Monday, February 25, 2019

Brains over ghouls (Following folktales around the world 100. - Libya)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

One hundred countries! What an adventure :)

Since I could not find a full folktale collection from Libya, I hinted down the following seven stories from various sources:

The iron pestle and the girl with a donkey's head
(Arab Folktales)
Magic Flight of two lovers from a ghoul, except here the girl doesn't forget about her lover, but rather goes a donkey head on the way home. Brownie points to the ghoul, he eventually regrets his curse, and sends the girl a gift that changes her back.

Si'Djeha's miracles
(Arab Folktales)
Classic trickster tale with evergreen motifs such as getting out of a bag by switching places with a dupe, or getting away with stealing a bunch of sheep. Si'Djeha is a popular North African trickster figure.

God will provide
(Arab Folktales)
A poor man believes that God will provide for him even if he stays in bed all day - and he is right, because through a series of accidental events he does end up with a whole pile of gold, without ever leaving his house.

Fatoom, the daughter of beggars
(The Bird)
Puss in Boots crossed with a murder mystery. A beggar girl runs away from her abusive mother, and marries the king, lying about her parentage. The mother follows her, and keeps reminding her she is a beggar, until she pushes her out the window. The dead mother turns into a tree that keeps repeating the accusations, until the girl tells the king that her father has a greater palace than his. The king immediately wants to see the palace. Luckily, a helpful turtle comes along, finds a palace, and the girl's lie is never revealed. Neither is her crime, by the way.

Sabe'a sabaya
(Tripoli Post)
Ali Baba type tale. A poor man with a clever wife manages to rob a palace that belongs to ghawal (ghoul?) monsters. His brother becomes jealous and wants to to the same, but he doesn't follow the detailed advice, and ends up being consumed by the monsters. They return his head to his wife, though.

The sons of Sultan Bey
(Fairy Tales)
A really great story about three princes who set out to seek their fortune. The two older brothers settle for gold, but the youngest wants to find a princess to marry. A djinn helps him set out in the right direction, but he gets shipwrecked on the way, and rescued by the Bride of the Sea. The mermaid turns him into a girl so he can go into the king's harem and make friends with the princess. She turns out to be a horrible person, so the prince goes back into the sea, and marries the mermaid instead. This is how the Little Mermaid should have ended...

Libyan Jewish women in traditional garb
The pupil who bested the master
(World Folklore for Storytellers)
Libyan Jewish folktale. A poor boy sets out to learn a trade, so that he can marry the governor's daughter. He finds work in the devil's palace, and learns magic. When he discovers that the devil kills all his pupils, he flees. There is a shape-shifting chase scene (during which at one point the girl hides him in the form of a ring), and he eventually defeats the devil, and marries the governor's daughter.

Where to next?

No comments:

Post a Comment