EMERSON'S reference, quoted in the previous chapter, to "that mighty Yezdan prophet" who came to the Iranis in their evil days, may be followed by the legend of how their darkness and doubt were dispelled by Ardá Viráf.
"They say that once upon a time the pious Zoroaster made the religion which he had received current in the world, and till the completion of three hundred years the religion was in purity, and men were without doubts. This religion, namely, all the Avesta and Zend, written upon prepared cowskins and with gold ink, was deposited in the archives of Stákhar Pápakán. But Alexander the Great, who was dwelling in Egypt, burnt them up, and after that there was confusion and contention among the people of the country of Iran. They were doubtful in regard to God, and religions of many kinds and various codes of laws were promulgated.
"And it is related that the wise men and teachers of religion assembled, and agreed that they would give to some one among them a sacred narcotic, that he might pass into the invisible world and bring them intelligence. The lot for this task fell on Ardá Viráf.
"Then those teachers of religion filled three golden