Stories & Sayings

The Window in the Ceiling

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:

The following story happened in Syria but is known in the Bethlehem area.

It is said that a young peasant fell in love with a girl from the same quarter. Like the girl's father he worked on the land. However, customs and traditions put an obstacle to their meeting. During his trading trips to Aleppo her father used to lock her up. However, her lover climbed on the roof and talked to he(...)

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The vine, the olive and the fig: a Palestinian proverb

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 19.05.2006:

The vine is delicate and requires care, the olive grows out on the mountains and can protect itself, while the fig tree, which is hardly less important to the fellah than the other two, is homely and is planted near the village. Hence the proverb: "The vine is a town lady, the olive an Arab and the fig a peasant woman."

Source:

Grace Crowfoot and Louise Baldensperger, From Cedar(...)

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Artas and the Song of Songs

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 16.05.2006:

Like in the Bible, traditional Palestinian peasant life took its wisdom from connecting the human universe with the flora and fauna of the land. The body, relationships, and human virtues and vices were given meaning through the prism of the surrounding nature.

For instance, of a house full of children it was said:

"The house is full like the pomegranate."

Peasant society(...)

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Apricot (mish-mish) – Beit Jala is known for that fruit

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

"Until the apricot season." Means: never. The apricot season is in the Summer but lasts only a very short time.

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Bread

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

"If bread is searched, it will not be tasted." People who are always critical do not enjoy life.

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Bedouin proverbs

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

"Eat as camels (quickly) and get up before moon."

"The demands of the stomach should not always be complied with."

Self-restraint is a virtue.

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Food

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

"The husband's love goes through the stomach." A man likes to eat. If you want to satisfy him, fill his stomach...

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The Baker

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

"Give your dough to the baker even though you know that he eats half of it." An experienced person knows better.

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About bad persons

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

"From radishes no lemon can be made." Nothing good can be expected from a bad person.

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Proverbs known in the Bethlehem area

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.03.2006:

1) On science and knowledge

a. They did not see God but knew him through the mind.

b. After getting old he was sent to the village school.

2) On politeness, polish and praiseworthy manners

a. Oh, you who are going away, increase your good deeds.

b. Receive me well and do not give me lunch.

3) On economizing, good management, work and money

a. S(...)

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