The Legend of Bread

Bread plays an important role in Tajik culture and cuisine. The traditional Tajik bread is a round bread called "non" or "naan" traditionally served at all meals. It is baked in a clay oven, called tandur. Nowadays people bake it with different designs and delicious looking shapes. There is one legend telling the story of how the bread became so important for Tajiks.

There were times in historical Badakhshan when bread was everywhere. There was so much bread all over the area that people used it to feed the animals with it. But the bread was even too much for animals.

One day an elderly man was going to Panj from Kabul with a ferry. For payment, he offered the ferryman a loaf of bread. The ferryman found it funny and said to him. “What can I do with this bread? Do you think this a payment?”.

-In my land bread is a precious thing, so I thought it could be a good payment,- the old man got surprised and answered.

-You are so silly, don’t you see that we have so much bread we don’t even know what to do with it,- and he threw the bread away.

Not a long time passed after this incident and there was drought. Because people had a lot of wheat to make bread they didn’t repair the irrigation channels and fields got dry. People started to eat all their reserves, even the ones they threw away.

The old man again crossed the river and met the same ferryman. This time when he offered the ferryman a loaf of bread, he immediately took it. He was so hungry he just ate it with one gulp.  Seeing this, the old man said.

-Look, child, this is the answer for your disrespect to the bread. Learn to respect the bread you have and you will never get hungry.

Since that time bread is the first thing to be put on the table and always treated respectfully, as even a single crumb doesn’t go to waste.

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