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Tales From The Hakawati

Tales From The Hakawati

SKU: 978-1-915081-14-8
£3.99 Regular Price
£2.00Sale Price

Folklore, fairy tales, myths and legends from the Arabic tradition.


This volume, Tales from the Hakawati, is the second in a set of collections covering indigenous tales from what we in Europe know now as The Middle East. Tales from the Hakawati concentrates on telling stories from the broader Arabic diaspora, with a particular focus on telling stories from beyond the usual One Thousand Nights And One boundary.


In putting this small collection of tales together I’ve found the process to be particularly rewarding. Arabic folklore and fairy tales reflect the deep cultural roots and diverse traditions of the Arab world. The stories are embedded with cultural symbols, practices, and values, offering a unique window into the rich heritage of the region.


I’ve also been impressed by the diversity of the narratives. Arabic storytelling encompasses a wide range of tales that vary across different regions and communities. Reading these tales exposes you to a wide range of themes, characters, and settings, so much of it stemming from the strong oral traditions of the wider community. Many Arabic folktales have been passed down through generations via this oral tradition. This continuity connects contemporary audiences with the storytelling practices of their ancestors, fostering a sense of cultural continuity and identity.


In particular I’ve found that by exploring Arabic storytelling, I have gained a better understanding of the perspectives, beliefs, and worldviews of the wider Arab peoples, which can only help to foster cultural empathy and help break down stereotypes. I believe wholeheartedly that engaging with the world’s storytelling promotes cultural exchange and mutual understanding. It allows us to connect with the cultural expressions of a community and fosters appreciation for the similarities and differences that make our global society so diverse and so engaging.


Arabic folklore and fairy tales also include a wealth of imagination and creativity. That creativity, combined with a deep connection to history means that these tales can often reflect the historical and social dynamics of the regions where they originated. Reading these stories can provide historical context and insights into the evolution of cultural practices.


Of course, like many folktales, Arabic stories often convey moral lessons and ethical principles. They address common human experiences and challenges, providing insights into virtues such as courage, kindness, and perseverance.


We should also never forget that Arabic storytelling has significantly influenced world literature. Many stories have been adapted and reimagined in various cultures, showcasing the universal appeal of these tales and their enduring impact on global storytelling traditions. Arabic folklore and fairy tales have been  and remain a rich source of inspiration for writers, artists, and creators. The fantastical elements, unique characters, and imaginative plots can serve as a springboard for your own creative endeavours.


One of my favourite aspects of this tradition is the use of magical realism in storytelling: Arabic folklore often blends the ordinary with the extraordinary, creating worlds where mythical creatures, powerful jinn, and enchanted objects coexist with everyday life, adding a sense of wonder and imagination to the tales.


Above all, Arabic storytelling is filled with captivating stories that entertain and engage readers. Whether it's the adventures of legendary heroes or the magic of mythical creatures, these tales have an enduring appeal that transcends cultural boundaries. As with most storytelling traditions, these tales were originally told by firelight as a way of preserving histories and educating both adult and child. These tales form part of our shared heritage, witches, warts, fantastic beasts, and all. They can be dark and violent. They can be sweet and loving. They are we and we are they in so many ways. I’ve loved reading and re reading these stories. I hope you do too.


#folklore #fairytales #mythsandlegends #legends #shortstory #arab #arabic

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