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Turkish Folktales and Fables
Kaz yollasam yolar mısın?
If I send you a goose will you pluck it?
#1 of 2

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The Sultan and his slow-witted vizier dressed in disguises
-- to look like commoners -- so that the Sultan
could meet and talk freely with ordinary citizens of his realm.

If I send you a goose will you pluck it? -- A Turkish Folktale
Illustration from the book
Çocuklar için... Masal Diyarı
Drawings by Recep Aydın

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Turkish Language Learning

Learning Turkish requires a multi-faceted approach -- it's not just about memorizing vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, and learning grammar. For example, you also need cultural background knowledge -- to guide you in the traditional ways of Turkish expression. Without it, you may know the Turkish vocabulary, its pronunciation, and its grammar by heart... but be absolutely unintelligible when you open your mouth to speak.

Turkish folk tales and fables are rich cultural sources -- and the words, terms, and phrases found in them are often used in the traditional speech of modern-day Turks. Consider this well-known folktale example...

Kaz yollasam yolar misin?
If I send you a goose will you pluck it?

Click following for the
Original Turkish-language Folktale
on a separate page.

A figurative translation of the original Turkish-language...
One day the mighty Sultan (Padişah) took his rather dim-witted vizier on a walk-around, outside the palace.

The pair dressed in disguises -- to look like commoners -- so that the Sultan could meet and talk freely with ordinary citizens of his realm.

Along the road, the Sultan called for a stopover at a well-appointed coffee house -- where he was attracted by the appealing sight of a young somewhat cross-eyed girl quietly working her embroidery. When she noticed the Sultan's interested gaze, she invited him to her table.

The feebleminded vizier listened in as the Sultan and the young girl began conversing:

"Where is your father," asked the Sultan.

"He has gone to make much from little," came the girl's cryptic reply.

"And your mother, where is she?" the Sultan asked again.

"She went to make two from one," the girl rejoined mysteriously.

Puzzled by her first two answers, the Sultan changed the subject, saying, "This coffee house is quite nice, except that the chimney is crooked."

Without hesitation the girl answered back, "The chimney may be crooked, but the smoke comes out perfectly straight."

The Sultan, now grown impatient with the girl's peculiar answers, hoped to trip her up with a final quirky question, "What if I send you a goose, will you pluck it."

Undaunted, the girl's reply was immediate. "Indeed I will, right down to the pin feathers," she said.

The Sultan, having had enough of the young lady's brain-teasing replies, bid her farewell and left -- dragging the befuddled vizier behind him.

After the pair arrived at the palace, the frustrated Sultan gave his vizier a tongue-lashing, and made an ominous threat, "You will either learn the clear meaning of each of the girl's answers to my questions -- or you'll face the executioner!"
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The terrified vizier swooned in fear...How was he to know what the girl meant? He barely knew how to read or write or count to 10. So he fell to his knees and begged, "I need time to learn her meaning, Mighty Sultan. Give me 3 days, I pray you." The Sultan huffily agreed and the vizier ran off to his quarters to cogitate.

But he passed the first day without a useful thought, and then the second day too. On the third day, in a panic, he slipped out of the palace and, foregoing a disguise, the vizier ran directly to the coffee house where he was greatly relieved to find the young girl, working her embroidery as usual...

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