Book of God’s Word Chapter 3, Chapter 4
1. When Asha had gone, I’hua’Mazda spake to Too’che, the virgin mother, saying: Take
thou thy child away and hide thyself, lest the king have thee and thy child put to death. So
Too’che departed with her child, and hid away in another part of the city.
2. Now Asha went direct to So-qi, the king, and related what had transpired. When he had
finished, the king said: According to the histories of the ancients, when a God appeared
amongst mortals, there were signs and miracles. Thou hast told me only words. Go,
therefore, again to the child and say: The king desireth a miracle.
3. Asha returned the next day, but lo and behold, woman and child were gone, and not
one of the neighbors knew whither. Asha said: If I go before the king with this story, he
will have me slain as an inventor of lies. So he returned not to the king.
4. But where Too’che and her child dwelt, there came a maker of songs, by name
Choe’jon, and he spake to the virgin, saying: Where is the child? She answered: He
sleepeth in the rack of hay; I will fetch him. So she brought the child from its bed of new
hay, fetching straws with its mantle, neither had the straws roots.
5. I’hua’Mazda spake through the child whilst its own spirit slept, saying: I came to thee,
O Choe’jon; I brought thee hither, for thou shalt frame songs about the virgin’s babe.
Choe’jon was frightened, but nevertheless, he said: Can it be true, in this enlightened age!
A miracle! Shall I talk to thee,O child? Then I’hua’Mazda said:
6. Behold, thou speakest not to the child, but to I’hua’Mazda. Take these straws to thy
writing-box and plant them in new earth, and in one day they shall grow and bear ripe
wheat. So Choe’jon departed and planted the straws, and in one day, they grew and bore
7. Choe’jon had sung his songs before the king, and so had permission of the court; and
he went and told the king of the miracle. The king said: The philosopher, Asha, told me
about this child, and I sent him for a miracle, but he returneth not. Thou hast come and
said: Behold, a miracle! What value is a miracle, save to those who witness it? Shall thy
king take a thing in belief only? Is not belief the fruit of darkness? Go, therefore, again to
the child and bring it before me, that I may see with mine own eyes.
8. Choe’jon returned to the place, but, lo and behold, virgin and child were gone; neither
knew the neighbors whither. But she was concealed in another part of the city. And now
there came before her one Os’shan, who was weeping because of the apparent death of his
son. To him I’hua’Mazda spake, saying: Weep not, O man; I have healed thy son and also
given sight to thy daughter.
9. Os’shan trembled at such words coming from the lips of a child, and he ran away,
finding of a truth his son was healed, and his daughter restored to sight. In his joy
he returned to the place, but the virgin and child were gone. Os’shan was hostler to
the king, and capable of audience, and so he went and told the king of his good fortune.
10. The king said: Asha, the philosopher, told me a fine story of this child, but when I
sent him for information, he returned not. Then came Choe’jon, the maker of songs,
telling me what he had witnessed. I sent him to have the mother and child brought before
me, but he returneth not. Now thou comest with a miracle, such as were told in the dark
ages. Go thou, therefore, and search the city over till thou findest this wonder, and bring it
11. On the next day another man, even the king’s brother’s son, came before the king,
saying: This day I have seen such a wonder as would have been marvelous in the days of
angels and Gods. Behold, a little child hath spoken to me such words of philosophy as
made me tremble. And yet, O king, thou knowest I am no coward. My house is hung with
a hundred scalps. Ay, and this child already proclaimeth itself Zarathustra in communion
with the God, I’hua’Mazda! To me it said: Why killest thou the sons and daughters of thy
God? Think not that thy multitude of scalps are a glory before heaven. Behold, I am
stronger with my little finger than So-qi, thy king.
12. So-qi, the king, said: It is enough. Save this mother and child be brought at once
before me, that I may behold the truth of these wonders, every male child in Oas shall be
cast into fire. The king’s brother’s wife had a child, and the son’s wife had a child, and
they foresaw that the decree of the king touched them closely; so there went forth many,
searching for Too’che and Zarathustra.
13. But the spirit, I’hua’Mazda, directed the mother to go beyond the gates, and led her far
off into the Forest of Goats, where the tribes of Listians lived by fishing and hunting, and
on goat’s milk. I’hua’Mazda talked to the virgin, saying: Twenty years shalt thou tarry in
the forest, fearing naught, for thy God will provide for thee. And when thy son shall be
larger and stronger than other men, behold, thy God will manifest for the redemption of
the races of men who are hunted and slain for the glory of the kings.
14. So it came about that the virgin and her son dwelt in the Forest of Goats until
Zarathustra was a large man and of mature years, and his stature was equal to three
ordinary men; nor could any number of men lay him on his back. But because of his
gentleness like a young goat, the tribes of the forest called him the Lamb of God,
signifying, strength and good-will.
