Monday, May 29, 2006
Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!
This afternoon, while browsing at my favorite bookstore, "Politics and Prose," I chanced on a wonderful little discovery: A children's story called Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur! A Palestinian Folktale. It tells of a woman who has no children and who prays to Allah to have a child. Instead, she gets a pot who behaves like a child and gets in all sorts of trouble. Margaret Read MacDonald, who rendered the story into English, has this note at the end of the story:
"The tale 'Tunjur Tunjur' was told by fifty-five-year-old Fatme Abdel Qader of the village of 'Arrabe, Galilee. It is included in Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales by Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, pp.55-59). The collectors' children were present when Fatme told the story, which encouraged her to provide a lively rendition. The word tunjur is derived from the Arabic word for cooking pot , tunjura. Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur! is the imagined sound of a cooking pot when it's rolling..."
The wonderful illustrations are done by Alik Arzoumanian, who grew up in Beiurt.
And I tested it this evening on my 6-year-old-critic in residence, and he highly approved.