Persian Tales: The Hemp-Smoker's Dream

Here is the author's note about the names in this story: "Chin is the country of China. Tir-kamandar Ahmad means "Ahmad with the bow and arrows." Cherkh i Chin Ahmad means "Wheel of China Ahmad." Hawerdar Ahmad means "Ahmad who knows what's going on." It is not certain what Tilin means. It may possibly be "Golden" or, more probably, "Pot-Bellied." The story isn't very clear in the Persian, but then it is only a dream story."

The word cannabis is a borrowing from the Persian language; you can read more about cannabis and Iran at Wikipedia.

Note also again the ash here, which is a Persian soup or stew: Wikipedia.

Explore: For another surreal story, see The City of Nothing-in-the-World. For another dream story, see The Shepherd Who Found a Treasure.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Persian Tales unit. Story source: Persian Talestranslated by D.L.R. Lorimer and E.O. Lorimer and illustrated by Hilda Roberts (1919).

The Hemp-Smoker's Dream 




There was once a man who smoked hemp and then went to the public baths. He sat down, and the Barber came to shave his head. The Barber put a mirror in his hand, and he looked at his own face in it and saw that there was nowhere another face so handsome. The idea seized on him that he should go and get the daughter of the King of China for his wife, and off he started.

When he had gone some distance he saw a man sitting by the roadside. The man addressed him, saying: "Where are you going? If you are going to China, take me with you. My name is Tilin Ahmad." They started to go on together, and presently Tir-kamandar Ahmad fell in with them. A little farther on Cherkh i Chin Ahmad and Hawerdar Ahmad also joined in with them, and so they came to the city of Chin.

They sent word to the King, saying: "We have come to get your daughter. If you don't give her to us we shall carry off the very soil of your town in bags."

"Wazir," said the King, "what am I to do?"

"Say to them," replied the Wazir, "'We shall have a wager. I shall set seventy pots of ash on the fire, and if you eat all the ash I will give you my daughter.'"

The King approved this suggestion, and they went and told the visitors. They agreed to the suggestion, and Tilin Ahmad ate up all the seventy pots of ash.

"Very good," said the King; "now you must carry her marriage-deed round from the East to the West and ratify it." They took the marriage-deed and gave it to Cherkh i Chin Ahmad, and in one hour he took it to the West, and then went and lay down to sleep under a chenar tree.

As he was late in coming back, the others said: "Hawerdar Ahmad, it's your turn now."

"Cherkh i Chin's sleeping under a chenar tree in such and such a place," said Hawerdar Ahmad.

Then Tir-kamandar Ahmad shot an arrow and hit the middle of the chenar tree, and some of the leaves fell on Cherkh i Chin's face and woke him up. Then he got up, proceeded again on his way, and arrived back, and they ratified the marriage contract.

Then they mounted the bride on a horse and set out to return to their own country. On the way, however, they began to quarrel over her. One said: 'She is mine," another said: "She is mine," until suddenly their master, the dreamer, said: "Well, who am I, then? Where do I come in?'

The Barber was standing close in front of his customer when the latter suddenly gave him a smart cuff on the side of the head.

The Barber cried out: "Here you, fellow, you son of a dog, what did you strike me for?"

Then the dreamer came to his senses and said: "O Master Barber, please accept the excuse that I was intoxicated and was dreaming; I have now come to my senses again."


(600 words)












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