We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care. Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.
Mosul is covered in ruins yet the spirit of survival and kindness still prevails. This picture is of several families rushing down city paths in Mosul, Iraq was taken by Felipe Dana.
Present-Day Mercy & Magnanimity
As people fled the streets of Mosul, a woman ran back to retrieve her white dove. She cupped the bird and a soldier offered the bird a drink of water from his cupped hands. Small and simple deeds amongst the ruins are cherished. More details of this story is here: https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/battle-for-mosul-kindness-for-human-shields-escaping-islamic-state-20170630-gx1n0u.html.
Past Mercy & Magnanimity (Folktale)
This Iraqi folktale comes from the book “Folktales of Iraq” by E. S. Stevens, published by Benjamin Blom. Stevens said that this particular folktale entitled “The Sparrow and His Wife” was shared by a woman who was blind from Mosul.
Here is a summary:
A proud sparrow sang and afterwards worried he would draw upon himself the Evil Eye, that curses those who are proud (headaches, fatigue, and death). Sometimes the weaving of colored threads would keep away the Evil Eye or a blue-eyed amulet to shine back the curse. He no longer dwelled on these thoughts and decided to buy seven grains of corn and invite friends. He told his wife not to eat the corn. The sparrow was so long in flying about and inviting that the wife became hungry. One by one the grains of corn were eaten. As the last grain of corn was swallowed, the sparrow returned with his guests. He was so mad that he said, “Woman, I divorce you!” three times and that made it legal as it was before witnesses. The wife flew off to her father’s tree. That night, the sparrow realized he still loved her and wished her back. Many nights he flew to her father’s tree and called to her and how much he wanted her home. She refused him each time. Then one day the sparrow flew to the marketplace and begged an old woman to give him threads of five color. The woman gave these and the sparrow repeated his words while presenting this gift. The wife gave joy-cries, took the threads, and wove them in their nest to keep away the Evil Eye. Their home was now protected. They bought more corn and celebrated with friends.
Interesting Notes on Kindness
- The sparrow wished to share corn with friends rather than only for himself
- His pride overwhelmed his kindness and turned into the rash divorce
- Although refusing the sparrow several times, she softened her heart with mercy
- The old woman gave the threads as a kind gift without realizing the significance of this action and is often the case of any kindness
- The wife forgave her husband
- The sparrow and his wife shared their happiness and a second time offered a feast to friends
What stories of kindness do you know associated with Mosul or Iraq? Anywhere in the world – past or present? Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).
We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.)