Isfahan October 1675
My dear father,
You rightfully expressed horror at my comments about how young boys were prostituted in this part of the world. Another example of the heinous sin of sodomy is the story of Saru Taqi. I was told about this when I remarked on the decayed state of a palace he used to occupy, which had been one of the most handsome in Persia.
Saru Taqi started off the son of a baker who first sought his fortune as a soldier. He attracted the attention of a royal officer who made him his secretary.
Unfortunately he become friendly with a debauched group, who, not content with practising their hateful aberration, went so far as to violently abduct boys who took their fancy.
A child who had been lost for eight days was found in Saru Taqi’s room. The outraged parents threw themselves at the king’s feet, begging for redress. The king was in a jocular mood and, with a smile on his face replied “Well, go and castrate him.”
In their fury the parents did not see this as a joke. They rushed to Saru Taqi’s house and when he came out they threw him to the ground, tore off his clothing and carried out the king’s command, with all the ferocity which can be imagined for people in their position. In Persia people often take vengeance with their own hand if the courts sanction it.
Saru Taqi’s employer had been beside the king when the complaint was made and, seeing that the king had spoken lightly, with a smile on his face, he took the liberty of laughing and saying:
“Surely, Sire, it is a pity that this poor man should die. He is intelligent and may one day render good service to his majesty.”
The king replied: “Very well let him be saved if there is still time.” The royal pardon came too late; the sentence had been carried out, but the victim did not die, as he might well have done. The story of Saru Taqi’s subsequent career and ultimate fall is stranger than fiction, but that is for another time.
I remain, your devoted son,