Bibliographic Information (best version for telling): “Hadji’s Clever Wife.” In Great Folktales of Wit and Humor, retold by James R. Foster. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1955, 49-51.
Ethnic Origin: Turkey
Running Time: 15 minutes
1) The awe that Hadji feels over the woman’s beauty
2) The loneliness Hadji feels when he is put in jail
Why I chose these power centers:
1) The amount of awe that Hadji feels is very important to the story because it is the reason he gets arrested and is in trouble. This awe is also what causes his wife to teach him a lesson.
2) The loneliness that Hadji feels is important because it makes him realize he made a mistake and really does love his wife.
Characters: Hadji, The Pretty Lady, Hadji’s Wife, and the Judge
1) Hadji’s shop where he first sees the Pretty Lady
2) Hadji’s house where he talks with his wife
3) Outside the Pretty Lady’s House
4) The Jail
5) Before the Judge
Synopsis: A married man named Hadji falls for a beautiful woman who visits his shop to buy some spices. The woman leaves a small black bag with twelve grains of wheat in it and, to Hadji’s dismay, does not come back to claim it. After returning home Hadji’s wife figures out why her husband is upset and interprets the meaning of the black bag as being the woman’s address. Hadji listens to his wife, goes to the woman’s house and is met by her throwing a basin of water past him into the street and then slamming the door in his face. Hadji’s wife interprets this act and two more of the pretty woman’s actions for her husband before setting him up to be with the lady in her garden and then having them arrested for conversing in public as a non-married couple. After Hadji and the woman are put into jail, Hadji’s wife goes to the jail to give out cakes to the prisoners. While she is there she persuades the pretty woman to trade places with her. When their case is taken before the judge, it appears to be Hadji’s wife who was arrested with him, making their congregation in the garden legal, as they are a married couple. Hadji, realizing how clever his wife is, tells her how wonderful she is and returns home with her.
Rhymes/Special Phrases/”Flavor”: Throughout the story, its Turkish ethnicity is evident in its language. The words “hanoum” (pretty lady), “veyh, veyh” (O pity), and “lokum” (a type of Turkish cake) are all used. The foreign origin of the story is also apparent from the un-American name, Hadji.
Audience (appropriateness): This story is appropriate for adults based on the development handouts we received in class. According to Melanie Rapp, people in late adolescence have a career focus, distance from parents, and self-sustained living. As an adult audience is made up of those in late adolescence as well as those who have completed adolescence, these characteristics should be evident in the story. Accordingly, “Hadji’s Clever Wife” does not speak of the characters parents, and is about a couple, that lives on its own, and has already found a place in society. Elizabeth Fenwick and Tony Smith state that those in late adolescence are engaged with the idea of stabilizing relationships. This story appeals to this interest because its main theme includes the problems involved in relationships. Another reason that this story is appropriate for an older audience is because it deals with issues like sex and adultery, which are not suitable for younger audiences.
Bibliographic information on other versions/variants: “What Happened to Hadji.” In A Harvest of World Folk Tales, retold by Milton Rugoff. The Viking Press, 1949, 171-173.
“The Goldsmith’s Wife.” In Tales of Kashmir, retold by Somnath Dhar. Anmol Publications, 1992, 204-205.
Brief comparison of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm, “tell-ability” “flavor,” content, etc: The differences between “Hadji’s Clever Wife” and “What Happened to Hadji” are few. Aside from inferences to Turkish culture and language that are not translated or explained, the language used to tell these two stories is basically the same. I felt that “Hadji’s Clever Wife” was better suited for telling because of the way it defines and explains the foreign matter it uses. As far as the context of the story is concerned, the two stories were almost identical in storyline.
Although extremely difficult to find another variant of the story, “The Goldsmith’s Wife” turned out to be a perfect one. Originating in India, this story is written in almost stanza-like paragraphs which greatly changed its rhythm. Although also told in an easy to understand style, its cultural language differences are great. This story uses Indian words like “Soyambar” and “durbar” that are unique to this variant. The cultural differences are especially evident in the ending of this variant which includes adding another wife to the main character’s family in addition to his first one. Finally, possibly the result of cultural differences as well, the context of this variant involves different forms of message sending from the woman to the main character.