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Folktales of Israel (Folktales of the World…
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Folktales of Israel (Folktales of the World Series)

by Dov Noy

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A collection of seventy-one folktales from the Israeli Folktale Archives, established by Dov Noy in order to preserve the diverse oral traditions of the many Jewish communities immigrating to Israel in the first few decades of its existence as a nation. Divided into nine sections, including: The Righteous; The Covetous; Talking Animals; Kings and Commoners; Clever Jews; Husbands and Wives; Heroes and Heroines; Wise Men; and Numskulls; these tales are geographically and cultural diverse, with contributions from countries in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.

Each tale is introduced by a short paragraph devoted to themes and folkloric motifs, as well as worldwide variants - a feature that will be most welcome for the scholar. Many of the individual tales will be quite familiar to folktale enthusiasts such as myself, whether from other collections of Jewish lore, or from different traditions altogether. I have frequently encountered tales such as A Dispute in Sign Language or A Servant When He Reigns. I was delighted moreover, to run into The Span of Man's Life, which can also be found in The Moon in the Well, a collection of Macedonian tales I recently reviewed. Highly recommended to anyone with a love of folktales, or an interest in the diversity of folk traditions to be found in Israel. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jun 18, 2013 |
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Contents include:

"The Righteous:"
The Wayfarer and His Ass / The Two She-Goats from Shebreshin / King David's Tomb in Jerusalem / Joseph the Righteous of Peki'in / The Rich Miser and the Shoemaker / He Who Has Faith in God Is Rewarded / The Drought in Mosul / The Town That Had Faith in God / The Blessings of a Hidden Saint / When the Wheel of Fortune Turns / The Blood Libel / The Reward of a Midwife.

"The Covetous:"
No Escape from Fate / The Spendthrift Son / The Porter Who Lost His Appetite / A Man with Many Court Cases / The Landlord and His Son / The Shopkeeper and the Four Blind Beggars / The Rich Beggar and His Wonderful Purse / The Beggar and His Ass / The Coffeemill, the Tray, and the Stick / A Miser and a Generous Man / The Mountain of the Sun / The Tall Tale of the Merchant's Son.

"Talking Animals:"
Abraham Our Father and the Dogs / The Span of Man's Life / The Cat's Allotment / Till I Prove Who I Am / How a Dove and a Snake Took Pity on a Man.

"Kings and Commoners:"
Blessed Be God Day by Day / The Peasant Who Learned to Like Coffee / When I Lift the Left Moustache / A Brother's Love / He Who Gives Thanks to the King and He Who Gives Thanks to the Almighty / A Letter to the Almighty.

"Clever Jews:"
A Judge of Horses, Diamonds, and Men / The Right Answer to the Right Question / A Dispute in Sign Language / Charity Will Save from Death / Settling an Account With a Joker / The Cunning of the Sons of Israel / A Tale of a Jew Who Bridled the Wind / The Kingdom of the Lazy People / The Great Lie / The Bakalawa Story.

"Husbands and Wives:"
Years Are as Days / The Clever Wife / The Deceived Girl and the Stone of Suffering / With God's Will All Is Possible / The Box With Bones / The Queen Who Was a Witch / The Only Daughter of Noah the Righteous.

"Heroes and Heroines:"
Who Cured the Princess? / The Hunter and the King's Fair Daughter / The Pupil Who Excelled His Master / The Three Brothers / Who Is Blessed with the Realm, Riches, and Honor? / The Ten Serpents.

"Wise Men:"
The Lion Who Walked in the Garden / A Servant When He Reigns / What Melody Is the Sweetest? / Tha Tailor's and the Lord's Work / This Too Will Pass / The Rambam and the Bottle of Poison.

"Numskulls:"
The Passover Miracle / The One-Eyed Cadi / The Tailor With His Luck Locked Up / Two Madmen / The Two Husbands / Where Is the Jar? / What Was the Servant Thinking?
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