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Tarubadur Tales



Northern Africa

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The Stolen woman








More Information...

Tarubadur Tales includes a range of stories that originate in Northern Africa and ancient Egypt.

The Sahara runs from east to west across the widest part of Africa, a vast desert dividing the continent into two main regions. North Africa consists of the Mediterranean coast from Morocco to Egypt and includes the valley of the Nile River as far south as Ethiopia. With strong ties to the Mediterranean and Arab worlds, North Africans felt the influence of Christianity by the A.D. 300S, and in the 700s, much of the area came under the influence of Islam.

The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic family. The Sahara dialects are generally considered to be notably more conservative than those of coastal cities.

Over the years, Berber peoples have been influenced by other cultures with which they came in contact: Nubians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, and lately Europeans.

The cultures of the Maghreb and the Sahara, therefore, combine elements from indigenous Berber, Arab and neighbouring parts of Africa and beyond. In the Sahara, the distinction between sedentary oasis inhabitants and nomadic Bedouin and Tuareg is particularly marked.

The diverse peoples of the Sahara are usually categorized along ethno-linguistic lines. In the Maghreb, where Arab and Berber identities are often integrated, these lines can be blurred. Some Berber-speaking North Africans may identify as "Arab" depending on the social and political circumstances, although substantial numbers of Berbers, or Imazighen have retained a distinct cultural identity which in recent times has been expressed as a clear ethnic identification with Berber history and language. Arabic-speaking Northwest Africans, regardless of ethnic background, often identify with Arab history and culture and may share a common vision with other Arabs. This, however, may or may not exclude pride in and identification with Berber or other parts of their heritage.

The Nile Valley through northern Sudan traces its origins to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Kush. The Egyptians over the centuries have shifted their language from Egyptian to modern Egyptian Arabic, while retaining a sense of national identity that has historically set them apart from other people in the region. Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslim and a significant minority adheres to Coptic Christianity. In Nubia, straddling Egypt and Sudan, a significant population retains the ancient Nubian language but has adopted Islam. The northern part of the Sudan is home to a largely Arab Muslim population, but further down the Nile Valley you find the largely non-Muslim Nilotic and Nuba peoples.

As you will, no doubt, appreciate, this rich melange of migrations and contacts has profoundly influenced storytelling among the varied cultural, ethnic and religious groups across North Africa. There is the usual mix of magic and animism and a strong sense of duty and morality, even if those senses are a little different to some of the cultural norms of the early twenty-first century.

There is also the usual mix of force and brutality in folklore and fairy tales, themes that we have seen writ large across all of the books in the Fireside series.

One thing that I have taken the liberty of changing in general terms is the more overt racism and social and political supremacist influences inherent in nineteenth century presentation, particularly amongst European collectors. I have not altered the core of any story, but have mostly adapted certain characters to remove obvious biases.


The Ogre And The Beautiful Woman

hunting-ground they loosed their camels to let them graze, and hunted until the setting of the sun, and then came back to their camp. One day while one of them was going along he saw the marks of an ogre, each one three feet wide, and began to follow them. He proceeded and found the place where the ogre had lately made his lair. He returned and said to his companions, "I've found the traces of an ogre. Come, let us seek him."
"No," they answered, "we will not go to seek him, because we are not stronger than he is."
"Grant me fourteen days," said the huntsman. "If I return, you shall see. If not, take back my camel with the game."
The next day he set out and began to follow the traces of the ogre. He walked for four days, when he discovered a cave, into which he entered. Within he found a beautiful woman, who said to him, "What brings you here, where you will be devoured by this ogre?"
"But you," answered the hunter, "what is your story and how did the ogre bring you here?"
"Three days ago he stole me," she replied. "I was betrothed to the son of my uncle, then the ogre took me. I have stayed in the cavern. He often brings me food. I stay here, and he does not kill me."
"Where does he enter," asked the hunter, "when he comes back here?"
"This is the way," she answered.
The hunter went into the middle of the cave, loaded his gun, and waited. At sunset the ogre arrived. The hunter took aim and fired, hitting the ogre between the eyes as he was sitting down. Approaching him he saw that he had brought with him two men to cook and eat them. In the morning he employed the day in collecting the ogre’s hidden silver, took what he could, and set out on the return. On the fourteenth day he arrived at the place where he had left his comrades, and found them there.
"Leave the game you have secured and return with me to the cave," he said to them.
When they arrived they took all the arms and clothing, loaded it upon their camels, and set out to return to their village. Halfway home they fought to see which one should marry the woman. The powder spoke between them. Our man killed four, and took the woman home and married her.

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