Thursday, March 24, 2016

Folklore Thursday: Maldives, Mangroves, and Maritime tales

Today is Folklore Thursday on social media! If you want to find out more, follow this link, or click on the #FolkloreThursday hashtag on Twitter! Hosted by @FolkloreThursday.

Once again, I am very busy with research and dissertation work, so I am recycling a post I planned for A to Z. Here is yet another amazing story collection from a little known part of the world!

Folk tales of the Maldives
Xavier Romero-Frias
Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2012.

Number of stories included: 80

Illustrations: Black and white pencil drawings by the author

Culture(s) represented: Maldivian

3 reasons to read it:
If you only know the Maldives as a tourist destination (or can't even find them on the map).
If you are interested in tropical wildlife.
If you enjoy seafaring stories.

Best stories
The skin disease
A lot of the stories in the book deal with illness, and the shunning of people with incurable conditions (such as leprosy). In this one, a sailor in love with a girl does not give up on her when she is left alone - instead, he hires a sorcerer to help him save her from the spirit of sickness.

The first tunas
An epic sailing adventure that takes a shipful of people to the edge of the world - and back. Featuring a giant Hermit Crab Queen.

Kullavah Falu Rani (Queen of the Mangrove Forest)
A surprisingly realistic take on the "wild bride" story type - a girl who grew up in the deep mangrove jungle is spirited away by an amorous young king... but things don't go exactly as planned when she turns out to be wild and crude. I liked this story for its very unique setting.

Described as a "Maldivian Odyssey" this story tells us about a sailor who gets shipwrecked on an island full of cannibals - and his luck only gets worse from there. Featuring another giant hermit crab, cannibals, and a series of vicious animals.

The - allegedly true - story of a group of Maldivian shipwrecked far south of their home, and the ingenious way they managed to send a message 500 miles across the ocean for their loved ones to find them.

Read more like it
So far this is is the only collection of Maldivian folktales I have managed to locate. Definitely the best one.


  1. I can't find the Maldives on the map, I'm ashamed to say. It's beautiful there. I do know that.

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