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THERE lived in Constantinople an old Hodja, a learned man, who had a son. The boy followed in his father’s footsteps, went every day to the Mosque Aya Sofia, seated himself in a secluded spot, to the left of the pillar bearing the impress of the Conqueror’s hand, and engaged in the study of the Koran. Daily he might be seen seated, swaying his body to and fro, and reciting to himself the verses of the Holy Book.

The dearest wish of a Mohammedan theological student is to be able to recite the entire Koran by heart. Many years are spent in memorizing the Holy Book, which must be recited with a prescribed cantillation, and in acquiring a rhythmical movement of the body which accompanies the chant.

When Abdul, for that was the young man’s name, had reached his nineteenth year, he had, by the most assiduous study, finally succeeded in mastering three-fourths of the Koran. At this achievement his pride rose, his ambition was fired, and he determined to become a great man.

The day that he reached this decision he did not go to the Mosque, but stopped at home, in his father’s house, and sat staring at the fire burning in the grate. Several times the father asked:
“My son, what do you see in the fire?”
And each time the son answered:
“Nothing, father.”
He was very young; he could not see.
Finally, the young man picked up courage and gave expression to his thoughts.
“Father,” he said, “I wish to become a great man.”
“That is very easy,” said the father.
“And to be a great man,” continued the son, “I must first go to Mecca.” For no Mohammedan priest or theologian, or even layman, has fulfilled all of the cardinal precepts of his faith unless he has made the pilgrimage to the Holy City.

To his son’s last observation the father blandly replied: “It is very easy to go to Mecca.”

“How, easy?” asked the son. “On the contrary, it is very difficult; for the journey is costly, and I have no money.”

“Listen, my son,” said the father. “You must become a scribe, the writer of the thoughts of your brethren, and your fortune is made.”

“But I have not even the implements necessary for a scribe,” said the son.

“All that can be easily arranged,” said the father; “your grandfather had an ink-horn; I will give it you; I will buy you some writing-paper, and we will get you a box to sit in; all that you need to do is to sit still, look wise and your fortune is made.”

And indeed the advice was good. For letter-writing is an art which only the few possess. The ability to write by no means carries with it the ability to compose. Epistolary genius is rare.

Abdul was much rejoiced at the counsel that had been given him, and lost no time in carrying out the plan. He took his grandfather’s ink-horn, the paper his father bought, got himself a box and began his career as a scribe.

Abdul was a child, he knew nothing, but deeming himself wise he sought to surpass the counsel of his father.

“To look wise,” he said, “is not sufficient; I must have some other attraction.”

And after much thought he hit upon the following idea. Over his box he painted a legend: “The wisdom of man is greater than the wisdom of woman.” People thought the sign very clever, customers came, the young Hodja took in many piasters and he was correspondingly happy.

This sign one day attracted the eyes and mind of a Hanoum (Turkish lady). Seeing that Abdul was a manly youth, she went to him and said:

“Hodja, I have a difficult letter to write. I have heard that thou art very wise, so I have come to thee. To write the letter thou wilt need all thy wit. Moreover, the letter is a long one, and I cannot stand here while it is being written. Come to my Konak (house) at three this afternoon, and we will write the letter.”

The Hodja was overcome with admiration for his fair client, and surprised at the invitation. He was enchanted, his heart beat wildly, and so great was his agitation that his reply of acquiescence was scarcely audible.

The invitation had more than the charm of novelty to make it attractive. He had never talked with a woman outside of his own family circle. To be admitted to a lady’s house was in itself an adventure.

Long before the appointed time, the young Hodja—impetuous youth—gathered together his reeds, ink, and sand. With feverish step he wended his way to the house. Lattices covered the windows, a high wall surrounded the garden, and a ponderous gate barred the entrance. Thrice he raised the massive knocker.

“Who is there?” called a voice from within.

“The scribe,” was the reply.

“It is well,” said the porter; the gate was unbarred, and the Hodja permitted to enter. Directly he was ushered into the apartment of his fair client.

The lady welcomed him cordially.

“Ah! Hodja Effendi, I am glad to see you; pray sit down.”

The Hodja nervously pulled out his writing-implements.

“Do not be in such a hurry,” said the lady. “Refresh yourself; take a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette, and we will write the letter afterwards.”

