The Effects and Impacts of Literature in Afghan Culture

By Arielle Herman, Niki Green, David Silfen, and Alex Woindrich
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Stories and folktales are a very important part of Afghan culture and tradition. After all, who doesn't like to listen to a good story? There are countless traditional, well-known stories, some as common as our stories about the boy who cried wolf or Cinderella. Stories in Afghanistan range from simple lesson-learned micro-stories to treasured tales from the Bible to long, moral-studded stories passed down from parent to child. Stories lead the way to a long path of understanding in one people's culture and values. Let's hop onto the twisting road and into the hearts and souls of Afghans long ago.

Questions to Keep in Mind:

  • What are important folktales to the Afghan community?
  • What is the Shanahmeh?
  • What is the story of Rostram and Sohrab?
  • How many literate/illiterate people are in Afghanistan?


Folktales in Afghanistan are mainly about virtues, values, morals, and marriage. They do many things for Afghans. They draw a community together, they connect children to the real world, and giving people a place to run away to when they are in miserable times. One very well known folktale is called "Shirin and Farhad". This story tells about the life and struggles of two people from highly different caste systems in love, and how one's dishonestly can only lead to terrible for things for both them and the person being lied to. Here is the story of Shirin and Farhard. Enjoy!

Shirin and Farhad
From Sidar Ikbal Ali Shah's 'Afghanistan of the Afghans'

Source: There was a brave man named Farhad, who loved a Princess named Shirin, but the Princess did not love him. Farhad tried in cain to gain access to the love-cell of Shirin's heart, but no one would dare betray the fact that a stonecutter loved a lady of royal blood. Farhad, in despair, would go to the mountains and spend whole days without food, playing on his flute sweet music in praise of Shirin. At last people thought
Shirin and Farhad Afghan Love Story
Shirin and Farhad Afghan Love Story
to devise a plan to acquaint the Princess of the stone-cutter's love. She saw him once, and love which lived in his bosom also began to breathe in hers. But she dared not a mean laborer aspire to win the hand of a princess? It was not long, however, before the Shah himself heard some rumor of this extraordinary exchange of sentiment. He was naturally indignant at the discovery, but as he had no child other then Shirin, and Shirin was also pining away with love, he proposed to his daughter that her lover, being of common birth, must accomplish a task such as no man may be able to do, and then, and only then, might he be recommended to his favor.
The task which he skillfully suggested was that Shirin should ask her lover to dig a canal in the rocky land among the hills. The canal must be six lances in width and three lances deep and forty miles long!

The Princess had to convey her father's decision to Farhad, who forthwith shouldered his spade and started off to the hills to commence the gigantic task. He worked hard and broke the stones for years. He would start his work early in the morning when it was yet dark and never ceased from his labor till, owing to darkness, no man could see one yard on each side.

Shirin secretly visited him and watched the hard working Farhad sleeping with his taysha(spade) under his head, his body stretched on the bed of stones. She noticed, with all the pride of a lover, that he cut her figure in the rocks at each six yards and she would sigh and return without his knowing.

Afghan Romeo and Juliette
Afghan Romeo and Juliette
Farhad worked for years and cut his canal; all was in readiness but his task was not yet finished, for he had to dig a well in the rocky beds of the mountains. He was half- way through, and would probably have completed it, when the Shah consulted his courtiers and sought their advice. He is artifice had failed. Farhad had not perished in the attempt, and if all the conditions were in the attempt, and if all the conditions were in the attempt, and if all the conditions were fulfilled as they promised to be soon, his daughter must go to him in marriage. The Viziers suggested that an old woman should be set to Farhad to tell him that Shirin was dead; then, perhaps, Farhad would become disheartened and leave off the work.

It was an ignoble trick, but it promised success and the Shah agreed to try it. So an old woman went to Farhad and wept and cried till words choked her; the stone-cutter asked her the cause of her bereavement.

"I weep for a deceased," she said, "and for you." "For a deceased and for me?" asked the surprised Farhad. "And how do you explain it?"

"Well, by brave man," said the pretender sobbingly, "you have worked so well, and for such a long time, too, but you have labored in vain, for the object of you devotion is dead!"

"What!" cried the bewildered man, "Shinin dead?"

Such was his grief that he cut his head with the sharp taysha(spade) and died under the carved streamed into his canal was his own blood. When Shirin heard this she fled in great sorrow to the mountains where lay her wronged lover; it is said that she inflicted a wound in her own head at the precise spot where Farhad had struck himself, and with the same sharp edge of the spade which was stained with her lover's gore. No water ever flows into the canal, but two lovers are entombed in one and the same grave.

This story teaches the importance of honesty, and as sub-morals show that even if two people are from very different caste systems, you can still find a way to win their heart by being yourself, and also that hard work gives you great things. Farhad's hard work and dedication won him the love of the woman of his dreams, whom he ached for will a swell of love, and this hard work satisfied that swell and filled it with a great warmth, which is the warmth of love.

Another tale of much recognition is called "Rustam's Well". Enjoy!

Rustam's Well
from Safia Shah's Afghan Caravan There is an old well some miles form Kabul called Chah-i-Rustam (Chah, well) of about the radius of five yards, and a network of iron is placed just under the water. The construction is of red stones, such as cannot be seen in the neighboring hills.
Rustam is the Afghan-Irani equivalent of Hercules, the great champion of the Arians, the prince of the land of Seistan. He fought the White Dragon and struggled for two whole days with Prince Isfandiar, in the epics. Seistan is on Western Afghanistan, named formerly Sakastan: Land of the Saka people.
Water is never drawn from the well, which is of a deep grey color. The well has no date on it, and on the walls big iron chains hang down to the surface. The legend goes on to say that Rustam, the great wrestler of Seistan, after being killed was thrown into the well, and a friend of his fixed these chains, so that Rustam's spirit might climb up and escape; but the enemies of the Rustam placed a net below the level of the water, and thus the dead hero of Firdowsi's classic, was forever lost.

What can be learned from this story? Now it is your turn to decipher the text.

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Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin is an ancient Persian folk character, and from The Kite Runner, you may be familiar with the usage of Mullah Nasruddin jokes in Afghanistan. This character is used to tell stories of the Sufi tradition in Rumi and Hafiz, and wisdom tales from many different faiths. Here is a collection of the infamous Mullah Nasruddin jokes.

