Told in the Coffee House

Turkish Tales

Cover image for


Author: Cyrus Alder
Co-author: Allan Ramsay
Published: 1898
Language: English
Wordcount: 28,880 / 86 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 79.1
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 1,327
Added to site: 2009.12.02 25918

How The Hodja Saved Allah -- Better Is The Folly Of Woman Than The Wisdom Of Man -- The Hanoum And The Unjust Cadi -- What Happened To Hadji, A Merchant Of The Bezestan -- How The Junkman Travelled To Find Treasure In His Own Yard -- How Chapkin Halid Became Chief Detective -- How Cobbler Ahmet Became The Chief Astrologer -- The Wise Son Of Ali Pasha -- The Merciful Khan -- King Kara-Kush Of Bithynia -- The Prayer Rug And The Dishonest Steward -- The Goose, The Eye, The Daughter, And The Arm -- The Forty Wise Men -- How The Priest Knew That It Would Snow -- Who Was The Thirteenth Son? -- Paradise Sold By The Yard -- Jew Turned Turk -- The Metamorphosis -- The Calif Omar -- Kalaidji Avram Of Balata -- How Mehmet Ali Pasha Of Egypt Administered Justice -- How The Farmer Learned To Cure His Wife: A Turkish Æsop -- The Language Of Birds -- The Swallow's Advice -- We Know Not What The Dawn May Bring Forth -- Old Men Made Young -- The Bribe -- How The Devil Lost His Wager -- The Effects Of Raki --

Show Excerpt

He was very young; he could not see.

Finally, the young man picked up courage and gave expression to his thoughts.

"Father," he said, "I wish to become a great man."

"That is very easy," said the father.

"And to be a great man," continued the son, "I must first go to Mecca." For no Mohammedan priest or theologian, or even layman, has fulfilled all of the cardinal precepts of his faith unless he has made the pilgrimage to the Holy City.

To his son's last observation the father blandly replied: "It is very easy to go to Mecca."

"How, easy?" asked the son. "On the contrary, it is very difficult; for the journey is costly, and I have no money."

"Listen, my son," said the father. "You must become a scribe, the writer of the thoughts of your brethren, and your fortune is made."

"But I have not even the implements necessary for a scribe," said the son.

"All that can be easily arranged," said the father; "your grandfather had an ink-horn; I will


Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****
C. Alan Loewen

Fin de siècle Turkey was the realm of Christian, Jew, and Muslim and within the walls of the Turkish coffee house, over mugs of strong coffee and clouds from the Turkish hookahs, the men would entertain themselves by telling each other stories.

The stories gathered by Cyrus Alder and Allan Ramsay are a conglomeration that come from all three world views. Though the tales by today’s standards are highly racist and bigoted, they are quite reminiscent of the Arabian tales told by Scheherazade in One Thousand and One Nights with a fantastical magic all their own.

Craig Alan Loewen

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