Turkish: Kunterbunt

To see all the illustrations for this story, you can read the online edition of the book at Internet Archive: Kunterbunt.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Turkish Fairy Tales unit. Story source: Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales by Ignacz Kunos, with illustrations by Willy Pogany (1913).

Kunterbunt, or Higgledy-Piggledy

WE were three brothers; two of us were silly, and neither of us had a bit of sense. We went to the bow-maker's and bought three bows, two of which were broken, and the third had no string.

In a stream without a drop of water swam three ducks, two of which were dead, while the third hadn't a spark of life. We shot one with an arrow and, taking it in our hand, set off up hill and down dale, drinking coffee and smoking tobacco, gathering tulips and hyacinths, until we had travelled the length of a barleycorn.

On and on we went, until we came to three houses, two of which were in ruins, while the third had no foundation. There lay three men, two dead and one without life.

We asked the dead men to give us a vessel to cook our duck in. They showed us three cupboards, two of which were broken and the third had no sides. In them we found three plates, two full of holes and the third without bottom. In the plate without bottom, we cooked the duck.

One of us said, "I have eaten sufficient;" the other, "I've no appetite," and I said, "No more, thank you." He who said he had eaten sufficient ate up the whole duck, he who said he had no appetite ate up the bones; at which I became angry and ran away to a melon-field.

Taking my knife from my girdle I cut a melon. Where my knife was, there was I. Meeting a caravan, I asked where my knife was. They answered me: "For forty years we have been looking for twelve camels we have lost. As we have not been able to find them, how do you think we could find your knife?"

At this I went away in anger and came to a tree. Close by was a basket in which someone had put a murdered man. As I looked at him, I saw forty thieves approaching, so I took to my heels, they after me.

Running till I was out of breath, I reached an old tumbledown djami [place of worship], in the court of which I sat down to rest. The thieves followed and chased me round and round the court, until in my despair I sought to escape them by climbing to the pinnacle of the minaret. One of the thieves drew his knife and came at me, when with a loud shriek I loosed my hold and fell to earth.

In mortal terror I suddenly opened my eyes — to discover that I had been dreaming!

(500 words)

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