"The name that every Afghan remembers hearing about in childhood. Here is few of the thousands of humurous and thoughtful stories about Him. His identity is being claimed by three countries. Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. "The Nasruddin stories, known throughout the Middle East, constitute one of the strangest acheivements in the history of metaphysics. Superficially, most of the Nasruddin stories may be used as jokes. They are told and retold endlessly in the teahouses and caravanserais, in the homes and on the radio waves, of Asia. But it is inherent in the Nasruddin story that it may be understood at any of many depths. There is the joke, the moral - and the little extra which brings the consciousness of the potential mystic a little further on the way to realization."
From the book - "The Sufis" by Idries Shah
  1. NASRUDDIN - Keeper of Faith In Turkey, where some people allege Nasruddin is buried, there are HUGE locked gates at his grave site. Yet his headstone reads - "Sometimes you do not need a key to get through gates. All you need to do is walk around them as there are no walls."
  2. More Useful - One day mullah nasruddin entered his favorite teahouse and said: 'The moon is more useful than the sun'. An old man asked 'Why mulla?' Nasruddin replied 'We need the light more during the night than during the day.'
  3. Promises Kept - A friend asked the mulla "How old are you?" "Forty replied the mullah." The friend said but you said the same thing two years ago!" "Yes" replied the mullah, "I always stand by what i have said."
  4. When you face things alone - You may have lost your donkey, nasruddin, but you don't have to grieve over it more than you did about the loss of your first wife. Ah, but if you remember, when i lost my wife, all you villagers said: We'll find you someone else. So far, nobody has offered to replace my donkey."
  5. Obligation - Nasruddin nearly fell into a pool one day. A man whom he knew slightly was nearby, and saved him. Every time he met nasruddin after that he would remind him of the service which he had performed. when this had happened several times nasruddin took him to the water, jumped in, stood with his head just above water and shouted: "Now I am as wet as I would have been if you had not saved me! Leave me alone."
  6. Deductive Reasoning - "How old are you, mulla? someone asked, 'Three years older than my brother. 'How do you know that?' 'Reasoning. Last year I heard my brother tell someone that i was two years older than him. A year has passed. That means that I am older by one year. I shall soon be old enough to be his grandfather.'
  7. "When I was in the desert," said Nasruddin one day, "I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty bedouins to run." "However did you do it?" "Easy. I just ran, and they ran after me."
  8. A certain conqueror said to Nasruddin: "Mulla, all the great rulers of the past had honorific titles with the name of God in them: there was, for instance, God-Gifted, and God-Accepted, and so on. How about some such name for me?" "God Forbid," said Nasruddin.
  9. "May the Will of Allah be done," a pious man was saying about something or the other. "It always is, in any case," said Mullah Nasruddin. "How can you prove that, Mullah?" asked the man. "Quite simply. If it wasn't always being done, then surely at some time or another my will would be done, wouldn't it?"
  10. Walking one evening along a deserted road, Nasruddin saw a troop of horsemen rapidly approaching. His imagination started to work; he saw himself captured or robbed or killed and frightened by this thought he bolted, climbed a wall into a graveyard, and lay down in an open grave to hide. Puzzled at his bizzare behaviour, the horsemen - honest travellers - followed him. They found him stretched out, tense, and shaking. "What are you doing in that grave? We saw you run away. Can we help you? Why are you here in this place?" "Just because you can ask a question does not mean that there is a straightforward answer to it," said Nasruddin, who now realized what had happened. "It all depends upon your viewpoint. If you must know, however, I am here because of you - and you are here because of me!"
  11. Once, when Mullah Nasruddin was visiting a Western town, he was invited to attend a fashion show. He went, and afterwards he was asked how he liked it. "It's a complete swindle!" he exclaimed indignantly. "Whatever do you mean?" he was asked. "They show you the women - and then try to sell you the clothes!"
  12. A man was walking along the street when he passed another man with a lot of stubble on his face standing outside a shop. The first man asked: "How often do you shave? Twenty or thirty times a day," answered the man with the stubble. "What! You must be a freak!" exclaimed the first man. "No, I'm only a barber," replied the man with the stubble.
  13. Once, the people of The City invited Mulla Nasruddin to deliver a khutba. When he got on the minbar (pulpit), he found the audience was not very enthusiastic, so he asked "Do you know what I am going to say?" The audience replied "NO", so he announced "I have no desire to speak to people who don't even know what I will be talking about" and he left. The people felt embarrassed and called him back again the next day. This time when he asked the same question, the people replied "YES" So Mullah Nasruddin said, "Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won't waste any more of your time" and he left. Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week. Once again he asked the same question - "Do you know what I am going to say?" Now the people were prepared and so half of them answered "YES" while the other half replied "NO". So Mullah Nasruddin said "The half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the other half" and he left!
  14. One day , one of Mullah Nasruddin's friend came over and wanted to borrow his donkey for a day or two. Mullah, knowing his friend, was not kindly inclined to the request, and came up with the excuse that someone had already borrowed his donkey. Just as Mullah uttered these words, his donkey started braying in his backyard. Hearing the sound, his friend gave him an accusing look, to which Mullah replied: "I refuse to have any further dealings with you since you take a donkey's word over mine."
  15. A certain man claimed to be God and was brought before the Caliph, who said to him, "Last year someone here claimed to be a prophet and he was put to death!" The man replied, "It was well that you did so, for I did not send him." (9th century joke)
  16. A certain man claimed to be a prophet and was brought before the Sultan, who said to him, "I bear witness that you are a stupid prophet!" The man replied, "That is why I have only been sent to people like you." (9th century joke)
  17. Someone said to Ashab, "If you were to relate traditions and stop telling jokes, you would be doing a noble thing." "By God!" answered Ashab, "I have heard traditions and related them." "Then tell us", said the man. "I heard from Nafai," said Ashab, "on the authority of such-and-such, that the Prophet, may God bless him, said, "There are two qualities, such that whoever has them is among God's elect." "That is a fine tradition", said the man. "What are these two qualities?" "Nafai forgot one and I have forgotten the other," replied Ashab. (a 9th century joke)
  18. A certain conqueror said to Nasruddin: "Mulla, all the great rulers of the past had honorific titles with the name of God in them: there was, for instance, God-Gifted, and God-Accepted, and so on. How about some such name for me?" "God Forbid," said Nasruddin.
  19. "When I was in the desert," said Nasruddin one day, "I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty bedouins to run." "However did you do it?" "Easy. I just ran, and they ran after me."
  20. NASRUDDIN MEETS DEATH - Nasruddin was strolling to market one day when he saw a strange, dark shape appear, blocking his path. "I am Death," it said, "I have come for you." "Death?" said Nasruddin. "But I'm not even particularly old! And I have so much to do. Are you sure you aren't mistaking me for someone else?" "I only kill people who are not yet ready to die," said Death. "I think you're wrong," replied the Hoja. "Let's make a bet." "A bet? Perhaps. But what shall the stakes be?" "My life against a hundred pieces of silver." "Done," said Death, a bag of silver instantly appearing in his hand. "What a stupid bet you made. After all, what's to stop me from just killing you now, and thus winning automatically?" "Because I knew you were going to kill me," said Nasruddin, "that's why I made the bet." "Hmmm . . ." mused Death. "I see. But . . . but, didn't you also know, then, that I would not be able to kill you, because of the terms of our agreement?" "Not at all," said Nasruddin, and continued down the road, clutching the bag of money.
