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The Turkey Prince: A Story About Healing The Soul


The Turkey Prince by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Once upon a time, the king’s son lost touch with reality. He thought he was a turkey. He longed to sit naked under the table snacking on breadcrumbs–so he took off all his clothes and sat under the table, pecking at the floor.

The king summoned the royal doctors–they all tried different medications, therapies, and cures. But none of them could help the prince and they worriedly quit trying.

The king was devastated.

Then, a wise man came. “I can cure the prince,” he said.

The wise man took off all his clothes, and sat down under the table next to the prince and also pecked and munched on breadcrumbs.

The prince asked him, “Who are you and why are you here?”

“Well, why are you here?” said the wise man.

“I am a turkey,” said the prince.

“Me too,” said the wise man.

The two of them sat there companionably together like this for awhile, until they got accustomed to each other and got along well.

The wise man asked the royal guests to throw two shirts under the table. He said to the prince, “Is a turkey not allowed to wear a shirt? You know, you actually can wear a shirt and still be a turkey.” Then both the wise man and the prince slipped the shirts on and buttoned them up.

After a while the wise man asked the guests to hand down some pants under the table. The wise man said to the prince, “Do you think a turkey can’t be a turkey and wear pants? Of course he can! He can be a turkey and still wear pants.”

They both put on the pants.

Then they put on socks, shoes, a robe, and so on, all step by step.

Then the wise man asked the guests to send some of the royal meal under the table. The wise man asked the prince, “Do you believe if you eat this delicious lasagna and salad and chocolate mousse you won’t be a turkey anymore? I’ll tell you something: You can still be a turkey and eat this excellent food.” They ate and enjoyed their delicious meal together, and the prince totally forgot about his longing for breadcrumbs.

Then the wise man said: “Do you believe that a turkey must stay under the table? You know, you really can be a turkey if you like and sit up at the table with the king and his guests.”

This was how the wise man helped the prince, little by little, until he cured him completely.


Painting: Amedeo Modigliani – Le Fils du Concierge, Wikipedia Commons

The Turkey Prince: A Story About Healing The Soul

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2015). The Turkey Prince: A Story About Healing The Soul. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Dec 2015
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