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Pearls and Corals: Qatari Folktales

February 2020

Known in Qatar as hazawi, folktales are the oral stories of everyday life, transmitted within families for education and entertainment in the home, the majlis, or the desert camps. Common characters in Qatari folktales include donkeys, goats, magic fish, jealous wives, orphaned children, sneaky thieves, sea monsters, djinn, folk heroes, and clever old women. Details change with every rendition as a storyteller adds their own flourishes, so that each tale is a dynamic, evolving performance. The stories below, introduced by Autumn Watts, are abundant with social wisdom, moral instruction, and cultural knowledge, and reflect the lessons and concerns of the past and present.

Enduring Tales: The Qatari Oral Tradition
By Autumn Watts
The stories are abundant with social wisdom, moral instruction, and cultural knowledge.
The Sunni and His Friend
By Qatari Oral Tradition
“Cats. Carry cats!”
Translated from Arabic by Tariq Ahmed
Al Fisaikra
By Qatari Oral Tradition
“Set me free and I’ll make you rich.”
Translated from Arabic by Kholoud Saleh
Fatoum and Hamoud and Hamed
By Qatari Oral Tradition
The mother sheep would warn her children of the wolf that prowled the town.
Translated from Arabic by Rana Elmaghraby
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