Polished by the streams of time, the oral traditions of Iraq encompass a rich variety of folktales, ranging from fanciful fables and heroic myths to stories derived from religions, sagas, and tribal customs. Countless waves of migration, conquest, and settlementSumerian, Chaldaean, Cassite, Assyrian, Persian, Arab, and Turkishhave surged across the region, along with merchant caravans, pilgrims, wandering gypsies, and other travelers. Each contributed fresh elements to the native folklore, infusing ancient Mesopotamia's traditional tales with vigorous new life.
As the first English-language collection of Iraqi fairy tales, this enchanting book dates from the transitional time between the world wars, when the cinema and gramophone were replacing traditional storytellers. Admirably translated by a longtime resident of the country who heard them in Arabic, the stories teem with the demons, witches, ogres, and other supernatural creatures who populate fairy tales the world over. Sixteen vintage photographs complement "The Fish That Laughed," "The Poor Girl and Her Cow," "The Three Dervishes and the Wonderful Lamp," "The Blind Sultan," and other compelling adventures. Recounted as they were toldby people from all walks of life, from cabinet ministers to housemaidsthese authentic folktales will captivate readers of all ages.