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TOLD IN THE COFFEE HOUSE

29 Turkish and Islamic Folk Tales

Herein are 29 of the most notable Turkish and Islamic stories recorded and translated by Adler in partnership with Allan Ramsay.

Herein you will find stories like:
HOW THE HODJA SAVED ALLAH
THE HANOUM AND THE UNJUST CADI
HOW COBBLER AHMET BECAME THE CHIEF ASTROLOGER
THE WISE SON OF ALI PASHA
THE MERCIFUL KHAN
KING KARA-KUSH OF BITHYNIA
WE KNOW NOT WHAT THE DAWN MAY BRING FORTH
THE EFFECTS OF RAKI
and many, many more.

You are invited to download these 29 stories in ebook form for only US$1.99

Link: https://store.streetlib.com/en/anon-e-mouse/told-in-the-coffee-house-29-turkish-and-islamic-folk-tales/

 

It must be noted that while Turkish folklore is entertaining and is guaranteed to give rise to a smile, a chuckle or even laughter, the stories do have a gravity of their own and will impart a wisdom only found in Eastern lands.

During the course of a number of visits to Istanbul, Cyrus Adler* became interested in the tales that were being told in the coffee houses of the city, and many they were.

Turkish Coffee Houses have an intimacy which encourages the sharing of stories. They usually consist of a little more than rooms, with walls made of small panes of glass. The furniture consists of a tripod with a contrivance for holding the kettle, and a fire to keep the coffee boiling. A carpeted bench traverses the entire length of the room. This is occupied by turbaned Turks, their legs folded under them, smoking hookahs or chibouks, and sipping coffee. A few will be engaged in a game of backgammon, but the majority enter into conversation, at first only in syllables, which gradually gives rise to a general discussion. Finally, some sage of the neighborhood comes in, and the company appeals to him to settle the point at issue. This he usually does by telling a story to illustrate his opinion. Some of the stories told on these occasions are adaptations of those already known in Arabic and Persian literature, but the Turkish mind gives them a new setting and a peculiar philosophy. They are characteristic of the habits, customs, and methods of thought of the people, and for this reason seem worthy of preservation.

Most of the stories have been collected by Mr. Allan Ramsay, who, by a long residence in Constantinople, has had special, and many, opportunities for learning to know the modern Turk.
Cyrus Adler (1863 – 1940) was an American educator, Jewish religious leader and scholar.
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KEYWORDS/TAGS: fairy tales, folklore, myths, legends, children’s stories, children’s stories, bygone era, fairydom, fairy land, classic stories, children’s bedtime stories, fables, Adventures, Turkey, Turkish, coffee house, one, man, Ahmet, Pasha, Jew, wife, Hodja, money, Hadji, Dervish, piasters, father, Cadi, gold, Halid, Allah, Sultan, Ben, Hussein, woman, house, devil, Moïse, horse, Vizier, Grand, Imam, Armenian, thousand, Hanoum, husband, Effendi, Chief, Majesty, olives, judges, slave, Turk, Patriarch, Palace, children, friend, goose, Stamboul, Brother, Alas, God, spokesman, Paradise, priest, monkey, smith, Ali, box, people, twelve, Jesus, Khan, astrologer, Janissary, Governor, begger, Hassan, beadle, faith, death, stranger, necklace, blessing, judgment, desire, master, thief, peace, hands, birds, sword, Forty, heart, dream, true, arm, 25, twenty-five, Astrologer, Detective, statement, pleasure, justice, village, farrier, funeral, punish, tailor, spirit, Egypt, baker, alone, Osman, Porte, child, third, blood, short, Avram, youth, possessions, Mohammed, history, journey, despair, Chepdji, window, evil, rose, Wise, wisdom, conversation, disappear, apprentice, protest, Mustapha, steward Scutari, towers, prison, garden, Bekri, Abdul, raki, Janissaries, thirty-nine, horseshoes, Inshallah, Dervish, gunsmith, Chacham, turban, Konak, Agha, thunderstruck, flute-player, gentlemen, medjidies, Chapkin, baker

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Mokete was a chief’s daughter, but she was also beautiful beyond all the daughters of her father’s house, and Morongoe the brave and Tau the lion both desired to possess her, but Tau found not favour in the eyes of her parents, neither desired she to be his wife, whereas Morongoe was rich and the son of a great chief, and upon him was Mokete bestowed in marriage.