So he lit a cigarette, drank a cup of coffee, and they fell to talking. Time flew; the minutes seemed like seconds, and the hours were as minutes. While they were thus enjoying themselves there suddenly came a heavy knock at the gate.

“It is my husband, the Pasha,” cried the lady. “What shall I do? If he finds you here, he will kill you! I am so frightened.”

The Hodja was frightened too. Again there came a knock at the gate.

“I have it,” and taking Abdul by the arm, she said, “you must get into the box,” indicating a large chest in the room. “Quick, quick, if you prize your life utter not a word, and Inshallah I will save you.”

Abdul now, too late, saw his folly. It was his want of experience; but driven by the sense of danger, he entered the chest; the lady locked it and took the key.

A moment afterwards the Pasha came in.

“I am very tired,” he said; “bring me coffee and a chibook.”

“Good evening, Pasha Effendi,” said the lady. “Sit down. I have something to tell you.”

“Bah!” said the Pasha; “I want none of your woman’s talk; ‘the hair of woman is long, and her wits are short,’ says the proverb. Bring me my pipe.”

“But, Pasha Effendi,” said the lady, “I have had an adventure to-day.”

“Bah!” said the Pasha; “what adventure can a woman have—forgot to paint your eyebrows or color your nails, I suppose.”

“No, Pasha Effendi. Be patient, and I will tell you. I went out to-day to write a letter.”

“A letter?” said the Pasha; “to whom would you write a letter?”

“Be patient,” she said, “and I will tell you my story. So I came to the box of a young scribe with beautiful eyes.”

“A young man with beautiful eyes,” shouted the Pasha. “Where is he? I’ll kill him!” and he drew his sword.

The Hodja in the chest heard every word and trembled in every limb.

“Be patient, Pasha Effendi; I said I had an adventure, and you did not believe me. I told the young man that the letter was long, and I could not stand in the street to write it. So I asked him to come and see me this afternoon.”

“Here? to this house?” thundered the Pasha.

“Yes, Pasha Effendi,” said the lady. “So the Hodja came here, and I gave him coffee and a cigarette, and we talked, and the minutes seemed like seconds, and the hours were as minutes. All at once came your knock at the gate, and I said to the Hodja, ‘That is the Pasha; and if he finds you here, he will kill you.'”

“And I will kill him,” screamed the Pasha, “where is he?”

“Be patient, Pasha Effendi,” said the lady, “and I will tell you. When you knocked a second time, I suddenly thought of the chest, and I put the Hodja in.”

“Let me at him!” screamed the Pasha. “I’ll cut off his head!”

“O Pasha,” she said, “what a hurry you are in to slay this comely youth. He is your prey; he cannot escape you. The youth is not only in the box, but it is locked, and the key is in my pocket. Here it is.”

The lady walked over to the Pasha, stretched out her hand and gave him the key.
As he took it, she said:

“Philopena!”

“Bah!” said the Pasha, in disgust. He threw the key on the floor and left the harem, slamming the door behind him.

After he had gone, the lady took up the key, unlocked the door, and let out the trembling Hodja.

“Go now, Hodja, to your box,” she said. “Take down your sign and write instead: ‘The wit of woman is twofold the wit of man,’ for I am a woman, and in one day I have fooled two men.”
====================
From TOLD IN THE COFFEE HOUSE – 29 Turkish and Islamic Folk Tales

ISBN: 9788828339441

Formats: Kindle, ePUB, PDF

Price: US$1.99 +/- £1.50, €1.71, A$2.68, NZ$2.89, INR135.08, ZAR26.76

URL: https://folklore-fairy-tales-myths-legends-and-other-stories.stores.streetlib.com/en/anon-e-mouse/told-in-the-coffee-house-29-turkish-and-islamic-folk-tales/

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Son of Adam - Cover

Son of Adam – Cover

ISSN: 2397-9607 Issue 81

In Issue 81 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the ancient Tibetan tale of a land owner who takes pity on one of his lowest paid employees. He gives him a place at his table and says he may eat from any dish except the covered dish in the middle of the table.

Well, were the employees able to resist temptation? Download and read the story to find out what happened.

 

BUY ANY 4 BABA INDABA CHILDREN’S STORIES FOR ONLY $1

33% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.

