Stories & Sayings

Wadi Nar: a story

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 26.08.2006:

Wadi Nar, “the valley of fire,” connects the Kidron valley in Jerusalem with the Jordan river. Foreigners enjoy the sneaky road because of the stupendous desert views, but locals fear it because of its steep rifts and abysses. Those who cannot travel to the north through Jerusalem are obliged to take it. During Byzantine times, the monk Theodosios established a monastery near the road at the (...)

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The Bethlehem summer rhythm (not thinking about war and occupation)

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 26.08.2006:

Notes from a diary: July 2 - July 9, 2001

Toine van Teeffelen

Timelessness and pastoral quiet are basic attributes of Bethlehem. The name of the town is known allover the world and has an unquestionable meaning to hundreds of millions of people. During the 19th and the first half of the 20th century many photographers, mainly European but also Arab ones, tried to catch and appro(...)

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The Shepherd’s Bride Price

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 05.06.2006:

A folk story from Artas

Long ago there was a rich and stingy man who owned sheep and needed a shepherd. God sent an orphan to him. The orphan said: “Do you need a shepherd?”

“Very well.”

“And the terms?”

“The terms are that the one that you lift over the sheepfold wall at the end of the year, she shall be yours.”

“Very well, master, done with you.”

Th(...)

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A story from Dheisha

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 04.06.2006:

A Moslem woman of Dheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem, Rabiha, tells about the time when her family was forced to leave their village in 1948.

“We arrived in Beit Jala where the (Christian) community came out and greeted us with open arms. We were forty refugee families who were given shelter, food and drinks by the people of Beit Jala. They would not accept any money even for bread. W(...)

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How the dog and the cat became hostile

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 04.06.2006:

The following is a folktale noted down in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century:

“The dog and the cat were not always the enemies we now see them. There was once a strong friendship between them. Their hostility arose from the following incident: -

Ages ago when the different kinds of animals in the world had their various duties assigned to them, the dog and the cat, t(...)

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Telling folktales

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 04.06.2006:

The following text is from a book about the telling of Palestinian folklores:

“In the past, folktales were told for entertainment, usually after supper during winter evenings, when work in the fields was at a minimum and people were indoors with time on their hands. During the summer there were likely to be other forms of entertainment or subjects for conversation, such as weddings and(...)

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The wasps

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

A long time ago one of the invaders of Palestine persecuted the Christians; some of them were banished, some were killed and their churches were defamed. The leader of the invaders ordered his men to enter the Church of Nativity, loot all its treasures, and destroy it. When his soldiers entered this holy site and tried to steal all precious things in it, all of a sudden large numbers of wasps(...)

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The Old Man – St Nicholas

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

Beit Jala is an old Canaanite city whose name in Aramaic means "grass carpet." It hosts the Church of the Virgin and St Nicola's Church, and also a mosque for Moslems who took shelter in Beit Jala in the wake of the 1948 war. The Ras Mountain, which lies to the West of the city, is 923 metres high. On the northern part of this mountain lies the Cremisan Convent which is famous for manufacturi(...)

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A story of an Arabic proverb

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

"Men are closed boxes opened by experiences"

A man had a son, and the son had a lot of friends. One day the father asked the boy, "Dear boy, I see you very often going in and out with your friends." The boy answered: "These are my friends, even brothers; they support me when I need them." The father replied: "I think that you should try them out in order to be sure that they support yo(...)

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Olive wood tree speaks…

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

The story of the olive wood tree

when he would be able to speak...

Have you ever wondered why there are so many signs and symbols of olive branches and doves and why the name "olive wood" sounds so special? Oh, if this beautiful little tree could speak, here are some of the wonderful secrets she would share with us.

I am a small shapely tree with pointed dark, green leave(...)

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