  21. Once, Mullah Nasruddin bought a violin. And he began to play. NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.... Same note, same string, over and over. NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.... After a few hours his wife was at her wits' end. "Nasruddin!" she screamed. NEEE.. Nasruddin put down the bow. "Yes dear?" "Why do you play the same note? It's driving me crazy! All the real violin players move their fingers up and down, play on different strings! Why don't you play like they do?" "Well dear, I know why they go up and down and try all different strings." "Why is that?" "They're looking for *this* note." And he picked up his bow and resumed his playing. NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE....
  22. Mullah Nasruddin went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and on the way he passed through Medina. As he was walking by the main mosque there, a rather confused looking tourist approached him. "Excuse me sir," said the tourist, "but you look like a native of these parts; can you tell me something about this mosque? It looks very old and important, but I've lost my guidebook." Nasruddin, being too proud to admit that he, too, had no idea what it was, immediately began an enthusiastic explanation. "This is indeed a very old and special mosque." he declared, "It was built by Alexander the Great to commemorate his conquest of Arabia." The tourist was suitably impressed, but presently a look of doubt crossed his face. "But how can that be?" he asked, "I'm sure that Alexander was a Greek or something, not a Muslim. . . Wasn't he?" "I can see that you know something of these matters." replied Nasruddin with chagrin, "In fact, Alexander was so impressed at his good fortune in war that he converted to Islam in order to show his gratitude to God." "Oh, wow." said the tourist, then paused. "Hey, but surely there was no such thing as Islam in Alexander's time?" "An excellent point! It is truly gratifying to meet a visitor who understands our history so well," answered Nasruddin. "As a matter of fact, he was so overwhelmed by the generosity God had shown him that as soon as the fighting was over he began a new religion, and became the founder of Islam." The tourist looked at the mosque with new respect, but before Nasruddin could quietly slip into the passing crowd, another problem occurred to him. "But wasn't the founder of Islam named Mohammed? I mean, that's what I read in a book; at least I'm sure it wasn't Alexander." "I can see that you are a scholar of some learning," said Nasruddin, "I was just getting to that. Alexander felt that he could properly dedicate himself to his new life as a prophet only by adopting a new identity. So, he gave up his old name and for the rest of his life called himself Mohammed." "Really?" wondered the tourist, "That's amazing! But...but I thought that Alexander the Great lived a long time before Mohammed? Is that right?" "Certainly not!" answered the Mullah, "You're thinking of a different Alexander the Great. I'm talking about the one named Mohammed."
  23. A neighbor who Nasruddin didn't like very much came over to his compound one day. The neighbor asked Nasruddin if he could borrow his donkey. Nasruddin not wanting to lend his donkey to the neighbor he didn't like told him, "I would love to loan you my donkey but only yesterday my brother came from the next town to use it to carry his wheat to the mill to be grounded. The donkey sadly is not here." The neighbor was disappointed. But he thanked Nasruddin and began to walk away. Just as he got a few steps away, Mullah Nasruddin's donkey, which was in the back of his compound all the time, let out a big bray. The neighbor turned to Nasruddin and said, "Mullah Sahib, I thought you told me that your donkey was not here. Mullah Nasruddin turned to the neighbor and said, "My friend, who are you going to believe? Me or the donkey?
  24. One day Nasruddin repaired tiles on the roof of his house. While Nasruddin was working on the roof, a stranger knocked the door. - What do you want? Nasruddin shouted out. - Come down, replied stranger So I can tell it. Nasruddin unwilling and slowly climbed down the ladder. - Well! replied Nasruddin, what was the important thing? - Could you give little money to this poor old man? begged stranger. Tired Nasruddin started to climb up the ladder and said, - Follow me up to the roof. When both Nasruddin and beggar were upside, on the roof, Nasruddin said, - The answer is no!
  25. Nasruddin opened a booth with a sign above it: Two Questions On Any Subject Answered For Only 100 Silver Coins A man who had two very urgent questions handed over his money, saying: A hundred silver coins is rather expensive for two questions, isn't it? Yes, said Nasruddin, and the next question, please?
  26. Nasruddin used to stand in the street on market-days, to be pointed out as an idiot. No matter how often people offered him a large and a small coin, he always chose the smaller piece. One day a kindly man said to him: Nasruddin, you should take the bigger coin. Then you will have more money and people will no longer be able to make a laughing stock of you. That may be true, said Nasruddin, but if I always take the larger, people will stop offering me money to prove that I am more idiotic than they are. Then I would have no money at all.
  27. As Nasruddin emerged form the mosque after prayers, a beggar sitting on the street solicited alms. The following conversation followed: Are you extravagant? asked Nasruddin. Yes Nasruddin. replied the beggar. Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking? asked Nasruddin. Yes. replied the beggar. I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday? asked Nasruddin. Yes. replied the beggar. ...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends? asked Nasruddin. Yes I like all those things. replied the beggar. Tut, Tut, said Nasruddin, and gave him a gold piece. A few yards farther on. another beggar who had overheard the conversation begged for alms also. Are you extravagant? asked Nasruddin. No, Nasruddin replied second beggar. Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking? asked Nasruddin. No. replied second beggar. I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday? asked Nasruddin. No. replied second beggar. ...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends? asked Nasruddin. No, I want to only live meagerly and to pray. replied second beggar. Whereupon the Nasruddin gave him a small copper coin. But why, wailed second beggar, do you give me, an economical and pious man, a penny, when you give that extravagant fellow a sovereign? Ah my friend, replied Nasruddin, his needs are greater than yours.
  28. One day Nasruddin went to a banquet. As he was dressed rather shabbily, no one let him in. So he ran home, put on his best robe and fur coat and returned. Immediately, the host came over, greeted him and ushered him to the head of an elaborate banquet table. When the food was served, Nasruddin took some soup with spoon and pushed it to the his fur coat and said, Eat my fur coat, eat! It's obvious that you're the real guest of honor today, not me!
  29. One hot day, Nasruddin was taking it easy in the shade of a walnut tree. After a time, he started eying speculatively, the huge pumpkins growing on vines and the small walnuts growing on a majestic tree. Sometimes I just can't understand the ways of God! he mused. Just fancy letting tinny walnuts grow on so majestic a tree and huge pumpkins on the delicate vines! Just then a walnut snapped off and fell smack on Mullah Nasruddin's bald head. He got up at once and lifting up his hands and face to heavens in supplication, said: "Oh, my God! Forgive my questioning your ways! You are all-wise. Where would I have been now, if pumpkins grew on trees!
