Zeher-e-Khoosh (POISON OF DELIGHT)

Legend tells us that wine was discovered during King Jamshed’s reign. King Jamshed’s world was a land of plenty. The earth flourished, he had planted huge orchards and there were large vineyards of grapes. The fruits from the palace garden were plucked when they became ripe and stored in gigantic vats made of wood.
 
In King Jamshed’s court was a young maid, who seemed to be suffering from a strange disease. Her looks had changed and all her friends and other workers at the palace laughed at her or stayed away from her. Even her family members began to avoid her presence. This poor girl could not understand what had happened, she was always sad and her body hurt her all the time. Even more painful than her bodily pain was the desertion of her family and friends. The girl was always unhappy and tearful, and finally she decided to put an end to her life.
 
From the collected fruits, a huge vat of grapes had fermented and begun giving off a strange foul smell. The King had called his doctors and men of science and they had decided that the fruit had become spoilt and poisonous. So they put it into one corner of the palace gardens in order to decide how to get rid of it. Everyone knew that it was supposed to be poison and should not be touched.
 
The young girl walked purposefully towards this vat. She had decided to poison herself with the foul smelling liquid and end her life. She carefully opened the vat and drank some cupfuls of that rich red liquid. She felt dizzy and thinking she was about to die, she lay down and prayed for a quick release.
 
When she awoke she thought she had reached heaven. The garden was the same, the vat still stood near her but all the pain and discomfort in her body had vanished. She realized that she was still breathing and still in the palace gardens. Uncertain about what was happening she again drank a cupful from the vat, felt dizzy and went to sleep. This time when she awoke she was feeling absolutely healthy and normal. Her illness and pain had disappeared. She was very happy and realized that the strange liquid had healing properties and the power to cure pain and sadness.
 
The next day she plucked up courage to tell the Truth and asked a senior lady of the court to take her to meet the king. As she stood before King Jamshed she bowed and told him “Great King of the World, I have some great news to share, but please forgive me first for having disobeyed your command”. The king was puzzled and asked her to tell him clearly what had happened. The maid told the whole story of how she had drunk the “poison” and had found a cure to her sadness and disease. King Jamshed was very interested in this story and sent his personal doctor to have the brew from the vat tested in the palace.
 
Soon the doctors found that the liquid, which had come out from fermented grapes had many curative properties and gave a feeling of well-being to the drinker. They started the practice of drinking this wine in moderate quantities as a drink, which could restore health and happiness. Because the liquid had been considered poison, it was called Zeher-e-khoosh or poison of delight. This is how, it is said, the secret of wine making was discovered in the time of King Jamshed of Iran.