Avraham ben Yaakov
Jewish Pathways of Spiritual Growth
The Story of the Turkey-Prince
Once the king's son went mad. He thought he was a turkey. He felt compelled to sit under the table without any clothes on, pulling at bits of bread and bones like a turkey. None of the doctors could do anything to help him or cure him, and they gave up in despair. The king was very sad...
Until a Wise Man came and said "I can cure him."
What did the Wise Man do? He took off all his clothes, and sat down naked under the table next to the king's son, and also pulled at crumbs and bones.
The Prince asked him, "Who are you and what are you doing here?"
"And what are you doing here?" he replied.
"I am a turkey," said the Prince.
"Well I'm also a turkey," said the Wise Man.
The two of them sat there together like this for some time, until they were used to one another.
Then the Wise Man gave a sign, and they threw them shirts. The Wise Man-Turkey said to the king's son, "Do you think a turkey can't wear a shirt? You can wear a shirt and still be a turkey." The two of them put on shirts.
After a while he gave another sign and they threw them some trousers. Again the Wise Man said, "Do you think if you wear trousers you can't be a turkey?" They put on the trousers.
One by one they put on the rest of their clothes in the same way.
Afterwards, the Wise Man gave a sign and they put down human food from the table. The Wise Man said to the Prince, "Do you think if you eat good food you can't be a turkey any more? You can eat this food and still be a turkey." They ate.
Then he said to him, "Do you think a turkey has to sit under the table? You can be a turkey and sit up at the table."
This was how the Wise Man dealt with the Prince, until in the end he cured him completely.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Hebrew Tarnegol Hodu - "the Indian Cock"; Yiddish Indik; Latin Meleagris gallopavo : type of large land-bird of the family Meleagrididae , originating in the New World, whence the Spanish introduced it to Europe in the early 16th century. The English called it turkey-cock after the guinea fowl of the Islamic (or "Turkish") lands. The domesticated turkey is valued as a table-fowl.
Basically dark in color, with iridescent bronze and green plumage, and a naked, warty, red head turning blue or white with excitement. The male, called gobbler or tom, may be 130 cm. long and weigh 10 kilograms; hens generally weigh half as much as the males. Eats seeds, insects, an occasional frog or lizard, etc.
When excited, the male spreads his tail like a fan, droops his wings, shaking the quills audibly, retracts his head and struts around uttering rapid gobbling sounds. He assembles a harem, which, after mating, he abandons.
The hens lay 8-15 brownish spotted eggs in a hollow in the ground, and the young hatch in 28 days. Turkey life-expectancy: around 5 years.
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