Rabbi Nachman of Breslov often related the following
There was once a prince who lived with his father and
mother, the king and queen, in a splendid fashion. He received the finest
education and upbringing.
To his parents' chagrin, one day the prince went through an
identity crisis and came to the conclusion that he was really a turkey and not
a human being.
Initially, the king and queen thought he was kidding.
However, after he stopped joining them at the royal table and instead, moved
under the table and sat there naked and pecking at crumbs, they knew that
serious trouble was afoot.
Needless to say, the prince's strange behavior caused
indescribable angst for his loving parents, and intense embarrassment for the
royal family at large. The king was ready to spare no expense for the person
who could cure his son. The finest doctors and psychiatrists of the land came
and tried to cure the prince, all to no avail.
The king was at a loss until a gentle-looking wise man came
to the palace. "I hereby offer to cure the prince free of charge,"
declared the man. "My only condition is that no one interferes with
anything I do."
Intrigued and desperate, the king and queen readily agreed.
The following day, the prince had company under the table.
It was the wise man. "What are you doing here?" asked the turkey prince.
"Why are you here?" countered the man.
"I am a turkey," responded the prince
"Well, I am also a turkey," the man replied. With
that, he began to gobble like a turkey and peck at the crumbs on the floor. The
prince was convinced. A few days passed in this fashion.
One morning, the wise man signaled to the king to bring him
a shirt. He said to the prince, “I don’t see any reason a turkey can’t wear a
shirt.” The prince thought about it and agreed, and soon the two of them were
Soon the wise man asked to be brought a pair of pants. He
said to the prince, “Is it forbidden for turkeys to wear pants? Certainly not!”
The prince thought it over and agreed, and soon the two of them were wearing
So the process continued. Shortly thereafter, the wise man
convinced the turkey prince that it was not forbidden for turkeys to eat human food,
which was surely tastier. Then came sitting at the table and enjoying human
conversation. Within a short time, the turkey prince, although still
maintaining that he was a turkey, began conducting himself exactly like a
Fortunately, most of us don't suffer from turkey complexes.
But here's a question we can all ask of ourselves: Am I limiting my potential
because of my self perception?