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Folktales of Egypt

In this book Hasan M. El-Shamy has gathered the first authentic new collection of modern Egyptian folk narratives to appear in nearly a century. El-Shamy’s English translations of these orally presented stories not only preserve their spirit, but give Middle Eastern lore the scholarly attention it has long deserved.

"This collection of seventy recently collected Egyptian tales is a major contribution to African studies and to international distribution studies of folktales. In the face of the recent anthropological trend to use folkloric materials for extra-folkloric purposes, the preeminence of the text must be asserted once more, and these are obviously authentic, straightforwardly translated, fully documented as to date of collection and social category of informant, and for all that . . . readable."—Daniel J. Crowley, Research in African Literatures

"Western knowledge of virtually all facets of contemporary Egyptian culture, much less the roots of that culture, is woefully inadequate. By providing an interesting, varied, and readable collection of Egyptian folktales and offering clear and sensible accounts of their background and meaning, this book renders a valuable service indeed."—Kenneth J. Perkins, International Journal of Oral History

Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard M. Dorson
Editorial Note
I. Fantasy Tales
1. The Trip to ’Wag-el-Wag’
2. The Black Crow and the White Cheese
3. The One Sesame Seed
4. The Magic Filly
5. The Grateful Fish
6. The Maghrabi’s Apprentice
7. The Royal Candlestick
8. Louliyya, Daughter of Morgan
9. The Promises of the Three Sisters
II. Realistic and Philosophical Tales
10. The Liver of the Wise and the Liver of the Foolish
11. The Man Who Put His Mother over His Shoulder and Rode His Father
12. "It Serves Me Right!"
13. "I’ve Seen [It] with My Own Eyes; Nobody Told Me!"
14. The Noble and the Vile
15. Sultan Hasan
16. Which Muhammad?
III. - Tales Based on Religious Themes
17. The Contract with Azrael
18. When Azrael Laughed, Cried, and Felt Fear
19. The Man Who Didn’t Perform His Prayers
20. The Beast That Took a Wife
21. The Three Robbers and el-Khidr
22. The Killer of Ninety-Nine
IV. Etiological Belief Narratives
23. How el-Khidr Gained Immortality
24. Why the Turks Were Called "Tùrk"
25. Why the Copts Were Called "Blue Bone"
26. Why There Is a "Saint the Forty" in Every Town
27. "Blow for Blow"
28. Why the Kite Always Attacks the Crow
V. Axes, Saints, and Culture Heroes
The Supreme Saints Cycle
29. When the Arch-Saints Exchanged Jobs
30. An Arch-Saint’s Attempt to Punish Sinners
"Imamu" ’Aali’s Narrative Cycle
31. "Imamu" ’Aali and "Aantar
32. The Twelfth Month
33. The Betrayal
"Mari" Girgis’s Belief Legend Cycle
34. Mari Girgis and the Beast
35. The Golden Signature
Other Saints and Miraculous Deeds
36. Letter to the "Justice of Legislation"
37. Sidi ’Aabdul-Rahman
38. The Grave That Wouldn’t Dig
39. The Mountain That Moved
VI. Local Belief Legends and Personal Memorates
40. The Thigh of the Duck
41. The Possessed Husband and His Zar
42. The Only Murder in Girshah
43. The Changeling
44. El-Muzayyara
45. The Stone in Bed
46. The New Car
VII. Animal and Formula Tales
47. Son-of-Adam and the Crocodile
48. Son-of-Adam and the Lion
49. The Partnership between Wolf and Mouse
50. The Sparrow
51. The Biyera Well
52. The Little, Little Woman
53. Once There Were Three
VIII. Humorous Narratives and Jokes
54. The Judge and the Baker
55. Stingy and Naggy
56. Reason to Beat Your Wife
57. "Scissors!"
The Trickster Cycle: Goha and Abu-Nawwas
58. "The New or the Old?"
59. Goha and the Pair of Calf Legs
60. Goha on the Death Bed
61. The Quick Ass
62. Who Is the Laziest?
Jokes: An Urban Phenomenon
63. "Left or Right?"
64. The Coerced Confession
65. Foreigner and Citizen
66. A Problem of Documentation
67. The High Bridge
68. Instant Virginity
69. The Body Scrub
70. How the Cat Died
Notes on the Tables
The Aarne-Thompson Type Index and Egyptian Folktales
Index of Motifs
Index of Tale Types
General Index

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