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house servant is on duty with such functions as arranging the shoes in pairs, that the guests may easily find them when departing. After games and conversation, the happy company indulge in cigarettes, coffee, sweetmeats and narghile, or the flexible rosewater pipe, much similar to the hookah of Hindoostan. It is always filled with shiraz tobacco. Time wears pleasantly on, the guests are sure to depart late, and most always with the satisfaction of having had an enjoyable time.
In many Armenian homes pianos and organs are coming into use, but are not yet indispensable. Our young men play the flute with an exquisite touch. The old-fashioned bagpipe of the Orient is of peculiar construction. Made of sheepskin, with a small mouth-piece, the instrument is formed from a combination of cow-horn and three reeds, with holes in them. The dulcimer is of Oriental origin. As the prototype or substitute of the pianoforte, which has rendered melody in so many American homes, it has been of great service to the commercial interests of music. The music of the Orient is noted for a characteristic plaintiveness quite charming to the ear. This feature is scientifically explained as arising from a sort of minor, which can only have chords in octaves. Now comes our dinner time! Would
not come with We will be delighted to have you accompany us to the table.
I assure you our Armenian cuisine is suited to western palates. Our people well understand that a man's stomach is an easy avenue to his heart.
us, my reader?
First, hands are washed in running water. All are seated around the table of brightly-polished brazen platter, with neatly folded napkins, and spoons of box-wood and tortoise shell by the side of each: Soup comes first; then pilav, a dish resembling porridge; then meat, cooked in various styles of Oriental culinary art, bearing a close resemblance to that of France. Wines prized as the very best are continually to be found on the table. Lambs are roasted whole, in Homeric fashion; then olives, cheese and fruit are served. Thus dish follows dish, from everlasting to everlasting. Lastly come chibouk, delicate sweetmeats from Smyrna and Scio, and coffee, which is sipped out of cups not larger than the shell of the Maderia nut. On festival occasions we have plates of some rare delicacy.
My dear reader, our Orientals are not only differentiated from others by certain features of physical type and by language, but in ideas and modes of thinking as well.
Among the low and ignorant, where popular education is of a meagre sort, superstition has full sway-especially among the Turks. Many of them are amusing to strangers. Orientals, however, believe in them as firmly as they do in religion. Forinstance, they deem it a serious matter to be the victim of an evil eye. Fortunately, a remedy has been invented for every emergency-for the evil eye a word from the Koran, or garlic, taken internally, are antidotes. Dog bread is used as a charm; blue beads on horses, donkeys and buffaloes are charms against the malice of the envious and evil-eyed. That nothing must be wasted that can be used as food by
dogs or fish, is a superstition tending to promote economy. You bring bad luck by entering a harem with the right foot. There are, in their imaginations only, creatures of dim, unspeakable shapes, from the regions of hell, that horrify them in darkness.
Some days are unlucky. The Sultan will postpone an interview if it falls on an unlucky day. Sometimes a longforgotten and lost grave of a saint suddenly becomes a reputed centre of supernatural performances. Some one, no matter who, tells his neighbors that while crossing the grave of a certain saint his disease at once departed from him. No one knew before whether the grave was of a saint or Satan, or whether the originator of the report is worthy of confidence or not. The story goes with lightning speed, bringing in throngs the sick and the diseased from remotest parts to the mound of the would-be supernatural dead. What a strange yet pathetic scene to see the poor victims of superstition and illness kissing the stones and the dust of the graves with fervent supplications and vows!
When at home, I scorned and laughed at such odd spectacles, with a sense of mingled contempt and pity; but since I have seen American throngs about the fortune-teller, I cherish somewhat merciful feelings toward our Oriental nuisance.
STORIES. In common with other Orientals, the Turks are fond of stories. Many good ones are current among the people and nearly all have a moral to them. Nasr-ed-din-Hoja is an ideal hero or victim of many Hunchausen tales. This teacher and notorious wag is supposed to live in Bagdad. I am tempted to relate several stories concerning him. I am indebted to Hon. Samuel S. Cox, the late American Minister to Turkey, for the translation of the following stories:
A belated beggar knocks at the Hoja's door.
“What do you want," he called down from an upper window.
“Come down, good Hoja, and I will tell you,” replies the mendicant.
Having descended and opened the front door, the beggar asked for alms.
“Come up stairs," said the Hoja, and the mendicant was taken to the top floor.
“I am sorry, poor man," said the Hoja, “but I have no alms for you."
“Why did you not tell me so at the door?” inquires the beggar angrily.
“Why did you not tell me what you wanted before I came down?" retorts the Hoja.
One day the Hoja is too lazy to preach his usual sermon at the Mosque. He simply addresses himself to the congregation, saying:
"Of course you know, O faithful Mussuimans, what I am going to say.”
The congregation cry out with one voice:
“Then, if you do not know, I have nothing to say to you,” replies the Hoja, and leaves the pulpit.
Next time he again addresses his congregation, saying:
“Know ye, O faithful Mussulmans, what I am going to say to you?"
Fearing that if, as on the previous time, they say "No," the Hoja would leave them again without a sermon, all cried:
Yes, Hoja, we do know.”'
“Then if you do know what I am going to say,” quietly remarked the Hoja, “of course, there is no need of my saying it.” He again steps down from the pulpit, to the consternation of the congregation.
On the third time, the Hoja again puts his question:
“Know ye, O faithful Mussulmans, what I am going to preach to you?”
The congregation, determined not to be disappointed again, take counsel on the question. Accordingly some of them reply:
“No, Hoja, we do not know,” while others cry: “Yes, Hoja, we do know.”
"Very well, then,” says Hoja, "as there are some of you who do know, and others who do not know, what I am going to say, let those who do know, tell it to those who do not know," and quickly leaves the pulpit.
"Oh Hoja! When will the end of the world come?"
“Ask me something difficult; that is quite easy to answer,” is the calm reply. “When my wife dies, it will be the end of half the world; when I die, it will be the end of the whole world."
Hoja was about to marry, and prepared to build a house. The good neighbors told him his wife would turn the house upside down. So he built it wrong side up, that it might be, when turned upside down, 0. K.