But Tau swore by all the evil spirits that their happiness should not long continue, and he called to his aid the old witch doctor, whose power was greater than the tongue of man could tell; and one day Morongoe walked down to the water and was seen no more. Mokete wept and mourned for her brave young husband, to whom she had been wedded but ten short moons, but Tau rejoiced greatly.

When two more moons had waned, a son was born to Mokete, to whom she gave the name of Tsietse (sadness). The child grew and throve, and the years passed by, but brought no news of Morongoe.

One day, when Tsietse was nearly seven years old, he cried unto his mother, saying, “Mother, how is it that I have never seen my father? My companions see and know their fathers, and love them, but I alone know not the face of my father, I alone have not a father’s protecting love.”

“My son,” replied his mother, “a father you have never known, for the evil spirits carried him from amongst us before ever you were born.” She then related to him all that had happened.

From that day Tsietse played no more with the other boys, but wandered about from one pool of water to another, asking the frogs to tell him of his father.

Now the custom of the Basuto, when any one falls into the water and is not found, is to drive cattle into the place where the person is supposed to have fallen, as they will bring him out. Many cattle had been driven into the different pools of water near Morongoe’s village, but as they had failed to bring his father, Tsietse knew it was not much use looking near home. Accordingly, one day he went to a large pond a long distance off, and there he asked the frogs to help him in his search. One old frog hopped close to the child, and said, “You will find your father, my son, when you have walked to the edge of the world and taken a leap into the waters beneath; but he is no longer as you are, nor does he know of your existence.”

This, at last, was the information Tsietse had longed for, now he could begin his search in real earnest. For many days he walked on, and ever on. At length, one day, just as the sun was setting, he saw before him a large sea of water of many beautiful colours. Stepping into it, he began to ask the same question; but at every word he uttered, the sea rose up, until at length it covered his head, and he began falling, falling through the deep sea.

Suddenly he found himself upon dry ground, and upon looking round he saw flocks and herds, flowers and fruit, on every side. At first he was too much astonished to speak, but after a little while he went up to one of the herd boys and asked him if he had ever seen his (Tsietse’s) father. The herd boy told him many strangers visited that place, and he had better see the chief, who would be able to answer his question.

When Tsietse had told his story to the chief, the old man knew at once that the great snake which dwelt in their midst must be the child’s father; so, bidding the boy remain and rest, he went off to consult with the snake as to how they should tell Tsietse the truth without frightening him; but as they talked, Tsietse ran up to them, and, seeing the snake, at once embraced it, for he knew it was his father.

Then there was great joy in the heart of Morongoe, for he knew that by his son’s aid he should be able to overcome his enemy, and return at length to his wife and home. So he told Tsietse how Tau had persuaded the old witch doctor to turn him into a snake, and banish him to this world below the earth. Soon afterwards Tsietse returned to his home, but he was no longer a child, but a noble youth, with a brave, straight look that made the wicked afraid. Very gently he told his mother all that had happened to him, and how eager his father was to return to his home. Mokete consulted an old doctor who lived in the mountain alone, and who told her she must get Tsietse to bring his father to the village in the brightness of the day-time, but that he must be so surrounded by his followers from the land beyond that none of his own people would be able to see him.

Quickly the news spread through the village that Morongoe had been found by his son and was returning to his people.

At length Tsietse was seen approaching with a great crowd of followers, while behind them came all the cattle which had been driven into the pools to seek Morongoe. As they approached Mokete’s house the door opened and the old doctor stood upon the threshold.

Making a sign to command silence, he said:”My children, many years ago your chief received a grievous wrong at the hand of his enemy, and was turned into a snake, but by the love and faithfulness of his son he is restored to you this day, and the wiles of his enemy are made of no account. Cover, then, your eyes, my children, lest the Evil Eye afflict you.”

