Keloğlan and His Neighbors


Keloğlan was a poor boy. He lived with his mother. Everyday he would go out and find some temporary work to earn his living. Then he would go home and give the little money he earned to his mother.

One day he again gave his money to his mother. He said, “Mom, you go to the town and buy some provisions while I go out into the world and earn more money before the hard winter arrives. Otherwise we might starve to death.”

Then he started a journey to find a good job. He went day and night. He crossed mountains and rivers. He travelled a long long way. Then he looked back and realized that he had travelled no longer than the length of a barley. He was very surprised but he resumed his journey. Many days later, while he was still walking, he saw a fountain on the way. He felt that he was very tired. He decided to have a rest and drink water there. After drinking enough water, he washed his face and arms. He realized that water was very refreshing. Then he washed his feet and legs too. Then he was thankful for the person who had erected that fountain. He prayed aloud for him, saying, “What a good person he was who built this fountain. God help him please. Amen.” Then he prepared to lay down to rest. Just then he heard something. He listened carefully. It was coming from the fountain. Suddenly there appeared some smoke from inside the fountain. It went up to the sky. Then it disappeared. And then a little old man appeared. He was as tall as a finger. He jumped into the basin under the fountain. Then he began to grow until he was as big as a normal man. Keloğlan was dumbfounded. The old man said, “Hi, son.” After looking around and seeing no one else, Keloğlan understood that the old man was talking to him. He said, “Hi. I am sorry I was afraid and surprised to see you”. The old man said, “There is no need to fear or get surprised. I am neither genie nor fairy but just a normal human like you. I am not going to hurt you. In fact, I am here to thank you. I am the man who built this fountain. Many people have drunk water from this fountain. However, none of them has ever prayed for me except for you. So, I wanted to thank you.” Keloğlan kissed his hand respectfully. Then he said, “I am from a far-away village. I have been walking for days in search of a job. My mom must be worried about me. I want to go home but I can’t find the way back. Help me please.” The old man gave him a present. It was a coffee grinder. Keloğlan wasn’t very happy. He said, “What can I do with this coffee grinder? We are poor. We can’t buy coffee.” Then the old man said, “This is not an ordinary grinder. Whenever you feel hungry, just say, ‘Spread, grinder, spread’, and just wait. After you have eaten enough, say, ‘Disappear, grinder, disappear!’ Don’t forget that you have to keep it from everyone except your mother.” Keloğlan looked at the grinder. He couldn’t believe the old man. But when he looked up, the old man had disappeared. He realized the smoke at the fountain. He knew that the old man had gone back to where he came from. Keloğlan hid the coffee grinder in his shirt and left.

On the way home, Keloğlan thought that the old man wasn’t serious. He thought, “He made fun of me. A magic grinder. What nonsense”. Then he realized that he was near his village. He felt hungry. He wanted to try the grinder. He said, “Spread grinder, spread”. As soon as he said it, the grinder’s lid opened and it was fog everywhere. After that three little fairies appeared one by one. They were carrying trays of food. As the fog disappeared, the fairies grew bigger and bigger until they reached normal human size. The trays were filled with all sorts of dishes. They left the trays in front of Keloğlan, and went back into the grinder. Keloğlan was amazed. Then he looked at the delicious dishes and ate as much as he could. When he was full, he remembered the old man’s words, and he said, “Disappear grinder, disappear!”, and the trays disappeared. Keloğlan was very happy. He ran home. He wanted to make his mother happy. He said, “Mom, set the table, quick.” His mother was surprised. Keloğlan said the magic words, “Spread grinder, spread”. The little fairies appeared once more with their trays. Keloğlan’s mother was shocked. Keloğlan soothed her. “Don’t be afraid, mom.” he said, “Just wait”. When everything was ready he gave a spoon to his mom and told her to eat. When his mother ate her fill, Keloğlan said, “Disappear grinder, disappear!”, and the trays disappeared. The Keloğlan told her all that happened to him on his journey. His mother said, “We should keep this grinder a secret. Otherwise our neighbors will take it from us”. Keloğlan disagreed with her. He said, “On the contrary, mom, we should invite all the neighbors for dinner tonight. We should let them see how generous we are.” Mother understood that Keloğlan would not listen to her. The neighbors arrived in the evening. They didn’t expect to find much food because they knew that Keloğlan was poor. When they were all ready, Keloğlan brought out the coffee grinder and said, “spread, grinder, spread”, and the fairies appeared with food trays in their hands. The neighbors were dumbfounded. They could not say anything. They ate all the delicious food, thanked Keloğlan, and left. Afterwards they talked about this marvel. “If we had a grinder like that”, some of them said, “we wouldn’t have to cook any more”. Others said, “We wouldn’t have to work, either.” While they were talking, one of them secretly went into Keloğlan’s house and stole the grinder. Later the same night, he came back and put an ordinary grinder in place of the magic one.

