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View of Cairo (detail), by Jean-Leon Gerome [1890] (Public Domain Image)
View of Cairo (detail), by Jean-Leon Gerome [1890] (Public Domain Image)

Folklore and Legends: Oriental

by Charles John Tibbitts


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This is an anthology of tales from several widely separated Asian story-telling traditions, with the center of gravity somewhere in Persia. This was originally published in a series of 'folklore and legends' volumes by the firm of W.W. Gibbings between 1891 and 1905, and the author (editor?) is unnamed, but the initials C.J.T. given after the preface are apparently those of one Charles John Tibbitts. It has been republished as Oriental Myths and Legends. The book is meant to be enjoyed as light reading, and the stories are unattributed and uncredited. However, by internal evidence, the tales originate from Arabian, Persian, Indian, and Kalmyk sources, and have Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Zoroastrian elements.

Of some interest are the Kalmyk tales; the extended Scheherazade-like Relations of Ssidi Kur is a märchen-cycle from the Buddhist Kalmyk people, who today reside on the west shore of the Caspian Sea, and have strong historical connections to Tibet and Mongolia. This is the only time that I've seen an English translation of the Ssidi Kur. My best guess as to the origin of each other tale is indicated in green type below the title.

--John Bruno Hare, Jan. 22, 2008.

Title Page
Prefatory Note
The Cobbler Astrologer
The Legend of the Terrestrial Paradise of Sheddád, The Son Of ’A’d
The Tomb Of Noosheerwân
Ameen and the Ghool

The Relations of Ssidi Kur

The Relations of Ssidi Kur
The Adventures of the Rich Youth
The Adventures of the Beggar's Son
The Adventures of Massang
The Magician with the Swine's Head
The History of Sunshine and His Brother
The Wonderful Man Who Overcame the Chan
The Bird-Man
The Painter and the Wood-Carver
The Stealing of the Heart
The Man and His Wife
Of the Maiden Ssuwarandari


The Two Cats
Legend of Dhurrumnath
The Traveller's Adventure
The Seven Stages of Roostem
The Man Who Never Laughed
The Fox and the Wolf
The Shepherd and the Jogie
The Perfidious Vizier