Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Storytelling in Antioch

In his book Evenings in Antioch Neale relates how people in in Antakya 150 years ago used to come together in the evenings amusing themselves with songs and stories.

Things have changed. Now we have the television with its abundance of Turkish series. They are mostly extremely predictable and boresome, but they are popular with our Arabic neighbours.

Recently we experienced what good old days may have been like. We had a visit of Mithat Bey and his wife and during the visit Mithat Bey wanted to make a point. So he told us a story:

Prophet Moses - may the peace of God be upon him - once made a poor man rich. But as people came by they wanted to have a share of his fortune. As a result his riches soon started to evaporate. Finally they told him to go off to get them some food. So he did, but poisoned their shares. When he came back with the food they killed him first and ate the food afterwards. And so they all died.

A long and interesting story indeed and Mithat Bey assured us that it was not just a story. It really happened!

In some aspects Antioch has not changed.