1. When So-qi, the king, issued the decree to have Zarathustra found and brought before
him, otherwise all the male infants of Oas to be slain, the Lords sent travail on the king’s
wife and on the king’s daughter, wife of Asha, the philosopher, and the two women gave
birth that day to two sons, a month before their time, but nevertheless unto life and
strength and beauty. Now, according to the laws of Oas, a king could not rescind or
change his own decrees, for he had assumed the position of infallibility, whereupon he
had doomed to death kin of his kin, flesh of his flesh.
2. Accordingly, after search had been made in vain to find Zarathustra, the king repented
of his decree, but knew no way to justify a change of commandment. Asha, hearing of
this, came out of concealment, saying to himself: Now will I go to the king and hold him
to his decree, even demanding that he slay me also. So Asha came before So-qi, and after
saluting, said: O king, I have heard of thy strait, and am come to thee that I may counsel
3. The king was angered, and he said: Asha, my friend, hear thou thy king: Thou camest
before me, relating a marvelous story regarding an infant son of the virgin who saith she
never knew a man. Now, according to the laws of the City of the Sun, any man stating for
truth that which he cannot prove, is already adjudged to death. Shall not the law be
fulfilled, because, forsooth, thou art near me in blood?
4. Asha said: Most assuredly, O king, the laws must be carried out. Are they not the all
highest? For it followeth that man being the all highest person, his laws, above all else,
must never be set aside. Therefore, thou shalt have me slain. Think not I am come before
thee to plead an excuse, in order to save myself; rather let all men perish than that the
king’s decrees go amiss.
5. The king said: Thou art wise, O Asha. The laws cannot err, for they are the standard by
which to judge all else. And he who hath risen to be king standeth by nature the infallible
highest of all things. History hath proven this. But yet hear me, thou who hast wisdom
from the movements of the sun and moon and stars: The king, being the all highest, how
can he be bound? Cannot he decree new decrees forever?
6. Asha said: I will not deceive thee, O king! I know thou art arguing not for me, but for
thine own infant son, and for thy daughter’s infant son. Neither have I come before thee in
prowess, though I love life. But here is the matter: If thou change one law, thou admittest
that all laws made by man may also need changing; which is to say, wisdom is folly.
How, then, shall the judge, judge any man by the laws? Is it not setting up error in order
to find truth?
7. The king said: Thou reasonest well. Methought this morning, in my walk in the market
gardens, when the soldiers were spreading the scalps of their enemies in the sun to dry,
whether or no, in ages to come, the weaker nations and tribes of men might not attempt to
justify their right to life. And were the kings to admit fallibility in their decrees and laws,
no man can foresee the end; for even slaves and servants and women will raise up against
the laws, and claim their right to life. Wherein, then, would the earth be large enough for
all the people? Yet, wherefore, O Asha, cometh this heart-ache of mine against killing
mine own son?
8. Asha said: What are thy sympathies, O king? If thou wert to justify the escape of thy
child’s death for sympathy, would not my wife and my children justify their sympathy in
desiring me to live? Nay, sympathy is the enemy of law and justice. It is the evil in our
natures that crieth out for evil. The laws must be maintained; the decrees must be
maintained; the king’s word must be maintained. No man must suffer his judgment to go
higher than the law, or the decree, or the king.
9. Asha said: This is the City of the Sun. If this city goeth back on its own laws, what will
not the tributary cities do? Will not they also begin to disrespect the laws, or say: Perhaps
the laws are in error? This will come to anarchy. To one purpose only can a great city
be maintained. To divide the purposes and judgment of men is to scatter to the four
winds the glory of our civil liberty. Was it not disrespect of the laws, combined with
superstition, that caused the nations of ancients to perish?
10. The king said: What shall I do, O Asha? My son hath smiled in my face!
11. Asha said: Thou shalt send me and thy son and thy daughter’s son, and all male
infants to the slaughter’s pen, and have us all beheaded and cast into the fire. Otherwise, it
will come true what the infant Zarathustra hath said: Behold, my hand shall smite the city
of Oas, and it shall fall as a heap of straw.
12. Think not, O king, I am superstitious and fear such threats; but this I perceive: Suffer
the laws to be impeached, and every man in Oas will set up to interpret the laws to be
wrong and himself right. And thy officers will rebel against thee on all sides, and the
glory of thy kingdom will perish.
13. After the city had been searched for thirty days, and the virgin and child not found,
the king appointed a day for the slaughter, according to his former decree; and there
were ninety thousand male infants adjudged to death, the king’s son among the rest.
14. Whilst these matters were maturing, the Lord went to Choe’jon, and inspired him to
make songs about Zarathustra, the infant that was stronger than a king. And also songs
about the decree of death to the ninety thousand infant sons of Oas. And the beauty of the
songs, together with the nature of these proceedings, caused the songs to be sung in the
streets day and night; and the songs, in satire, approved of the horrors, so that even the
king could not interdict the singing.