The Story of Khosrow and Shirin (IV)
Let me tell you one of the most beautiful love stories ever written in Persian Literature. It will be summarized. If you would like to read more or in Farsi, let me know and we will figure out a way to make sure you get to see this gem of an Iranian 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 here. Part II here. Part III here. Part IV here. Part V here. Part VI here.) 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 beautiul 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 the 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