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Inspired by the Emirates

Story Mile Crafted at Zayed University

Editor: Brione la Throp Story consultation and editing by Rym Ghazil


16. Hemarat Al Ghayla 17. Hessa’s Home 18. In the Souq 19. Khottof and Khataff 20. Koosa Boosa

6. Al Roua’a’s Kids 7. Baba Daryah 8. Collaboration Makes Happiness 9. Fadhel and the Fox 10. Ghareeb

21. Loud Lesson 22. Mansour & Abu Ras 23. Marwa’s Ghost 24. Meera’s Tale 25. MOTHER OF THE MACHETE

11. Guardian of the Liwa Fort 12. Guardian of the Mangroves 13. Guardian of the Mangroves Myth or Reality 14. Guardian of the Mountain 15. Heart of a Woman

1. A Box Full of Memories 2. A Mother’s Love 3. Abu Karbah & the Rich Man 4. Al Medfah 5. Al Roua’a

26. Mzraat Salama

31. Saleh’s Adventure

27. Nahessa (The Nanny Owl)

32. Spirit of the Nation

28. Nasser & the Ghaf Tree

33. Sweet Tooth

29. Qawm Al Deseas & the Fireworks

34. The Broken Hearted Giant

30. Saber the Brave

35. The Fateful Decision

36. The Fireworks and Qawm Al Deseas 37. THE FOURTH ROOM 38. The Gentle Giant 39. The Haunted Coffee Shop 40. The Hidden Enemy

41. The Jinni & the Abaya

46. The Secret Lif of Um Al Heilan

42. The Promise

47. The Troublemakers

43. The Proposal

48. The White Camel

44. The Revenge

49. Um Daryah

45. The Sacrifice

50. When Mountains Speak

The Fourth Room


Writer: Reem Ahmed Al Hosani Illustrator: Reem Naser Al Mazrouei

In a small village there were three young men from a poor family surviving through looting and theft. They intimidated people by wearing dog masks. One day these thieves learned that the tribal Sheikh would go on vacation away from his palace and so they decided to rob his house. After the Sheikh left for his farm, the thieves broke into his house. In the first chamber they found an expensive wristwatch. In the second room they found gold and the third room was filled with food. However, the fourth room was filled with stacked up furniture and a large illuminated candle in the shape of a woman. the right thing, the proud Sheikh pardoned them. After their encounter with the jinni, the thieves decided to never steal, lie or intimidate people ever again.

The thieves were nervous but curious to learn the secret of this candle. When they approached it, it asked them for water, for it was in fact a very beautiful woman tied in chains. The thieves asked her why she wasn’t afraid of their faces? She laughed and said quickly, “Please, bring me some water and then I will tell you my story.” After she drank the water, they asked her who she was and why she was chained. “I am Ali’s wife, every time he travels, he ties me in this room because he is jealous and afraid that I will cheat on him like his first wife,” she replied. They wanted to unlock the chains but she refused and said, “Please return all that you have taken, because my husband will get angry.” At first they refused to give back the stolen items but then decided to return all the loot because they were afraid for the wife.

They went to the police and told them the story. When the Sheikh returned, police went to investigate the report. The Sheik told the police that his name was Mohammed and not Ali and his wife was on the farm with him the entire time. He also showed them the fourth room, which was an old furniture warehouse. It was then that the thieves realized the woman was a jinni. Due to their sincerity and efforts to do to do the right thing, the proud Sheikh pardoned them. After their encounter with the jinni, the thieves decided to never steal, lie or intimidate people ever again.

Meera’s Tale Once upon a time, there was a lady called Meera. She was the most beautiful lady in the neighbourhood, both inside and out. One evening, there was a wedding and Meera›s mother told her to put on a beautiful dress and join her. Meera wore a light blue dress and covered her hair with a shayla. As they walked, all the women admired Meera. The Sheikh’s wife, Shamma, saw Meera’s beauty and wanted her for her son. Meera’s mother was so happy and immediately agreed. This is where our story begins.

