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Knowledge from the Zand

Chapter XIV - The Nature Of The Animals

On the nature of the five classes of animals (gospend) it says in revelation, that, when the primeval ox passed away, there where the marrow came out grain grew up of fifty and five species, and twelve species of medicinal plants grew; as it says, that out of the marrow is every separate creature, every single thing whose lodgment is in the marrow. From the horns arose peas (mijuk), from the nose the leek, from the blood the grapevine from which they make wine -- on this account wine abounds with blood -- from the lungs the rue-like herbs, from the middle of the heart thyme for keeping away stench, and every one of the others as revealed in the Avesta.

The seed of the ox was carried up to the moon station; there it was thoroughly purified, and produced the manifold species of animals. First, two oxen, one male and one female, and, afterwards, one pair of every single species was let go into the earth, and was discernible in Eranvej for a Hasar ('mile'), which is like a Parasang ('league'); as it says, that, on account of the value of the ox, it was created twice, one time as an ox, and one time as the manifold species of animals. A thousand days and nights they were without eating, and first water and afterwards herbage (aurvar) were devoured by them.

And, afterwards, the three classes (kardak) of animals were produced therefrom, as it says that first were the goat and sheep, and then the camel and swine, and then the horse and ass.

  1. For, first, those suitable for grazing were created therefrom, those are now kept in the valley (lai);
  2. the second created were those of the hill summits (sar-i dez), which are wide-travelers, and habits (nihadak) are not taught to them by hand;
  3. the third created were those dwelling in the water.

As for the genera (khadunak),

  1. the first genus is that which has the foot cloven in two, and is suitable for grazing; of which a camel larger than a horse is small and new-born.
  2. The second genus is ass-footed, of which the swift horse is the largest, and the ass the least.
  3. The third genus is that of the five-dividing paw, of which the dog is the largest, and the civet-cat the least.
  4. The fourth genus is the flying, of which the griffin of three natures is the largest, and the chaffinch the least.
  5. The fifth genus is that of the water, of which the Kar fish is the largest, and the Nemadu the least.

These five genera are apportioned out into two hundred and eighty-two species (sardak).

First are five species of goat,

  1. the ass-goat,
  2. the milch-goat,
  3. the mountain-goat,
  4. the fawn, and
  5. the common goat.

Second, five species of sheep,

  1. that with a tail,
  2. that which has no tail,
  3. the dog-sheep,
  4. the wether, and
  5. the Kurishk sheep, a sheep whose horn is great; it possesses a grandeur like unto a horse, and they use it mostly for a steed (bara), as it is said that Manuschihar kept a Kurishk as a steed.

Third, two species of camel,

  1. the mountain one and
  2. that suitable for grazing;

for one is fit to keep in the mountain, and one in the plain; they are one-humped and two-humped.

Fourth, fifteen species of ox,

  1. the white,
  2. mud-colored,
  3. red,
  4. yellow,
  5. black, and
  6. the elk,
  7. the buffalo,
  8. the camel-leopard ox,
  9. the fish-chewing ox,
  10. the Fars ox,
  11. the Kajau, and
  12. other species of ox.

Fifth, eight species of horse,

  1. the Arab,
  2. the Persian,
  3. the mule,
  4. the ass,
  5. the wild ass (gor),
  6. the hippopotamus (asp-i avi), and
  7. other species of horse.

Sixth, ten species of dog,

  1. the shepherd's dog,
  2. the village-dog which is the house-protector,
  3. the blood-hound,
  4. the slender hound,
  5. the water-beaver which they call the water-dog,
  6. the fox,
  7. the ichneumon (rasu),
  8. the hedgehog which they call 'thorny-back,'
  9. the porcupine, and
  10. the civet-cat; of which, two species are those accustomed to burrows, one the fox and one the ichneumon; and those accustomed to jungle are such as the porcupine which has spines on its back, and the hedgehog which is similar.

Seventh, five species of the black hare; two are wild species, one dwelling in a burrow and one dwelling in the jungle.

Eighth, eight species of weasel; one the marten, one the black marten, the squirrel, the Bez ermine, the white ermine, and other species of weasel.

Ninth, eight species of musk animals; one is that which is recognized by its musk, one the musk animal with a bag in which is their pleasant scent, the Bish-musk which eats the Bish-herb, the black musk which is the enemy of the serpent that is numerous in rivers, and other species of musk animals.

Tenth, one hundred and ten species of birds; flying creatures (vey=vai) such as

  1. the griffin bird,
  2. the Karshipt,
  3. the eagle,
  4. the Kahrkas which they call the vulture,
  5. the crow,
  6. the Arda,
  7. the crane, and the tenth is
  8. the bat.

There are two of them which have milk in the teat and suckle their young, the griffin bird and the bat which flies in the night; as they say that the bat is created of three races (sardak), the race (ayina) of the dog, the bird, and the musk animal; for it flies like a bird, has many teeth like a dog, and is dwelling in holes like a musk-rat. These hundred and ten species of birds are distributed into eight groups (khaduinak), mostly as scattered about as when a man scatters seed, and drops the seed in his fingers to the ground, large, middling, and small.

Eleventh, fish were created of ten species;

  1. first, the fish Arizh,
  2. the Arzuva,
  3. the Arzuka,
  4. the Marzuka, and
  5. other Avesta names.

Afterwards, within each species, species within species are created, so the total is two hundred and eighty-two species.

Of the dog they say that out of the star station, that is, away from the direction of the constellation Haptoring, was given to him further by a stage (yojist) than to men, on account of his protection of sheep, and as associating with sheep and men; for this the dog is purposely adapted, as three more kinds of advantage are given to him than to man, he has his own boots, his own clothing, and may wander about without self-exertion. The twelfth is the sharp-toothed beast of which the leader of the flock is in such great fear, for that flock of sheep is very badly maintained which has no dog.

Ohrmazd said when the bird Varesha was created by him, which is a bird of prey, thus:

'Thou art created by me, O bird Varesha! so that my vexation may be greater than my satisfaction with thee, for thou doest the will of the evil spirit more than that of me; like the wicked man who did not become satiated with wealth, thou also dost not become satiated with the slaughter of birds; but if thou be not created by me, O bird Varesha! thou wouldst be created by him, the evil spirit, as a kite with the body of a Varpa, by which no creature would be left alive.'

Many animals are created in all these species for this reason, that when one shall be perishing through the evil spirit, one shall remain.

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