Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales , at sacred-texts.com
While pacing to and fro in deep dejection, an Arab appeared before him and asked: "What hast thou to sell, father?" The old man showed him the thread, and remarked that he must sell it in order to obtain food. The Arab asked who had spun it. "My daughters at home," was the reply. The Arab bought the thread and paid generously for it. He then asked the man to give him one of his daughters. "I will speak to my daughters on the subject," said the man, "and if I can persuade one of them, thou shalt have her." So the Arab accompanied him home. Arriving there, the father said to his eldest daughter: "If I offered thee
an Arab for husband, wouldst go to him?" She replied: "What could I do with an Arab? Marry me to some one more useful." He then put the same question to his middle daughter, whose answer was the same as that of her elder sister. His youngest daughter, however, said she was prepared to marry the Arab in order to lighten in some measure their burden of poverty.
The Arab accordingly took the maiden under his care, and, giving the old man much gold, he departed with her.
In the evening delicious food was served to her in golden dishes, the repast concluding with a glass of sherbet, after drinking which she fell into a deep sleep. Immediately the slaves lifted her up and carried her to bed. While she slept the bey of the palace entered, and gazed at her in admiration, but departed before she awaked. When the maiden rose next morning, slaves appeared to bathe and clothe her and obey her slightest behest. Such was her daily life for three whole months, until homesickness seized her and she longed for a sight of her father and sisters.
One day she spoke of the matter to the Arab who had brought her thither. "Lala," said she, "may I not be allowed to spend a few days with my father and sisters?" The Arab replied: "Call me not lala:
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my name is Laklak Aga. I am the guard of the palace." Next day she addressed him again as lala, and repeated her request; but the Arab simply corrected her as before. On the third day, however, when she addressed him as "Laklak, my Aga," he listened to her request: "I am longing to spend one or two days with my father and sisters." "Very well," promised the Aga, "tomorrow we will go."
The Arab spoke to his master the bey on the subject. The latter had no objection, but impressed upon the Arab that he must not allow the maiden to remain long out of his sight. Thus, on the following morning the maiden prepared for her journey home with Laklak Aga, who supplied himself well with gold. "Shut your eyes--open your eyes! commanded Laklak Aga, and behold! they were at their destination, and in a few moments the maiden was receiving the caresses of her now happy father and sisters. There was great joy in the house that day.
With the money he had first received the old man had opened a shop, and now the Arab gave him more gold with which to extend his business.
Meanwhile the other girls asked their sister how it fared with her, "Not very well," she replied; "every night I have to drink a glass of sherbet and I fall asleep directly." They next asked her whether she had ever seen the bey. She answered that the Arab was the only man she had ever seen. On this they gave her a sponge, saying: "When sherbet is next brought to you, pretend to drink it, but instead let the sponge absorb it; then lie down and seem to be asleep. You will thus see what happens to you."
When the few days had expired she took leave of her father and sisters and left her home under the Arab's escort. With " Shut your eyes--open your eyes! " she found herself back again in the serai.
In the evening sherbet was brought as usual; but the maiden very cleverly, while pretending to drink it, allowed it to fall into the sponge she held. This done, she lay down and appeared to go to sleep. Slaves
The maiden was accordingly shod with iron shoes, and taking an iron staff in her hand she set out on her pilgrimage. She wandered over mountains, through valleys, and across plains, though on looking back she found the distance she had travelled was but the length of a barley-corn. Pursuing her way, ere long she met a Dew-woman who had a horn
on her head and tremendous feet. She greeted the Dew-woman with "Salaam!" whereupon the creature answered: "If thou hadst not greeted me I should have pulled thee to pieces and devoured thee." "And if thou hadst not returned my greeting," retorted the maiden, "I should have knocked thee down with my staff." The Dew-woman now asked whence she came and whither she went, and the maiden told her all. Then the Dew-woman informed her that Shah Jussuf the bey had just passed that place, if she would go farther she would meet another Dew-woman who would tell her more.
