The Padishah returned to the dragon-mother and related his terrifying experience. Said she: “I forgot to tell you that I am called the Black Dragon, my brother, the Red Dragon. Go back and say that the Black Dragon sends greeting. As my name is known to no one, my brother will recognise that I have sent you. Then he will turn his back towards you, and you can approach him without danger; but beware of getting in front of him, or you will become a victim of the fiery glances of his eyes.”

 

Now the Padishah set out to return to the Red Dragon, and when he had reached the spot he cried with a loud voice: “Thy sister, the Black Dragon, sends thee greeting! ” On this the beast turned his back towards him. Approaching the dragon, the Padishah made known his wish to go to the Hyacinth Kiosk. The dragon took a whip from his girdle and smote the earth with it so mightily that the mountain seemed rent in twain. In a little while the Padishah saw approaching a rather large dragon, and as he came near he felt the heat that glowed from his great eyes. This dragon also turned his back toward the Padishah. “My son, if thou wouldst enter the Hyacinth Kiosk,” said the Red Dragon, “cry before thou enterest, ‘The Red Dragon has sent me!’ On this an Arab will appear: this is the very peri that has robbed thee of thy children. When he asks what thou wilt, tell him that the great dragon demands possession of the largest of the stolen children. If he refuses, ask for the smallest. If again he refuses, tell him the Red Dragon demands himself. Say no more, but return here in peace.”

The Padishah now mounted the back of the dragon which the Red Dragon had summoned and set off. Seeing the Hyacinth Kiosk in the distance the Padishah shouted: “Greeting from the Red Dragon!”

 

So mighty was the shout that earth and sky seemed to be shaken. Immediately a swarthy Arab with fan shaped lips appeared, grasping an enormous club in his hand. Stepping out into the open air, he inquired what was the matter. “The Red Dragon,” said the Padishah, “demands the largest of the stolen children.” “The largest is ill,” answered the peri. “Then send the smallest to him,” rejoined the Padishah. “He has gone to fetch water,” replied the Arab. “If that is so,” continued the Padishah, “the Red Dragon demands thyself.” “I am going into the kiosk,” said the Arab, and disappeared. The Padishah returned to the Red Dragon, to whom he related how he had fulfilled his mission.

 

Meanwhile the Arab came forth, in each hand a great club, wooden shoes three yards long on his feet, and on his head a cap as high as a minaret. Seeing him, the Red Dragon said: “So-ho! my dear Hyacinther; thou hast the children of this Padishah; be good enough to deliver them up.” “I have a request to make,” replied the Arab, “and if the Padishah will grant it I will gladly give him his children back again. Ten years ago I stole the son of a certain Padishah, and when he was twelve years old he was stolen away from me by a Dew-woman named Porsuk (a Dew is an evil spirit). Every day she sends the boy to the spring for water, gives him an ashcake to eat, and compels him to drink a glass of human blood. If I can but regain possession of this youth, I desire nothing more, for never in the whole world have I seen such a handsome lad. This Porsuk has a son who loves me, and evil has been done me because I will not adopt him in place of the stolen boy. I am aware that the children of this Padishah are brave and handsome, and I stole them to mitigate my sufferings. Let him but fulfil my wish, and I will fulfil thine.”

 

Having uttered this speech the Arab went away (Note: Turkish Dews are also called ‘Arabs’)

The Arab The Red Dragon reflected a little, then spoke as follows: “My son, fear not. This Porsuk is not particularly valiant, though skilled in sorcery. She cannot be vanquished by magic; but it is her custom on one day in the year to work no magic, therefore on that day she may be overcome. One month must thou wait, during which I will discover the exact day and inform thee thereof,”

 

The Padishah agreeing to this, the Red Dragon dispatched his sons to discover the precise day on which the Dew worked no magic. As soon as they returned with the desired information it was duly imparted to the Padishah, with the additional fact that on that day the Dew always slept. “When thou arrivest,” the Red Dragon counselled the Padishah, “the youth she retains will come to fetch water from the spring. Take his cap off his head and set it on thine own: thus he will be unable to stir from the spot, and thou canst do what thou wilt with him.”

 

The Red Dragon then sent for his sons, instructing them to escort the Padishah to the Porsuk-Dew’s spring, wait there until he had accomplished his object, and then accompany both back in safety.

 

Arrived at the spring, all hid themselves until the youth came for water. While he was filling his bottle the Padishah sprang forth suddenly, whisked off the youth’s cap, set it on his own head, and instantly disappeared into his hiding-place. The youth looked around, and seeing no one, could not think what had happened. Then the young dragons swooped down upon him, captured him, and with the Padishah led him a prisoner to the Red Dragon.

The Padisha Whisked off the cap

Striking the earth with his whip, the Red Dragon brought the Hyacinth Arab on the scene, and as soon as he caught sight of the boy he sprang towards him, embraced and kissed him, expressing his deep gratitude to the friends who had restored him.

