Turkish: The Wizard-Dervish

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

A "padishah" is a master-king, or "Great King." You can read more about the use of this title at Wikipedia. You will also meet the term "lala," which refers to a court chamberlain or royal official.

A "dervish," meanwhile, is a wandering monk or holy man; you can read more about Islamic dervishes at Wikipedia. In this story, however, as you will see, this is not your average, everyday dervish: he possesses strange, supernatural powers.

[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).

The Wizard-Dervish

A LONG time ago lived a Padishah who had no son.

As he was taking a walk with his lala one day, they came to a well, near which they stopped to wish.

A dervish suddenly appeared and cried: "All hail, my Padishah!" upon which the latter made answer: "If you know that I am the Padishah, then can you tell me the cause of my sorrow."

The dervish drew an apple from his breast and said: "Your sorrow is that you have no son. Take this apple; eat half yourself and give the other half to your wife; then in due time you shall have a son. He shall belong to you till his twentieth year afterwards he is mine." With these words he vanished.

The Padishah went home to his palace and cut the apple, sharing it with his wife according to the instructions of the dervish. Some time later, as the wizard had promised, a little prince came to the palace and the Padishah, in his great joy, ordered the happy event to be celebrated throughout his dominions.

When the boy was five years old, a tutor was appointed to teach him reading and writing. In his thirteenth year, he began to take walks and go on journeys, and soon afterwards, he took part in the hunting excursions also.

When he was nearing his twentieth year, his father began to think of finding him a wife. A suitable maiden being discovered, the young couple were betrothed, but on the very day of the wedding, when all the guests had assembled in readiness for the ceremony, the dervish came and carried off the bridegroom to the foot of a mountain. With the words "Remain in peace" he went away.

In great fear the young Prince looked around him, but saw nothing more alarming than three white doves flying towards the river on whose bank he was resting. As they alighted, they were transformed into three beautiful maidens, who entered the water to bathe. Presently two of them came out, resumed their bird forms, and flew away. As the third maiden left the water, she caught sight of the young Prince. Much astonished at his presence, she inquired how he had come there.

"A dervish carried me hither," he answered, whereon the girl rejoined: "That dervish is my father. When he comes, he will take you by your hair, hang you on that tree, and flog you with a whip. 'Dost know? he will ask, and to this question you must answer, 'I know not.'"

Having given this advice, the girl, transforming herself into a white dove, flew quickly away.

Presently the young Prince saw the dervish approaching with a whip in his hand. He hung the youth by his hair to a tree, flogged him soundly, and asked, "Dost know?" When the young Prince answered "I know not," the dervish went away. For three days in succession the youth was beaten black and blue, but when the dervish had satisfied himself that his victim understood nothing at all, he set him free.

When the youth was out walking one day, the dove came to him and said: "Take this bird and hide it. When my father asks which of the three maidens you desire, point to me; if, however, you do not recognise me, produce the bird and answer: 'I desire the maiden to whom this bird shall fly.'"

Saying this the dove flew away.

The next day the dervish brought with him the three maidens and asked the youth which of them pleased him best. The youth accordingly produced the bird and said that he desired her to whom the bird should fly. The bird was set free and alighted on the maiden who had instructed him. She was given in marriage to the youth, but without the consent of her mother, who was a witch.

(700 words)

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