  30. At a gathering where Mullah Nasruddin was present, people were discussing the merits of youth and old age. They had all agreed that, a man's strength decreases as years go by. Mullah Nasruddin dissented. I don't agree with you gentlemen, he said. In my old age I have the same strength as I had in the prime of my youth. How do you mean, Mullah Nasruddin? asked somebody. Explain yourself. In my courtyard, explained Mullah Nasruddin, there is a massive stone. In my youth I used to try and lift it. I never succeeded. Neither can I lift it now.
  31. The wit and wisdom of Mullah Nasruddin never leaves him tongue-tied. One day an illiterate man came to Mullah Nasruddin with a letter he had received. "Mullah Nasruddin, please read this letter to me." Mullah Nasruddin looked at the letter, but could not make out a single word. So he told the man. "I am sorry, but I cannot read this." The man cried: "For shame, Mullah Nasruddin ! You must be ashamed before the turban you wear (i.e. the sign of education)" Mullah Nasruddin removed the turban from his own head and placed it on the head of the illiterate man, said: "There, now you wear the turban. If it gives some knowledge, read the letter yourself."
  32. One day Mullah Nasruddin lost his ring down in the basement of his house, where it was very dark. There being no chance of his finding it in that darkness, he went out on the street and started looking for it there. Somebody passing by stopped and enquire: "What are you looking for, Mullah Nasruddin ? Have you lost something?" "Yes, I've lost my ring down in the basement." "But Mullah Nasruddin , why don't you look for it down in the basement where you have lost it?" asked the man in surprise. "Don't be silly, man! How do you expect me to find anything in that darkness!"
  33. Mullah Nasruddin had visited a town for some personal business. It was a frigid winter night when he arrived. On the way to the inn a vicious looking dog barked at him. Mullah Nasruddin bent down to pick up a stone from the street to throw at the animal. He could not lift it, for the stone was frozen to the earth. "What a strange town this is! Mullah Nasruddin said to himself. They tie up the stones and let the dogs go free."
  34. One day Mullah Nasruddin went to the market and bought a fine piece of meat. On the way home he met a friend who gave him a special recipe for the meat. Mullah Nasruddin was very happy. But then, before he got home, a large crow stole the meat from Mullah Nasruddin's hands and flew off with it. "You thief!" Mullah Nasruddin angrily called after departing crow. "You have stolen my meat! But you won't enjoy it; I've got the recipe!"
  35. Mullah Nasruddin was dreaming that someone had counted nine gold pieces into his hand, but Mullah Nasruddin insisted that he would not accept less than ten pieces. While he was arguing with the man over one gold piece, he was awakened by a sudden noise in the street. Seeing that his hand was empty, Mullah Nasruddin quickly closed his eyes, extended his hand as if he was ready to receive, and said, "Very well, my friend, have it your way. Give me nine."
  36. Mullah Nasruddin was unemployed and poor but somehow he got little money to eat beans and pilaf at a cheap restaurant. He ate and examined walking people outside with the corner of the eye. He noticed a long, handsome swashbuckler (bully man) behind crowd. The Man was well dressed from head to foot, with velvet turban, silver embroidered vest, silk shirt, satin baggy-trousers and golden scimitar (short curved sword). Mullah Nasruddin pointed the man and asked restaurant keeper, "Who is that man over there!" "He is Fehmi Pasha's servant, answered restaurant keeper." Mullah Nasruddin sighed from far away, looked at the sky and said: "Oh, my Good Lord! Look at that Fehmi Pasha's servant and look at your own servant, here."
  37. One day a visitor came to Mullah Nasruddin with a question. "Mullah Nasruddin, the place that we humans come from and the place that we go to, what is it like?" "Oh," said Mullah Nasruddin, "it is a very frightening place." "Why do you say that?" the visitor asked. "Well, when we come from there as babies, we are crying, and when somebody has to go there, everybody cries."
  38. One day Mullah Nasruddin wished to learn playing zurna (a kind off shrill pipe) and visited a zurna player. "How much does it cost to learn playing zurna?" asked Mullah Nasruddin. "Three hundred akche (coin) for the first lesson and one hundred akche for the next lessons," asked zurna player. "It sounds good," replied Mullah Nasruddin. "We may start with second lesson. I was a shepherd when I was a young boy, so I already had some whistle experiences. It must be good enough for first lesson, isn't it?"
  39. One day Mullah Nasruddin went to market to buy new clothes. First he tested a pair of trousers. He didn't like the trousers and he gave back them to the shopkeeper. Then he tried a robe which had same price as the trousers. Mullah Nasruddin was pleased with the robe and he left the shop. Before he climbed on the donkey to ride home he stopped by the shopkeeper and the shop-assistant. "You didn't pay for the robe," said the shopkeeper. "But I gave you the trousers instead of the robe, isn't it?" replied Mullah Nasruddin . "Yes, but you didn't pay for the trousers, either!" said the shopkeeper. "But I didn't buy the trousers," replied Mullah Nasruddin. "I am not so stupid to pay for something which I never bought."
  40. Once a renowned philosopher and moralist was traveling through Nasruddin's village when he asked him where there was a good place to eat. He suggested a place and the scholar, hungry for conversation, invited Mullah Nasruddin to join him. Much obliged, Mullah Nasruddin accompanied the scholar to a nearby restaurant, where they asked the waiter about the special of the day. "Fish! Fresh Fish!" replied the waiter. "Bring us two," they answered. A few minutes later, the waiter brought out a large platter with two cooked fish on it, one of which was quite a bit smaller than the other. Without hesitating, Mullah Nasruddin cooked the larger of the fish and put in on his plate. The scholar, giving Mullah Nasruddin a look of intense disbelief, proceed to tell him that what he did was not only blatantly selfish, but that it violated the principles of almost every known moral, religious, and ethical system. Mullah Nasruddin calmly listened to the philosopher's extempore lecture patiently, and when he had finally exhausted his resources, Mullah Nasruddin said, "Well, Sir, what would you have done?" "I, being a conscientious human, would have taken the smaller fish for myself." "And here you are," Mullah Nasruddin said, and placed the smaller fish on the gentleman's plate.
  41. "Mullah! What do they do with the old full moons?" "They cut them up into small pieces and make the star"
  42. One day people founded Mullah Nasruddin pouring the remains of his yogurt into the lake. "Mullah Nasruddin , what are you doing?" A man asked. "I am turning the lake into yogurt," Mullah Nasruddin replied. "Can a little bit of yeast ferment the great river?" The man asked while others laughed at Mullah Nasruddin . "You never know perhaps it might," Mullah Nasruddin replied, "but what if it should!"
  43. "Mullah Nasruddin, which side must I walk when carrying a coffin, at the front, back, left or right?" "Take which you like best, so long as you are not inside!"
  44. One day Mullah Nasruddin was asked "Could you tell us the exact location of the center of the world?" "Yes, I can," replied Mullah Nasruddin . "It is just under the left hind of my donkey." "Well, maybe! But do you have any proof?" "If you doubt my word, just measure and see."
  45. A group of philosophers traveled far and wide to find, and, contemplated for many years, the end of the world but could not state a time for its coming. Finally they turned to Mullah Nasruddin and asked him: "Do you know when the end of the world will be?" "Of course, said Mullah Nasruddin , when I die, that will be the end of the world." "When you die? Are you sure?" "It will be for me at least," said Mullah Nasruddin .
  46. One day two small boys decided to play a trick on Mullah Nasruddin. With a tiny bird cupped in their hands they would ask him whether it was alive or dead. If he said it was alive they would crush it to show show him he was wrong. If he said it was dead they would let it fly away and still fool him. When they found the wise old man they said, "Mullah Nasruddin, that which we are holding, is it alive or dead?" Mullah Nasruddin thought for a moment and replied, "Ah, my young friends, that is in your hands!"