He then bade the snake, which was in the centre of the crowd, enter the hut, upon which he shut the door, and set fire to the hut. The people, when they saw the flames, cried out in horror, but the old doctor bade them be still, for that no harm would come to their chief, but rather a great good. When everything was completely burnt, the doctor took from the middle of the ruins a large burnt ball; this he threw into the pool near by, and lo! from the water up rose Morongoe, clad in a kaross, the beauty of which was beyond all words, and carrying in his hand a stick of shining black, like none seen on this earth before, in beauty, or colour, or shape. Thus was the spell broken through the devotion of a true son, and peace and happiness restored, not only to Mokete’s heart, but to the whole village.

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This book raises funds for the SENTABALE charity in the African mountain Kingdom of Lesotho – supporting children orphaned by AIDS.

For more info, a table of contents and to buy – click on this link http://abelapublishing.com/folklore-and-tales-from-lesotho_p26444658.htm

Folklore and Tales from Lesotho - cover art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISBN 978-1-909302-56-3

 

THERE was once upon a time a young girl named Japonel, the daughter of a wood-cutter, and of all things that lived by the woodside, she was the most fair.

Her hair in its net was like a snared sunbeam, and her face like a spring over which roses leaned down and birds hung fluttering to drink—such being the in-dwelling presence of her eyes and her laughing lips and her cheeks.

Whenever she crossed the threshold of her home, the birds and the flowers began calling to her, “Look up, Japonel! Look down, Japonel!” for the sight of the sweet face they loved so much. The squirrel called over its bough, “Look up, Japonel!” and the rabbit from between the roots, “Japonel, look down!” And Japonel, as she went, looked up and looked down, and laughed, thinking what a sweet-sounding place the world was.

Her mother, looking at her from day to day, became afraid: she said to the wood-cutter, “Our child is too fair; she will get no good of it.”

But her husband answered, “Good wife, why should it trouble you? What is there in these quiet parts that can harm her? Keep her only from the pond in the wood, lest the pond-witch see her and become envious.”

“Do not go near water, or you may fall in!” said her mother one day as she saw Japonel bending down to look at her face in a rain-puddle by the road.

Japonel laughed softly. “O silly little mother, how can I fall into a puddle that is not large enough for my two feet to stand in?”

But the mother thought to herself, when Japonel grows older and finds the pond in the wood, she will go there to look at her face, unless she has something better to see it in at home. So from the next pedlar who came that way she bought a little mirror and gave it to Japonel, that in it she might see her face with its spring-like beauty, and so have no cause to go near the pond in the wood. The lovely girl, who had never seen a mirror in her life, took the rounded glass in her hand and gazed for a long time without speaking, wondering more and more at her own loveliness. Then she went softly away with it into her own chamber, and wishing to find a name for a thing she loved so much, she called it, “Stream’s eye,” and hung it on the wall beside her bed.

In the days that followed, the door of her chamber would be often shut, and her face seldom seen save of herself alone. And “Look up, Japonel! Look down, Japonel!” was a sound she no longer cared to hear as she went through the woods; for the memory of “Stream’s eye” was like a dream that clung to her, and floated in soft ripples on her face.

She grew tall like an aspen, and more fair, but pale. Her mother said, “Woe is me, for now I have made her vain through showing her her great beauty.” And to Japonel herself she said, “Oh, my beautiful, my bright darling, though I have made thee vain, I pray thee to punish me not. Do not go near the pond in the wood to look in it, or an evil thing will happen to thee.” And Japonel smiled dreamily amid half-thoughts, and kissing her mother, “Dear mother,” she said, “does ‘Stream’s eye’ tell me everything of my beauty, or am I in other eyes still fairer?” Then her mother answered sadly, “Nay, but I trust the open Eye of God finds in thee a better beauty than thy mirror can tell thee of.”

Japonel, when she heard that answer, went away till she came to the pond in the wood. It lay down in a deep hollow, and drank light out of a clear sky, which, through a circle of dark boughs, ever looked down on it. “Perhaps,” she said to herself, “it is here that God will open His Eye and show me how much fairer I am than even ‘Stream’s eye’ can tell me.” But she thought once of her mother’s words, and went by.

