These are some traditional Safwani bedtime stories. And yes, they are children stories.
Sfouf- a tale of jealousy and cannibalism
There was once a bright young boy called Sfouf. His mother had passed away and so he now lived with his father and jealous stepmother who hated him very much. One day, Sfouf’s father asked his wife to start preparing for for a grand dinner party for some guests that were coming over. The jealous stepmother took this opportunity to get rid of Sfouf once and for all. The next day she picked up Sfouf from school with the excuse that his father wanted him. This was a lie of course and she killed the boy and turned him into small kebabs for the guests.
The kebabs were delicious, and during the dinner party, the guests continually complimented the meat. But Sfouf’s disappearance soon drew the attention of his father. He began to search for the boy starting with his teacher whom he asked whether he had gone to school that day. She said that he was picked up by his stepmother who said that he himself had wanted him. This was unusual, and the father continued his search in the cemetery calling out ‘Sfouf!’, ‘Sfouf’. Soon, out of the grave of Sfouf’s mum they heard an ominous voice call out:
‘you who calls Sfouf, you’ve broken my heart. Sfouf was killed by his step-mum and made into kebabs for his dad’s guests’
The voice repeated this call which prompted the father to finally confront his wife. She admitted to her crime and the fact that she was always jealous of Sfouf who was loved by his father and much more clever than her own children. In his anger, the father murdered his wife, cooked her and invited his mother in law (her mother) for dinner.
Oblivious to her daughter’s death, she ate the meat which she found absolutely delicious. The father then offered her a piece of her daughter’s vagina which she happily ate. On doing this, the father mocked her saying: ‘you have no shame and just ate your daughter’s vagina’.
In shock and disgust, the mother in law spat the food in her mouth saying she did no such thing. But it was too late, and the father had completed his revenge, in the same way he was tricked into eating his beloved son, he had fed his wife to her own mother.
The Tale of Bones
Once upon a time, there lived two sisters. One was poor and got pregnant every year and the other was rich but couldn’t have any children. One day, the rich sister asked her poor sister to give her the next baby she has . Her husband was a rich merchant who traveled a lot and she would use this as an opportunity to fake her pregnancy. Once the poor sister gave birth, the rich sister went to visit her and take the baby; but was shocked to find that she was unwilling to give up her child. The poor sister argued that she lived too far away and couldn’t bare not being able to see her baby.
Disappointed, the rich sister returned home with her servant. But there was a problem: her husband would be expecting a child and she did not have one. So as a solution to this, she asked her driver to stop by at the cemetery. There, she found some bones which she wrapped in a cloth to look like a child. When she returned home to her husband, she told him that she had taken an oath that he would not see the baby; and would constantly guard the bundle.
One day, she left the bundle unattended, and the frustrated husband decided to finally take a look at the child. As soon as he unwrapped the bundle the bones came to life and a baby boy began to scream. The rich sister could not at first believe her husband when he called her to their screaming baby. But by the power of God, she finally had a son. However, he was an unusual boy who would refuse to wear any clothes and spend his days digging holes in the sands of the cemetery.
After the years passed, the rich sister was able to conceive other children. They grew up to be strong and mature, like their father. But the bones child was still constantly naked and digging holes in the cemetery. One day, the husband confronted his wife about their son. She finally told her husband the truth about her child’d strange past, but could not have expected what would happen next. On disclosing his secret, the bones child dropped dead.