  47. "Mullah Nasruddin, why do you always a question with another question?" "Do I?"
  48. A certain man asked Mullah Nasruddin, "What is the meaning of fate, Mullah Nasruddin ?" "Assumptions," Mullah Nasruddin replied. "In what way?" the man asked again. Mullah Nasruddin looked at him and said, "You assume things are going to go well, and they don't - that you call bad luck. You assume things are going to go badly and they don't - that you call good luck. You assume that certain things are going to happen or not happen - and you so lack intuition that you don't know what is going to happen. You assume that the future is unknown. When you are caught out - you call that Fate.
  49. On a frigid and snowy winter day Mullah Nasruddin was having a chat with some of his friends in the local coffee house. Mullah Nasruddin said that cold weather did not bother him, and in fact, he could stay, if necessary, all night without any heat. "We'll take you up on that, Mullah Nasruddin" they said. "If you stand all night in the village square without warming yourself by any external means, each of us will treat you to a sumptuous meal. But if you fail to do so, you will treat us all to dinner." "All right it's a bet," Mullah Nasruddin said. That very night, Mullah Nasruddin stood in the village square till morning despite the bitter cold. In the morning, he ran triumphantly to his friends and told them that they should be ready to fulfill their promise. "But as a matter of fact you lost the bet, Mullah Nasruddin," said one of them. "At about midnight, just before I went to sleep, I saw a candle burning a window about three hundred yards away from where you were standing. That certainly means that you warmed yourself by it." "That's ridiculous," Mullah Nasruddin argued. "How can a candle behind a window warm a person three hundred yards away?" All his protestations were to no avail, and it was decided that Mullah Nasruddin had lost the bet. Mullah Nasruddin accepted the verdict and invited all of them to a dinner that night at his home. They all arrived on time, laughing and joking, anticipating the delicious meal Mullah Nasruddin was going to serve them. But dinner was not ready. Mullah Nasruddin told them that it would be ready in a short time, and left the room to prepare the meal. A long time passed, and still no dinner was served. Finally, getting impatient and very hungry, they went into the kitchen to see if there was any food cooking at all. What they saw, they could not believe. Mullah Nasruddin was standing by a huge cauldron, suspended from the ceiling. There was a lighted candle under the cauldron. "Be patient my friends," Mullah Nasruddin told them. "Dinner will be ready soon. You see it is cooking." "Are you out of your mind, Mullah Nasruddin?" they shouted. How could you with such a tiny flame boil such a large pot? "Your ignorance of such matters amuses me," Mullah Nasruddin said. "If the flame of a candle behind a window three hundred yards away can warm a person, surely the same flame will boil this pot which is only three inches away."
  50. One December day the village boys decided to play a trick on Mullah Nasruddin to fool him. They hid Mullah Nasruddin's coat when he was performing ablution for Friday ritual. But Mullah Nasruddin perceived that a trick on the way. "Mullah Nasruddin, it's a cold day, why don't you wear your coat?" asked one of them "I left my coat at home to keep the place warm!" answered Mullah Nasruddin.
  51. Nasruddin was cutting a branch off a tree in his garden one day. While he was sawing, a man passed by in the street and said, "Excuse me, but if continue to saw that branch like that, you will fall down with it." He said this because Nasruddin was sitting Nasruddin said nothing. He thought, "This is some foolish person who has no work to do but go around telling other people what to do and what not to do." The man continued on his way. Of course, after a few minutes, the branch fell and Nasruddin fell with it. "My God!" he cried. "That man knows the future!" He ran after him to ask how long he was going to live. But the man had already gone.
  52. Qazi (Judge) Nasruddin was working in his room one day when a neighbor ran in and said, "If one man's cow kills another's, is the owner of the first cow responsible?" "It depends," answered Nasruddin. "Well," said the man, "your cow has killed mine." "Oh," answered Nasruddin. "Everyone knows that a cow cannot think like a human, so a cow is not responsible, and that means that its owner is not responsible either." "I'm sorry, Judge," said the man. "I made a mistake. I meant that my cow killed yours." Judge Nasruddin thought for a few seconds and then said, "When I think about it more carefully, this case is not as easy as I thought at first." And then he turned to his clerk and said, "Please bring me that big black book from the shelf behind you..."
  53. Mullah Nasruddin and his wife came home one day to find the house burgled. Everything portable had been taken away. "It's all your fault," said his wife, "for you should have made sure that the house was locked before we left." The Neighbor took up the chant: "You did not lock the windows," said one. "Why did you not expect this?" said another. "The locks were faulty and you did not replace them," said a third. "Just a moment," said Nasruddin, "surely I am not the only one to blame?" "And who should we blame?" they shouted. "What about the thieves?" said Nasruddin. "Are they totally innocent?"
  54. That was the time Mullah Nasruddin's family was very poor. One day Nasruddin 's wife woke him in the middle of the night and whispered, "Nasruddin, There is a thief in the kitchen!" "Shhh... Stupid woman! replied Nasruddin. Let him be. Perhaps he find something then we seize it!"
  55. Ahmad, who was working a long way from home, wanted to send a letter to his wife, but he could neither read nor write. And since he was working during the day, he could only look for somebody to write his letter during the night. At last he found the ho "What does that matter?" answered Ahmad. "Well, my writing is so strange that only I can read it, and if I have to travel a long way to read your letter to your wife, it will cost you a lot of money." Ahmad went out of his house quickly.
  56. Nasruddin was returning home one night with one of his students when he saw a gang of thieves standing in front of a house, trying to break the lock. Nasruddin perceived that he would probably get hurt if he spoke up, so he decided to stay quite and pass by quickly. But his student however, did not understand what was happening so he asked: "What are all those men standing there doing?" "Shhh!" replied Nasruddin. "They're playing music!" "But I can't hear anything!" "Well we shall hear the noise tomorrow!" Nasruddin said
  57. Nasruddin was awakened in the middle of the night by the cries of two quarreling men in front of his house. Nasruddin waited for a while but they continued to dispute with each other. Nasruddin couldn't sleep, wrapping his quilt tightly around his shoulders, he rushed outside to separate the men who had come to blows. But when he tried to reason with them, one of them snatched the quilt off Mul shoulders and then the both of men ran away. Nasruddin, very weary and perplexed, returned to his house. "What was the quarrel about?" wondered his wife when Nasruddin came in. "It must be our quilt," replied Nasruddin. "The quilt is gone, the dispute is ended."
  58. Three Thieves One night, three thieves of the Ut Khel tribe approached a peddler riding a donkey. After salaams, two of the thieves walked on either side of the peddler, regaling him with enchanting stroies, while the third walked behind, jabbing the donkey with a pointed stick to keep him moving at a steady pace. The two thieves then gently lifted the saddle of the weary peddler, while the third led away the donkey, heavily laden with bazaar goods. The peddler eventually fell asleep and the Ut Khel thieves lowered him to the ground and hastily left to join their fellow thief.
  59. The Teacher A teacher (male) bought new shoes and a new watch and was dying to show off. In school he tried his best but his colleagues did not notice his new watch and shoes. He was eager to get some attention and congradulations, so as soon he walked in to his first class he began beating on the first student at his sight. Then he turned to others saying that if anyone else make a move, pointing to his watch and his shoes, "dar teeng saniya futbaletan mekunum!!!" I will kick you all in a second! The sudents finally notice his shoes and his watch and congradulated him. The teacher replyed: "khar-ha, chera az awal tab- rikee nadaden, zaroor nabood ke lat-te-tan kunum"; why didn't you congradulated me from the beginning, I wouldn't have had to beat any of you!