Then she turned again, “It is only that my mother fears lest I become vain. What harm can come if I do look once? it will be in my way home.” So she crept nearer and nearer to the pond, saying to herself, “To see myself once as fair as God sees me cannot be wrong. Surely that will not make me more vain.” And when she came through the last trees, and stood near the brink, she saw before her a little old woman, dressed in green, kneeling by the water and looking in.

“There at least,” she said to herself, “is one who looks in without any harm happening to her. I wonder what it is she sees that she stays there so still.” And coming a little nearer, “Good dame,” called Japonel, “what is it you have found there, that you gaze at so hard?” And the old woman, without moving or looking up, answered, “My own face; but a hundred times younger and fairer, as it was in my youth.”

Then thought Japonel, “How should I look now, who am fair and in the full bloom of my youth? It is because my mother fears lest I shall become vain that she warned me.” So she came quickly and knelt down by the old woman and looked in. And even as she caught sight of her face gazing up, pale and tremulous (“Quick, go away!” its lips seemed to be saying), the old woman slid down from the bank and caught hold of her reflection with green, weed-like arms, and drew it away into the pool’s still depths below. Beneath Japonel’s face lay nothing now but blank dark water, and far away in, a faint face gazed back beseeching, and its lips moved with an imprisoned prayer that might not make itself heard. Only three bubbles rose to the surface, and broke into three separate sighs like the shadow of her own name. Then the pond-witch stirred the mud, and all trace of that lost image went out, and Japonel was left alone.

She rose, expecting to see nothing, to be blind; but the woods were there, night shadows were gathering to their tryst under the boughs, and brighter stars had begun blotting the semi-brightness of the sky. All the way home she went feebly, not yet resolved of the evil that had come upon her. She stole quietly to her own little room in the fading light, and took down “Stream’s eye” from the wall. Then she fell forward upon the bed, for all the surface of her glass was grown blank: never could she hope to look upon her own face again.

The next morning she hung her head low, for she feared all her beauty was flown from her, till she heard her father say, “Wife, each day it seems to me our Japonel grows more fair.” And her mother answered, sighing, “She is too fair, I know.”

Then Japonel set out once more for the pond in the wood. As she went the birds and the flowers sang to her, “Look up, Japonel; look down, Japonel!” but Japonel went on, giving them no heed. She came to the water’s side, and leaning over, saw far down in a tangle of green weeds a face that looked back to hers, faint and blurred by the shimmering movement of the water. Then, weeping, she wrung her hands and cried:

“Ah! sweet face of Japonel,
Beauty and grace of Japonel,
Image and eyes of Japonel,
‘Come back!’ sighs Japonel.”

 

And bubble by bubble a faint answer was returned that broke like a sob on the water’s surface:

“I am the face of Japonel,
The beauty and grace of Japonel;
Here under a spell, Japonel,
I dwell, Japonel.”

 

All day Japonel cried so, and was so answered. Now and again, green weeds would come skimming to the surface, and seem to listen to her reproach, and then once more sink down to their bed in the pond’s depths, and lie almost still, waving long slimy fingers through the mud.

The next day Japonel came again, and cried as before:

“Ah! sweet face of Japonel,
Beauty and grace of Japonel,
Image and eyes of Japonel,
‘Come back!’ cries Japonel.”

 

And her shadow in the water made answer:

“I am the face of Japonel,
The beauty and grace of Japonel;
Here under a spell, Japonel,
I dwell, Japonel.”

Now as she sat and sorrowed she noticed that whenever a bird flew over the pond it dropped something out of its mouth into the water, and looking she saw millet-seeds lying everywhere among the weeds of its surface; one by one they were being sucked under by the pond-witch.

