Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the Water Dogs of Ancient Iran: Evidence here, too, of these sacred animals

The beaver was one of the most sacred animals of ancient Iran. According to the Avesta, beavers are formed from the ghosts of dogs. So beavers were known as "water-dogs." A single beaver was thought to have as much holiness as thousand dogs. Ancient Iranians believed that killing a beaver would produce drought. Corn and grass would cease to grow until the killer received punishment.

In ancient Iran those who harmed beavers had to pay a heavy fine of 60,000 dirhems and kill ten-thousand snakes and tortoises to compensate for their sin.

On the other hand, the Avesta says that goddess Anahita ( on the right) wears a garment made of thirty beavers of fine color and fine quality. This shows that the wealthy people used beaver fur for their clothes.

Like ancient Iranians, Native Americans love beavers. They use beavers' flesh and fur. The Native Americans have named many places after beavers. For instance, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, means "land of the beaver" in Iroquois.

We canoed the Black River, a old favorite southwest of Olympia, Washington, a river that twists and turns and becomes so narrow in places that you have to push through the foliage to get through. And then there are those beaver dams. Gotta get out and pull the canoe over them. These old and grizzly American canoers, although hardly native, love to encounter evidence of the beavers in our midst. -gw

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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