Welcome to the home of Zoroastrian kids place

Privacy Notice

Zoroastrian Kids Place is a safe place for kids. We assure you that your email address will remain confidential and will not be used for commercial purposes.

lion

 

The Story of Zarathushtra

Retold by Rebecca Cann

This story is based on the Denkard and the Zadspram, two Zoroastrian texts from the 9th century AD.

Long ago, on the wide steppes of Central Asia near the Aral Sea, there was a small village of mud-brick houses. In this village lived the Spitama family. One day on the sixth day of spring, a boy was born into this family. His parents named him Zarathushtra. When Zarathushtra was born, he did not cry, but laughed loudly. The midwives in the room were amazed, for they had never seen any baby laughing at birth.

In the village lived an evil sorcerer who did not like baby Zarathushtra. "I have to destroy this child," he thought, "for if he grows up, people will follow him, and I will lose all my power."

The mean sorcerer went to Zarathushtra’s father, Pourushaspa, and complained, "Pourushaspa Spitama, I have come to warn you. Your son is a bad omen for our village because he has laughed at birth like a demon. You have to kill him, or the gods will destroy our horses and crops." Pourushaspa did not want to harm his son, but the wicked sorcerer had put a spell on him.

The next morning, Pourushaspa made a large bon fire and put baby Zarathushtra in the middle of the fire. But the fire didn’t touch the baby. When the evil sorcerer heard the news, he got very upset. Then he gave Pourushaspa another plan.

This time, Pourushaspa took his son to a narrow valley and put him on the path of a thousand running oxen so that the oxen would trample on him. But, the lead ox noticed Zarathushtra immediately and stood over him, guarding him from the stampede. The evil sorcerer’s second plan didn’t work either.

After a few months, the evil sorcerer thought of yet another plan. He told Pourushaspa to put Zarathushtra inside a she-wolf’s den so that the wolf would eat him up. Instead, the wolf was kind and took care of Zarathushtra until his mother, Dugdav, came to take him home.

As soon as the evil sorcerer heard that little Zarathushtra was still alive, he became so furious that he fell off his horse and died.

When Zarathushtra grew up, he often roamed the steppes wondering, "Who has made the sun and stars in the sky? Who has made the moon wax and wane? Who has created the waters and plants? Who has brought righteousness and kindness to people?"

One day Zarathushtra was sitting by a river and pondering when a strange man appeared in front of him. The man was ten feet tall with a bright face and long curly hair, and wore a white silk robe. Zarathushtra asked him who he was. The man answered, "Zarathushtra Spitama, I am archangel Vohuman. I have come to take you somewhere."

The angel took Zarathushtra’s hand, and they flew up into the blue sky until they reached a lighted place where it was so bright that at first Zarathushtra could not see anything. When his eyes cleared, he saw seven angels with glowing faces waiting for him.

The angels said, "Zarathushtra Spitama, you have been chosen as God’s messenger. Go tell the people to give up their false gods. There is only one God, Ahura Mazda, the wise Lord. He is the one who has created all the good things in the world and He wants you to guide the people to righteousness."

"But how can I do that? I am neither a powerful king nor a warrior!" Zarathushtra asked.

The angels answered, "Use your wisdom and follow the good thoughts, good words, and good deeds."

Zarathushtra went home and told his fellow villagers about what he had seen. His family accepted his religion, but the priests in his village rejected him. They thought, "Why should we give up our gods? Why should we give up our ancient rituals?"

The old priests didn’t want to give up their old gods for fear of losing their wealth and power. They didn’t like Zarathushtra and his religion, so they plotted to kill him.

However, Ahura Mazda didn’t want any harm done to Zarathushtra. He sent archangel Vohuman to warn him. The archangel appeared to the Prophet and said, "Zarathushtra Spitama, beware! Your fellow villagers are planning to kill you and your followers. Go away or you will be all perished."

Thus, the Prophet and his twenty-two followers took their horses and camels and fled the village. They traveled for many weeks until they came across a place where a king named Vishtaspa ruled.

Zarathushtra went to King Vishtaspa’s court and said, "King Vishtaspa, I have brought you a message from Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord. Give up the false gods for only one God has created the world." King Vishtaspa, however, refused. He thought, "Why should I believe this stranger? My gods are surely more powerful than his God."

But the following day, something strange happened. King Vishtaspa’s favorite horse got a mysterious disease. His legs became smaller and weaker each day so that he could no longer stand on his feet. The King summoned the best healers in the land, but no one could cure his horse. He then prayed to the gods day and night and sacrificed a thousand horses and camels for them. But the gods did not cure his horse.

Zarathushtra heard the news and went to the King and said, "I can cure your horse, but first you should grant my four wishes." King Vishtaspa immediately agreed. The prophet then asked that first the King, second his Queen, third the minister, and all the courtiers to give up the false gods and join his followers. As Zarathushtra’s every wish was granted, the legs of the King’s horse grew back one by one.

When the town people found out that their King and the Queen had put aside their gods, they joined the prophet too. Afterwards, Zarathushtra’s religion spread to every village and town until all the Iranians believed in Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord.