Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales , at sacred-texts.com
"No," returned the man, "it was you who roused me." Then his wife recounted what she had seen and heard in her dream. "Then that was why you woke me," muttered her husband, and turning over went to sleep again. To his wife, however, the dream was a thing of good omen.
Rising next morning, the woman advised her husband to go down to the seashore. "It might be no vain dream after all," she mused. "Do not be foolish," retorted her husband, "our kismet is not in dreams; if Allah has any gift to bestow on us He will do it by other means." His wife, how. ever, gave him no peace. "Nevertheless go," she insisted; "the sea will not engulf you, and maybe Allah will bless us in this wise." The man could not further withstand his wife, so when he went out for a stroll, he took the direction of the seashore.
While pacing up and down he noticed that some dark object was being washed ashore on the crest of the billows. As it came nearer he could see that it was a pot, the mouth of which was securely bound. Alternating betwixt hope and fear, he seized the pot and with a bismillah opened it. Imagine his joy to find therein two newborn babes.
When Ahmed Aga saw them he was like a child himself; in his delight he knew not what to do first. Taking off his cloak, he wrapped the babes carefully in it and ran all the way home. He arrived out of breath, and dropped the bundle in his wife's lap. When she opened it and saw what it contained she too was frantic with joy, kissing the children and pressing them to her heart. The babes being hungry soon began to cry lustily. This brought the worthy couple to their senses, and soon Ahmed was on the road in search of a nurse for their unexpected family. Before long he found a suitable woman, and engaged her at a very generous wage. As soon as she arrived the cries of the infants were stilled immediately. On the following day two more nurses were engaged, and thus cared for the children, a boy and a girl, grew fat and strong.
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The false woman sat by him and whispered in his ear
attempt to deceive him, and he drove her out of his house. The poor creature had not a friend in the world, and went forth weeping bitterly.
She wandered on from one hill to another, until one day, although it was dark, it seemed as though each hill was a different colour from the others. Fear seized upon her heart and tears started from her eyes. Hunger and fatigue overcame her, and she knew not what to do. Seeing a tree, she climbed up to spend the night in it and await Allah's pleasure toward her. Having settled herself among the leafy branches, she wept herself to sleep. When morning dawned she descended in the hope of meeting with a passer by or coming to a village where she might obtain a little bread.
But, alas! no aid was nigh, and after wandering for many hours she sank down from sheer exhaustion. Presently, however, she saw in the distance a shepherd, and, summoning the remainder of her little strength, she accosted him. Offering her bread, the shepherd asked her trouble. When he had heard it he took pity upon her and led her home to his wife, his son, and his daughter.
As time went on the poor woman had almost forgotten her sorrow, excepting her grief for the loss of her children, over whom she often sighed and wept. How fared they in the meantime?
With the good Ahmed Aga and his wife they grew up to their fourteenth
year and went together to school. One day the boy was playing with a companion, who, jealous of his superiority over him, said: "Be off, you fatherless and motherless brat, found by Ahmed Aga on the seashore." At these words the boy's brow became clouded, and he ran away angrily to his foster-mother, telling her what had been said to him. She endeavoured to calm him, but that same night the boy dreamt of the shepherd's hut and of his mother, who in the dream related all her sufferings. When he repeated the dream to his sister, lo! she also had had a similar dream. Then the boy knew that what his playfellows had taunted him with was no untruth, but the fact. They went together to their kind foster-father and told him what they had both dreamt. The good man was troubled, but confessed that he had indeed found them in a pot washed up by the waves; of their mother he knew nothing. The
brother and sister were in despair at the thought of their poor mother living in a shepherd's cottage. It was impossible to comfort them, and finally the boy declared his intention of setting out to find his mother. His sister was left behind in the kind hands of her foster-parents.
Spurred on by his heroic courage and anxiety for his mother, the boy made all haste, and as he lay down to rest under the stars one night the place of his mother's sojourn was revealed to him in a dream. To cut our story shorter, we will only say that in one day he covered a five-days, journey without experiencing either hunger or fear. As he followed the course indicated in his dream he found his further progress barred by a hideous dragon. The boy had no weapon, but picking up a large stone he flung it at the ugly beast with such tremendous force that the creature reeled backward and fell to the earth. "If you are a man throw another stone at me," shouted the dragon; but the youth went his way, leaving the dragon to perish.
Indefatigably the boy travelled, and in due time reached the valley where his mother had once spent the night in a tree. Here he stopped, and at the foot of the tree sought the rest that had long been denied him. While he slept, the brother of the dead dragon, having heard what had happened, came in search of the boy. The monster's heavy strides caused the earth to tremble and awoke the youth. "I am certain you are the youth who has killed my brother," began the dragon. "Now it is my turn." Saying this, with jaws foaming and fire issuing from his nostrils, he sprang upon the lad. In self-defence the youth grasped the dragon's foreleg, using such strength that he tore it from the body and flung it away. Then the dragon sank down weakening from loss of blood, saying: "To him who has taken my life belongs my treasure." The unwieldy beast rolled over and over and finally disappeared into a cavern at the foot of a mountain.
Prompted by curiosity, the youth glanced into the mouth of the cavern and saw a staircase leading downward. Descending, he found a palace,
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which he entered and explored in all directions. In one apartment was a maiden sitting on a throne--a maiden so lovely that his heart was a thou sand times filled with love of her. On her part the maiden was enraptured with the youth's comeliness; but, not knowing of the dragon's destruction, she cried: "Woe unto us! If the dragon sees this youth he will kill us both." Then addressing the youth she asked: "How came you into this palace of the Breathless Dragon? Whomsoever he looks upon is slain by his mere glance."
to perform; when that is done, we will return and take away as much of this treasure as we please."
Thus they departed, and at some distance saw the shepherd's hut which sheltered the youth's mother. At once he recognised it as the building seen in his dream. Hurrying up, he knocked at the door, and it was opened by his mother herself. Each recognised the other from their dreams, and they fell into each other's arms.
Next morning they all set off together for the dragon's palace. On the backs of the horse and donkey they brought with them, they packed as many sacks of gold and diamonds as the animals could possibly carry. Then they hastened, with brief pauses for rest, to the home of Ahmed Aga, where the youth rejoined his sister and the mother saw her daughter. Now the joyful woman was repaid for all her past sufferings, and they all lived happily together for many years.
The worthy shepherd's son was betrothed to the youth's sister, while the youth himself was betrothed to the maiden of the dragon's palace. A suitable husband was found for the shepherd's daughter, and they were all married on the same day, the festivities lasting forty days and forty nights, and their happiness for ever.