Author: Idries Shah
Review by Roger Elliott
People just love stories. From Harry Potter to the news, the latest gossip or gripping tale of a friend's exciting encounter, we were born to absorb stories, as if they are a kind of nourishment. World Tales contains the most enduring of these.
Traditionally, stories not only entertained, but illustrated, illuminated and suggested as well. Helpful stories were told by the tribe elder, the family grandmother, and nowadays the therapist, often because stories are the best way to 'get the message across'. The stories in World Tales are said to contain the most fundamental 'life messages'.
So why are stories, metaphors and tales so central to being human? Perhaps because communication itself is a metaphor for our experience. We tell stories to help other people understand our situation, our experiences, or simply because no other method of communication will do.
World Tales is a seminal collection of stories from every culture and continent throughout the ages. From the Red Indian version of Cinderella to classic Arabic stories, every tale is said to have many meanings.
"It has long been known that children and adults exposed to quality, 'classical' stories become more flexible in their thought processes"
The European Therapy Studies Institute
The collector Idries Shah was a Sufi, stories being one developmental method used by the Sufis. Adults and children alike love World Tales; I keep mine on my bedside table, to dip into now and again. I've had it for over 5 years, and I'm still not sure if I've read it all!