Faraydun Strikes Zahhak

Detail, Faraydun Strikes Zahhak with the Ox-headed Mace. View full »
Neither the throne nor good fortune will remain with one man forever…. I have come from Persia bringing war, and I shall give the evil Zahhak no rest or peace until I have crushed his head beneath my ox-headed mace.

As predicted in Zahhak‘s dream, the noble Faraydun was born and “grew as straight as a tall cypress tree and … imperial farr radiated from him as if he were the sun.” He pursues the evil king to end his reign and free the world of tyranny. When he arrives at Zahhak’s deserted palace, Faraydun releases King Jamshid’s imprisoned sisters, who have been bewitched by Zahhak’s magic, and then places himself on the throne. News of his overthrow reaches Zahhak, and the enraged sorcerer-king rushes back from India to kill Faraydun himself.

Disguised in iron armor, the king sneaks into the palace, intent on shedding blood. “As Zahhak’s foot touched the ground, Faraydun leapt forward like the wind and brought his ox-headed mace crashing down on Zahhak’s head, so that his helmet was shattered.” Faraydun is about to deliver a second—and fatal—blow when the angel Surush appears and proclaims, “His time has not yet come.” Surush orders Faraydun to put Zahhak in chains and take him to Mount Damavand, where “this solitary wretched captive” will perish alone in a deep cave.