The Red and Black Dragons – Turkish Folktale

black dragon

There was once a Padishah who had the misfortune to have all his children stolen as soon as they reached their seventh year. Grief at this terrible affliction caused him almost to lose his reason, ‘‘Forty children have been born to me,’’ said he, ‘‘each seeming more beautiful than the one which preceded it, so that I never tired of regarding them. O that one at least had been spared to me! Better that I should have had none than that each should have caused me so much grief.’’

He brooded continually over the loss of his children, and at length, unable to endure it longer, he left his palace at night and wandered no one knew whither. When morning broke he was already a good distance from his capital. Presently he reached a spring, and was about to take an abdest [Islamic Purification by washing the hands before prayer] to say the prayer namaz, when he observed what appeared like a black cloud in the sky, moving towards him. When it came quite near he saw that it was a flight of forty birds, which, wittering and cooing, alighted at the spring. Alarmed, the Padishah hid himself. As they drank at the spring one of the birds said, ‘‘Mother’s milk was never our kismet [destiny]. We must perforce drink mountain water. Neither father nor mother care for us.’’

Then said another, ‘‘Even if they think about us, they cannot know where we are.’’ At these words they flew away. The Padishah murmured to himself, ‘‘Poor things! Even such small creatures, it seems, grieve over the absence of their parents.’’ When he had taken his abdest and said his prayers the day had fully dawned and the nightingales filled the air with their delightful songs. Having traveled all night, he could not keep his eyes open longer from fatigue, and he fell into a slumber while his mind was still occupied with thoughts of his lost children. In a dream he saw a dervish approaching him. The Padishah offered him a place at his side and made the newcomer the confidante of his sorrow.

man

Now the dervish knew what had befallen the Padishah’s children, and said, ‘‘Grieve not; though thou seest not thy children, thy children see thee. The birds that came to the spring while thou was praying were thy children. They were stolen by the peris, and their abode is at a year’s distance from here. They can, if they will, fly not only here but even into thy palace, but they fear the peris. When thou depart from here, drink like the doves from the spring, and Dragons will restore to thee thy children.’’

The Padishah woke up from his sleep and, reflecting a little, he remembered the words of the dervish in his dream, and he decided to bend his steps towards the spring. What a sight his eyes beheld there! Blood was flowing from the spring. Alarmed, he wondered whether he were sleeping or waking. Presently the sun appeared above the horizon and he was convinced it was no dream. Closing his eyes and repressing his aversion, he drank from the bloody spring as though it were pure water; then, turning to the right, he hastened on his way.

All at once he saw in the distance what seemed like a great army drawn up in battle array. Not knowing whether they were enemies or friends, he hesitated about proceeding, but at length resolved to go forward and take his chance. On approaching the army he was surprised to find it was composed of dragons of all sizes, the smallest, however, being as large as a camel. ‘‘Woe is me!’’ he groaned; ‘‘who knows but what I thought a dream was sorcery! What shall I do now? If I go forward I shall certainly be cut to pieces, and I cannot go back without being seen.’’ He prayed to Allah for deliverance from this danger, which threatened him.

It happened, however, that these were only newly born dragons, the oldest being but a few days old. None of them had their eyes open, Thus they were wandering about blindly, unable to find their home, though keeping together by instinct. This discovery was very reassuring for the Padishah, who gave the dragons a wide berth and so continued his way without molestation. Night came on, and as he wended his way among the mountains the sound of a terrible howling smote his ears. It was the dragon-mother calling his lost children. The Padishah was seized with fear as the dragon, seeing him, exclaimed,

‘‘At last I have thee; my young ones have fared ill at thy hands; thou shalt not escape—thou who hast slain a thousand of my offspring.’’ The Padishah answered tremblingly that he had indeed seen the young dragons, but had done them no harm; not being a hunter, he had no thought of harming anyone. ‘If thou speakest the truth,’’ returned the dragon-mother, ‘‘tell me in what direction my children have gone.’’ The Padishah accordingly explained where he had seen them, whereupon the old dragon changed him into a tobacco-box, which he stuck in his girdle. Thus he carried him with his on his search for the missing young ones, and after a while he found them quite safe and sound.

