Ali Lateef: Two Libyan Folktales

Tripoli coffee house by Domenico Tumiati, 1911. Source: theculturetrip.com

The brightest sun

Storyteller: Salima Abd Alsadeg Abu Khasheem

May God curse the devil, and keep us safe from his schemes.

There is a man who is married to two young women. One is white, the other black. The white woman ridicules the other for her color and constantly reminds her, You are only a servant.

Each one of them had a daughter. When the black woman sends food to the white woman, she doesn’t let her daughter eat it, or even taste it; when she gets it, she tosses it away for the dogs and says, Beware of her food, it makes you sick.

When the white daughter visits the black woman, she gives her candy and lets her play with her own daughter. But when the black daughter visits the white woman, she strikes her and throws her out. The white woman tells people bad things about the black woman, and as the saying goes, Two wives wreck a man’s home.

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Belal Hosni: Forest Road, Western Alexandria/The God Abandons Anthony

 

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear

an invisible procession going by

with exquisite music, voices,

don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,

work gone wrong, your plans

all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.

As one long prepared, and graced with courage,

say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.

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