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Book No. 45

To first story in the book press: 2138

To last story in the book press: 2161

Folklore and Legends: Oriental

Tibbitts Charles John

Folklore and Legends: Oriental, Charles John Tibbitts, 1889

Folklore and Legends: Oriental

by Charles John Tibbitts

London: W. W. Gibbings



This is an anthology of tales from several widely separated Asian story-telling traditions, with the center of gravity somewhere in Persia. This was originally published in a series of 'folklore and legends' volumes by the firm of W.W. Gibbings between 1891 and 1905, and the author (editor?) is unnamed, but the initials C.J.T. given after the preface are apparently those of one Charles John Tibbitts. It has been republished as Oriental Myths and Legends. The book is meant to be enjoyed as light reading, and the stories are unattributed and uncredited. However, by internal evidence, the tales originate from Arabian, Persian, Indian, and Kalmyk sources, and have Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Zoroastrian elements.

Of some interest are the Kalmyk tales; the extended Scheherazade-like Relations of Ssidi Kur is a märchen-cycle from the Buddhist Kalmyk people, who today reside on the west shore of the Caspian Sea, and have strong historical connections to Tibet and Mongolia. This is the only time that I've seen an English translation of the Ssidi Kur. My best guess as to the origin of each other tale is indicated in green type below the title.

John Bruno Hare, Jan. 22, 2008.



The East is rich in Folklore, and the lorist is not troubled to discover material, but to select only that which it is best worth his while to preserve. The conditions under which the people live are most favourable to the preservation of the ancient legends, and the cultivation of the powers of narration fits the Oriental to present his stories in a more polished style than is usual in the Western countries. The reader of these tales will observe many points of similarity between them and the popular fictions of the West – similarity of thought and incident – and nothing, perhaps, speaks more eloquently the universal brotherhood of man than this

oneness of folk-fiction. At the same time, the Tales of the East are unique, lighted up as they are by a gorgeous extravagance of imagination which never fails to attract and delight.

C. J. T.

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