The Sultan of Nutcrackers issues an invitation to the puppets


His Highness, The Sultan of Nutcrackers, resident of Provincetown, Massachusetts

When we were last together, dear reader, Hacivad Bey was struggling forward through the thronging crowd of Karagöz shadow puppets in order to respond to the newly discovered Sultan of Nutcrackers. The Sultan had just issued his welcome, and inquired about where the puppets hailed from “in his kingdom.”

Zenne called out to Hacivad – “Canım (dear), remember your very best âdâb-ı muâşeret (the Ottoman Turkish word for ‘etiquette’). These are foreigners – we may need to use our Avrupa Âdâb-ı Muâşereti yahut Alafranga (European-style etiquette).” Hacivad Bey, normally the consumate, zen-like and peaceful gentleman of words and letters, shot her the death look. Apparently the death look exists in Karagöz puppet marriages as well as human ones. 🙂 Before Karagöz could even get a word in to mock the death look moment, several of the little dancing ladies caught him in their long veils and stopped him from a) making a fool of himself and b) possibly creating some sort of inter-species puppet diplomatic incident.

Bowing graciously to the Sultan of Nutcrackers, Hacivad Bey assumed a most regal stance and tone of voice, saying “We offer you our sincere thanks for your most kind and generous welcome to this very interesting and open-hearted land. I am not sure we come from within your kingdom – I don’t know what your kingdom is, but we are actually Karagöz shadow puppets from the Ottoman empire era – in what is now referred to as Turkey, sir. And, well, uh, er, um, we are a rather unique group of this puppet species, as we live in the head of this human woman here. We are called by our inner hearts to guide her on her ‘road trip through her Turkish-American cross-cultural marriage’ – although truth be told, lately, she is really taking us on a road trip through America as well!”

The Sultan lifted himself up, listening intently as Hacivad spoke. Placing his hands together in an almost prayerful position, he spoke with great authority and a calm sense of respect for the Karagöz shadow puppet troupe and its emissary. “I see, I see…I have heard of this special calling that some puppets and dolls have…yes indeed I have, but I have not yet had the honor to meet any of this sort – and let me, therefore, extend my welcome to your human as well.” Startled, I jumped back a bit – not only did I have a troupe of rollicking Karagöz shadow puppets in my head, but I now had the Sultan of Nutcrackers as well. This could get interesting. “Thank you, Sultan, sir, for your welcome.”

With a suddenly quite chipper and cheerful note, the Sultan spoke on – throwing his arms out wide and knocking over some of his subjects without meaning to (a quick apology made under his breath) “Please, dear human and puppets, do you need a place to rest? Oh – sorry folks.” Hacivad Bey proceeded to explain that we had a home – but that we were just out walking the dog and learning about Provincetown along the way, but that we were grateful. As this conversation ensued, I noticed that some of the little chorus of dancing ladies were engaging in sign language with some of the Sultan’s subjects…but I couldn’t quite tell what was going on.

Ammon the Nutcracker doll from Egypt (Misir - formerly part of the Ottoman Empire)Ignoring these goings on, the Sultan continued “I must also state” his Nutcracker jaw clacking in its squareness, the jaw overworked by his loquacious welcome, “that I do know of the Ottoman Empire – and actually, two of my subjects hail from this region many generations ago as well – please meet Ammon and Tawaret.” Ammon and Tawaret, resplendent in their golden skin, stepped forth silently and gracefully, bowing in greeting, before bestowing some wicked winks our way. “I am sure that Ammon and Tawaret will make you feel right at home in this town – perhaps they can show you around tomorrow? And, while I am mentioning tomorrow, puppets, would you care to join us at the Nutcracker’s annual ball – all the puppets and dolls in town participate – we would love for you to be our guests!”

Tawaret the Nutcracker doll from Egypt (Misir - formerly part of the Ottoman Empire)

All puppet eyes turned to me. “May we, please, may we m’lady? May we go to the puppet ball and go on the tour with Ammon and Tawaret?” I was stumped. I didn’t know I had such power over the puppets – but they were in MY head after all, so…well…”of course, sweethearts, you help me so much – I think I can manage on my own for a night – why not!” Cheers erupted, hats flew in the air, and plans were made to meet for the tour at 10 a.m. the next day.

Meanwhile, back in the world in which the puppets and dolls could not be seen in their verbal and animated state, M. hurried me along – we were, after all, tired and walking down the street in our pajamas and coats. It was time to go home and rest up for a big day tomorrow. The happy jumble of ecstatic puppets and tired humans made their way back down Commercial Street to the Provincetown perch and the puppets fell asleep before their heads even hit the pillow….but we humans realized that we had a bigger problem – no water in the house… (to be continued)

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10 Responses to The Sultan of Nutcrackers issues an invitation to the puppets

  1. Alan says:

    I love this stuff. Lets me lose myself in a world of phantasmagorical fantasy . . something I’ve never lost the ability to do. ‘Oh! For goodness sake (or words to that effect) grow up’ has followed me much of my life.
    Next episode, please!

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