Spring 2005 (13.1)
Legends from Azerbaijan
The Dove Bird of Peace
to the article
Left: Chirag Castle is believed to date back
to the 5th century. Although in serious disrepair, it is one
of the bet preserved of Azerbaijan's ancient fortresses.The castle
commands a spectacular view of the entire region. Often legends
are created to explain some aspect of a castle's construction
or history. The castle is located north of Baku on the way to
Guba, not far from Siyazan and Davachi.
Photo: John Connor.
Long, long ago,
there were two Shahs (kings) who lived in kingdoms in the East
and who held grudges against one another. Over the years, they
became angrier and angrier and were constantly threatening each
of them announced, "I'm going to wage war!" Everybody
prepare for war!"
Now, the other
Shah had not been to war for 15 years. Therefore, he had nearly
forgotten where his armor and battle clothes were stored. The
day before the war was to begin, the Shah told his mother: "Bring
me my helmet."
His mother went away but soon returned empty-handed.
"Why didn't you bring my helmet?" he complained.
"I couldn't lift it. It was too heavy for me," she
The Shah was surprised and decided to go and get the helmet himself.
But his mother stood in front of him, blocking his path. "Please,
please, don't touch the helmet," she begged him.
"But mother, I am a Shah. How can a Shah go to battle without
So his mother revealed her secret. "A dove has built a nest
inside your helmet. And inside the nest there are three tiny
baby doves lying so safe and secure. Don't touch them. Please
don't touch them. Doves are the most peace-loving birds of all.
They never harm anyone. Every day the mother leaves the nest
and brings back food. She tries so hard to keep the babies safe.
How could I dare destroy their home? If I as much as laid a finger
on your helmet, the mother dove would become frightened and fly
away, and then the tears and sighs of the innocent baby doves
might bring misfortune and disaster to our country. This time,
son, why don't you go to war without your helmet?"
The Shah listened and decided he could not argue with his mother,
and so he decided to go to battle, bareheaded.
A Shah at war without his helmet? The thought amazed the other
Shah so much that he asked, "Where's your helmet? Why aren't
you wearing your helmet? How can you go to war without your helmet?"
"A dove has built a nest for her three little chicks in
my helmet. My mother didn't want me to destroy the dove's nest
so I came to battle without my helmet."
The warring Shah could not believe his ears, so he sent his advisor
to check if it were really true. After a while, the advisor returned
and said, "Yes, it's true. There really are little doves
nesting in his helmet."
The warring Shah was so astonished that after pausing for a moment,
he extended his hand to the Shah who had no helmet.
"Let's make peace together. Let's make peace forever. Your
mother didn't want you to destroy even the tiny nest of the three
baby doves and their mother. How then can we destroy the homes
of thousands of people?"
And so the two Shahs signed an agreement to keep the peace forever.
And from that day onwards, the dove has become known as the symbol
(Literature Textbook for Level 5). Baku, 1994.
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