The earliest Arabic tales of the weird, Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange, published in English for the first time.

…it lay unread and gathering dust, a ragged manuscript that no one even knew existed, until 1933 when Hellmut Ritter, a German Orientalist, stumbled across it and translated it into his mother tongue. An Arabic edition was belatedly printed in 1956.”

The stories…

dealt with all things that challenged human understanding, including magic, the realms of the jinn, marvels of the sea, strange fauna and flora, great monuments of the past, automatons, hidden treasures, grotesqueries and uncanny coincidences. … The sheer mad inventiveness of “The Story of Mahliya and Mauhub and the White-Footed Gazelle”, with its jumbling of Muslim, Christian and pagan beliefs and rituals would take some beating. Here we have a mechanical vulture, visionary dreams, conversation with a pagan god, magical transformations, thrones of wrath and of mercy, an enchanted gazelle, a herder of giant ostriches, lustful jinn, speaking idols, a queen of the crows, a weeping lion, a fortress guarded by talismans, a crocodile with pearls in its ears, the sacrifice of virgins to the Nile and much else.”

The hardcover seems to have sold out, but a Kindle edition is available.

Reiniger-achmed30-bigStill from Reiniger’s Achmed.

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