Another word for mulla. See mulla.

Alhamdu Lillah!

"The praise be to God!" "Thank God!" Persians always say this when they feel pleased with themselves, or when anything turns out well for them, or when they are glad to be done with something.

Alla Zingi

The name of a male Div. Zingi properly means an inhabitant of the Zanzibar region (Zingi-bar), a negro. So Alla Zingi was probably a black Div. He seems sometimes to be called Zingi for short.


antimony is used in the form of a dark powder to paint on the edges of the eyelids. It is supposed to make the eyes look brighter and more beautiful, and also to save them from the glare of the sun.


Thick soup, something like Scotch broth, made of meat, vegetables, rice, and often flavoured with some kind of vinegar or bitter pickle. Thin strips of ribbon-like dough are often put into it.


Streets with rows of raised, open-fronted shops. The streets forming a bazar and the places round about are frequently roofed in.


"Son of a burnt father," "I'll burn your father" (pider sukhta; piderat misuzdnam). Muhammadans believe that at the Resurrection people's bodies will be revived and rise up covered with flesh and skin. If their bodies have been burnt there will be nothing to revive, and if you can't produce your body, of course you (if there is any "you" left) won't be allowed into Paradise. So these expressions mean that a man's father will never get into Heaven, or that you will take care that he doesn't. That is annoying to his son and discreditable to the family.


The all-over mantle which the Muhammadan woman wears out of doors. It is usually black. In Kerman, however, among the poorer classes it is white, and in country villages it is often "butcher's blue." The chader is like a nun's outer habit, except that it covers the head as well as the whole body down to the feet. Well-to-do women have the chader of black silk or satin and cover their faces with a veil of fine white cloth with drawn-thread work to form a peep-hole across the eyes. Poorer women have the chader of cotton, and draw it right over their faces as a veil when our of doors.

Chaimal (More Correctly Chang-Mal)

A sort of hand-kneaded cake, made with dates, flour, and hot ghee.


A spring (of water); the source of a stream.


The Oriental plane-tree which grows to a very large size.


A favourite dish of plain cooked rice.


Some of the greatest of the Persian kings of the ancient Sassanian Dynasty (a.d. 226-652) were called Chosroes (Khusrau). They are so famous that all kinds of legends have gathered round their name, and any very great and wonderful treasure, or anything of that sort, is at once supposed to have belonged to Chosroes.


Chief police official.


A Muhammadan "holy man" who lives by begging.


A supernatural being of either sex, usually wicked. Sometimes Divs are like ordinary people in appearance, sometimes they are very huge or very hideous. They have wonderful magic powers, and are often able to fly through the air. If you are lucky you may be able to drown them, or cut them in half, or behead them, but they're not at all easy to kill. They like to live in wells or caves, and they sometimes try to get human wives or husbands for themselves.


"Son of a dog." The Persian is pider sag, i.e. "father a dog." The Muhammadans consider the dog an unclean animal, and to call a man the "son of a dog." is an insult expressing great contempt and dislike. It is, however, so commonly used that it has become quite a mild term of abuse.


An outdoor servant who runs messages, carries letters, spreads carpets for guests, hands round tea and coffee, etc. It literally means "carpet-spreader."


"Burnt father," "to burn some one's father." See burn.


A measure of distance equivalent to "an hour's march," and so of different lengths according to whether the ground is level and easy, or rocky and up-hill, and also according to the animals you have with you. A mule-fersakh is from 3 to 3 1/2 miles, a donkey-fersakh from 2 to 2 1/2. The most usual fersakh is the distance of a horse's walk, say 3 1/2 to 4 miles. When travelling in Persia you always have to count your journeys in fersakhs or hours, because no one knows about miles, and there are no milestones.


A hand-made shoe, the upper part of which is of white cotton woven closely together by a sort of crochet-buttonhole stitch. The sole is made of compressed rags, beaten together so firmly as to look like blue gutta-percha, though of course it isn't waterproof. At the heel is sometimes a leather tag running up from the sole which serves to finish the shoe, and also to pull it on by. The giwa is very cool, elastic, and comfortable, especially in hot dry weather.


A memorial service for the dead. It is held three weeks after the person's funeral. All the relations are invited to a feast, and afterwards pay a visit to the grave.


A dish of wheat, meat, and ghee pounded together for hours till they form a sort of paste.


A soft sweetmeat like muddy Turkish delight.


A bag made of a goat-skin prepared to keep dry things in, such as flour.

henna is a sort of plant, the leaves of which are dried and ground into powder. This powder is used for dyeing certain parts of the body, especially the hair and beard, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, and the finger- and toe-nails. It is moistened and bound on the hands or head with cotton bandages and left so all night. By morning the colour has caught. The colour is a bright orange red, but when the hair is dark it only gives it a sort of dark red undertone. On the other hand, when an old man dyes his white beard with henna it turns a bright orange colour. Most of the henna used in Persia is grown in the districts of Bam and Nermashlr, east of Kerman. The bulk of it is then taken and ground in Yezd, whence it is sent by caravan all over the country.