Samad Behrangi was born in the Cherendab district of Tabriz, Azerbaijan province. He received his early education in Tabriz and graduated in 1957. That same year, he began teaching at schools in the Azar Shahr district, about 50 kilometers southwest of Tabriz, for eleven years.
Samad was fascinated by Azerbaijani folk tales, and his first book, published in 1965, was a collection of several of these tales that he had translated into Persian. This work attracted the attention of literary circles in Tehran. The subsequent publication of an essay on educational problems, several original children’s stories that deal realistically with social issues, and a second volume of Azerbaijani folk tales consolidated their reputation among the new generation of writers.
He was only 29 years old when he drowned in the Araxes River in September 1968. The general opinion is that the Shah’s internal security service was responsible for the accident. At that time, his children’s stories, including “Mahi-e Siah Kuchulu” (The Little Black Fish), his most famous work, were in press and published posthumously. Later, in 1969, “24 Sa’at Dar Khab Va Bidary” (24 Hours Without Rest) and “Yek Hulu, Yek Hezar Hulu” (One Peach, One Thousand Peaches) were published.
He took a critical approach to the content of textbooks and the control methodology of state-sponsored curricula. He considers the entire education system to be outdated and alien to Iranian children, especially those in rural areas.
Samad Behrangi’s popularity continued after the 1979 Iranian revolution. His individual stories, often illustrated by renowned artists, appeared regularly in the 1980s and 1990s. Behrangi’s stories and folk tales have also been translated into Azeri.
“Death can easily hit me. But while I can, I’ll avoid it. It is clear that one day I will be in front of her. The important thing is what trace my life and my death will leave in the lives of others…”
(Of the little black fish)