Abul Qasem Ferdowsi is a renowned Persian poet who was born in Tus (northeastern part of Iran) in Khorasan province. He used to play next to the river when he was a boy. Unfortunately for him, the bridge was being washed away by floods so he could not play there a lot. No one was able to build a bridge which could stand up to the floods. Ferdowsi had a dream to make sufficient money one day in order to build a bridge that can resist against the water force.
Later, after working hard and making a lot of efforts, Ferdowsi turned into a famous poet and had a job to record the Persian history. He was given the job by the king of that time. The king provided Ferdowsi with a specific room in his palace, all of the walls of which were covered by paintings. His purpose was to inspire Ferdowsi’s poetry. The king had promised Ferdowsi to pay him 1000 pieces of gold for every thousand couplets that he succeeded in writing.
After 30 years of working hard and spending a significant time, Ferdowsi could finish writing his poems and was able to write 60,000 couplets, the book that these days is known as the Shahnameh. During all these years, he had many arguments with the king that caused him not to be paid as he was promised. The king gave Ferdowsi the 60,000 pieces but silver not gold. Ferdowsi had the feeling that he had not been complimented properly. He was really enraged. Thus, he left the palace and went back home. But he left a long and harsh poem for the king in his room after he had spent all those years working there. The poem was more similar to a curse and ended like this:
“Heaven’s vengeance will not forget. Shrink tyrant from my words of fire, and tremble at a poet’s ire.”
After this event, the King was furious and commanded to find Ferdowsi and sentenced him to die. Ferdowsi implored the king to forgive him and permit him to stay alive. His request was accepted by the king but under a circumstance. The king said that he would never want to see or hear from Ferdowsi anymore.
Lots of people protested against the King and his decision about Ferdowsi and that made him feel regretful. He finally sent 60000 gold pieces to Tus. Moreover, brocade and velvet, cloth of silk, perfumes and spices were sent as well by the King. Sadly, the gifts were arrived too late and it is said that Ferdowsi had passed away prior to the arrival of gifts.
His famous book, The Shahnameh, talks mainly about the mythical and to some extent the history of the Persian Empire from the creation of the world until the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century. The book is read widely, not only the Persian reader but many foreign readers who are seeking to become more familiar with Iranian poetry. There is a famous couplet in The Shahnameh that explains how Ferdowsi was helpful to Persian Language and didn’t allow the Arab language to be the national language of Iran.
His tomb is in his birthplace, Tus, has turned into a tourist spot that attracts a great number of visitors each year.