Jamshid and the Lost Mountain
February 22, 2005
Excerpts from Jamshid
and the Lost Mountain of Light by
Many years ago in Persia, a traveler on horseback had just made
his way through a narrow mountain pass. The downward path was
rough and stony as it threaded its way around giant boulders and
jagged rock formations. Snow-capped mountains towered above him,
their barren slopes too hostile for even grass to grow. Over the
rush of the river beside him, he could hear the eerie call of
an eagle echoing above him.
It's Late!, he thought, I must get to the next village before
dark, the mountain leopards will be hunting soon.
A rock fall had delayed him so he hadn't traveled as far as
he hoped that day. Now the sun was getting low in the sky, making
the mountains cast long black shadows.
The traveler was an old man, on a mission to solve a mystery
that had puzzled him for years. The packs on his horse had some
clothes, a little food, and a small leather sack. Inside the sack
was a collection of old tarnished ornaments of bronze and silver,
and some rubies set in a silver circle, that he had found some
years ago, partly buried in a sand dune. These were very unusual,
and he wanted to know more about them. They might be hundreds
of years old, or they might even be magical.
Over the years he
had sent messengers to learned men all over Persia, but so far
nobody had given the traveler a story about the jewels that
he believed. But a month ago he had received word from a newcomer
to the great city of Susa in the south of Persia, which sounded
a lot more interesting. So now he was on his way to Susa to
the expert and show him the jewels. Maybe the mystery could
be solved, and then perhaps he could sell them for lots of money
to a man who knew their true worth.
Tired from the day's journey, the man and his horse rounded
the corner, out of a shadow into the rays of the setting sun.
For a moment he couldn't see, and in that moment he felt a rope
pull him from his horse onto the stony ground. The horse neighed
and bucked, and before the traveler could get up, he felt a knife
against his throat.
"Don't move!" said a voice, "Where are the jewels?"
"Don't hurt me! Everything is in the horse packs. Take
everything but just don't hurt me!" said the traveler. He
knew that he would be killed if he resisted. The traveler felt
his arms being tied behind him. Then the traveler realized the
thief had mentioned the jewels.
"You said jewels! How did you know about the jewels?" he
asked, but the thief said nothing. Instead, the traveler saw the
glint of a knife out of the corner of his eye.
This is it! I am going to die! May Ahura Mazda be merciful to
me! he thought, but just then there was the unmistakable growl
of a mountain leopard from the shadows. The thief's horse whinnied
and bolted away, but the traveler's horse loyally stayed near
his master. The thief looked nervously in the direction the sound
had come from. Then he panicked, jumped onto the traveler's horse,
and with a sharp kick to its sides, he galloped away.
The traveler was now tied-up and all alone in a mountain pass.
It was getting dark and cold, and he had no shelter or food. Worse
than that, he heard the mountain leopard again, closer this time ...
The city of Susa stood in the plains far below the mountain
pass where two leopards were snarling over the bloody remains
of their dinner. The city lights twinkled in the cold winter
night. Burning torches lighted points along the city walls,
the walls were illuminated by the grey moonlight that shone
between the clouds. Inside the city walls there were all the
of a city two and a half thousand years ago. Here the rowdy
drinkers laughed in a tavern, there a donkey brayed its complaint
being tied to a post. Dogs barked at the moon, and cats fought
over scraps of food. Jamshid couldn't sleep.
The noises were not keeping Jamshid awake - he was used to those.
He was restless. He was straining to hear his parents talking
in the next room. He knew they were talking about him again because
they had gone quieter.
"He really must get his act together," said his father. "In
the springtime, Jamshid will graduate from the class of Boys to
the class of Youths. He really has to mature soon or he will have
a hard time keeping up. I have decided he needs to have some extra
coaching, a tutor who can be on his case all the time because
I can't be."
"Oh Daniel!" said his mother, "Is that really
necessary? He is just a boy after all, and if he has a tutor as
well as all his school work, he will spend all his time working."
"I keep telling you, Yalda," said Daniel, his voice
louder now, "He is not just a boy! He is my son, the son
of a vizier. If he is smart he has a bright future ahead of him,
but also because he is my son, there are many who will want him
to fail. He can't afford to be a loser. He has to try twice as
hard as the other boys. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it
(After the theft of the Kuh-I-Noor diamond from the Spring
Palace, Jamshid's family is banished, leaving Jamshid in the care
Smiling but with tears in her eyes, Yalda
hugged Jamshid so tight he thought he couldn't breathe, and he
hugged back as hard
as he could. He didn't want to let go -- ever. Then she stopped
hugging him, and put something into Jamshid's hand. It was the
brooch Jamshid had given her for her birthday. "My darling,
I want you to look after this griffin brooch for me, can you do
that? And when you look at him think of me, always?"
Jamshid noticed his mother's red eyes, fighting back her tears.
He felt hollow and detached from what was happening, like and
awful dream. He nodded, then Yalda kissed him, and stood back.
Daniel looked at Jamshid. Daniel was smiling, but he couldn't
say anything. He just held Jamshid tight. "Just remember
what I told you, we love you and this is for the best," he
said eventually. "Be brave, as I know you are, and always
do your very best. If you always do your best you will make us
proud." As his father released him, Jamshid felt a cold sickness
cloud over him.
Jamshid turned to Samuel and tried to hug his brother, but the
little boy seemed more interested in his toy horse than in saying
goodbye to his big brother. Jamshid wanted to be brave for his
brother, so he managed not to cry despite the desperate pain he
Daniel, Yalda, and Samuel turned to go. After a few steps they
"Why Amkid not coming mummy?" said Samuel, tugging
his mother's arm. Yalda, couldn't answer, she just picked Samuel
up. Daniel waved, Yalda blew a kiss, and then they were gone.
(Excerpt from the penultimate chapter.)
and his griffin, Ghoreed, flew around for another go. This time
he knew he could not afford to miss again. He also knew
he would have to pull the bow as hard as he could and fire from
up close, if the arrow was to penetrate the karibu's skin. Steadily
they flew from behind the karibu's right shoulder; fortunately
it still hadn't noticed them. Once again, Jamshid gripped Ghoreed
tightly with his knees and pulled back the bow as hard as he could.
Again it was very hard to aim with Ghoreed going up and down so
much. He held his breath, but as he did so he remembered his archery
lessons with Iskandar.
Relax, feel the rhythm, and move with it. Breathe with it. Once
you and your horse are in harmony you will hit your target, he
said to himself as he remembered Iskandar's advice.
Can Jamshid save the Empire? Buy the book online at Jamshid.gb.com to
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