The Secret of Laughter: Magical Tales from Classical Persia

From The London Times:

Magic_1 Shusha Guppy is one of the most remarkable of Londoners, not merely trilingual in Persian, French and English, but genuinely tricultural, too. She has written brilliantly in both French and English, has made a reputation for herself as a singer and composer in the French cabaret style, and has been a tireless advocate of Sufi wisdom and Persian classical literature, in exile from a country that seems to be bent on destroying both.

This collection of traditional Persian tales contains two classics, one from Firdowsi’s Book of Kings and the other from Rumi’s Masnavi. The rest belong to the oral tradition of the naqal — the itinerant story-teller who would go from village to village, charming children and adults with tales that are rooted in the kindly morality of the Sufis, and which make abundant use of the magical devices of the Arabian Nights. Guppy heard these tales in her childhood, has carried the memory of them around the cities of Europe, telling them to children, embellishing them with details and wisdom of her own, and now writing them down in polished versions that are models of narrative clarity.

More here.