Friday, March 17, 2023

Tricksters. Goha the Wise Fool

Carrying on with Goha today (see the Arab Folktales from yesterday), I have a lovely little book of Goha stories to share: Goha the Wise Fool by Denys Johnson-Davies.

You will find 15 stories from the Arabic tradition here, and Denys Johnson-Davies was himself one of the most famous translators of Arabic literature into English. You can read more about his life and career at Wikipedia. I was delighted to see that Goha was among his interests!

But what makes this book really amazing is that artwork... which comes in the form of needlework! The needlework artists are the "Fattouh Sons," Hag Hamdy and Hany, who have their shop in the Street of the Testmakers in Cairo's old Islamic quarter. You can read more about them in the book, which includes this photo:

So, just look at how lovely the art is! On the title page you can see the famous story of father-son-and-donkey, where Goha cannot decide just who should ride and who should walk.

Here is the illustration for one of my favorites about Goha, his wife, and the cat. See the cat? On the scales? Such a funny story!

I was delighted to find this book at the Internet Archive and I immediately ordered a copy to add to my Nasruddin book collection. Not because of the stories, but because of this beautiful folk art!

by Denys Johnson-Davies

No comments:

Post a Comment