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Early Indo-European Texts

Avestan

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 xšmaibyā gə̄uš urvā gərəždā       kahmāi mā θwarōždūm kə̄ mā tašaṯ
ā mā aēšəmō hazas-cā       rəmō āhišāyā dərəš-cā təviš-cā
nōiṯ mōi vāstā xšmaṯ anyō       aθā mōi sąstā vohū vāstryā

2 adā tašā gə̄uš pərəsaṯ       ašəm kaθā tōi gavōi ratuš
hyaṯ hīm dātā xšayantō       hadā vāstrā gaodāyō θwaxšō
kə̄m hōi uštā ahurəm       yə̄ drəgvōdəbīš aēšəməm vādāyōiṯ

3 ahmāi ašā nōiṯ sarəjā       advaēšō gavōi paitī-mravaṯ
avaēšąm nōiṯ vīduyē       yā šavaitē ādrə̄ng ərəšvåŋhō
hātąm hvō aojištō       yahmāi zavə̄ng jimā kərədušā

4 mazdå saxvārə̄ mairištō       yā zī vāvərəzōi pairī-ciθīṯ
daēvāiš-cā mašyāiš-cā       yā-cā varəšaitē aipī-ciθīṯ
hvō vīcirō ahurō       aθā nə̄ aŋhaṯ yaθā hvō vasaṯ

5 aṯ vā ustānāiš ahvā       zastāiš frīnəmnā ahurāi ā
mə̄ urvā gə̄uš-cā azyå       hyaṯ mazdąm dvaidī frasåbyō
nōiṯ ərəžəjyōi frajyāitiš       nōiṯ fšuyentē drəgvasū pairī

Translation

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?"