top of page


Atatürk and the Child Shepherd

ATATÜRK was going to Antalya. At that time, Italian dictator Mussolini was also targeting Turkey in his rambling speeches.

While there was a break on the way, a distant folk song caught ATATÜRK's attention. They searched around, a shepherd was singing the folk song. He ordered them to bring the shepherd, and they did. A young shepherd just past child age. ATATURK:

- Are you singing Turkish? he asked. Shepherd:

- Yes, when he said:

- Your voice is beautiful, and your reading is not bad. Say it here and let's listen.

The young shepherd began without being coy, unconcerned: (Blacksmiths turn iron into bronze...) His song was over. ATATÜRK clapped his hands and applauded loudly:

"Bis...biis," he shouted.

The young shepherd did not understand anything about this. ATATÜRK explained:

- Biis means we like it, say it again, repeat it.
The Shepherd repeated the song. At that time, ATATÜRK took one fifty lira out of his pocket and gave it to the shepherd. The shepherd looked at the money and said with satisfaction:

- Biis...biis he shouted.

ATATÜRK was so pleased with this clever move and answer that he took out another fifty liras and gave it to his companions:

- Even if it were possible, if Mussolini had seen this scene and heard the answer, he would have understood which nation he was speaking to.


bottom of page