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A look at the life of Samad Behrangi and his books; From Little Black Fish to Translated Works

Study guide




Samad Behrangi is known for the little black fish: the story of a brave and devoted fish who has a big dream in his head. A story that transcends temporal and spatial boundaries and has been translated into several languages. But Samad Behrangi’s life and legacy are not limited to one story. In this article, we take a look at the life of this knowledgeable and dedicated teacher, and introduce you to his fictional and non-fiction works.

Samad Behrangi, teacher of deprived children

Samad Behrangi, teacher, writer, novelist and social critic, was born on July 23, 1969 in the Charandab neighborhood of Tabriz. His family was poor and his father worked for a living; But in the end, the father goes to the Caucasus with the immigrants to find a better job and never returns.

After elementary and high school, Samad entered the boys’ elementary school in Tabriz in 1334 and two years later, in 1336, at the age of 18, he was sent as a teacher to the villages around East Azarbaijan province. He says about his experience at the beginning of teaching: “When I came to the college and went to the village, I suddenly realized that all the trainings of the college teachers were in Kashk. “So I forgot all about it and realized that I had to find a teacher for myself, and I did.”

As a caring teacher, Samad does not limit his teaching activities to teaching students. He tries to persuade families to send their children to school instead of sending them to farming. Also, he himself, who has tasted deprivation and poverty, is better acquainted than anyone with the sufferings of the villagers and students.

Samad Behrangi’s efforts to make children literate should be considered in line with the wave of movements of the country’s sympathetic elites in the 1940s who sought to eradicate illiteracy throughout the country. Movements such as the establishment of the Knowledge Corps, the establishment of nomadic education, and so on.

Despite these efforts, Samad Behrangi was not unaware of personal development. In October 1337, he went to the night course of the Faculty of Literature of Tabriz University to continue his studies in English language and literature, and graduated in 1341.

Begin writing

Samad Behrangi started writing with satire. With the help of his friends at the university, he published humorous newspapers and published his satirical writings in the same newspaper. Gradually, from 1336, he published his humorous pieces in publications such as Tawfiq, Kashkiat, Mahd Azadi and Mahd Azadi Adineh. However, it took Samad 3 years to publish his first story.

“Habit” was the first story of Samad Behrangi, which was published in 1339. Then “Talkhoon” was published in 1340 and “Binam” in 1341.

The 1940s, the heyday of writing

Written by Samad Behrangi

The solar 40s should be considered the peak period of this author. Most of his fiction and non-fiction works were published during this period, some of which became world famous and, of course, some of which caused him trouble.

For example, in 1342, Samad wrote the book “Azeri Alphabet” for Azerbaijani schools, which was introduced to the World Committee against Illiteracy by his friend, Jalal Al-Ahmad. Eventually, however, Behrangi opposed the committee’s changes to his book, and by rejecting the huge money offer, cooperation between him and the committee came to naught.

Behrangi published the book “Pare Pare” in July 1343, which was a collection of poems by contemporary poets. The publication of this book and the subject of the poems caused him to be suspended from work for 6 months. Of course, his problems, such as reprimands, trials, suspensions, and even exile, were not solely due to his writings and works; His outspoken language in criticizing the social and political situation of that time was not ineffective in these sufferings.

In general, the 1940s were a tumultuous and passionate decade of Samad Behrangi’s short life.

Death at the height of youth

Samad Behrangi's grave
View of Samad Behrangi’s tomb

Samad Behrangi drowned while swimming in the Aras River on September 30, 1980. His body was found three days later. His body was buried in the Imamiyeh Cemetery in Tabriz with the participation of students, elites and academic intellectuals and a group of people. Samad Behrangi was only 29 years old at the time of his death.

There are different stories about his death. At first, some of his friends and colleagues, such as Jalal al-Ahmad, tried to attribute his death to SAVAK in order to strengthen the fight against the Pahlavi government, but later, according to al-Ahmad himself and other friends and relatives, he died a normal death. He drowned because he did not know how to swim. In any case, books have been written about his life and the stories of his death that you can refer to:

  • “My Brother Samad” by Asad Behrangi;
  • “Secrets of Samad’s Death” by Ashraf Dehghani;
  • “From those years and other years” by Hamzeh Farahati.

A look at the works of Samad Behrangi

As mentioned, most of Samad Behrangi’s works were published in the 1940s. These works can be classified into 3 categories: fiction and non-fiction and translation. Based on this classification, we introduce some of his most important works:

a. Fiction

Samad Behrangi was a great novelist. He is considered one of the most influential writers of children’s literature. Most of his stories are written in short, simple prose. Although most of his stories are for children, the themes depicted in the stories are a vivid and bitter description of the social and political situation of that time. Some leftist groups fighting the Pahlavi regime used the themes of his stories, especially the story of the little black fish, to expand their activities and encourage others to join their movements. In the following, we will introduce some of these fiction works:

1. small black fish

Little black fish Samad Behrangi

Publications: Nazar Publishing
Number of pages: 48 pages

The most famous story of Samad Behrangi was this work which was translated into several languages ​​in the world and brought awards for the work and the illustrator of the story. The Little Black Fish was written in the winter of 1967 and published a year later by the Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Adolescents.

The story of the little black fish is the story of a small fish who, for the love of seeing the sea, travels the entire length of the stream and in this way, he faces many hardships and difficulties. In this way, he shows a lot of courage and self-sacrifice.

The black fish separated from the sea fish and started swimming. A little later he came to the sea level, the sun was shining warmly. The little black fish felt the warmth of the scorching sun behind him and enjoyed it. He swam calmly on the surface of the sea and said to himself, “Death can come to me very easily now, but I must not greet death as long as I can live.” “Of course, if one day I have to face death – it does not matter, it does matter what effect my life or death has on the lives of others.”

