Folk Tales of the Maldives

Xavier Romero-Frias

240 pp., illustrated,
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2012, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 104 8, £50.00
Paperback - 2012, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 105 5, £16.99


The Maldives are mainly known as an equatorial tourist paradise to the south of India but some will know the archipelago risks drowning owing to global warming. Far less is known about the people, who have occupied these islands for millennia but whose deep indigenous culture is today under threat from a multitude of external forces.

This volume is a collection of 80 traditional short stories and legends selected from the large corpus of stories in the local oral tradition, and translated and illustrated by the author who is the foremost authority on the language and anthropology of the Maldives. These folk tales offer keen insights both into the history, culture and beliefs of the people of the Maldives and into the world they live in. The close relationship the Maldivians have with their environment is clear, likewise the syncretic nature of their Islamic faith, the tales bustling with spirits, sorcerers and monsters as well as local people, seabirds, etc.

Would-be travellers to the Maldives will find this a unique insight into the real country behind the tourist brochures. For scholars, the folk tales and analytical material offer a wonderful literary/folklore resource as well as fresh perspectives on the effects of globalization.

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