1152 GMT April 01, 2020
Mohammad Ali Uloumi, author of several books on Iranian folktales and mythology, said ancient Iranians wrote stories for entertainment and they were immortalized as myths. However, the origin of myths varies: some have origin in and strong influence of the Babylonian myths and folktales of Shusha well before the arrival of Aryans in the Iranian plateau,” he said, Mehr News Agency was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Others are shared among Iranians, Egyptians and Anatolians, which were shaped by relations fostered during the Achaemenid Era. A third category is Zoroastrian by origin, as manifest in the Avesta,” he noted.
“In Iranian stories, myths have three distinct gods: Anahita, or the goddess of fresh waters; Tishtar, the god of rain, and Bahram, god of war and warfare; it is surprising that after Islam came to Iran, mythological gods retained their original functions in literature, but their names changed,” Uloumi said.
“This is exactly the same period we notice a change in myths in folk stories; Jamshid is rendered Abraham; Shahrbanou is rendered Fatima, which are religious versions of the mythological characters,” he asserted.
On adaptations by continental authors of Iranian culture and literature, Uloumi maintains that Cinderella was an Indo-European adaptation of Fatima Khatoun, which was originally Iranian. “Myths and folktales are closely interrelated; from a different view, myths are ethnic tales reincarnated in other forms; that is, they have seen a metamorphosis from pure narrative form to a universalistic form and then into popular culture,” Uloumi explains. “For example, the story of Kayoumars was first an ethnic and local tale, which found a universal aspect in Iranian culture.”
To a question on why the nature of literary creation had been relegated to research in the sphere of popular culture, Uloumi lamented the large gap in research into popular culture and folktales. “I feel the significant gap in works of merit in Persian mythology and research in culture and art is a serious preoccupation for me,” he said.