Speak Bird, Speak Again: Children Tales from the Palestinian Popular Heritage


The stories in this book are only a few of the huge numbers of tales that were told in Palestine in the past. They were selected from 45 stories already included in our book "Speak Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales". Although young and adult members of the family participated in the gatherings where these tales were told, the stories addressed to children in particular were usually shorter and funnier than those that captured the interest of the adults. The stories we selected for this book are of the shorter and funnier type favored by children. The most important thing the Palestinians carried with them when they were displaced from their cities and villages, was their houses' keys. These keys are not just material tools, but, above all, important symbols to preserve the Palestinian collective memory; the home was the place where the family lived. And the family was not a separate entity, but an integral part of the local community where the relatives, in-laws, friends, neighbors, beloved ones and brothers lived. It is obvious that the Great Arab culture is the home that gave birth to our cultural and linguistic identity as Palestinians. In fact, the Arab culture gives our experiences a historical depth and geographical extension. The belonging to the village gave the individual a sense of reassurance, warmth and well-established identity. Therefore, the stories of this book are from those villages; they are symbolic keys of our collective memory. They enhance our Palestinian identity and ensure its continuity. These tales will continue in life as long as we know who we are.

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About the Author(s)

Compilers:Sharif Kanaana,Ibrahim Muhawi

Sharif KANAANA, is professor of sociology and anthropology at Birzeit University in Palestine. Born in 'Arraba al-Batuf in Galilee in 1936, he received his higher education at the University of Hawaii.

Ibrahim MUHAWI, teaches contemporary Arabic literature and the theory of translation at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Born in Ramallah in 1937, he received his higher education in English literature at the University of California.


Institute for Palestine Studies
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Language: Arabic
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