dragon girl

The dragon-mother drove his children home before her, the Padishah still as a tobacco-box in his girdle. By and by they came across the four walls of a fortress standing in the midst of the desert. Taking a whip from his girdle the dragon struck the walls a mighty blow, on which they fell down and a larger dragon came forth from the ruins. The walls now destroyed had enclosed a fine serai, which they entered. The female dragon, having changed the Padishah again to his original form, took him into one of the apartments of the palace and thus addressed him, ‘‘Child of men, why have you come? I see you have no evil intention.’’

When the Padishah had related his story, the dragon observed, ‘‘The matter can easily be rectified. All thy children are in the Hyacinth Kiosk. The place is a good distance away, and if thou goes alone, you will hardly succeed in reaching it. After crossing the mountain thou wilt come to a desert where my brother lives; his children are bigger than mine and know the place well. Go to him, present my compliments, and ask him to escort thee to the Hyacinth Kiosk.’’ The dragon now took leave of the Padishah, who set off on his journey.

dracor

It was a long time ere he had crossed the mountain and come in sight of the desert. After traversing the latter for some time he saw a serai much larger than the one he had left. At the gate stood a dragon twice as large as the other, at a thousand paces distant its eyes seemed to be closed, but from the narrow opening between the upper and lower lids came a ray of flame sufficient to scorch any human being that might come within reach of it. When the Padishah saw this he thought to himself, ‘‘My last hour is surely come.’’ At the top of his voice he shouted to the dragon his sister’s greeting. Hearing the words the great beast opened his eyes and as he did so, it seemed as though the whole region was enveloped in flames. The Padishah, unable to endure the sight, ran back. To the dragon he seemed no larger than a flea, and consequently not worth troubling about.

tiamat dragon mother

The Padishah returned to the dragon-mother and related his terrifying experience. Said he, ‘‘I forgot to tell you that I am called the Black Dragon, my brother, the Red Dragon. Go back and say that the Black Dragon sends greeting. As my name is known to no one, my brother will recognize that I have sent you. Then he will turn his back towards you, and you can approach him without danger; but beware of getting in front of him, or you will become a victim of the fiery glances of his eyes.’’

Now the Padishah set out to return to the Red Dragon, and when he had reached the spot he cried with a loud voice, ‘‘Thy sister, the Black Dragon, sends thee greeting!’’ On this the beast turned his back towards him. Approaching the dragon, the Padishah made known his wish to go to the Hyacinth Kiosk. The dragon took a whip from his girdle and smote the earth with it so mightily that the mountain seemed rent in twain. In a little while the Padishah saw approaching a rather large dragon, and as he came near he felt the heat that glowed from his great eyes. This dragon also turned his back toward the Padishah. ‘‘My son, if thou wouldst enter the Hyacinth Kiosk,’’ said the Red Dragon, ‘‘cry before you enter, ‘The Red Dragon has sent me!’ On this an Arab will appear: this is the very peri that has robbed thee of thy children. When he asks what thou wilt, tell him that the great dragon demands possession of the largest of the stolen children. If he refuses, ask for the smallest. If again he refuses, tell him the Red Dragon demands himself. Say no more, but return here in peace.’’

The Padishah now mounted the back of the dragon which the Red Dragon had summoned and set off. Seeing the Hyacinth Kiosk in the distance the Padishah shouted, ‘‘Greeting from the Red Dragon!’’ So mighty was the shout that earth and sky seemed to be shaken. Immediately a swarthy Arab with fan shaped lips appeared, grasping an enormous club in his hand. Stepping out into the open air, he inquired what was the matter.

william de morgan 1880s dragon

‘The Red Dragon,’’ said the Padishah, ‘‘demands the largest of the stolen children.’’ ‘‘The largest is ill,’’ answered the peri. ‘‘Then send the smallest to him,’’ rejoined the Padishah. ‘‘He has gone to fetch water,’’ replied the Arab. ‘‘If that is so,’’ continued the Padishah, ‘‘the Red Dragon demands thyself.’’ ‘‘I am going into the kiosk,’’ said the Arab, and disappeared. The Padishah returned to the Red Dragon, to whom he related how he had fulfilled his mission.

