Many, many years ago, before modern medicine and the ability to diagnose ailments as easily as we do today, seizures we frightening and much feared.
In ancient Persia, the ruler, the Shah, had a very
young son, called a Shan(meaning son of the ruler), who was prone to
violent bouts of seizures of unknown causes. But whatever the cause, the
only treatment was to take silk ropes and gently tie the Shan to his
bed until these fits past.
Now the Shah had a small detail assigned
to the task of watching the Shan every minute of every day, to be ready
to protect the young boy, otherwise, while in this state of wildness,
the child could, and would destroy priceless vases, statues, and any
objects he could get his hands on.
One day,while sitting around for
what seemed like an eternity, the guards began to talk among themselves.
The boy had been free of his malady for more than 2 months without any
signs, there was music coming from the bazaar out side the window in the
streets below, the laughter of the dancing girls was hypnotic, and the
aroma of the wine was more than they could bare.
They decided that
they would go out the window and down the balcony to have a few drinks, a
few laughs, and watch the dancing girls for a short time, and then
return to their posts. No one would be the wiser.
They had no sooner
landed on the street and began to enjoy the festival when the Shan had
the worst episode of his short little life. He broke vases, turned over
tables, toppled marble statues, ripped silk curtains, and would have
chewed through the walls if his teeth had been strong enough.
court guards heard the commotion and summoned the Shah, who soon got
matters under control. The had the palace guards arrest, bind and bring
the Shan's attendants before him.
As the men were on their knees,
with an axeman standing over each one, seconds before the fatal blow,
the Shah asked that famous question that we still ask today,
"WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE FIT HIT THE SHAN?"