Folk tales and myths

Turkey: Vallahades (Valahades) variety

PADISHAH ISMAIL (KING ISMAIL)

Description: In this clip Nazmi Soylu recounts a fairy tale from the repertoire of the Vallahades (Vallachades, patriots), a Greek-speaking Muslim ethnic group who, due to the population exchange between Greece and Turkey (Treaty of Lausanne 1923) had to leave their West Macedonian homeland in the Grevena / Grebene area and now live in Cappadocia. The narrator's parents come from the village of Kivotos (Kriftsi). A childless royal couple finally has descendants thanks to an angel who brings them an apple. Their son grows up and leaves on horseback searching for a bride. A rabbit, symbol of fertility and lust, shows him the way to his beloved. Before he marries her, he has to pass a few tests. Though unexpected from a Christian perspective, the young king takes (besides his first bride) a dragon's hostage and a woman disguised as a Moor (Arab) home with him. When the father wants to assault his son's brides, the prince beats his father at the end of the story. The fairy tale is based on the myth of Saint George (Turkish: Hıdırellez, Hızır) and the Dragon. It mixes pagan, Muslim and Christian symbolism. Of all the elements, the dragon (here: dev, ejderha) is most often associated with water. Here, too, the dragon watches over the water of a spring. The whole village is at his mercy regarding whether or not he lets the water flow. The fairy tale was orally transmitted and has no written form. The speaker has a very good command of the northern Greek variety of Western Macedonia, but cannot avoid some Turkish influences. The story becomes difficult to understand due to the frequent use of abbreviated filler words such as ʎe (he says), katás (from: katálaves, do you understand?), áname (from anladɯ́n mɯ́ = do you understand?) or efém (from efendim = my lord).

Cite as: Ʃax Ismaílts – Padishah Ismail (King Ismail); performer: Namzi Soylu, camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru, transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl, Sotirios Rousiakis, editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: mace1251TRV0021a.

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NASREDDIN HODJA WENT TO PRUNE

Description: Nazmi Soylu recounts a short and funny story in Macedonian Greek (Vallahades or Valaades variety) about Nasreddin Hodja. Nasreddin Hodja's adventures were very popular in the past, not only among the Turks, but also among Greek and other Balkan populations. He sometimes appears as witty, sometimes wise, but often as a fool or the butt of a joke; his stories usually have a simple humour and a pedagogic nature. In this example, he went to prune a tree. He sat onto the branch in such a way that he fell down when the branch was cut off. He pretended to be dead. The others believed this was another of his jokes and put him in a grave. Afterwards they said to each other that someone should go and stab the coffin, in order that all of them could see Nasreddin's reaction. A man did this, but he stabbed Nasreddin’s robe with his knife and not the man himself. Nasreddin got up immediately. On seeing him, the man became so scared that he seemed to be dead. Nasreddin laughed and said to him: You came to see if I am dead but you died! Nazmi is good speaker of the Vallahades variety which originates from the Grevena (Grebene) district in Western Macedonia. The narrator's parents came from the village of Kivotos (Kriftsi). They were forced to leave their West Macedonian homeland due to the population exchange between Greece and Turkey (Treaty of Lausanne 1923).

Cite as: Nastradín Χódʒas paĭ na kɫaðépʃ – Nasreddin Hodja went to prune; performer: Namzi Soylu, camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru, transcription/ translation: Thede Kahl, Sotirios Rousiakis, editor: Antonio Fichera, retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID-number: mace1251TRV0022a.

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