The Clever Sheikh of the Butana and Other Stories: Sudanese Folk Tales by Ali Lutfi Abdallah
Sudan, the largest country on the vast African continent, barely hovers on the edges of Western awareness. But hidden away is a sonorous ancient culture, passed on through generations of storytellers and oral historians, through songs and a rich tradition of folk tales.
Ali Lutfi spent his childhood on Sudan's White Nile listening to the stories of servant women and others descended from slaves. The legends and tales of these grandmothers were told over and over again to Ali and his brothers and sisters as they ate dinner and drifted into sleep. To read these stories in English, sixty years later, is to open a window to a different world, a Sudanese child's world shaped by deceitful wolves and wicked brothers, by magic jars and enchanted trees, by camelback journeys and by the life-giving waters of the Blue and White Niles.