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The Maiden's Stone and the Djinn

A girl with special powers sets off on a journey to Hagia Sophia.


Published: 6 Oct 2022

Time taken : ~10mins

If you visit Istanbul today, you will find mysterious columns and structures that hold traces of the city’s history and culture, one of which is The Kıztaşı (Maiden’s Stone), on Kıztaşı Street, in Fatih. It is also known as the Column of Markianos. Traditionally, many stories such as this were told orally by Turkish storytellers called Meddah. 

Read on to find out about the legend of the Maiden’s Stone before trying your hands at a quiz about the Meddahs. 

A long time ago, there was once a young girl who was blessed with magical powers.

The powers that the girl had gave her magical strength and the ability to lift heavy objects.  

At the time, a grand building called Hagia Sophia was being built. Today this building is a mosque in Istanbul, but back then it was a church. As it was being constructed, people from far and wide brought gifts as contribution and offering to the church. 

The girl thought long and hard about what she should bring to Hagia Sophia as a gift. Should she bring flowers? Or a basket of fruits?  

Finally, an idea came to her. She decided that with her powers, she could bring a nice, big stone to Hagia Sophia as an offering. “I bet no one else would think of gifting a stone,” she thought to herself proudly. 

The girl searched through many stones and found a huge one that was 17 metres tall with beautiful carvings at the bottom. She was thrilled!  

And thus, while carrying the huge stone on her back, the girl started on her journey to Hagia Sophia.

The road to Hagia Sophia was a long and winding one but with her magical powers, it was easy for the girl to carry the stone and she was not tired at all. 

As the young girl was making her way down the road, a djinn suddenly appeared. The djinn was large and towered over the girl. With a sheepish grin, the djinn asked her: “Where are you taking this piece of stone on your back?”  

The girl replied to the djinn, “I heard of a church called Hagia Sophia that is being built right now. I am taking this stone there as a small contribution.” 

Upon hearing this, the djinn chuckled.  

“You are already too late. The construction of the church has been completed. Leave the stone where it is,” said the djinn.  

The girl was very sad to find out that she was too late to offer her gift to Hagia Sophia. Feeling dejected, she slowly made her way back to where she had first picked up the stone and left it there.  

However, she started to doubt the decision after a while. “The djinn told me that Hagia Sophia was completed, but I should go and see with my own eyes,” she told herself.  

Once again, the girl set off on her journey to Hagia Sophia. 

When she arrived at Hagia Sophia, to her shock, the building had not been completed!  

At that moment, she understood that the djinn was evil and it had lied to her.  

“How could I have been so foolish,” she lamented.  

The girl decided that since the building had not been built completely, she would go back and retrieve the stone. 

When she returned to where she had left the stone, she walked over to it and attempted to lift it. To her dismay, it did not budge.  

She tried lifting the large stone again, but it still did not move an inch off the ground. The girl was upset that despite trying repeatedly and no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to lift the stone.  

It turned out that because she had believed the lie of the djinn and abandoned the stone, the girl’s magical powers had left her.  

The girl was never able to lift the stone again. Thus, till today, the stone has remained in its place as a column and is now known as the Maiden’s Stone.  

Did you know? Stories like The Maiden’s Stone and the Djinn have survived through centuries as they were told orally by Meddahs. Now that you know one of the many stories told by Meddahs, find out more about this traditional theatre form in this quiz!  

Illustrations by:

Tuan Szi Yi

Sziyi loves to indulge in myths, folklore and mysteries of the world. While her art works often carry an atmosphere of fantasy and imagination, her design works ground and connect the intangible with reality. She has also worked with multiple organisations and individuals for their creative needs throughout her journey.