Schirin in the magic garden I

Next to a stream whose clear water was more transparent than the tears of a girl in love at her happiest hour, Shirin sat on a stone, mourning. The dark green cypress stretched her head up to the sky. “Oh, you redeeming stone,” she said with a sob, “you who have freed so many poor girls from lovesickness and misery, hear my story today. No one is listening to us, and the stream is the most faithful witness to my suffering: Once upon a time, on the 13th day of spring, all the people of the country left their homes to spend the day outdoors, as the old custom dictates, gathering fragrant herbs. I searched all alone for the love herb Krakuti. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Almost exhausted, I heard a magical song from afar, which mingled with the murmur of the stream. Finally I could wet my hot hands with the diamond clear water. When I had washed myself, I saw next to my own reflection the face of a beautiful young man. His eyes looked infinitely sad. Since I was alone, I did not dare to turn around. Oh, if only I had done so now, perhaps I would have seen him before he disappeared behind the cypress.

So I just played with his reflection. The movement of the water changed his expression countless times. His loving eyes looked at me from the water, steadfastly and sadly. If only I had dared to look around, I would have spared myself all the agony. Now it is too late to regret my hesitation.”

Shirin cried and waited for the answer of the stone.

Shirin and Khossrov, Persian miniature and illustration of a Persian fairy tale

Suddenly it became very quiet, the water in the stream stopped. A deep voice cried on the stone: “Shirin, you will be released from your grief. The man you saw in the water at that time is Prince Khossrow, who goes hunting every year on the 15th day of spring and waits here by this brook for a girl who bears your name and whose face he saw in the brook. Come tomorrow, on the 13th day of spring, and your destiny will be fulfilled.”

Text and pictures: Akefeh Monchi-Zadeh

The fairy tale “Shirin in the magic garden” was published in 1956 in the GDR cultural magazine “Das Magazin”