The Garden of Joys

The Garden of Joys

An Anthology of Oriental Anecdotes, Fables and Proverbs


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9780863563546 May 2000 Paperback 175pp Illustrations by Christian Buléon

About the Book

The Garden of Joys is an anthology of anecdotes, fables, stories and proverbs related and translated from the oral tradition of the Arab lands and from Persian and Arabic literature. Henry Cattan has selected from a number of oral and written sources evocative of Eastern wisdom and humour and featuring some of the most memorable of Arab folk characters. Most famous of all is Juha, the popular humorist from folk legend who is perhaps best known in the West as Mullah Nasreddin. Juha’s stories have enriched an oral tradition which has centuries during been for the people of the Levant a means of expressing through wit and humour their convictions about humanity, society and man’s place in the world. The last section of the book features a handful of the seven thousand proverbs which are still today used to adorn language and conversation.

This collection will provide the reader with good-humoured insights into the wisdom and beliefs of the people of the Arab lands.

The book is further enhanced by original drawings by the French artist Christian Buléon.

About the Author

Henry Cattan was born in Jerusalem in 1906. A renowned jurist, he authored several books, including The Garden of Joys: An Anthology of Oriental Anecdotes (Saqi Books), Fables and Proverbs, Palestine, The Arabs and Israel and The Palestine Question. He died in Paris in 1992.


'An entertaining introduction to the wit and wisdom of the Arab folk tradition.'