Clever Sheikh of the Butana and Other Stories, The
Sudanese Folk Tales
retold Ali Lufti; edited by Kate W. Harris; illustrated by Elnour Hamad
5 1/2" x 8 1/4" • 160 pages • b&w illus
ISBN 9781566563123 • paperback • $15.00 •
“This collection of Sudanese folk tales, as compelling and imaginative as The 1001 Arabian Nights, will entrance readers. The stories bring the culture and customs of Sudan to life. Ali Lufti Abdallah heard these tales—featuring talking animals, buried treasure, evil spirits called Rhools, beautiful maidens and brave, handsome young men who carry out heroic deeds to save themselves and their families from often gruesome ends—when he was growing up in a town on the White Nile. Each tale offers a ‘lesson’ at the end that will encourage even the youngest readers to keep turning the pages. Western readers will have fun discovering the parallels between these stories and folktales they already know.”
—Saudi Aramco World
Sudan, the largest country on the vast African continent, barely hovers on the edges of Western awareness. But hidden away is a sonorous ancient culture, passed on through generations of storytellers and oral historians, through songs and a rich tradition of folk tales.
Ali Lutfi spent his childhood on Sudan's White Nile listening to the stories of servant women and others descended from slaves. The legends and tales of these grandmothers were told over and over again to Ali and his brothers and sisters as they ate dinner and drifted into sleep. To read these stories in English, sixty years later, is to open a window to a different world, a Sudanese child's world shaped by deceitful wolves and wicked brothers, by magic jars and enchanted trees, by camelback journeys and by the life-giving waters of the Blue and White Niles.
Ali Lutfi was born in Rufaa and educated in Bakhtarruda on the White Nile and Britain. He has spent his life teaching in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the United States.
Kate Harris was born in New York City and educated in California and upstate New York. She works as an editor in Atlanta.
Elnour Hamad was born in Sudan. He works as a painter, illustrator, and an editorial cartoonist in Illinois.
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