 

Now he in his turn clapped his hands and stamped his feet on the ground and immediately forty birds flew up twittering merrily. Taking a flask from his girdle, the Arab sprinkled them with the liquid it contained, and lo! the birds were transformed into forty lovely maidens and handsome youths, who drew up in line and stood at attention. ” Now, my Shah,” said the Arab, “behold thy children! Take them and be happy, and pardon me the suffering I have caused thee.”

 

Had anyone begged the Padishah’s costliest treasure at that moment it would have been given him, so overwhelmed with joy was the monarch at recovering his children. He freely pardoned the Hyacinth Arab, and would even have rewarded him had there been anything he desired.

 

The Padishah now bade goodbye to the Red Dragon. At the moment of parting the Red Dragon pulled out a hair from behind his ear and, giving it to the Padishah, said:

 

“Take this, and when in trouble of any sort break it in two and I will hasten to thy aid.”

 

Thus the Padishah and his children set out, and in due course arrived at the abode of the Black Dragon. She also took a hair from behind her ear and presented it to the Padishah with the following advice: “Marry thy children at once, and if on their wedding day thou wilt fumigate them with this hair, they will be forever delivered from the power of the Porsuk-Dew.”

 

The Padishah expressed his thanks, bade the Black Dragon a hearty good. bye, and all proceeded on their way.

 

During the journey the Padishah entertained his children by relating his adventures, and then he listened to those of his sons and daughters. Suddenly a fearful storm arose. None of the party knew what their fate would be, yet all waited in trembling expectancy. At length one of the maidens exclaimed: “Dear father and Shah, I have heard the Arab say that whenever the Porsuk-Dew passes she is accompanied by a storm such as this. I believe it is she who is now passing, and no other.” Collecting his courage, the Padishah drew forth the hair of the Red Dragon and broke it in two. The Porsuk Dew at once fell down from the sky with a crash, and at the same moment the Red Dragon came up swinging and cracking his whip. The Dew was found to have broken her arm s and smashed her nose, so that she was quite incapable of inflicting further mischief.

The Dew Smashed her nose

The Padishah was exceedingly afraid lest he should lose one of his children again, but the Red Dragon reassured him. “Fear not, my Shah,” said he; “take this whip.” The Padishah accepted it, and as he cracked it he felt the sensation o f being lifted into the air.

 

Descending to earth again, he found himself just outside the gates of his own capital city. “Now thou art quite safe,” said the Red Dragon as he disappeared. At sight of the domes and minarets and familiar walls of their birthplace they all cast themselves on their knees and wept for joy. Since the Padishah had left his palace continual lamentation and gloom had reigned supreme, and now all the pashas and beys came out joyfully to meet their returning master and his children. The Sultana went down the whole line embracing and kissing her beautiful sons and daughters, and the delighted Padishah ordered seven days and seven nights of merrymaking in honour of the glad event.

 

These festivities were scarcely over when wives for the Padishah’s sons and husbands for his daughters were sought and found, and then commenced forty days and forty nights of revelry in celebration of the grand wedding.

 

Unfortunately, on the wedding day the Padishah forgot to fumigate them all with the Black Dragon’s hair, with the result that as soon as the ceremony was over rain began to fall in a deluging torrent, and the wind blew so fiercely that nothing could withstand it. At first the Padishah thought it was merely a great storm, but later he remembered the Porsuk-Dew, and cried out in his fear. Hearing the clamour, the inmates of the serai, including the newly-wedded princes and princesses, came in to see what was the matter. The frightened Padishah gave the Black Dragon’s hair to the Vezir and commanded him to burn it immediately. No one understood the order, and all thought the Padishah must have lost his wits; nevertheless his wish was obeyed and the hair burnt. Immediately a fearful howling was heard in the garden outside, and the Porsuk-Dew cried with a loud voice: “Thou hast burnt me, O Padishah! Henceforth in thy garden shall no blade of grass grow.” Next morning it was seen that every tree and flower in the garden was scorched, as though a conflagration had raged over the scene.

 

The Padishah, however, did not allow this loss to trouble him; he had his children again with him, and that joy eclipsed any ordinary misfortunes that might befall him. He explained everything to his suite, who could hardly believe what they heard, it was all so astonishing. No further danger was to be feared, and thus the Padishah and his family, with their husbands and wives, lived happily together until their lives’ end.

 

 

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From FORTY-FOUR TURKISH FAIRY TALES compiled and translated by Dr. Ignácz Kúnos

Illustrated by Willy Pogany

ISBN: 978-1-907256-37-0

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_fftfp.html

Click on the URL for more info, a table of contents and to order in USD or GBP.

 

A colour, hardback collector’s edition is also available at http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_fftfh.html

 

44 Turkish Fairy Tales

 

 

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