Story of the Maiden's Tower Kız Kulesi

The Story of the Maiden’s Tower

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Long ago, an Ottoman Sultan ruled peacefully from Istanbul. He lived a blessed life, ruled the kingdom fairly and justly, and was in turn rewarded by God with the birth of a daughter. This daughter was truly a gift – as she aged her beauty and intelligence multiplied.

Story of the Maiden's Tower Kız Kulesi

Soon, word of the daughter’s charm and wisdom spread throughout the entirety of the Ottoman Empire. Truly, it was said, she took after her father and was a reward for his wondrous rule. As the girl’s reputation grew and grew throughout the land, so too did the heart of the father soar with pride.

Not too long after the girl entered puberty, however, did the Sultan’s pride of his daughter turn to concern. What will become of her as I age? he wondered worriedly into the night. Will her future be as bright as her past? 

Surely, he tried to reason with himself, she is a gift from God. As such, her future will continue to be as fair as her past… Mustn’t it?

As fear continued to gnaw away at the Sultan, his judgement began to slip. Unable to face the uncertainty of his daughter’s future, the Sultan ordered his cook to prepare some Turkish Coffee for his daughter. At the same time, the Sultan ordered a fortune teller and his daughter to come into his presence.

After drinking the sharp black coffee, the daughter handed the small cup over to the fortune teller while mumbling whatever the state pull out my fate. Long minutes passed as the grounds cooled and solidified into their final states before the fortune teller could properly look into their meaning. 

My lord, the fortune teller began, eyes fixated on the meaning inside the cup, my lady… I see grave danger in your future. There is only death for you, as a snake will provide your doom. 

It was as the Sultan feared, and he let out a sharp gasp. That night visions of his daughters untimely death haunted his every step and dream. How can I prevent the fate my girl faces? How can I stop a snake from completing its nature? 

Long into the night the Sultan wrestled with his choices, though by dawn the next day an idea had struck him. Not too far out into the Bosphorous sat an empty island. Still close enough to the city, the Sultan could easily visit his daughter. At the same time, the island was small enough to be checked for snakes. Here, the Sultan announced, here a beautiful tower shall be built for my daughter to live upon in total peace and security. 

And safely she did live there for many a year. The seasons passed by, uneventfully, as the girl continued to grow in her beauty and wisdom. Likewise, the Empire again began to prosper as the Sultan’s mind was put at ease. After a few years, the very memory of the fortune tellers dire predictions began to fade.

One fine summer day, the Sultan saw fit to go out to the island and visit his beloved daughter. Upon arriving on the shore, the Sultan’s heart began to race. The door of the tower stood ajar, with a trail of algae and water upon the floor. Rushing in, the Sultan found his daughter dead upon the floor, soaked from a swim in the Bosphorous. Curled around her arm was a snake which, upon seeing the Sultan, slithered past him into the water and swam away.

All the while, the Sultan weeped to himself By trying to prevent God’s will, I sealed my daughter’s fate. 

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