Meanwhile the Arab came forth, in each hand a great club, wooden shoes three yards long on his feet, and on his head a cap as high as a minaret. Seeing him, the Red Dragon said, ‘‘So-ho! My dear Hyacinther; thou hast the children of this Padishah; be good enough to deliver them up.’’ ‘‘I have a request to make,’’ replied the Arab, ‘‘and if the Padishah will grant it I will gladly give him his children back again. Ten years ago I stole the son of a certain Padishah, and when he was twelve years old he was stolen away from me by a Dew-woman named Porsuk. Every day he sends the boy to the spring for water, gives him an ashcake to eat, and compels him to drink a glass of human blood. If I can but regain possession of this youth, I desire nothing more, for never in the whole world have I seen such a handsome lad. This Porsuk has a son who loves me, and evil has been done me because I will not adopt him in place of the stolen boy. I am aware that the children of this Padishah are brave and handsome, and I stole them to mitigate my sufferings. Let him but fulfill my wish, and I will fulfill mine.’’

Having uttered this speech the Arab went away. The Red Dragon reflected a little, then spoke as follows, ‘‘My son, fear not. This Porsuk is not particularly valiant, though skilled in sorcery. He cannot be vanquihed by magic; but it is his custom on one day in the year to work no magic, therefore on that day he may be overcome. One month must thou wait, during which I will discover the exact day and inform thee thereof,’’

The Padishah agreeing to this, the Red Dragon dispatched his sons to discover the precise day on which the Dew worked no magic. As soon as they returned with the desired information it was duly imparted to the Padishah, with the additional fact that on that day the Dew always slept. ‘‘When thou arrivest,’’ the Red Dragon counseled the Padishah, ‘‘the youth he retains will come to fetch water from the spring. Take his cap off his head and set it on thine own: thus he will be unable to stir from the spot, and thou canst do what thou wilt with him.’’

The Red Dragon then sent for his sons, instructing them to escort the Padishah to the Porsuk-Dew’s spring, wait there until he had accomplished his object, and then accompany both back in safety. Arrived at the spring, all hid themselves until the youth came for water. While he was filling his bottle the Padishah sprang forth suddenly, whisked off the youth’s cap, set it on his own head, and instantly disappeared into his hiding-place. The youth looked around, and seeing no one, could not think what had happened. Then the young dragons swooped down upon him, captured him, and with the Padishah led him a prisoner to the Red Dragon.

Striking the earth with his whip, the Red Dragon brought the Hyacinth Arab on the scene, and as soon as he caught sight of the boy he sprang towards him, embraced and kissed him, expressing his deep gratitude to the friends who had restored him. Now he in his turn clapped his hands and stamped his feet on the ground and immediately forty birds flew up twittering merrily. Taking a flask from his girdle, the Arab sprinkled them with the liquid it contained, and lo!

The birds were transformed into forty lovely maidens and handsome youths, who drew up in line and stood at attention. ‘‘Now, said the Arab, behold thy children! Take them and be happy, and pardon me the suffering I have caused thee.’’

Had anyone begged the Padishah’s costliest treasure at that moment it would have been given him, so overwhelmed with joy was the monarch at recovering his children. He freely pardoned the Hyacinth Arab and would even have rewarded him had there been anything he desired. The Padishah now bade good-bye to the Red Dragon. At the moment of parting the Red Dragon pulled out a hair from behind his ear and, giving it to the Padishah, said:

‘‘Take this, and when in trouble of any sort break it in two and I will hasten to thy aid.’’

Thus the Padishah and his children set out, and in due course arrived at the abode of the Black Dragon. He also took a hair from behind his ear and presented it to the Padishah with the following advice, ‘‘Marry thy children at once, and if on their wedding day thou wilt fumigate them with this hair, they will be for ever delivered from the power of the Porsuk-Dew.’’ The Padishah expressed his thanks, bade the Black Dragon a hearty goodbye, and all preceded on their way.