Salem and Meera got married and lived in a big house. Salem treated Meera like a servant and didn’t let her relatives visit or allow her to go and give her grandmother her medicine. This was Meera’s life for two years until she became pregnant. When she delivered, Salem took the baby away and locked her up in the house alone. Salem gave the baby to his mother. «Well done, Salem! That›s what I wanted for so long - the most beautiful baby in the neighbourhood!» his mother gushed. They named the baby Jasem and three weeks later, Salem went to check on Meera to see if she was still alive. He unlocked the door and found his wife’s dead body.

Crying fake tears, he announced Meera’s death. Everyone was sad because Meera was such a lovely person. When they went to tell her grandmother, they found out that she had also died since Meera was the only one who took care of her. Night after night, Meera’s soul flew to torture the men of Al Amra City. However, she never haunted her husband. Eight years later, Salem told his son what he did. Jasem was devastated and searched for his mother’s spirit. He said, «Mother, please come back.» Meera’s soul entered her son’s body and said, “My dearest son Jasem, I love you very much. Please forgive your father for his actions.” Jasem told his father what she said. Salem was so ashamed that he stepped down as the ruler and appointed his son Jasem as the new Sheikh. Jasem became the wisest leader of Al Amra City and told everyone the story of his mother, Um Al Duwais.

Writer: Shamma Sanad Alqubaisi Illustrator: Maitha Ali Al Attar


The Revenge

There was a girl called Sara who was frightened of ghosts. She was rather ill and weak and looked like a ghost herself. Her three classmates Mezna, Fatima and Afra knew her fears and liked to laugh at her so they always told her stories about ghosts and frightened her. One day, Sara thought about revenge and went to the library and found a book about ghosts called “The Revenge.” The book seemed to open by itself to a page about a ghost called Abu Salasel. There were some strange words on the page. Sara said the words aloud and suddenly a magical light came from the book and Abu Assalasel appeared in front of her. He was tall, scary and tied up in chains! She screamed and Abu Salasel said, “Don›t be afraid, you are being bullied and I will help you!”

That night when Mezna was sleeping, she dreamed that Sara and others were laughing at her. She woke up and saw Abu Assalasel in front of her. She screamed. Her parents came to her room to find out what had happened, but Mezna couldn›t speak because she was so scared. The next day, Fatima was in the University bathroom putting on her make up. Suddenly there were words in chains in the mirrors that said, “BULLY!” then she saw Abu Assalasel. She screamed and ran outside as he followed her whispering, “BULLY”! The girls laughed at her and said she was crazy.

“Abu Assalasel appeared in front of her. He was tall, scary and tied up in chains!” Later, Afra was walking alone in the university corridor when she heard a sound like someone walking with chains. She turned around and saw Abu Assalasel. He said: “You are a bad girl for bullying Sara”, she tried to run but fell, and he walked towards her and whispered: “Bully, Bully, Bully!” Then disappeared. A week later the girls met and told each other what happened. They thought it was punishment for laughing at Sara and decided to apologize to her. Sara forgave them and looked up and saw Abu Assalasel. She smiled at him and her lips moved to say thank you, he smiled back and disappeared. Sara was no longer afraid of ghosts and the girls had learned to never bully anyone again.

Writer: Mona Naser Almashjari Illustrator: Noorah Abdulrahman Al Shaikh


Writer: Maitha Saleh Alnoman Illustrator: Reem Naser Al Mazrouei


Saleh’s Adventure Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Kingdom with a just ruler who loved his people. There was a large cedar tree at the entrance of the Kingdom rumored to be the reason it was thriving, and filled with blessings and grace. Saleh was a brave, but poor ten-year old child, who lived in this magical world. He came from a family of shepherds, but wanted to be a merchant and traveler. One day the King’s advisor told the King the cedar tree was a source of evil and advised him to cut it down to bring greater riches to the realm. The King agreed and from that day his Kingdom’s luck changed and his people were forced to travel far away just to find food and water. Saleh loved his Kingdom and was sad to see its decline, so he decided to bring another cedar tree from a far away island to restore their blessings. He talked with many people about traveling together, but no one was brave enough to go with Saleh except for Ali, a young man brave and strong and an old wise and patient man, Abdul. The three began their adventure with due haste. They spotted a whale as they journeyed and rode it to the island abundant with cedar trees along its mountaintop. It was far below where they met an old man.