Japonel stayed so long by the side of the pond, that on her way home it had fallen quite dark while she was still in the middle of the wood. Then all at once she heard a bird with loud voice cry out of the darkness, “Look up, Japonel!” The cry was so sudden and so strange, coming at that place and that hour, that all through her grief she heard it, and stopped to look up. Again in the darkness she heard the bird cry, “Why do you weep, Japonel?” Japonel said, “Because the pond-witch has carried away my beautiful reflection in the water, so that I can see my own face no more.”

Then the bird said, “Why have you not done as the birds do? She is greedy; so they throw in millet-seeds, and then she does not steal the reflection of their wings when they pass over.” And Japonel answered, “Because I did not know that, therefore I am to-day the most miserable of things living.” Then said the bird, “Come to-morrow, and you shall be the happiest.”

So the next day Japonel went and sat by the pond in the wood, waiting to be made the happiest, as the bird had promised her. All day long great flocks of birds went to and fro, and the pond became covered with seeds. Japonel looked; “Why, they are poppy-seeds!” she cried. (Now poppy-seeds when they are eaten make people sleep.) Just as the sun was setting all the birds began suddenly to cry in chorus, “Look down, Japonel! Japonel, look down!” And there, on the pond’s surface, lay an old woman dressed in green, fast asleep, with all the folds of her dress and the wrinkles of her face full of poppy-seeds.

Then Japonel ran fast to the pond’s edge and looked down. Slowly from the depth rose the pale beautiful reflection of herself, untying itself from the thin green weeds, and drifting towards the bank. It looked up with tremulous greeting, half sadness, half pleasure, seeming so glad after that long separation to return to its sweet mistress. So as it came and settled below her own face in the water, Japonel stooped down over it and kissed it.

Then she sprang back from the brink and ran home, fast, fast in the fading light. And there, when she looked in her mirror, was once more the beautiful face she loved, a little blue and wan from its long imprisonment under water. And so it ever remained, beautiful, but wan, to remind her of the sorrow that had come upon her when, loving this too well, she had not loved enough to listen to the cry of the birds: “Look up, Japonel!” and, “Japonel, look down!”

——————-

An excerpt from : Moonshine and Clover

ISBN: 9781909302259

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/moonshine-and-clover_p23626220.htm

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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

 

 

Before we start, an explanation of some of the unfamiliar Turkish words used in this tale:

Abdest –           Religious ablution

Dervish –         Mendicant monk

Kismet –           Fate

Padishah –       Sultan

Peri –               Fairy

 

OK. Now we’re ready to go…………….

 

THERE was once a Padishah who had the misfortune to have all his children stolen as soon as they reached their seventh year. Grief at this terrible affliction caused him almost to lose his reason, “Forty children have been born to me,” said he, “each seeming more beautiful than the one which preceded it, so that I never tired of regarding them. O that one at least had been spared to me! Better that I should have had none than that each should have caused me so much grief.” He brooded continually over the loss of his children, and at length, unable to endure it longer, he left his palace at night and wandered no one knew whither. When morning broke he was already a good distance from his capital. Presently he reached a spring, and was about to take an abdest to say the prayer namaz, when he observed what appeared like a black cloud in the sky, moving towards him.

 

When it came quite near he saw that it was a flight of forty birds, which, twittering and cooing, alighted at the spring.

 

The Padishah and the Dragon from Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales

Alarmed, the Padishah hid himself. As they drank at the spring one of the birds said: “Mother’s-milk was never our kismet. We must perforce drink mountain water. Neither father nor mother care for us.” Then said another: “Even if they think about us, they cannot know where we are.” At these words they flew away. The Padishah murmured to himself: “Poor things! Even such small creatures, it seems, grieve over the absence of their parents.”

 

When he had taken his abdest and said his prayers the day had fully dawned and the nightingales filled the air with their delightful songs Having travelled all night, he could not keep his eyes open longer from fatigue, and he fell into a slumber while his mind was still occupied with thoughts of his lost children. In a dream he saw a dervish approaching him. The Padishah offered him a place at his side and made the newcomer the confidant of his sorrow.

