Folk-lore of the Holy Land by J.E. Hanauer is available in full at the wonderful Sacred Text Archive where it was digitized in 2006. Both the archivists commentary and that of the author himself are very fraught and racist. It is a difficult read for this reason, and yet there is some fantastic material here.

It contains an even mix of Moslem, Christian and Jewish lore; often a given tale will draw from multiple traditions, and sometimes it is hard to distinguish a point of view.

John Bruno Hare, Sacred-Texts.com

This quote in particular jumped out at me all those years ago when I first started finding Palestinian folktales. I thought it was so odd that he should be trying to “distinguish a point of view,” as if there isn’t one which, like the narrative, is represented by a people who are a blend of all those who have lived in the Holy Land.

The only folktale my (Muslim) Palestinian father ever told me has been recorded as “Israeli Jewish” in my research, but comes from the 13th century Gloss of Accursius. In other words: my father related Medieval Florentine commentary on Roman law to me as a funny little folktale. Isn’t that amazing?

I. Saints, Sinners, and Miracles

  • I. A Learned Moslem’s Ideas On Cosmogony
  • II. Our Father Adam
  • III. Noah and Og
  • IV. Job and His Family
  • V. Abraham, ”the Friend of God”
  • VI. Lot and the Tree of the Cross
  • VII. The Deaths of Moses and Aaron
  • VIII. David and Solomon
  • IX. El Khudr
  • X. Simon The Just
  • Notes

Legends and Anecdotes

  • I. Bâb El Khalìl, The Jaffa Gate at Jerusalem
  • II. Turbet Birket Mamilla
  • III. En Nebi Daûd
  • IV. Bâb el Asbât
  • V. Detective Stories
  • VI. Scraps of Unwritten History
  • VII. Judgements of Karakash
  • VIII. The Saragossan Purim
  • IX. Sultan Mahmûd’s Autograph
  • X. The Right Answer
  • Notes

Ideas and Superstitions

  • I. Folks Gentle and Simple
  • II. The Secret of Success
  • III. Origin of Three Well-Known Sayings
  • IV. Moral Tales
  • V. The Angel of Death
  • VI. The Underground Folk
  • VII. Nursery Tales
  • VIII. Satire
  • IX. About Women
  • X. About Animals
  • XI. About Plants
  • XII. About Coffee
  • XIII. Some Magic Cures
  • XIV. A Popular Calendar and Some Sayings
  • Notes
  • Translation of a Jewish Amulet

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