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The Athlete and the Headless Lion by Rumi from Masnavi

Published on March 5th, 2024 | Last updated on March 10th, 2024 by | Category: Learn Persian Online with 400 Persian Lessons + Videos | No Comments on The Athlete and the Headless Lion by Rumi from Masnavi | 108 Views | Reading Time: 8 minutes

The story of the Athlete and the Headless Lion by Rumi from Masnavi with a podcast for non-Persian speakers to learn the Persian language and get more familiar with Persian literature and poetry

The Persian version of the Athlete and the Headless Lion

To read the Persian version of the Athlete and the Headless Lion, click on the link below:

داستان پهلوان و شیر بی سر و دم از مثنوی معنوی مولانا

داستان پهلوان و شیر بی سر و دم از مثنوی معنوی مولانا

The Podcast of the Athlete and the Headless Lion

Rumi’s anecdotes and stories in Masnavi

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The Athlete and the Headless Lion by Rumi in Masnavi for non-Persian speakers

Molana or Rumi’s Masnavi has instructive and readable anecdotes with interesting points. Masnavi’s fascinating stories, such as the story of the Thorn of Existence or خاربن وجود, are very popular among Persian speakers and non-Persian speakers to learn Persian online. Therefore, the LELB Society’s Farsi language teaching team has provided this Farsi language teaching resource for non-Persian speakers by simplifying and editing this story or anecdote from Rumi in both English and Persian versions.

The Athlete and the Headless Lion

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Masnavi Ma’navi by Rumi is a masterpiece in Persian literature and poetry.

این حکایت بشنو از صاحب بیان     ***    در طریق و عادت قزوینیان

In the old days, there was a strong wrestler and athlete. This athlete was very strong and powerful. Therefore, no one dared to confront him. One day, this wrestler saw a picture of another wrestler on the wall with a lion, dragon and leopard tattooed on his arm and body.

The wrestler thought to himself, “I should also tattoo and draw the emblems of a real lion on my body and arms. These roles and emblems can vividly depict my greatness and valor.”

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Representing an athlete’s valor and strength

The athlete looked for the name and address of the most professional tattooist of the town. He finally located the tattooist’s workplace and introduced himself to him. The wrestler talked about his courage, strength and greatness and that there was no one on earth like him in heroism and bravery.

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گفت چه صورت زنم ای پهلوان     ***      گفت بر زن صورت شیر ژیان

طالعم شیرست نقش شیر زن       ***       جهد کن رنگ کبودی سیر زن

The tattooist asked the wrestler what he wanted from him. The wrestler replied, “I want you to draw a lion on my back dexterously, which is my sign.”

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Tattooing a lion on the wrestler’s back

The tattooist took a look at the wrestler’s body and regarded him as worthy of the lion’s emblem. Therefore, he brought his tools and equipment to start tattooing a lion on the athlete’s back.

چونک او سوزن فرو بردن گرفت    ***   درد آن در شانه گه مسکن گرفت

پهلوان در ناله آمد کای سنی       ***    مر مرا کشتی چه صورت می زنی

گفت آخر شیر فرمودی مرا         ***     گفت از چه عضو کردی ابتدا

گفت از دمگاه آغازیده ام            ***     گفت دم بگذار ای دو دیده ام

The tattooist started his work. As soon as the first needle touched the wrester’s shoulder, he screamed loudly, “Oh, what are you doing?!!!” The tattooist said, “You wanted it yourself! You have to bear it while I tattoo a lion’s figure on your back.”

The wrestler sadly moaned, “Where did you start from the lion’s body that is so painful?” The tattooist replied, “From the lion’s tail.”

The athlete replied, “Don’t worry about the tail of the lion, I’m out of breath from the pain. Let’s forget about the lion’s tail.”

The tattooist resumed his work. The wrestler shouted again, “Which part of the lion’s body are you tattooing now?”

“This is the lion’s ear,” said the tattooist. The athlete cried out and asked the tattooist to skip the lion’s ear, as well.”

The tattooist raised his eyebrows and sighed deeply before continuing his work. As soon as he put the needle on the wrestler’s body, the athlete screamed again in agony.

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The cosmetic artist took a look at the athlete’s face, which had turned black, and said with surprise, “This is also the lion’s belly!!!!”

“This also hurts a lot,” said the athlete in agony. This lion is always full, and it doesn’t need to have a belly.”

خیره شد دلاک و پس حیران بماند   ***    تا بدیر انگشت در دندان بماند

بر زمین زد سوزن از خشم اوستاد     ***    گفت در عالم کسی را این فتاد؟

شیر بی دم و سر و اشکم که دید      ***    این چنین شیری خدا خود نافرید

ای برادر صبر کن بر درد نیش         ***     تا رهی از نیش نفس گبر خویش

The artist angrily put the needle on the floor and said: “Where in the world have you seen a lion without a head, a tail and a belly?” How are you a warrior when you can’t bear the pain of a needle?”

In this poem, Rumi beautifully portrays someone who claims to be a warrior. But, this powerful warrior cannot bear or tolerate the pain of needles. The tattooist also blames the warrior for having to endure all hardships and pain to achieve his wish.

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