This story was selected as the best children’s book of the year 46 and the sixth best children’s book exhibition in Bologna, Italy. In 1969, Farshid Mesghali (Fiction Illustrator) was awarded the Honorary Diploma of the Biennial Bratislava Prize in Czechoslovakia for his book illustration.

The Guardian newspaper In a reportHas ranked Little Black Fish among the top 10 works of children’s literature.

The book Little Black Fish was published 10 times by the Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Adolescents, until in the 1980s, the copyright was given to Nazar Publishing. To this day, it is still published by various publishers, either as a separate book or in the form of a collection of Samad Behrangi stories.

۲. Samad Behrangi’s collection of stories

Collection of Samad Behrangi stories

Publications: Creative
Number of pages: 368

Because Behrangi’s stories are short stories, most of them were published in scattered magazines, books, or books in the 1940s. The first attempt to collect these stories in a book was made by Behrangi himself in the form of the book “Samad Behrangi Collection of Stories”.

Every light, no matter how small, is ultimately light.

– From the story of Olduz and the talking doll

Years after the revolution and in the late 1970s, for the first time, Ferdows Tehran Publishing House, in collaboration with Azizullah Alizadeh, published a collection of short stories by Samad Behrangi. Since then, and to this day, various publishers have published this collection of stories. These include the following:

  • Samad Behrangi Collection of Stories, Negah Publishing
  • Stories of Samad Behrangi, published by the book world
  • Stories of Samad Behrangi, publication of ancient thought
  • Full text of Samad Behrangi’s stories, creative publication
  • Tales of Samad Behrangi, the first publication
  • And…

Among the stories told in these books are:

  • Olduz and the crows
  • Olduz and the Talking Doll
  • کچل کفترباز
  • The lip-smacking boy
  • 24 hours of sleep and wakefulness
  • Kuraghlu and Kachel Hamzeh
  • And…

3. The story of the hungry mouse

Hungry Mouse Samad Behrangi

Publications: Giova
Number of pages: 12

Some publishers have published a number of Samad Behrangi’s stories separately; Like Giva Publishing, which published this story illustrated by Nazila Asgharnejad in 1397.

The story of the hungry mouse is the story of a mouse who is not satisfied with everything he eats. He starts by eating food and goes on to eat people, but his hunger is not over, until he encounters an old woman and she teaches the mouse an important lesson.

4. The book of legends of Azerbaijan

Legends of Azerbaijan Samad Behrangi

Publications: Look
Number of pages: 272

This book is the result of research and collection of folk tales and local legends of the people of the region of Azerbaijan. Behrangi has brought them in this book with the help of Behrouz Dehghani.

Behrangi’s purpose in writing this book is to record oral stories that have been passed down from people to people for centuries and are part of the culture of the region.

B. Non-fiction works

Although Samad Behrangi is best known for his short stories, during his short life, Samad has also written non-fiction works that express other dimensions of his personality. Some of these works are:

1. Exploring Iran’s educational issues

Digging into Iranian educational issues by Samad Behrangi

Publications: Majid
Number of pages: 120

This effect that can be The most important non-fiction work Samad Behrangi took into account his views and criticisms of the educational system of that time and the content of textbooks in Persian and English. In this book, Behrangi demonstrates the power of analysis and logic to the audience and, like a pointing teacher, points out the weaknesses of the teaching method of schools. He finds the content of most courses inappropriate for disadvantaged and marginalized students in the country. Samad Behrangi believes that this content is imported and does not fit the needs and reality of these students’ lives and teaches them an imaginary and false picture of life.

For the first time, Shabgir Publishing published this book, which was reprinted 11 times. Then Majid Publishing published this book once again in 1977. Unfortunately, the book was not reprinted after that.

۲. letters

Letters by Samad Behrangi

Publications: Look
Number of pages: 118

One of the works that clearly shows the human personality of Samad Behrangi is the book “Letters”. This work contains letters that Behrangi wrote to students, friends, colleagues and در in a short period of his life.

Letters consist of three sections:

  • Part 1: Includes Behrangi letters to students and friends;
  • Part II: Administrative letters and letters to his brother in which nostalgia is rippling;
  • Part 3: Letters to his childhood friend, Joseph.

In line by line of most of the letters, the reader notices Samad Behrangi’s intimacy, compassion and kindness and realizes his high personality.

3. Researches

Samad Behrangi Articles Collection

Publications: Look
Number of pages: 272

This work includes articles and notes that Behrangi has published in various newspapers and magazines on various educational, social, political and cultural topics.

J. Translations

In addition to creating various fiction and non-fiction works, Samad Behrangi also had a hand in the field of translation. He has also translated about 30 works by prominent authors from Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan into Persian. Unfortunately, these translated works are less available to the audience.

Long Live the Law and Other Stories

Long live the law and other stories by Samad Behrangi

Publications: Farmehr
Number of pages: 235

Farmehr Publishing, in collaboration with Sina Behrangi, has published the book “Long Live the Law and Other Stories”. This book is a collection of translated works of fiction by authors such as Aziz Nasin, Mamin Siberiak, Muzaffar Izgo, Nazem Hekmat, Mehdi Hossein and others. Of course, this book has not been reprinted either. In this book, the translated stories of each author have been collected separately and with respect to precedence and latency.

You say

Tell us and the audience which of Samad Behrangi’s stories and works have you read? Write to us about the memories and quotes of the characters in Samad Behrangi’s stories that have remained and influenced in your mind and heart.

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A look at the life of Samad Behrangi and his books; From Little Black Fish to Translated Works

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