This collection seeks to fill a gap in folktale literature by offering tales of the Lao. Organized by broad themes and types, it offers more than 50 tales, including creation myths, animal tales, Buddhist Jataka and moral stories, trickster tales, riddles, ghost stories, local legends and more from peoples on both sides of the Mekong River. In addition, the book includes general information about Lao geography, peoples, and history, as well as recipes, games crafts, color photos and line drawings.
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Outhine Bounyavong is one of the most prominent contemporary writers in Laos. His stories are animated with Laotian virtues of simplicity, compassion, respect for age, and other village mores; they breathe with a gentleness that is fresh and distinctive. Outhine is interested in his own memories, in how to behave with compassion, and in the chain of life among men and women that reaches into the earth. Rather than writing through an ideological lens, Outhine focuses on the passions and foibles of ordinary people. Their good luck, disappointments, and plain but poignant conversations reveal the subtle textures of Lao culture. The tragedy of war and the threat of environmental degradation are themes woven into his stories.
This book presents fourteen of Outhine Bounyavong’s short stories in English translation alongside the Lao originals, marking his formal debut for an American audience. It is also the first collection of Lao short stories to be published in the English language. Peter Koret’s Introduction explores the history of modern Lao literature and considers Outhine’s writing within this broader context.
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Here in one slim volume is a selection of the best-known and best-loved Lao folktales that have entertained the Lao people for generations. We meet the legendary trickster Xieng Mieng who matches his wits with merchants, monks, and kings. We find a quick-witted toad that terrifies tigers, a turtle that flies, a cadre of snails that race a rabbit, and a mynah bird that speaks five languages fluently. The reader may recognize a whisper of Aesop or a Jataka tale, but each story is distinctively Lao, retold with Lao humor and charm reflecting a Buddhist culture in a Marxist state. Works by Anoulom Souvandouane, the foremost illustrator in Laos, enliven the stories. Steven Epstein lived in Laos from 1990 to 1997. He worked for the Swedish government setting up English training programs in different ministries.
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Hmong culture has had an oral tradition for millennia, but the language itself did not even exist in written form until the 1950s. Compiled by famed author and storyteller Norma Livo and coauthor, Dia Cha, this is the first collection of authentic Hmong tales to be published commercially in the English language. Beginning with a description of Hmong history, culture, and folklore, the book includes 16 pages of full-color photographs of Hmong dress and needlework and 27 captivating tales divided into three sections: beginnings; how/why stories; and stories of love, magic, and fun. Appropriate for high school and adult readers, with selected stories appropriate for younger children, this collection is an important addition to multicultural units.
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Introduction These Folk-Tales from Laos have the charm of complete novelty. Until the translator of this volume collected these stories, they were unwritten, with a single exception of one that was found in a Laos manuscript. They are orally preserved in the provinces that today constitute Laos, as they have been handed down from generations of ancestors with slight variations in words or incidents. The elders among the people tell the stories at their merrymakings around the camp-fires and within their houses, to the amusement and for teaching for the youth and children.
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