[KING OF THE SNAKES] Hikâye-i Sahmeran [Sahmaran] [with Hikâye-i Cihansâh, Hikâye-i Sems Bânû, Hikâye-i Ukâb, Hikâye-i Sâh, Hikâye-i Sâh-i Sahrâ, Hikâye-i Sâh-i Perî, Hikâye-i Kûh-u Kaf, Hikâye-i Maymûn, Hikâye-i Güftâr-i Mîrân...].

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N. p., Ist., [AH 1293] = 1876.

Contemporary cloth bdg. Wear on boards. Original purple endpapers. A good copy. Cr. 8vo. (19 x 11 cm). In Ottoman script. 84 p. Shahmaran is a mythical creature, half-woman and half-snake, found with different variations in the folklore of Iran, Anatolia, the Armenian Highlands, Iraq, and of the Kurds. The first human she encounters is a young man named Camasb (also known as Yada Jamsab, Jamisav in other versions of the story). Camasb gets stuck in a cave after he tries to steal honey with a few friends, his friends leave him alone in the cave. He decides to explore the cave and finds a passage to a chamber that looks like a mystical and beautiful garden with thousands of off-white-colored snakes and the Shahmaran living together harmoniously. At this point, Shahmaran and Camasb fall in love and live in the cave chamber, and the Shahmaran teaches him about medicines and medicinal herbs. Camasb misses living above ground and wants to leave, he tells the Shahmaran he will not share the secret of her living there. Many years pass. The king of the town of Tarsus becomes ill and the vizier discovers the treatment of his condition requires the Shahmaran flesh. Camasb tells the townspeople where Shahmaran lives, according to the legend Shahmaran says, “blanch me in an earthen dish, give my extract to the vizier, and feed my flesh to the sultan." They bring her to the town and kill her in a bath called, "Sahmaran Hamam". The king eats her flesh and lives, the vizier drinks the extract and dies. Camasb drinks the water of Shahmaran and becomes a doctor, by gaining the Shahmaran's wisdom. Since it is an old story, there are many variations of the same story. In Turkey, Shahmaran is believed to live in the Mediterranean town of Tarsus and a similar legend is told in the Mardin region. In this region, her legend is commonly evoked, with her image still depicted in embroidery, fabrics, and jewelry. The story and imagery of Shahmaran are considered a national treasure in Turkey. Many of the versions of the story of Shahmaran are found in fictional books. This is one of the earliest lithograph books including an old Shahmaran variant as well as other 11 fairy tales. Özege 7557.; TBTK 13423. Lithograph.