  60. Daal Khurs Once the king of Afghanistan was invited to Indian (and Pakistan- before their independence). At the dinner table the Indian Prime Minister noticed that the king was chowing the chicken bones (after he had eaten the flesh). With a grin the PM murmmered: if the people here are eating the bones, what do the dogs eat? And the king answered: Daal.
  61. Saifu An angry man came in to a cafe and yelled:" IS SAIFU HERE?". No body answered so he yelled again: IS SAIFU HERE OR NOT? Finally a guy got up, "YAH, I AM SAIFU" he said, the angry man came closer and punched the guy, knocked him down on the floor and then left the cafe. The guy got up, cleaned his nose from blood and while every one was expecting a reaction from him, returned to his table without saying anything. Some one came and asked the guy: "How can you just sit here and do nothing? that man knocked you down and you are not even cursing him." "You wouldn't say that if you knew what I have done to him" said the man with a smirk. "What? How?" asked the other man with curious excitement. "I am not SAIFU" said the guy proudly.
  62. One day Nasruddin was taking a walk in his village, when several of his neighbors approached him. "Nasruddin Hoja!" they said to him, "you are so wise and holy! Please take us as your pupils to teach us how we should live our lives, and what we should do!" Nasruddin paused, then said "Alright; I will teach you the first lesson right now. The most important thing is to take very good care of your feet and sandals; you must keep them clean and neat at all times." The neighbors listened attentively until they glanced down at his feet, which were in fact quite dirty and shod in old sandals that seemed about to fall apart. "But Nasruddin Hoja," said one of them, "your feet are terribly dirty, and your sandals are a mess! How do you expect us to follow your teachings if you don't carry them out yourself?" "Well," replied Nasruddin, "I don't go around asking people how I should live my life either, do I?"
  63. ONCE UPON A TIME - One day, Nasruddin came riding into town. The people stopped him to ask, "Why are you sitting back to front on your donkey?" He replied, "I know where I am going, I want to see where I have been." Later that evening, Nasruddin was cooking up some things. He went to his neighbor and asked for a pot and promised to return it the next day. A knock, knock came on the neighbor's door the next day. Nasruddin had come to return the pot. The neighbor looks at his pot and inside was one smaller. The neighbors said, "There is a small pot inside the one I loaned you." Nasruddin told him, "The pot gave birth." The neighbor was quite pleased to hear this and accepted the two pots. The very next morning, Nasruddin knocks on the neighbor's door to borrow a larger pot than the previous one. The neighbor happily abides his the request. A week goes past, without Nasruddin knocking to return the pot. The neighbor and Nasrudding bump into each other at the bazaar a few days latter. Nasruddin's neighbor asked, "Where is my pot?" "It's dead," says Nasruddin. "But how can that be?" queries the neighbor. Nasruddin points out, "If a pot can give birth, then a pot can also die." "One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea, and talking about life and love. "How come you never got married, Nasruddin?" asked his friend at one point. "Well," said Nasruddin, "to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo, I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, with eyes like dark olives, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no interests in common. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would aways be something missing. Then one day, I met her. She was beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had everything in common. In fact she was perfect." "Well," said Nasruddin's friend, "what happened? Why didn't you marry her? Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. "Well," he replied, "it's a sad thing. Seems she was looking for the perfect man." Once upon a time, Nasruddin went to the marketplace and put up a sign that read: "Whoever has stolen my donkey, please return it to me and I will give it to them." "Nasruddin!", exclaimed the townspeople, "Why would you put up such a sign?" "There are two great gifts in life," replied Nasruddin. "One is to find something that you've lost and the other is to give something that you love away."
  64. Mullah Nasruddin and his beautiful daughter - Mullah Nasruddin had a beautiful daughter, the desire of all the evil eyes of the men lived in his village. Everyone sought the hand of the fair maiden, but Mullah Nasruddin protected her from the ouside world, saving her for the wealthy young khan who lived just outside the village. At last the young Khan came to ask for the hand of the beautiful maiden. Mullah Nasruddin drove a hard bargain and was to receive the highest bride-price ever bargained for in the entir region. With the usual Muslim regard for ceremony, Mullah Nasruddin insisted on a long waiting-period before the wedding vows could be taken. It seems that the young and beautiful daughter of Mullah Nasrudin had a mind and a body of her own. She fell in love with a young stalwart ne'er-do-well in the village, who constantly showered her with attention as she went to the nearby well to gather water in the morning and at dusk. Her trips to get water began to take longer periods of time. Most people in the village know what was happening, but no one dared tell Mullah Nasruddin. The time for the wedding approached and the young, wealthy Khan came to collect his bride. Mullah Nasruddin brought her to greet her betrothod. Lo and behold! She was well pregnant by this time. The young, rich Khan was horrified, and turned on the Mullah Nasrudding, demanding to know why such a thing had occurred. And when Mullah Nasruddin merely replied that such things are normal when people get married, the young, rich Khan stormed out of Mullah Nasruddin's compound, and said that he withdrew his offer of marriage to the young beautiful daughter of Mullah Nasruddin and therefore would expect a return on the down payment on the bride price. Mullah Nasrudding, genuinely shocked, called after the young, rich Khan and the young Khan retured. "let us be sensiable about this," pleaded Mullah Nasruddin. "Actually, I should double the bride price now that my daughter is truly pregnant and can give you a son." The young Khan, even more horrified, stuttered and asked, "In the name of Allah, why?" Mullah Masruddin calmly replied, "Why just last week I delivered a cow to a man to whom I had sold the cow several months before. In the interim period, the cow becammepregnant, and when I delivered the cow, I demanded and received twice the original amount. Now what is so different between a cow and a daughter?"
  65. Mullah Nasruddin in Banguet Nasruddin heard that there was a banguet being held in the nearby town, and that everyone was invited. He made his way there as quickly as he could. When the Master of Ceremonies saw him in his ragged cloak, he seated him in the most inconspicuous place, far from the great table where the most important people were waiting on hand and foot. Nasruddin saw that it would be an hour at last before the waiters reached where he was sitting. So he got up and went home. He dressed himself in a magnificent sable cloak and turban and returned to feast. As soon as the heralds of the Emir, his host, saw this splendid sight they started to beat the drum of welcome and sound the trumpets in amenner befitting a visitor of high rank. The Chamberlain came out of the palace himself, and conducted the magnificent Nasruddin to a place almost next to the Emir. A dish of wonderful food was immediatly placed before him. Without a pause, Nasruddin began to rub handfuls of it into his turban and cloak. "Your Eminence," said the prince, "I am curious as to your eating habits, which are new to me." "Nothing special," said Nasruddin; "the cloak get me in here and got me the food. Surely it deserves it portion."