INCLUDES LINKS TO 8 FREE STORIES TO DOWNLOADS

Each issue also has a “WHERE IN THE WORLD – LOOK IT UP” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

 

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_A_SON_OF_ADAM_A_Tibetan_Folktale?id=2DMZDAAAQBAJ

In Issue 57 of the Baba Indaba Children’s Stories, Baba Indaba narrates the Celtic legend of A Good Action. The Dagda sat with his back to an oak tree. He looked like a workman, and his hands were as hard as the hands of a mason, but his hair was braided like the hair of a king. He had on a green cloak with nine capes, and along the border of every cape there was a running pattern embroidered in gold and silver and purple thread. Opposite the Dagda sat his son, Angus Og, with his hands clasped about his knees. He was in rags, and his hair was matted like the hair of a beggar: a bramble had scratched his nose, but his eyes were smiling…..and so begins the legend of the Dagda and the Great Harp.

This issue also has a “Where in the World – Look it Up” section, where young readers are challenged to look up a place on a map somewhere in the world. The place, town or city is relevant to the story, on map. HINT – use Google maps.

INCLUDES LINKS TO 8 FREE DOWNLOADS

Baba Indaba is a fictitious Zulu storyteller who narrates children’s stories from around the world. Baba Indaba translates as “Father of Stories”.

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anon_E_Mouse_A_GOOD_ACTION_A_Celtic_Legend_of_the?id=_EAJDAAAQBAJ

58-a-good-action

When the Son of the Chan was, as formerly, carrying Ssidi away in the sack, Ssidi inquired of him as before; but the Son of the Chan shook his head without speaking a word, so Ssidi proceeded as follows:—

 

“Many, many years ago there ruled over a certain kingdom a Chan named Guguluktschi. Upon the death of this Chan his son, who was of great reputation and worth, was elected Chan in his place.

 

“One berren (a measure of distance) from the residence of the Chan dwelt a man, who had a daughter of wonderful abilities and extraordinary beauty. The son of the Chan was enamoured of this maiden, and visited her daily; until, at length, he fell sick of a grievous malady, and died, without the maiden being made aware of it.

 

“One night, just as the moon was rising, the maiden heard a knocking at the door, and the face of the maiden was gladdened when she beheld the son of the Chan; and the maiden arose and went to meet him, and she led him in and placed arrack and cakes before him. ‘Wife,’ said the son of the Chan, ‘come with me!’

 

“The maiden followed, and they kept going further and further, until they arrived at the dwelling of the Chan, from which proceeded the sound of cymbals and kettledrums.

 

“‘Chan, what is this?’ she asked. The son of the Chan replied to these inquiries of the maiden, ‘Do you not know that they are now celebrating the feast of my funeral?’ Thus spake he; and the maiden replied, ‘The feast of thy funeral! Has anything then befallen the Chan’s son?’ And the son of the Chan replied, ‘He is departed. Thou wilt, however, bear a son unto him. And when the season is come, go into the stable of the elephant, and let him be born there. In the palace there will arise a contention betwixt my mother and her attendants, because of the wonderful stone of the kingdom. The wonderful stone lies under the table of sacrifice. After it has been discovered, do you and my mother reign over this kingdom until such time as my son comes of age.’

 

“Thus spake he, and vanished into air. But his beloved fell, from very anguish; into a swoon. ‘Chan! Chan!’ exclaimed she sorrowfully, when she came to herself again. And because she felt that the time was come, she betook herself to the stable of the elephants, and there gave birth to a son.

 

“On the following morning, when the keeper of the elephants entered the stable, he exclaimed, ‘What! has a woman given birth to a son in the stable of the elephants? This never happened before. This may be an injury to the elephants.’

 

“At these words the maiden said, ‘Go unto the mother of the Chan, and say unto her, “Arise! something wonderful has taken place.”‘

 

“When these words were told unto the mother of the Chan, then she arose and went unto the stable, and maiden related unto her all that had happened. ‘Wonderful!’ said the mother of the Chan. ‘Otherwise the Chan had left no successors. Let us go together into the house.’

 

“Thus speaking, she took the maiden with her into the house, and nursed her, and tended her carefully. And because her account of the wonderful stone was found correct, all the rest of her story was believed. So the mother of the Chan and his wife ruled over the kingdom.

