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Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. [1882], at


1. As to the fifty-third question and reply, that which you ask is thus: A man whose wife, daughters, sisters, and relations are many, and who is the master of much wealth, becomes sick, and during the sickness has given this hoard of wealth unto one daughter. 2. And his other sisters and daughters are not contented therewith, and speak thus: 'This wealth ought to have been given during health and consciousness, not during sickness; and now it should not be allowable to give anything whatever unto any one during sickness, for if anything happens 2 the wealth all comes back for division amongst us.' 3. Would it be allowable to give anything whatever of that wealth to any one, during sickness, or not?

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[paragraph continues] 4. Is it necessary 1 for one of such wife, daughters, and sisters as there happen to be to appoint an adopted son for that man, because of that wealth, or not? 5. Are the wife, daughters, and sisters who shall take their share of the wealth responsible for 2 the religious rites of every kind, and is it necessary for them to order the annual ceremonies for that man at the daily and yearly periods, or not 3?

6. The reply is this; that, when there is nothing therein on account of which I should so deem him otherwise than a man in sickness and nearly passing away, it is not allowable to give it up, except when it is for his debts, or his wife and children, or an aged person (zarmân) or father who is in his guardianship--whom it is indispensably necessary to maintain--and is such as, or as much as, is discreetly requisite for payment of the debt, or for the food, maintenance, and protection of those that I have written about; then, however, it is allowable to give it up away (bîrûnŏ) from those of whom you have written, as much as during his consciousness.

7. In other sickness, not while passing away, whatever is given up by him himself during consciousness is allowable; when he is not conscious it is not allowable. 8. And on. that which he says during unconsciousness one is not reliant and it is not credible (vâvar); but that which he says during

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consciousness, and that, too, which the same man gave unto a daughter when he was ill, if given by him consciously, are even then proceedings to be granted; if given by him during unconsciousness it is just as though he died without an opportunity of speaking (avâng-pîrûz1.

9. Of the property left by will 2, one share is needful for each separate daughter for whom a husband is not provided, and two shares for a wife who may be a privileged one 3; and so long as the wife is living she exists as the house-mistress of the family; moreover, it is not needful to appoint an

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adopted son (satôr), for the adopted son's duty (satôrîh) remains with her, and she manages to claim guardianship, for the family from some man out of the relatives most nearly allied. 10. Out of the portion of the property for food and maintenance the wife should provide the daughters with husbands; and to keep going the necessities in the guardianship, the nurture which the deceased man afforded, and the ceremonies and good works imposed upon the family, and thereby become indispensable, she herself is to take lapfuls and armfuls 1 out of the income (bar).

11. As to the sisters of that man, if they have been necessarily in his guardianship, even as to nourishment, and there is no property for them in any other way, their food and maintenance are also needful to be out of the income of the property, unless 2 that man has otherwise devised, or the appointment of a husband is not provided on account of the non-subjection (lôîtŏ aîrîh) in which they have been unto the guardianship of that man, or anything else opposed to it, so that nothing whatever of the property of that man is needful for them.

12. He who is a husband of one of the daughters is a leader in the management (dastôbarîh) of the family, but with the concurrence of the house-mistress of the family, and even so when the action is one which they should not do, and his son is not born, or becomes passing away 3.

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13. As to a daughter not provided with a husband, should the one whose husband is not provided be an only child 1, to keep her subject also to the house-mistress of the family it is needful for her that there should be an adopted son in it; and when they shall appoint her husband unto the adopted-sonship the property then comes over into his possession.

14. When the house-mistress of the family passes away, and the daughters are provided with husbands, the adopted-sonship is to be appointed.


183:2 M14 has if he gives anything.'

184:1 K35 has 'is it not necessary,' by using lâ, 'not,' instead of râî, 'for,' which latter reading is adopted in the text from M14, but it is doubtful which reading is the better one. The same variation occurs in § 5.

184:2 Literally 'are the rites on their necks.'

184:3 Ceremonies for the dead have to be performed on the first font days, the tenth day, and then at the end of a month and a year from the time of death (see Sls. XVII, 5).

185:1 For this uncommon word M14 substitutes avîk-andarz, 'intestate;' but the meaning is that the gift is as invalid as if he had been unable to make a declaration of his intentions.

185:2 Levatman andarz in K35, but M14 has avîk andarz, 'without a will,' which, at first sight, appears the more plausible reading (especially as avîk, 'without,' is written very much like avâk, 'with,' the Pâz. synonym of levatman). But on further consideration it seems equally probable that this section is intended to limit the power of a testator, so as to prevent him from dividing so much of his property as he leaves to his family in any unfair manner. The rule here laid down would, of course, also apply in cases of intestacy when the testator has no son; and is that given in the Persian Rivâyats.

185:3 This does not imply that a man might have more wives than one, but that wives are of five classes, according to the circumstances of the marriage. A pâdakhshah or 'privileged' wife is one who was a maiden married with the consent of her parents who have another child. A yûkan or 'only-child' wife differs from the last merely by being an only child, and having, therefore, to give up her first child to her parents. A satar or 'adopted' wife is one who was a maiden enabled to marry by receiving a dowry from the relatives of a man who has died unmarried, on condition that half of her children shall belong to the deceased. A kakar or 'serving' wife is a widow who marries again. A khûd-sarâi or 'self-disposing' wife is one who marries without her parents' consent (see Bd. XXXII, 6 n).

186:1 Literally 'the bosom size and arm size,' a Pahlavi idiom for 'plenty.'

186:2 In the Pahlavi text this latter half of the section precedes the foregoing provisional clauses.

186:3 The meaning seems to be that so long as he has no son (who p. 187 would be a member of the family in direct descent through his mother) he can only assist and advise the widow, but on the birth of his son he can act more authoritatively, as the representative of the child.

187:1 Written aêvôk-aê in Pâzand. She becomes a yûkan or 'only-child' wife (see § 9 n) until she has given up her first child to her mother, after which she is a 'privileged' wife.

Next: Chapter LV