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Chapter III

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 p. 177b 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 ripe wheat.

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 p. 178b 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 before me.

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 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 nought, 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 p. 179b his gentleness like a young goat, the tribes of the forest called him the Lamb of God, signifying, strength and good-will.

Next: Chapter IV