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Early Indo-European Texts


Scott L. Harvey and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Avestan with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Iranian Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Avestan language and its speakers' culture.

Old Avestan: Yasna 29, the Cow's Lament

1 xshmaiby gush urv gerezhd       kahmi m thwarzhdm k m tashat
m ashem hazas-c       rem hishy deresh-c tevish-c
nit mi vst xshmat any       ath mi sst voh vstry

2 ad tash gush peresat       ashem kath ti gavi ratush
hyat hm dt xshayant       had vstr gaody thwaxsh
km hi usht ahurem       y dregvdebsh ashemem vdyit

3 ahmi ash nit sarej       advash gavi pait-mravat
avashm nit vduy       y shavait drng ereshvngh
htm hv aojisht       yahmi zavng jim keredush

4 mazd saxvr mairisht       y z vverezi pair-citht
davish-c mashyish-c       y-c vareshait aip-citht
hv vcir ahur       ath n anghat yath hv vasat

5 at v ustnish ahv       zastish frnemn ahuri
m urv gush-c azy       hyat mazdm dvaid frasby
nit erezhejyi frajyitish       nit fshuyent dregvas pair


1   The cow's soul lamented to you, [the gods]: "For whom did you create me?
          Who fashioned me?
    Cruelty, oppression, bloodlust, rage, and violence have fettered me,
    [And] there is no herdsman for me other than you.
          Therefore, you must all show me [the way to] good pastures."
2   Then the cow's Fashioner asked Truth: "What [was] your allotment for the cow
    when, ruling [the earth], you all gave her cow-tending nourishment
          together with pasturage?
    Whom do all of you desire as the Lord who would destroy the cruelty [wielded] by the
          Possessor of the Lie?"
3   [The one who is] not a slayer of the alliance with Truth
          [and is] free from hatred for the cow would reply to him:
    "[One] is not to know of those [things] by which He drives the lowly to lofty [heights].
    [But] he to whom I shall go, on account of [his] having sent out requests [for aid?],
          [will be] the strongest of beings.
4   [Zarathustra:] "The Wise One [is he] remembering best the pacts
          that, indeed, he has made with daevas and men sometime before [now]
    And [those also] that he will make sometime later.
    He is the discerning Lord; it will be for us just as he would wish."
5   [Zarathustra: And] so, then, do we two -- my soul and the fertile cow's --
          devote ourselves with zeal, with hands stretched out to the Lord,
    So [that] we may dispose the Wise One to [answer our] inquiries.
    Is there no prospect for the cattle-breeder living justly among the Possessors of the Lie?"