 

“Henceforth, too, it happened that every month, on the night of the full moon, the deceased Chan appeared to his wife, remained with her until morning dawned, and then vanished into air. And the wife recounted this to his mother, but his mother believed her not, and said, ‘This is a mere invention. If it were true my son would, of a surety, show himself likewise unto me. If I am to believe your words, you must take care that mother and son meet one another.’

 

“When the son of the Chan came on the night of the full moon, his wife said unto him, ‘It is well that thou comest unto me on the night of every full moon, but it were yet better if thou camest every night.’ And as she spake thus, with tears in her eyes, the son of the Chan replied, ‘If thou hadst sufficient spirit to dare its accomplishment, thou mightest do what would bring me every night; but thou art young and cannot do it.’ ‘Then,’ said she, ‘if thou wilt but come every night, I will do all that is required of me, although I should thereby lose both flesh and bone.’

 

“Thereupon the son of the Chan spake as follows: Then betake thyself on the night of the full moon a berren from this place to the iron old man, and give unto him arrack. A little further you will come unto two rams, to them you must offer batschimak cakes. A little further on you will perceive a host of men in coats of mail and other armour, and there you must share out meat and cakes. From thence you must proceed to a large black building, stained with blood; the skin of a man floats over it instead of a flag. Two aerliks (fiends) stand at the entrance. Present unto them both offerings of blood. Within the mansion thou wilt discover nine fearful exorcists, and nine hearts upon a throne. “Take me! take me!” will the eight old hearts exclaim; and the ninth heart will cry out, “Do not take me!” But leave the old hearts and take the fresh one, and run home with it without looking round.’

 

“Much as the maiden was alarmed at the task which she had been enjoined to perform, she set forth on the night of the next full moon, divided the offerings, and entered the house. ‘Take me not!’ exclaimed the fresh heart; but the maiden seized the fresh heart and fled with it. The exorcists fled after her, and cried out to those who were watching, ‘Stop the thief of the heart!’ And the two aerlic (fiends) cried, ‘We have received offerings of blood!’ Then each of the armed men cried out, ‘Stop the thief!’ But the rams said, ‘We have received batschimak cakes.’ Then they called out to the iron old man, ‘Stop the thief with the heart!’ But the old man said, ‘I have received arrack from her, and shall not stop her.’

 

“Thereupon the maiden journeyed on without fear until she reached home; and she found upon entering the house the Chan’s son, attired in festive garments. And the Chan’s son drew nigh, and threw his arms about the neck of the maiden.”

 

“The maiden behaved well indeed!” exclaimed the Son of the Chan.

 

“Ruler of Destiny, thou hast spoken words! Ssarwala missdood jakzang.” Thus spake Ssidi, and burst from the sack through the air.

 

Thus Ssidi’s ninth relation treats of the Stealing of the Heart.

 

 

————————-

From ORIENTAL FOLKLORE AND LEGENDS translated by C. J. Tibbitts

ISBN: 978-1-907256-10-3

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

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

 

A percentage of the profits will be donated to UNICEF.

 

Oriental Folklore and Legends

 

 

(Recorded from Ann MacGilvray, Islay.–April 1859)

 

THERE was ere now a farmer, and he had three daughters. They were waulking(1) clothes at a river. A hoodie came round and he said to the eldest one, ’M-POS-U-MI, “Wilt thou wed me, farmer’s daughter?” “I won’t wed thee, thou ugly brute. An ugly brute is the hoodie,” said she. He came to the second one on the morrow, and he said to her, “M-POS-U-MI, wilt thou wed me?” “Not I, indeed,” said she; “an ugly brute is the hoodie.” The third day he said to the youngest, M-POS-U-MI, “Wilt thou wed me, farmer’s daughter?,” “I will wed thee,” said she; “a pretty creature is the hoodie,” and on the morrow they married.

 

The hoodie said to her, “Whether wouldst thou rather that I should be a hoodie by day, and a man at night; or be a hoodie at night, and a man by day?” “I would rather that thou wert a man by day, and a hoodie at night,” says she. After this he was a splendid fellow by day, and a hoodie at night. A few days after they married he took her with him to his own house.

At the end of three quarters they had a son. In the night there came the very finest music that ever was heard about the house. Every man slept, and the child was taken away. Her father came to the door in the morning, and he asked how were all there. He was very sorrowful that the child should be taken away, for fear that he should be blamed for it himself.