During the journey the Padishah entertained his children by relating his adventures, and then he listened to those of his sons and daughters. Suddenly a fearful storm arose. None of the party knew what their fate would be, yet all waited in trembling expectancy. At length one of the maidens exclaimed, ‘‘Dear father and Shah, I have heard the Arab say that whenever the Porsuk-Dew he is accompanied by a storm such as this. I believe it is he who is now passing, and no other.’’ Collecting his courage, the Padishah drew forth the hair of the Red Dragon and broke it in two. The Porsuk Dew at once fell down from the sky with a crash, and at the same moment the Red Dragon came up swinging and cracking his whip. The Dew was found to have broken his arms and smashed his nose, so that he was quite incapable of inflicting further mischief.

The Padishah was exceedingly afraid lest he should lose one of his children again, but the Red Dragon reassured him. ‘‘Fear not, my Shah,’’ said he; ‘‘take this whip.’’ The Padishah accepted it, and as he cracked it he felt the sensation of being lifted into the air. Descending to earth again, he found himself just outside the gates of his own capital city. ‘‘Now thou art quite safe,’’ said the Red Dragon as he disappeared. At sight of the domes and minarets and familiar walls of their birthplace they all cast themselves on their knees and wept for joy. Since the Padishah had left his palace continual lamentation and gloom had reigned supreme, and now all the pashas and beys came out joyfully to meet their returning master and his children. The Sultana went down the whole line embracing and kissing his beautiful sons and daughters, and the delighted Padishah ordered seven days and seven nights of merrymaking in honor of the glad event.

arab guy

These festivities were scarcely over when wives for the Padishah’s sons and husbands for his daughters were sought and found, and then commenced forty days and forty nights of revelry in celebration of the grand wedding. Unfortunately, on the wedding day the Padishah forgot to fumigate them all with the Black Dragon’s hair, with the result that as soon as the ceremony was over, rain began to fall in a deluging torrent, and the wind blew so fiercely that nothing could withstand it. At first the Padishah thought it was merely a great storm, but later he remembered the Porsuk-Dew, and cried out in his fear.

Hearing the clamor, the inmates of the serai, including the newly wedded princes and princesses, came in to see what was the matter. The frightened Padishah gave the Black Dragon’s hair to the Vezir and commanded him to burn it immediately. No one understood the order, and all thought the Padishah must have lost his wits; nevertheless his wish was obeyed and the hair burnt. Immediately a fearful howling was heard in the garden outside, and the Porsuk-Dew cried with a loud voice, ‘‘Thou hast burnt me, O Padishah! Henceforth in thy garden shall no blade of grass grow.’’ Next morning it was seen that every tree and flower in the garden was scorched, as though a conflagration had raged over the scene.

The Padishah, however, did not allow this loss to trouble him; he had his children again with him, and that joy eclipsed any ordinary misfortunes that might befall him. He explained everything to his suite, who could hardly believe what they heard, it was all so astonishing. No further danger was to be feared, and thus the Padishah and his family, with their husbands and wives, lived happily together until their lives’ end.

red dragon mother
But, this story’s ending has not been fulfilled as of yet, the Black Dragon who was betrayed, must punish Padishah and his entire family line of youthful men. Padishah had lost his sons, because of their behaviors of not protecting women and children and Padisah was given a gift without learning his lessons. So, in the future, upon his entire family line, their reincarnation in the their own future, for having no respect of the great Black Dragon and her services, the balance must be rendered and paid in full, and that day has now finally arrived.

Dragons are Celestial beings of the Goddess, these supernatural beings do have a world tradition, the dragons of this tale are helpful dragons, benign, providing help, advice and magical objects to those who are worthy. The jinns, however, are the source of misfortune, as jinns (djinns) are the mental body of humans, they are not mystical nor celestial, they are the ‘dark’ mental body roaming outside the physical human’s actual incarnated body.

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