The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey

by Demi

In an explanatory note, author/artist Demi explains that her main character, Nasrettin... read more

In an explanatory note, author/artist Demi explains that her main character, Nasrettin Hoca, was a thirteenth-century Turkish folk philosopher and humorist. Beloved during his lifetime, he remains so in Turkey and many other parts of the world today, seen as a symbol of “common sense, clear wisdom, and good-natured humor.” In this story, Nasrettin arrives at a friend’s banquet without having had time to change clothes after helping capture a stray goat. Ragged and smelly, he is ignored by his host and other guests. Slipping away to bathe and change, he returns and is treated as an honored guest. Clearly, he tells the group after putting offerings of food inside his coat and exclaiming, “Eat, coat, eat!,” it was my fine coat and not me that you invited to the banquet. Like many Nasrettin Hoca stories, this one ends with a moral: “He who wears heaven in his heart is always well dressed.” Demi’s graceful illustrations are based on traditional Turkish paintings—full of intricate details, they also capture the good humor of her subject. (Ages 6–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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