quoted from
This relates to the text because all through Amir and Hassan's childhood, Amir read folktales from books to Hassan about things that impacted the lives of Afghans daily. He read stories filled with morals and values, teaching one how to be virtuous and kind and how to practice Islam correctly and devotedly. Folktales are a huge part of The Kite Runner because they led Amir to the future he has, and it make him who he is. Stories also portrayed to us the greatly deep understanding that Hassan had for everything in the world despite his illiteracy. When Hassan makes his comment, "'In fact, why did he ever have to feel sad to shed tears? Why couldn't he have just smelled an onion?'" (34), it shows that Hassan had a deeper understanding and that he could pick out the plot hole in Amir's incredible story. Another quote from the book, "Hassan was drawn the the mystery of words, seduced by a secret world forbidden to him. I read him poems and stories, sometimes riddles - though I stopped reading those when i saw he was much better at solving them than I was" (28).

The Shahnameh

A scene from the Shanahme

“Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings) composed in the 10th century by Ferdowsi is the Crown Jewel of the Persian literature and is cherished by all Iranians (including non-Persian ethnic groups) as well as Persian speaking societies of Afghanistan, Tajikestan and Central Asia.“ -

The shanameh is an 18 chapter classic telling the stories of heros in ancient Persia. It was considered odd as the author, Hakim Abol-Ghasem Ferdowsi Toosi, wrote primarily in Persian while the world was speaking Arabic. Written sometime around 1000 BC, it is considered the National Epic of Persian culture.The epic tells the stories of the past (both mythological and historical) of the creation of the world to 7th century conquest by Islam of Greater Iran.

ehran, 16 May 2007 (CHN) – Hakim Abdul Qasim Firdawsi Tusi, more commonly known as Ferdowsi, is one of the most revered Persian poets. He was born in 935 AD in a rich family in Iranian Khorasan province and it is said he died in poverty around 1020. His tomb is located in city of Toos in Khorasan Razavi province, where every year millions of his lovers attend to pay tribute to this great poet.
He devoted more than 30 years to compose his masterpiece of Shahnameh, which is the most popular and influential of the Iranian national epics. Shahnameh or the "Epic of Kings" or "Book of Kings", consists of the translation of an even older Pahlavi (Middle Persian) work. It is still one of the most popular books among Persians after more than one thousand year. In Shahnameh the pre-Islamic history of old Persia before the Arab conquest of the region has been described through classic tales which starts from 7000 years ago by telling the story of old Persian Kings, the mystical and historical past of Iran up until the Arabs invasion of Iran in the 7th century.

The Story of Rostam and Sohrab

The tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab from the Persian epic Shahnameh tells the tragic story of the heroes Rostam and his son, Sohrab. It all starts out with Rostam hunting in near Turan close to the city of Samengan. While he is napping, seven knights of Turan discover Rakhsh and decide to steal him. The horse kills two, but is taken by the others.

When Rostam wakes up, he discovers his horse is missing. He follows the hoof prints to the city of Samengan. The King and the nobles meet him and ask him why he's on foot. He tells them what happened. The King of Samengan asks Rostam to stay with him until he finds his horse. Rostam stays with the king and that night, Tahmineh, daughter of the King comes to his bedroom and swears her love for him. Rostam sleeps with her and gives her a "clasp which he wore on his upper arm" (pg. 189) and tells her to give it to her child to wear it so that he can be recognized as his son.

The next day Rostam finds his horse, thanks the king, and leaves.
Nine months later, Tahmineh has a son, whom she names Sohrab. When he is one month old, he looks like a one-year-old. Later, Sohrab demands his mother tell him who his father is. She shows him a letter that Rostam sent and tells him that Afrasyab, the king, must know nothing of it, and if Rostam hears how he's grown, he'd summon him to his court and her heart would break. The son wants the world to know who he is, and demands to fight with Afrasyab on the march to Turan and seize the throne.

