Himli, Waleed Ahmed
5 February 2015
This thesis contains a collection of folktales that was the result of intensive fieldwork in 2008 in the region of Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia. I have traveled to Jizan several times in order to meet people from there to sit and document their folktales. I visited people in different places, including their homes and outside their homes, with the intention of writing down their oral traditional tales. Even if I had encountered many obstacles and challenges, such as the geographical difficulties and different customs of my informants, I successfully completed my research.
After I did the fieldwork, I started to revise the tales and realized that they were not clear in their dialect, so I translated the tales into Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Later I further translated them from MSA into English to prepare them for academic study. I classified the folktales into three genres, which are: fantasy, humorous narratives/jokes, and belief legends/memorates. In each of these general chapters, I have done a study of each of the folktale types and motifs. In addition, I have added a coda to some of the tales, in square brackets at their conclusion. Along with the comments on each tale, there has been done an intensive study to see if it appears either in other parts of Saudi Arabia, or other parts of the Arab world.
The thesis contains three chapters according to the genre of the folktales, and a chapter on the notes; in these notes I describe how I studied the folktale types, the motifs and the existence of the folktales in other parts of the Arab World. Moreover, it includes a list of each of the informants that contains information about who they are, and the context of their performance of narrating the tale. Finally, the chapter called "The Methodology" contains information on how I gathered my research, the difficulties I encountered during and after I finished the fieldwork.
Folktales are mirrors of people's lives, and so they are a rich source of customs, traditions, and beliefs that one can draw from to understand the culture. The tales presented here in this thesis reflect in an interesting way the Jizani culture and heritage, and how these shape their daily lives according to their beliefs, and have for many years. The folktales in the chapter on fantasy tales give examples and reflect some of the local beliefs in the Jinn, and evil creatures, in addition to the kinship dramas. The folktales in the chapter on Humorous Narratives/Jokes illustrate a satirical comic style where deception is the dominant theme. The religious beliefs and tribal fanaticism and the unity of relatives, in addition to some customs and traditions, such as generosity, are the secondary themes of the folktales. The tales in the chapter on Belief Legends/Memorates reflect some of the folk beliefs of legendary creatures in the region of Jizan.
This thesis focuses on the collection and translation of folktales, and not on the epistemological theorizing of these tales. I collected the tales in order to study them in an academic manner to be presented for scholarly purposes. Moreover, I present these tales as a representation of folklore in the Jizan region, and to serve as a motivation for my future research and inspiration for other scholars of folklore in the region.
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