The maiden wended her way onward until she met the second Dew, woman, who informed her that Shah Jussuf had passed not long ago. Farther and farther she went, until she met a third Dew-woman, who was cleaning a warm oven. The maiden asked her whether she had seen anything of Shah Jussuf. "Why dost thou ask?" inquired the woman, who was in fact the bey's aunt. After the maiden had told her story the Dew-woman observed: "If thou wilt, thou shalt remain with me. Shah Jussuf visits me every seven years; thus thou canst meet him here."
Kissing the woman's hand, the maiden consented to stay. But the woman proceeded: "Thou canst not remain with me in thy present form, however, for I have forty sons, and if they saw thee they would eat thee up." Saying this the Dew-woman gave the maiden a knock, changing her into an apple, which the woman set on a shelf.
At night the Dew-sons came home and said to their mother: "We smell human flesh!"
"What should a human being be doing here?" was the rejoinder. Nevertheless, when they had finished their supper the mother asked: "If anyone should stray hither, and, kissing my hand, beg me to receive him as my child, what would ye do in my place?" "Accept him as our brother and do him no harm," answered the Dew-sons. At these words the Dew-woman took down the apple from the shelf, and giving it
a slap, transformed it again into a maiden. "Go and kiss your brothers' hands," she commanded. The maiden did so, and the Dew-sons accepted her as their sister. Shortly after her arrival among them a little son was born to the girl, and him also the Dews accepted as a relative, and treated with kindness.
Some days later Jussuf appeared, looking very sad and careworn. After greetings had been exchanged, his aunt asked him why he was so downcast, instead of in his usual merry mood. "I am suffering the pangs of grief," answered the youth; "wherefore am I sad." The woman professed not to understand. Food was brought in, and while eating Shah Jussuf asked for a glass of water. It was brought by the maiden, and in drinking Jussuf kept his eyes continually upon her; he could not help seeing in her a vivid resemblance to the wife he was seeking. Having emptied the glass, he handed it back to the maiden, who, as though from carelessness, let it fall to the floor, where it broke in pieces. Now the Dew-woman sprang up from her seat, overwhelmed the girl with reproaches, and would have beaten her soundly had not the Shah interceded on her behalf, placing the blame on himself instead of the maiden. The Dew-woman immediately calmed down, and dismissed the girl with the words: "Get out of my sight."
Shah Jussuf could not help thinking of the maiden, and he questioned his aunt as to whence she procured her, and whether she would not sell her to him. The Dew-woman, however, would not agree to part with her, saying that the girl was indispensable in the house.
Shah Jussuf remained a few days longer and then departed. Yet not. withstanding, that it was his custom to visit his aunt but once in every seven years, in three months he was back again. " Thou rascal!" exclaimed the woman playfully on seeing him again so soon. But to the maiden she said: "On thy account is he come; when thou bringest in the food, upset the dish."
They sat down to supper, and the maiden on entering with the food stumbled, and the dish overturned and fell. In a great rage the woman mercilessly scolded her for her clumsiness in the presence of their guest, and would have beaten the girl had not the Shah forcibly held her back, entreating her once more to pardon the poor girl. Gradually the Dew. woman became calm, but seemingly with great difficulty.
Again the Shah took his departure. When he was gone the woman said to the maiden: "He cannot endure it much longer; he will surely come again very soon, and when he does, open the door to him and tell him who thou art. Moreover, wear the dress thou didst wear when with him, and have the child by thy side."
Looking out of the window one morning she saw Shah Jussuf approaching in the distance. She hastened to dress, and, with her son, ran out to meet him. Seeing her in the dress she wore while at his palace, the Shah knew the woman was surely his wife and the boy by her side his son. Shyly and shamefacedly he glanced first at the maiden and then at the child. Leaving the boy the wife fell on her husband's breast, and with tears of joy at their reunion, told him all that had befallen her during their long separation.
Shah Jussuf now sought his aunt and, kissing her hand, begged her permission to take his wife and child away. "Take her and be happy--she has suffered enough," said the Dew-woman.
Now with hearts overflowing with joy they set out for the palace of Shah Jussuf. On their arrival home they were received with every demonstration of gladness, for during seven long years the Shah in his grief had not
inhabited his palace but had wandered over the face of the earth. Their return was celebrated with forty days and forty nights of festivity and merrymaking. Shah Jussuf invited his wife's father and sisters to take up their residence at his palace, and they all lived together in happiness to the end of a long life.