The Grand Vazir
Once long ago, there lived a powerful King who ruled over a vast and fertile land.
Despite his great power, the King realised that he lacked one thing - a wise and truthful adviser who could help him rule the land with justice.
He knew that many people would jump at the job of Grand Vazir. But he did not want to give the job to anyone who was greedy and insincere. The right person for the job needed to be the wisest person in his Kingdom. Quickly, the king sent messengers out to every corner of his land in search of the right man or woman.
In a little vilagge at the far end of the King's land, a young woman named Zamyad looked down at her shoes as she made her way to the market place. Through the worn soles of her shoes she could feel the pebbles on the ground. It would be winter in a few months and she would be able to feel the cold, damp snow through her threadbare shoes.
She earned a little money by selling the fruit grew behind her little hut, but not enough to buy new shoes. Still, she loved working in her garden. Each day she reveled in the feel of the soilas she patted it and the thrill of seeing the first shoot poke its head out of the ground. She loved the heady scent of fresh grass and admired the bright colors of butterflies and birds as they darted by.
she broke out of her reverie when she realised that a large crowd of villagers had gathered near the fountain in the middle of the market place. Bells were ringing to herald the announcement of a royal message.
" here ye , hear ye, oh men and women of the village," droned a deep voice that reached the corners of the village square. "this is a message from your king. He is in search of someone to stand by him, shoulder to shoulder, in times of crises and in times of peace. This person will give him wise advice in matters of ruling the kingdom. One month from today, come to the palace with a gift that represents the duties of a Grand Vazir and the glory of his position. The man or woman whose gift pleases the King will be rewarded with the greatest of riches and the highest of titles."
At this, a hum of excitement filled the market place. everyone wanted to be the one whose gift the King would choose.
"Zamyad dear, you must go to see the King," Said old Meherbanu, who sold sweet honey cakes at the stall next to Zamyad's,"You are honest and hardworking, kind and capable. What more could a King want from his Grand Vazir?"
"And what shal i give the King" Watermelons?" replied Zamyad with a grin and a shake of her head. " I would need a thousand watermelons to represent the glory of the Vazir."
The old woman's belly shook as she laughed. " We think of something,'She said, her eyes twinkling.
Thirty days later, Zamyad stood in a line at the palace. Even dressed in her best cloths, she knew she looked out of place among the men and women who were wearing their finest silks and richest velvets. She looked at their caskets of polished gold, their bags of jewel-encrusted satin, and their barrels of polished wood, and then she looked at the little pouch she held tightly in her hand.
for the thousandth time since coming to the palace, she wondered why she had let Meherbanu persuade her to see the King. She tried to hide behind pilar, hoping that the King would miss her when he did his inspection.
As the King slowly walked around the great hall, Zamyad felt her palms become damp with sweat as he came nearer and nearer. The King Halted before a thin man with hooked nose holding a elaborated carved bow and arrow. The man said,"Your Radiant Eminence, the duty of the Grand VAzir is to pretect you from all harm. Wish this bow, I can pierce the eye of an enemy at a hundred paces."
The King nodded and moved forward. Atall woman with long red hair held up a cooing dove perched on a nest of white roses. " Most glorious Ruler, the duty of the Grqand Vazir os to negotiate peace with the king's enemies."
The King smiled, but did not say anything. When he came and stood in front of Zamyad, her heart began to hammer and she forgot words she had practised.
The King asked,"Young woman, do you have a gift for me?"
Zamyad looked up at the King - forgetting that Meherbanu had told her that it was improper to do so - and saw that he had kind, friendly eyes. Encouraged, Zamyad held out her palm with the little crumpled pouch. "Sir, this is for you."
"Hmmm,"murmured the King, taking the bag and rolling it between his fingers."What do you have in here? Diamonds?"
"No, Sir," croaked Zamyad. "Seeds."
Zamyad heard a gasp from the people around her. then there was laughter and even a snort. She wished the door would open up and swallow her.
"Seeds," repeated the King, his voice incredulous, but still kind. "Tell us how these seeds represent the duty of a Grand Vazir and the glory of his position."
Zamyad said slowly," The duty of Grand Vazir is to help the King look after the land and make it prosper. These seeds represents the duty of Grand Vazir to take care of all the bounties Ahura Mazda has bestowed upon us so that all creation can live in harmony."
Zamyad's voice became stronger and clearer as she shared her love for nature. "These seeds represent prosperity and good harvests. They represent shelter on a wondy morning, shade on a sunny day, and kindling for fire on a snowy night. They represent the fragrance of flowers, the sweetness of fruits, and the flavour of refreshing wine. They represent fodder for our herds and horses, and homes for the birds and the bees. they represent meadows, fields and forests."
There was a hush in the grand hall when Zamyad stopped speaking. Somebody started clapping and slowly the applause grew till the whole crowd was cheering.
Zamyad stunned as the King led her to the front of hall. He asked for her name and, holding her trembling hand in his, he turned to the crowd and announced, "People of my kingdom, i want you to bow your head to your new Grand Vazir. Her name is Zamyad."