Once upon a time there was a good king who had three very lazy sons. As he grew older, their father began to despair. He wondered how he would ever succeed in educating his sons so that, when the time came, one of them could take over the rule of the kingdom. Experts came from far and wide to give advice, but the spoilt young princes would not listen to any of them. At last a famous wise man arrived at the court and offered to teach the princes by means of instructive fables. So charming were these stories, so full of wit and wisdom, that the king’s sons were captivated by them and in time began to learn the lessons they taught. In the tales, animals could talk and had human feelings, and the same failings as humans too. They displayed arrogance, greed and cowardice, but also intelligence, bravery, and above all, loyalty to their friends. Courage, honesty and quick-thinking were rewarded, but animals that were greedy or dishonest always came to a bad end. First written down more than 2,500 years ago in an ancient Indian language called Sanskrit, these and other stories were included in a book called the Panchatantram fables. From India, travellers carried the stories to Iran, and then on to the Arabic-speaking world, where they formed part of a book called Kalila and Dimna. Other stories in this collection come from places as far apart as Morocco, Iraq and the Punjab. They are tales that children would hear from their parents and grandparents, passed down through families, each storyteller relating his or her own version. In The Blue Jackal these fables are re-told, in simple language that children can understand and enjoy, and are beautifully illustrated by Canadian artist Charlene Kasdorf. The author was inspired to make this collection of tales by the animals depicted on the glorious works of art on display in the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar. With the support of Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd, these delightful fables which have been handed down from generation to generation around the world are now brought to a new, young audience. Also available in Arabic.
The Blue Jackal and other tales from Islamic Lands (English)
The Blue Jackal and other tales are stories that children would hear from their parents and grandparents, passed down through families, each storyteller relating his or her own version. In this beautifully illustrated hardback book, these fables are re-told in a simple language that children can understand and enjoy. First written down more than 2,500 years ago in an ancient Indian language called Sanskrit, these and other stories were included in a book called the Panchatantram fables. From India, travellers carried the stories to Iran, and then on to the Arabic-speaking world, where they formed part of a book called Kalila and Dimna. Also available in Arabic (click here). In hardback
Charlene has lived and worked as an artist, illustrator, and educator in Canada, Thailand, Switzerland, the UK, and currently in Qatar. She earned her BFA with Honors in her home country of Canada. While living internationally, she embraced teaching art at various levels and earned her Master’s in International Education in Switzerland. She has contributed to various Qatar-based art and education projects, with past collaborations including the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Qatar Museum Family Programmes, Medina Publishing, and several international schools in Doha. She is an active member of the Association of Illustrators and the International Artists of Doha. In her home, Kasdorf nurtures her own two imaginative “sand pirates.”
See more at: http://www.charlenekasdorf.com.
Frances Gillespie has lived in Qatar for almost 30 years, working as an English teacher for many years and as a freelance writer, contributing to the media and writing books about the history and natural history of Qatar. In 2000 she was the coordinator of the Qatar Archaeology Project, a joint initiative between the Qatari authorities and the University of Birmingham.
Her best-selling book Discovering Qatar, first published in 2006, was the first to introduce readers to a wide range of natural history as well as to the traditional culture, history and archaeology of Qatar. Since then she has published the first field guide in English to the birds of Qatar, which has now been translated into Arabic, and a series of six books for young readers on the fauna and flora of the country, in English and Arabic. She also acts as scientific editor on a number of publications, and has adapted an educational interactive website on the environment for use in Qatar.