Keloğlan woke up the next morning. He wanted to have breakfast. He held the false grinder and said, “spread, grinder, spread”. Nothing happened. He repeated the words again and again but nothing happened. Then Keloğlan looked at the grinder more closely and he understood that it wasn’t the magic grinder. “Oh my god”, he said, “they replaced the grinder with a false one while we were asleep.” His mother wept with him. She said, “we have lost it because you didn’t keep the old man’s words. I told you not to do it but you didn’t listen to me. Weeping is useless.” Keloğlan kept weeping. “What have I done!” he said and went out of the house. Then he thought the old man could help him. He said, “I will go to him and tell him what happened and ask his for forgiveness. Perhaps he will help me.” He went to the fountain again. He drank water and prayed for the old man. Then the old man appeared. He saw that it was Keloğlan and he had been crying. He asked, “What is the problem, son? Why have you been crying?” Then he added, “I think you didn’t keep your promise. Did you show the grinder to other people?” Keloğlan told him what happened. The old man said, “You think everyone is good like you. Well, you have learnt your lesson. You must keep your word.” Keloğlan said, “I will.” The old man said, “If you don’t, don’t come back to me again because I will not help you.” Keloğlan felt ashamed. Then the old man gave him a pumpkin and a rooster. He said, “Take these and when you return to the village invite all your neighbors. When they are all gathered, say, ‘whoever has taken my grinder, bring it back.’ The thief will not confess. Then, bring this pumpkin and say, ‘Open my pumpkin, open’. As soon as the pumpkin is open, the thief will appear. After that, you say, ‘close pumpkin, close’. However, don’t open the pumpkin elsewhere!”

