The Story of Rustem and Other Persian Hero Tales


This edition of Elizabeth D. Renninger’s retelling of Persian folk tales dates from 1909, the tales in question being adapted for children from the epic poetry of Hakim Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi, aka Ferdowsi or Firdusi as he’s credited here. Names translated from Persian or Arabic often vary from one book to the next, and that’s the case in this volume with the heroic figure of Rostam (or Rustam) being rendered as Rustem. Likewise in the story of albino warrior Zal, the great bird he encounters, here named the Simurgh, can also be found written as Simorgh, Simurg or Simoorg which often makes searching for information about these stories (or their illustrators) difficult.

The illustrations are by JLS Williams, and it’s a shame there aren’t more of them since I like the bold style and heavy blacks. Williams is listed mostly for his magazine illustration so I can’t say whether he did any other book work. The Story of Rustem may be read online here or downloaded here. Rustem doesn’t meet the Simurgh in this collection but he did in this splendid drawing by Patten Wilson.




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