicep of the boy and realized that he had killed his son. He was full of remorse as he carried Sohrtab under a tree. He knew he would never be able to forgive himself for what he had done.

Rustam Betrayed

As Sohrab lay in the arms of Rustom, he realized that the Emperor had a talisman that could bring a man back from death. He sent a message to the Emperor requesting him to send that talisman. He also informed that the man who he had almost killed was his son.

On receiving the message the Emperor was perturbed and he thought that in case Sohrab recovers and joins up with his father he would lose his throne and kingdom. So he informed that the talisman was not available. Rustam felt himself betrayed as he saw his son's life ebb away. He resolved to avenge his death. Thus ended the story that is almost a thousand years old. There are many versions of this tale which all said and done is an epic of monumental proportion.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 07, 2020:

Dear Bro, sometimes teasing also is required in life and one may glean something from it. Thank you.

manatita44 from london on March 07, 2020:

I'm teasing you, Bro.

I take liberties with those I like. Still, I must not take too much!

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 07, 2020:

Hi Manatita, you are like a guru to me and I enjoy every bit of your advice. So? You got me wrong as I cherish whatever you advise.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 07, 2020:

Thank you Flourish Anyway, I am glad you liked the story

manatita44 from london on March 07, 2020:

So You see, you can use these amazing God-given gifts to serve also. India is not short of heroes or messages that inspire Light. Shivaji, Subash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh … Meera, Kunti, Damayanti … Vivekananda, the Gita … so much you can talk about!!

Sorry, Bro. You must be wishing I disappear. Much Love.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 07, 2020:

What a really appealing story. I’ve never heard it before!

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 06, 2020:

Denise, thank you, yes its a sad story and the moral is to be honest in life.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 06, 2020:

Thank you, Dreamer Meg, for an erudite comment.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 06, 2020:

I think I have heard something like this story before. Very sad. Why so many secrets. To me, the moral is about being honest.



DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on March 06, 2020:

Such a sad story, well told. How often we do something thinking it will be for the best, only to find out, years later that our actions have come back to bite us.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 06, 2020:

Thank you Man at it a for reading and sparing time to comment

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on March 06, 2020:

Thank you Pamela for commenting.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 06, 2020:

This is a fascinating tale with such a tragic ending. It could have gone so differently but often we cannot control everything in life. This is a good story, MG.

manatita44 from london on March 06, 2020:

Teary for me, that one. What a story! Life and its many colours! Who knows the ways of the Lord?

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