The book entitled “Nian Hu and Sorcerer Scarecrow” will be published by Tuti Books, a major publisher of children’s books in Tehran, according to what he told the Persian service of Honaronline.

The writer said that there are striking similarities between the love story of Bijan and Manijeh and the legend of Zahhak, the Serpent King from Ferdowsi’s masterpiece Shahnameh and the Chinese myth “Zhinu and Niulang” (“The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl”).

“Therefore, I blended the stories to create a new saga,” he noted.

He used classic Persian literature to write the story. “Although it is alleged that using this writing style would make it hard to read, the style has its own special fascination and is understandable to young adults,” the writer asserted.

“I really like this book and believe that it is one of the best works of my oeuvre; it is the final result of a one-year intensive research effort on legends and comparative study of Persian and Chinese literature,” he added. 

He noted, “Such research is expandable to other stories and we may create more works by extracting similarities between two or more stories from different cultures.”

“In this story, I illustrate how evil thought would produce catastrophic events,” said Jahangirian, whose “Monster’s Shadow” was picked by the International Board on Books for Young People for the IBBY Honor List 2020.

Bijan was the son of Giv, a famous Iranian knight during the reign of Kay Khosrow, the Shah of Iran, and Banu Goshasp, the heroine daughter of Rustam. Bijan falls in love with Manijeh, the daughter of Afrasiab, Turan's king and Iran's greatest enemy. The tale of his suffering and Manijeh’s constancy has been quoted by several other writers in classic Persian literature. 

Zahhak is a misguided prince who is easily swayed by the devil to murder his father and usurp the throne. Cursed with monstrous snakes that grow out of the king’s shoulders, the Serpent King grows infamous throughout the land for his treachery and oppression. He rules for one thousand years before a noble and valiant Fereidun gains the strength and army to defeat the unjust King.

“The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” tells of the romance between Zhinu (the weaver girl, symbolizing the star Vega) and Niulang (the cowherd, symbolizing the star Altair).

Their love was not allowed, and thus they were banished to opposite sides of the heavenly river. Once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for a single day. 

Though there are many variations of the story, the earliest-known reference to this famous myth dates back to a poem from the Classic of Poetry from over 2600 years ago.

Source:Tehran Times