 

"The Padishah Offered him a place" from Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales

Now the dervish knew what had befallen the Padishah’s children, and said: “My Shah, grieve not; though thou seest not thy children, thy children see thee. The birds that came to the spring while thou wast praying were thy children. They were stolen by the peris, and their abode is at a year’s distance from here. They can, if they will, fly not only here but even into thy palace, but

they fear the peris. When thou departest from here, drink like the doves from the spring, and Allah will restore to thee thy children.”

 

The Padishah woke up from his sleep and, reflecting a little, he remembered the words of the dervish in his dream, and he decided to bend his steps towards the spring. What a sight his eyes beheld there! Blood was flowing from the spring. Alarmed, he wondered whether he were sleeping or waking. Presently the sun appeared above the horizon and he was convinced it was no dream. Closing his eyes and repressing his aversion, he drank from the bloody spring as though it were pure water; then, turning to the right, he hastened on his way.

 

All at once he saw in the distance what seemed like a great army drawn up in battle array. Not knowing whether they were enemies or friends, he hesitated about proceeding, but at length resolved to go forward and take his chance. On approaching the army he was surprised to find it was composed of dragons of all sizes, the smallest, however, being as large as a camel. “Woe is me!” he groaned; “who knows but what I thought a dream was sorcery! What shall I do now? If I go forward I shall certainly be cut to pieces, and I cannot go back without being seen.” He prayed to Allah for deliverance from this danger which threatened him.

 

It happened, however, that these were only newly-born dragons, the oldest being but a few days old. None of them had their eyes open, Thus they were wandering about blindly, unable to find their home, though keeping together by instinct.

 

This discovery was very reassuring for the Padishah, who gave the dragons a wide berth and so continued his way without molestation.

 

NIGHT came on, and as he wended his way among the mountains the sound of a terrible howling smote his ears. It was the dragon-mother calling her lost children. The Padishah was seized with fear as the dragon, seeing him, exclaimed: “At last I have thee; my young ones have fared ill at thy hands; thou shalt not escape–thou who hast slain a thousand of my offspring.”

 

The Padishah answered tremblingly that he had indeed seen the young dragons, but had done them no harm; not being a hunter, he had no thought of harming anyone. “If thou speakest the truth,” returned the dragon-mother, “tell me in what direction my children have gone.” The Padishah accordingly explained where he had seen them, whereupon the old dragon changed him into a tobacco-box, which she stuck in her girdle. Thus she carried him with her on her search for the missing young ones, and after a while she found them quite safe and sound.

The Baby Dragons from Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales

The Dragon-mother drove her children home before her, the Padishah still as a tobacco-box in her girdle. By and by they came across the four walls of a fortress standing in the midst of the desert. Taking a whip from her girdle the dragon struck the walls a mighty blow, on which they fell down and a larger dragon came forth from the ruins. The walls now destroyed had enclosed a fine serai, which they entered. The female Dragon, having changed the Padishah again to his original form, took him into one of the apartments of the palace and thus addressed him: “Child of men, why camest thou hither? I see thou hadst no evil intention.”

 

When the Padishah had related his story, the Dragon observed: “The matter can easily be rectified. All thy children are in the Hyacinth Kiosk. The place is a good distance away, and if thou goest alone thou wilt hardly succeed in reaching it. After crossing the mountain thou wilt come to a desert where my brother lives; his children are bigger than mine and know the place well. Go to him, present my compliments, and ask him to escort thee to the Hyacinth Kiosk.” The dragon now took leave of the Padishah, who set off on his journey.

 

It was a long time ere he had crossed the mountain and come in sight of the desert. After traversing the latter for some time he saw a serai much larger than the one he had left. At the gate stood a dragon twice as large as the other, at a thousand paces distant its eyes seemed to be closed, but from the narrow opening between the upper and lower lids came a ray of flame sufficient to scorch any human being that might come within reach of it. When the Padishah saw this he thought to himself: “My last hour is surely come.” At the top of his voice he shouted to the dragon his sister’s greeting. Hearing the words the great beast opened his eyes and as he did so, it seemed as though the whole region was enveloped in flames. The Padishah, unable to endure the sight, ran back. To the dragon he seemed no larger than a flea, and consequently not worth troubling about.

 

 

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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

 

Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales

 

 

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