Keloğlan asked, “But what about this rooster?” The old man said, “Give it to your mom as a present from me. Whenever she is in need, she should say, ‘Spawn my rooster, spawn’ Then she will find remedy to all her problems. When she is done, let her say, ‘Alright my rooster, alright’. But I repeat, this rooster is your mother’s. Don’t forget to give it to her. Otherwise they will deceive you and get it back from you. And don’t open the pumpkin elsewhere! ” Keloğlan nodded. He promised to give the roster to his mother and not to open the pumpkin elsewhere. Then he started for home. On the way home, he thought to himself, “The old man can’t be serious. He must be joking. How can a pumpkin talk? And the poor rooster can’t help us. He can only crow.” Then he grew more and more curious. Finally, he decided to try the pumpkin. He said, “Open my pumpkin, open”. Suddenly the pumpkin opened and a lot of terrible insects and poisonous animals came out of it. Keloğlan was so frightened that he almost swooned. He immediately climbed a tree.  Then he said, “Close my pumpkin, close”. Then all the animals and insects went back into the pumpkin. Keloğlan felt relieved and climbed down. Then he proceeded with his journey. However, he was still curious. This time he wanted to try the rooster. First, he tied him to a tree. Then he climbed the tree, fearing that insects and animals would come out of it. then he shouted the magic words, “Spawn my rooster, spawn!” The rooster immediately began to spawn golden eggs. Keloğlan was delighted. He said, “Alright, my rooster, alright!” The rooster stopped spawning. Keloğlan came down, untied the rooster and went on his way. When he got home he invited all the neighbors for dinner. He cashed one of the golden eggs and bought food for the dinner. He also hired a few chefs. In the evening the neighbors came and ate the dinner. After dinner, Keloğlan did as the old man told him to do. He asked the thief to confess. The neighbors were offended. They said “we aren’t thieves. We didn’t steal your grinder.” Then Keloğlan brought the pumpkin and said, “Open my pumpkin, open!” All of a sudden, a lot of terrible insects and poisonous animals came out of the pumpkin. All the neighbors began to scream with fear and escape. The insects seemed to know the thief. They all climbed on him. Then he said, “I confess, I stole the grinder. Please forgive me. I will bring it back at once.” Keloğlan said, “Close my pumpkin, close!” All the animals and insects went back to the pumpkin. Then Keloğlan and the thief went to the thief’s house. The thief’s son was playing with the grinder. Keloğlan was angry with the boy. He shouted, “What are you doing with my grinder?!” The little boy was afraid. He threw away the grinder, which hit the wall and fell to pieces. Keloğlan was shocked. But he was also ashamed for frightening the little boy. He went up to him and said, “Don’t be afraid, son, it doesn’t matter.” Then he gathered all the pieces of the grinder and tried to put them together. Then he said, “Spread, my grinder, spread!” However, it didn’t work. On the way home, he found a well and threw down the pieces of the grinder into it, saying, “Perhaps the old man will find you and repair you so that you will be hope for another poor man.” When he got home his mother was crying. He realized that the pumpkin was not there. he felt grieved. His neighbors had stolen the pumpkin, fearing that Keloğlan could do them any harm he liked as soon as he had the pumpkin. Keloğlan visited all his neighbors one by one. When they didn’t open their doors to him, he was furious and began to kick the doors and throw stones at the windows. Then the neighbors came out and gave him a sound thrashing. Keloğlan went home creeping. When he was lying in bed and his mother weeping by his side, a good doctor opened the door. He treated Keloğlan’s wounds. Then he asked who had done this. Keloğlan said that all his neighbors had done it together. The doctor was sorry for him. He said, “These neighbors will always disturb you. You had better move elsewhere with your mother.” Keloğlan thanked him heartily and said he would listen to him.

He had lost both the grinder and the pumpkin. Now he thought of what to do. He said to himself, “I had better not give the rooster to my mother because they might also steal it while she is sleeping.” A few days later, when his wound had healed, he went up to the rooster and said the magic words. He took the golden eggs and went to the town. He cashed the eggs and bought things for home. The golden eggs attracted the attention of some robbers who began to follow him. Keloğlan realized the danger and immediately went home. He told his mother to get ready to leave the village tomorrow. Then he went back to the town once more because he wanted to see the doctor and thank him. After seeing the doctor and giving him a few golden eggs, he decided to go to the bathhouse in the town as he wanted to get clean. Before he went into the bathhouse, he went up to the bath attendant and said, “Please take care of my rooster until I come out.” The attendant was a bad man. He had heard of the golden eggs. He thought that the rooster must be a magic one. So, he replaced it with an ordinary rooster. Then Keloğlan came out of the bathhouse, took the rooster and left. After a while he decided to buy two donkeys, one for carrying the load while moving, the other for his mother. So, he said the magic words to the rooster. But the rooster didn’t spawn. Keloğlan repeated the words again and again but nothing happened. When Keloğlan got home, he killed the rooster. His mother asked, “Why did you kill him?” Keloğlan told her all that happened. He asked for her forgiveness. She soothed him saying, “Mothers forgive everything, my dear son. This is what happens when you don’t listen to your elders. Let’s get prepared and leave this evil neighborhood.” After that Keloğlan promised not to repeat his mistakes. They got ready and left the village.

They moved to another village and started a new life.


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#1 Who did Keloğlan live with?

#2 Why did Keloğlan go out everyday?

#3 Why did Keloğlan ask his mother to go to the town and buy provisions?

#4 Who did Keloğlan pray for at the fountain?

#5 What was the first present of the old man at the fountain?

#6 What was special about the pumpkin that the old man gave Keloğlan?

#7 What was special about the rooster?

#8 What happened to the coffee grinder in the end?

#9 What did the doctor advise Keloğlan?

#10 What did the bath-attendant steal from Keloğlan?

#11 Why did Keloğlan move to a new village?