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Tales From The Meddahs

Middle East



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The Widow And Her Friend








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Tales From The Meddahs covers a wide range of sources and tales that have emerged from the post-Byzantine traditions of the Turkish peoples.

These fairy tales and legends are rich in cultural heritage, reflecting the unique history, traditions, and folklore of the region.
I love these tales for so many reasons, so let's indulge ourselves and list a few of them:

Turkey is a country with a diverse cultural background, influenced by various civilisations, including the Ottoman Empire, Seljuks, and Byzantines. This diversity is reflected in its folklore, resulting in a wide range of captivating stories.

This collection is rooted in historical events or figures, providing a connection between the past and the present. This historical context adds depth and meaning to the narratives.

Like fairy tales from many cultures, these stories convey moral lessons and values. These tales use imaginative and symbolic elements to teach virtues such as courage, kindness, and perseverance.

Folklore is filled with magical creatures, mythical beings, and supernatural elements. These fantastical elements contribute to the enchanting and captivating nature of the stories.

Folklore has a strong oral tradition, with many stories being passed down through generations. This oral transmission has allowed the tales to evolve and adapt to different times and audiences while preserving their cultural authenticity.

This collection of fairy tales often incorporate symbolism that reflects the cultural and social norms of the time. This symbolism adds layers of meaning to the stories, making them intriguing for both children and adults.

Tales from the Turkish tradition have inspired various forms of art, including literature, music, and visual arts. The cultural impact of these stories can be seen in the diverse artistic expressions they have inspired.

So, in summary, the brilliance of these fairy tales and legends lies in their cultural richness and in the simple and sheer fun that we can have as the pictures in our minds unfold through the telling.


The Gardener And His Wife

A certain Gardener had a young and pretty woman for his wife. One day, when, according to her habit, she had gone to wash her linen in the river, the Gardener, entering his house, said to himself, “I do not know, really, whether my wife loves me. I must put it to the test.”
On saying this, he stretched himself full length upon the ground, in the middle of the room, as if dead. Soon, his wife returned, carrying her linen, and perceived her husband’s condition.
“Tired and hungry as I am,” she said to herself, “is it necessary that I should begin at once to mourn and lament? Would it not be better to begin by eating a morsel of something?”
She accordingly cut off a piece of dried, smoked meat, and set it to roast on the coals. Then she hurriedly went upstairs to the garret, took a pot of milk, drank some of it, and put the rest on the fire. At this moment, an old woman, her neighbour, entered, with an earthen vessel in her hand, and asked for some burning coals.
“Keep your eye on this pot,” she said to the old woman, rising to her feet. Then she burst into sobs and lamentations. “Alas!” she cried, “my poor husband is dead!”
The neighbours, who heard her voice, rushed in, and the deceitful hussy kept on repeating, “Alas! What a wretched fate has my husband met with,” and tears flowed afresh.
At that instant the dead man opened his eyes. “What are you doing?” he said to her. “First finish the roasting of the pasterma, then quench your dry throat with milk, and boil the remainder of it. Afterward you will find time to weep for me.”
First myself, and then those I love, says a proverb.

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