If we admit that the author of Samak’s adventures was in the least inclined toward Egypt while writing the adventures connected with Qebt-e Pari, we find signs in them whose memories may be remnants of this country’s ten-year-long occupation by the Sasanians in the Iranians’ collective memory.
After reviving the boundaries of the Achaemenian Empire, in 619 A.D. fulfilling one of their long-lasting desires, the Sasanians occupied Egypt under Khosrow II. The Iranians ruled over Egypt until 629 A.D. Their rule was initially harsh and bloody, but later tended towards moderation and tolerance.45
Back to the Story of Samak-e ‘Ayyar
The events of this section occur in a country within the paris’ territory. Qebt-e Pari has abducted Farrokhrooz’s warrior wife, Mardandokht. Samak is searching for her. Qebt-e Pari has spellbound the pagans and paris opposed to her and transformed them into talking jackals and zebras. Two birds “resembling peacocks, with a spread plumage of a hundred thousand colors and with claws and beaks, but with faces like men’s” tell Samak, “During the week we were here and we saw Qebt-e Pari carrying away someone in fetters … to her abode, Parishahr, near Mount Qaf.”46 The talking birds with human faces are neither pagans nor paris. They are called “Man-loving Birds.” These birds must be related to Persian/Indian fables.
Samak asks the Malek-ot-Toyoor [King of Birds] to help him. “That bird said I can do nothing about Qebt-e Pari.” Farrokhrooz goes to see the zebras. He too comes under the spell of Qebt-e Pari, who is wearing her black crow’s skin. One night in a clearing in the paris’ territory, Samak sees a light “joined to the sky … he tells himself that it appears to be Yazdanparast’s sign.” He calls on Yazdanparast to help him liberate Mardandokht and Farrokhrooz. “The old one tells him that there is nothing he can do about Qebt-e Pari.” Eventually, faced with Samak’s insistence, he says that Samak should go to the fountain and hide there waiting for Qebt-e Pari to arrive for her bath, at which time he should snatch her clothes away and burn them to ashes. “Then tie a string around Qebt-e Pari’s neck and bring her to me,” so that I may free them from their bonds. However, Qebt-e Pari finds Samak and imprisons him in the same dungeon as Farrokhrooz. Roozafzoon comes to Yazdanparast’s “monastery” and, relating the events, asks him for a solution. Yazdanparast tells her that he knows no means of rescuing Farrokhrooz and Samak, but that “last night Soroosh appeared to me” and showed me the way of setting Mardandokht free. Yazdanparast recites a spell and blows on Roozafzoon, rendering her invisible to the paris. He also teaches her the way of breaking the spells on her way to Parishahr. One is an old man “wearing an Egyptian daq and bearing a scarf on his head,” whom Roozafzoon is to hit on the head with the stick Yazdanparast gives her. Roozafzoon reaches Parishahr and, with the help of human beings whom Qebt-e Pari and her daughter have transformed into horses and birds, she kills Qebt-e Pari’s daughter. Qebt-e Pari pursues them as far as Yazdanparast’s monastery. A voice comes from the monastery that warns, “Return otherwise I shall burn you.” Frightened, Qebt-e Pari turns back. Roozafzoon abducts Shams Pari, Qebt-e Pari’s minister, and takes her to Yazdanparast’s monastery. Following Yazdanparast’s instructions, Shams Pari returns to Qebt-e Pari’s court. She then breaks the spell holding Mardandokht prisoner in Parishahr and takes back two cases containing the clothes and jewels of Qebt-e Pari’s daughter to Khorshid Shah, as a present for Farrokhrooz’s wife. Having dreamt that his death has come, Yazdanparast asks the men liberated from Qebt-e Paris’ bonds to bury him in the same monastery.