Myths & Legends

The legend of Jaber Yassein

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 07.01.2007:

By Mike Odetalla

“Jaber Yassein” was a name that I heard quite a bit as a young child when I lived in our small village in Palestine. The name seemed to “come up” quite frequently, especially when we kids would intrude or drop in on an adult conversation. The adults would be conversing on a serious subject, and when we would pop in or stop to listen, the name “Jaber Yassein” would pop (...)

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The hungry Badawy

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Once a fellah and a Badawy met together. Good food was spread for them on a low table. The Badawy asked: "What do you bring for the bride, O fellah?"

The fellah said: "We bring all the clothes that are needed, the bridal dress (el malak), the black head veil (el-shunbur), the red woollen belt (elhizam), the velvet jacket with gold thread work, (el-taqseer min mukhmal bil-qusu), the sil(...)

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The Wise Bedouin

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Once there was a Badawy Sheikh who was very generous, and he slew of his flocks for his guests until he became poor. So he went to take up service with the Sultan. They gave him the care of the horses. One day a falcon was brought to the Sultan. The Sultan asked the Badawy: "What do you think of this falcon?" The Badawy said: "Why does it look down at the ground? A Falcon should look up." The(...)

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Miriamiya, “Sage of Virtue,” and other aromatic herbs

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

A fair damsel (girl) of Artas, just returned from the market in Bethlehem, came into the room with her hands held awkwardly behind her back. "O lady," she began, in the breathless tone of one who has considered what best to say while walking all the way back home and must get it out at once, "O lady, I went to the market for the meat for supper, just as you bid me, and there was none in the m(...)

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Al-Khader tales

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Al-Khadr is a most popular saint in Palestine, venerated by Moslems, Christians and Jews, though not always under this name. Sometimes Al-Khadr is identified with Mar Elias (Saint Eliyah) and sometimes with Mar Jiryis (Saint George). In the Near East, he is usually known as El Khidr, but in some parts he is identified with St. Theodore and in Kurdistan with St. Sergius. "Just as Syrian Moslem(...)

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The Clever Man and the Old Man

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Once there was a woman whose husband died while she was young. She had a son, so clever that she became tired of bringing him up. When her son was grown-up she wanted him to get married. However, the son only wanted to marry a girl who was brighter than him.

While looking for a girl, the son met an old man. The son greeted him saying, "Will you carry me or will I carry you?" The old ma(...)

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King Solomon and Balquis

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Balquis, the queen of Sheba, heard about the well-known wisdom of King Solomon. One day she invited him to her imposing palace and welcomed him wholeheartedly. She then showed him two bunches of very beautiful flowers, one of them natural, the other artificial. The resemblance between them was so close that it was impossible for the viewer to differentiate between them. Then she asked King So(...)

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The Prophet Mohammed and the Olive Tree

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

When the Prophet Mohammed died all the trees mourned and cast down their leaves. Then came one and said to the Olive Tree, 'O Olive Tree, the Prophet is dead and all the trees mourn and why do you not mourn?' The Olive Tree replied, 'Break my wood and see the grief within at my heart.' So he broke a branch from the Olive Tree and saw the grief in her heart. For her grief was within and not to(...)

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Legends from Teqoa

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Following is a popular story about Teqoa's Mosque of 'Umar. A certain young man from Beit Sahour was once shooting in that neighbourhood, and seeing a bird on top of the mosque, he fired at it and killed it. His hand was immediately fractured because he had violated the sanctity of the mosque.

The region surrounding Teqoa has been from time immemorial a barren desert. In the middle of (...)

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Mar Saba stories

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

At about three hours walking distance to the east of Bethlehem lies the monastery of Mar Saba hewn out of the rocks on the slope of a mountain in the middle of a vast wilderness, overlooking a most dismall and desolate valley 590 feet below the monastery. This settlement of monks is said to have been founded in the fifth century by St. Euthymius. Around the middle of the century Saba (born in(...)

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