By holding nine storytelling sessions a day, the children’s festival is bringing
younger generations back to fables of Aesop and Grimm brothers
The good old days of storytelling – when grandmothers and mothers told stories at bedtime or otherwise to children – are back in practice at the Reading Corner of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2022) running at the Expo Centre Sharjah until May 22.
The 13th edition of the 12-day festival has many such firsts to attract children and young adults to the venue, and the revival of the timeless tradition of storytelling is on the event’s platform is among them.
Maissa al Jabban, Arabic author and storyteller, has kept alive the magic as she tirelessly read out nine different stories including from Aesop’s Fables through the day. While the 20-minute morning sessions begin at 10am and conclude at 12 noon with a 15-minute break, the evening sessions begin at 5pm and go on till 7.45pm.
Targeting children aged six and above, the tales give them moral lessons about love, friendship, greed and other aspects of life. There is the popular Aesop tale of the honest woodcutter who refuses the golden and silver axes the water goddess brings him from the river and accepts only his iron axe that had fallen into the water while his friend is greedy and chooses the golden one. The consequence is that he loses his own axe out of his dishonesty, while the first woodcutter is rewarded for his honesty.
Some other interesting tales that are being told are of the ogre and a boy named Hassan; the friendship between the chicken and geese; Shashabon the spider that learns to hunt prey; the apple tree and the boy; and the crow that adorns himself with coloured feathers. The popular one from the Grimm’s Fairy Tales of the wolf and the seven sheep who escape the jaws of death thanks to the mother sheep’s ingenuity is also part of SCRF’s selection.
Every story has a moral, and Al Jabban vouches the stories have the power of healing – like the crow that learns self-love by being happy in his own skin or feathers.
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