But Sohrab decides to lead the Turks to conquer Iran and dethrone Kai Kawous instead so he can make Rostam King, and himself the king of Turan. He chooses the foal of Rakhsh to ride. He gathers an army and travels forth. Afrasiyab learns of Sohrab's plans to go to Iran and likes the idea. He tells Hooman and Barman, two of his advisers, to join Sohrab. He tells them that Rostam and Sohrab should never identify each other, because he has a plan that depends on the mutual knowledge deficit, Because if Sohrab kills Rostam, they can conquer Iran, then kill Sohrab and control the world; on the contrary, if Rostam kills Sohrab, he will die of grief when he learns what he has done. Afrasiyab then sends them with gifts and a letter pledging his support.

Sohrab leads his army to the White Castle in Iran. Hujir, guardian of the castle, sees the army come and goes to meet them. Sohrab challenges him to fight, overcomes him and binds him. Gurdafrid, daughter of Hujir, trained in warfare, puts on armor, goes forth to Sohrab's army and challenges to single combat, to which Sohrab accepts. They fight and Sohrab removes her helmet and discovers she's a woman. She says to marry her and he will have the castle. He agrees, but she enters the castle and locks the door behind her. Gustahem, Hujir’s advisor, writes a letter to Kai Kawous telling him of the situation. The next day, Sohrab advances on the castle, but it is empty because everyone had left through a hidden passage.

Kai Kawous receives the letter and sends a letter to Rostam asking for his help. He tells a messenger, Geew, to travel quickly there and back. Rostam receives Geew, but does not believe that anyone is as strong as him. He convinces Geew to stay with him for three days. On the fourth day Geew says it's time to go so Rostam gathers his army and together they travel to the king. The king is angry at the delay and orders Rostam and Geew killed. Rostam tells the king he will not help and leaves. The nobles , after convincing the king not to kill Rostam, find him and convince him to fight. Rostam returns to the king and the next day, the army travels to the white castle.

Rostam sneaks into the castle to see Sohrab. Zindeh, brother of Tahmineh, whom she had sent to identify Rostam for Sohrab, sees Rostam and asks him who he is. Rostam kills Zindeh. Sohrab takes Hujir to the top of the castle and asks him whom various tents in the Iranian camp belong to. Hujir tells him all except for the tent of Rostam because he is afraid he would seek to kill Rostam. Sohrab asks him where the tent of Rostam is; he tells him that Rostam is not there. Sohrab tells him that he will kill him if he does not tell him where Rostam's tent is. Hujir refuses to tell, because the boy might kill Rostam, and Iran is more important than his life, so Sohrab kills him.

Sohrab rides to the camp and challenges the king, or shah. The nobles send Rostam to fight. Rostam tells Sohrab not to fight. Sohrab asks him if he is Rostam. Rostam tells Sohrab that he is just a slave, so that Sohrab will be afraid that there are great warriors in the camp, having viewed Rostam as a mere slave. They fight until their swords are broken and their horses are exhausted, and wrestle until they are tired. They rest, and fight some more. Sohrab hits Rostam with a club and hurts him, and Rostam tells him he cannot fight a youth. They separate and kill many men of their opposing armies. Rostam challenges Sohrab again; they agree to fight the next day. Hooman tells Sohrab that the man he has been fighting does not look like Rostam, but Sohrab is not convinced.

The next day, Sohrab asks Rostam if he is Rostam. Rostam does not answer. They fight until night. Sohrab throws Rostam to the ground, and is about to decapitate him but Rostam tells him that law of war dictates that he should let him go the first time. Sohrab lets him go. Hooman feigns that Rostam lied. They fight again the next day, and Rostam throws Sohrab to the ground and breaks his back. Sohrab tells Rostam that Rostam, his father, will avenge his death. Rostam asks him for a token, and Sohrab shows him the onyx.

Rostam sends a message to Hooman, asking him to go home, and declaring that he will go to war no more. Rostam asks Goodarz to go to Kai Kawous to ask him for his healing balm. Kai Kawous is angry with Rostam again and refuses to give the balm. He leaves, but is overtaken by a messenger and told that his son is dead.

Rostam burns his armor. He goes home and builds Sohrab a golden tomb. News of Sohrab's death comes to Turan. Tahmineh burns Sohrab's house, gives his money to the poor, and dies of grief.
This relates to the book extremely well since it reflects on Sohrab’s tragedy in the Kite Runner

The Story of Rostram and Sohrab
Information Here

Illiteracy in Afghanistan:
Major Learning Areas
32% of Afghan students live in the central region in Kabul. 3.8% live in the East Central Mountains.
14,031,567 people can read, that is only 44% of the population, this includes children.
The majority of the population cannot read and that number is 17858356, 56% of the overall population of Afghanistan which is 31,889,923 people.

"Adult literacy rate: 43% (male); 13% (female)"

Problems with illiteracy
A research group formed by Afghan and Japanese medical experts have proven that the children of illiterate mothers are more susceptible to deadly diseases such as diarrhea and many others as well. Mothers that are literate and more educated are more helpful to their children in the ways of health and well-being. The ministry of Public Health clearly states that illiteracy is detrimental to the health of mothers, as well. A large amount of Afghan women are illiterate and the country as a whole has one of the highest infant mortality rates, as well as on of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
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How the Problem Started
"Due to the high illiteracy rates in Afghanistan that were caused by years of conflict and destruction of the educational system and institutions, literacy is a top priority issue for the country. The lessons learned and challenges faced in Afghanistan can hopefully assist other countries in the region in identifying and developing programs that reduce illiteracy." AfghanistanLiteracyDiscussionPaper.doc
(If you Google this it is the second link down and it will take you to a word document)`

Stopping illiteracy
"Mr. President of Afghanistan: A national program against illiteracy should start immediately aiming to eliminate illiteracy in the country within five years. Human beings will not develop without science and knowledge. We would like you to learn from those countries poorer than Afghanistan that fought illiteracy successfully and start immediately."

The Text Connection
Through the problems of illiteracy there are some important tiebacks to the text of Kite Runner. Probably the most prevalent is the one where Hassan cannot read as a child. But through devoting his life to teaching himself, as well as his son Sohrab, to read he has fixed that problem. One of the problems with illiteracy is that when you cannot read, you are subject to having people pull pranks on you. This relates to when Amir calls Hassan an imbicile and makes him thank that it is a good thing.