Pork kebab – short story

There is an anecdote about a Polish ambassador to Turkey, which is famous among the Turks.

The ambassador, a Polish traditionalist, had been three years in Turkey, and he missed his motherland.

But nostalgia, when it can’t be really assuaged, often takes the form of food cravings, and this man craved for the meat his mother and his mother’s mother had always cooked at home: pork.

After fruitlessly asking his assistant to procure him a piece of this Polish delicacy, he despaired and decided to take matters into his own hands.

He went from kebab shop to kebab shop, in person, introducing himself as the Polish ambassador, to see if perhaps the Turks, out of a feeling of hospitality towards the representative of all Poles in Turkey, would bend their laws and make him a pork kebab.

The day had withered away, together with his hopes, and at the last place he entered, he reminisced about Polish glorious history and the bravery of the hussars, who wouldn’t take a no for an answer.

Keeping his worldly renowned Polish politeness always intact, he decided to take a last stand and argue, as only a good Pole knows how to. When the owner of the place told him that he couldn’t make him a pork kebab, this dialogue ensued:

-I understand your qualms, sir, and I respect your traditions. For you, the pig is a filthy animal and its meat is cursed, but for a simple Pole like me, it represents sustenance and homemade meals. Cows browse on grass, and horses feed on hay, fodders which mankind abhors and would never eat. But does that mean that we should deny these foods to our fellow sentient beings? And am I not worthier than a cow and a horse to you? A fellow man who struggled to learn your language, sir, and who’s living in your lands, expatriated, for the love of the Turkish-Polish brotherhood?

-I understand your reasons, sir, but I still can’t make you a pork kebab.

-Can I inquire, sir, by no means trying to disrespect you in your own place, why you so disdainfully disregard my candid petition? Is there really no way that you procure, if not today, any day after, a piece of pork and make with it a kebab?

-That’s not possible, sir. I am deeply sorry.

-I understand. I come from other lands and other customs. Forgive me to say it, sir, but my Polish fidelity to honesty compels me. In my country, a guest is like God himself, and there is nothing a good Pole would not do to please God. Forgive me again for the harshness of these words, but they come from an honest heart.

-I forgive you, sir, but I still can’t make you a pork kebab.

-And why on Earth is that? Could you give me at least one good reason?

-Yes, sir, for the reason that this is not a kebab shop but a mosque.



I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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