 

At the end of three quarters again they had another son. A watch was set on the house. The finest of music came, as it came before, about the house; every man slept, and the child was taken away. Her father came to the door in the morning. He asked if everything was safe; but the child was taken away, and he did not know what to do for sorrow.

 

Again, at the end of three quarters they had another son. A watch was set on the house as usual. Music came about the house as it came before; every one slept, and the child was taken away. When they rose on the morrow they went to another place of rest that they had, himself and his wife, and his sister-in-law. He said to them by the way, “See that you have not forgotten anything.” The wife said, “I FORGOT MY COARSE COMB.” The coach in which they were fell a withered faggot, and he went away as a hoodie.

Her two sisters returned home, and she followed after him. When he would be on a hill top, she would follow to try and catch him; and when she would reach the top of a hill, he would be in the hollow on the other side. When night came, and she was tired, she had no place of rest or dwelling; she saw a little house of light far from her, and though far from her she was not long in reaching it.

 

When she reached the house she stood deserted at the door. She saw a little laddie about the house, and she yearned to him exceedingly. The housewife told her to come up, that she knew her cheer and travel. She laid down, and no sooner did the day come than she rose. She went out, and when she was out, she was going from hill to hill to try if she could see a hoodie. She saw a hoodie on a hill, and when she would get on the hill the hoodie would be in the hollow, when she would go to the hollow, the hoodie would be on another hill. When the night came she had no place of rest or dwelling. She saw a little house of light far from her, and if far from her she, was not long reaching it. She went to the door. She saw a laddie on the floor to whom she yearned right much. The, housewife laid her to rest. No earlier came the day than she took out as she used. She passed this day as the other days. When the night came she reached a house. The housewife told her to come up, that she knew her cheer and travel, that her man had but left the house a little while, that she should be clever, that this was the last night she would see him, and not to sleep, but to strive to seize him. She slept, he came where she was, and he let fall a ring on her right hand. Now when she awoke she tried to catch hold of him, and she caught a feather of his wing. He left the feather with her, and he went away. When she rose in the morning she did not know what she should do. The housewife said that he had gone over a hill of poison over which she could not go without horseshoes on her hands and feet. She gave her man’s clothes, and she told her to go to learn smithying till she should be able to make horse shoes for herself.

 

She learned smithying so well that she made horseshoes for her hands and feet. She went over the hill of poison. That same day after she had gone over the hill of poison, her man was to be married to the daughter of a great gentleman that was in the town.

There was a race in the town that day, and everyone was to be at the race but the stranger that had come over to poison hill. The cook came to her, and he said to her, Would she go in his place to make the wedding meal, and that he might get to the race.

 

She said she would go. She was always watching where the bridegroom would be sitting.

She let fall the ring and the feather in the broth that was before him. With the first spoon he took up the ring, with the next he took up the feather. When the minister came to the fore to make the marriage, he would not marry till he should find out who had made ready the meal. They brought up the cook of the gentleman, and he said that this was not the cook who made ready the meal.

 

They brought up now the one who had made ready the meal. He said, “That now was his married wife.” The spells went off him. They turned back over the hill of poison, she throwing the horse shoes behind her to him, as she went a little bit forward, and he following her. When they came, back over the hill, they went to the three houses in which she had been. These were the houses of his sisters, and they took with them the three sons, and they came home to their own house, and they were happy.

———————

1 – Washing clothes – also known as waulking: in addition to washing by hand the women would also lay the clothes on rocks and walk on the cloth during washing (usually at a river)

———————

Written down by Hector Maclean, schoolmaster at Ballygrant, in Islay, from the recitation of “Ann MacGilvray, a Cowal woman, married to a farmer at Kilmeny, one Angus Macgeachy from Campbelltown.” Sent April 14, 1859.

 

The Gaelic of this tale is the plain everyday Gaelic of Islay and the West Highlands. Several words are variously spelt, but they are variously pronounced–falbh, folbh, tigh, taighe, taighean. There is one word, Tapaidh, which has no English equivalent; it is like “Tapper” in Swedish.

———————

From “Popular Tales of the West Highlands” collated and edited by John Campbell – better known as “John of Islay”

ISBN: 978-1-907256-02-8

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_ptotwh1.html

 

 

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