Sunday, April 19, 2020

Happily ever after, with a little help (Following folktales around the world 152. - Oman)

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!

Halimah ​and the Snake and Other Omani Folktales
Grace Todino-Gonguet
Stacey International Publishers, 2008.

The book contains ten Omani folktales. It is an important collection: it's very hard to find folktales from Oman in English (or, according to the introduction, even in Arabic). The book has gorgeous, colorful illustrations, and there is a glossary at the end.


The story of the invisible woman was both heartbreaking and beautiful. A girl was kidnapped by an evil magician and kept locked in a cave for years. Even when she was allowed to leave, he made her invisible to everyone, so she could only follow her loved ones around like a ghost. Eventually she escaped with the help of her beloved. In another story an evil magician cursed a girl and everyone thought she was dead. The girl believed to be dead, however, climbed out of her coffin, and became a servant to a mean family until as an adult she found her way back home.
In the story of The arrogant man a dying miser left his hidden treasures to a man, telling him to be generous. The inheritor, however, became rich from the treasure, and told everyone he'd worked hard for it. The ghost of the old man warned him multiple times, but this is not Christmas Carol - the rich man didn't listen, and his whole palace burned down with him in it.
In the story of The good wife a girl married a man in secret, and helped him uncover the intrigue of his first, mean wife. In the tale of The true brothers a rich man adopted the son of a poor farmer and raised him together with his own son. The two boys helped each other and saved each other more than once, and lived happily without conflict.


Halima and the snake, the title story of the book, was a classic snake husband story; Ain Az-Zaman was a Sleeping Beauty, Maryam's secret a Cinderella variant. Asif's betrayal belonged to the folktale type where an evil man blinded and betrayed his friend, who managed to turn his misfortune around. 

Where to next?
The United Arab Emirates!


  1. It definitely sounds like a book to grab! If you can’t get much in English, here is our chance, plus that cover is beautiful. Thanks for telling us about it.

  2. Fascinating stories....I'll have to see if I can find it in English- thanks!