Saleh asked him, “Do you need help?” The old man said, “Yes. Can you carry me on your back?” Saleh, replied, “No problem.” But the old man was evil and he ate all their food as they climbed. For some reason, he was determined to make sure the group didn’t accomplish their mission. So Saleh got an idea, he told Ali to make a special juice from one of the trees to make the old man sleep. As he slept, the group found a beautiful baby cedar tree and were on their way down the mountain when the old man awoke. He was very strong and started to throw big stones to stop them from leaving the island. Luckily, the blessings from the tree protected them. The trio rode the whale back to their kingdom with their cedar tree, which brought prosperity back to the Kingdom.

Kotof and Khattaf When darkness comes, people in the UAE talk about the old legend of the ghost ship of the Indian Ocean, Khattaf Raffay. The elders say no one has gone to the place where he lives and returned normal. Many kill themselves while the rest go crazy. One summer, Hamad and Dakash were desperate for money to treat Hamad’s sick sister and to help Dakash’s family out of poverty. They decided to travel to the Indian Ocean in search of treasure. In the Indian Ocean, voices resounded with a discussion between two brothers, Kotof and Khattaf, who were jinns. Kotof was the oldest and very kind but Khattaf thought men were selfish and wanted to hurt people.

Writer: Shawq Mohsen Saleh Illustrator: Hana Mohd Zubair Mohd

Kotof believed their job was to guide them along the right path. Khattaf wasn’t convinced. He watched them steal things, pollute the environment and destroy the planet. As far as he was concerned, unless he found some humans who were completely selfless, he would continue to punish them. At the same time, Hamad and Dakash prepared for their trip with prayers to keep them safe. When they reached one of islands in the ocean, the weather changed for the worst with strong wind and rain. After three hours of battling the elements, the storm was over and they started to see a ghost ship near a beautiful island. They hurried on board and began to search for treasure.

They didn’t have enough space for all the treasures so they started to throw everything else in the ocean to make room. Khattaf was furious. He wanted to make them crazy but his brother stopped him and said, “You can change them and make them better. Trust me this once.” So, Khattaf disguised himself as an old man from a nearby island and explained to them why the jinns were annoyed with people. The jinn talked of greed, selfishness and death. Kotof was so proud of his brother. Khattaf also allowed them to take treasures from the island because their intentions were honorable. Hamad and Dakash returned safely back to the UAE on a mission to protect the environment and honour the gifts given to them by the jinns.


Abu Karbah and the Rich Man Once upon a time, there was a small village in Al Ain, where a rich man called Ahmad lived. Ahmad owned many companies and houses in different countries, but he was very stingy and he didn›t help poor people or give others money. One day, he bought a new farm. It had many animals like horses, donkeys and the ships of the desert (camels). It also had many palm trees. In the midst of all the palm trees was the biggest and oldest of them all, Abu Karbah. Abu Karbah was not only a tree, but he was also a very old jinni, who loved people, especially the poor and vulnerable. Every summer Ahmad went to the farm with his family. One noon when they were eating lunch, somebody knocked on the door of the farm. It was a poor orphan child called Abdullah, asking for help. He wanted some food to eat. Ahmad instructed the maid not to give the kid any food and ordered her to close the door. The next day when Ahmad went to get milk from the camel he didn›t find any animals

on his farm. He was afraid and said, “Oh my God where are my animals? Is this real? he muttered to himself and then he heard a voice, it was Abu Karbah. Abu Karbah said to Ahmed, “I have taken all of your animals away because you are stingy and you didn›t give that poor, hungry child any fruit from your trees or meat from the many animals you have on your farm.” Ahmad lost millions of dirhams in animals that day, but he also lost the blinders concealing the man he had become from himself. The one conversation with Abu Karbah changed Ahmad forever. He began sharing his farm with poor people and he adopted Abdullah as his son. Every morning, Ahmad would go to talk to Abu Karbah about how to help other people and what he could do with his fortune to make the world a better place. 20 years later, Abdullah graduated from the university and Abu Karbah had grandsons. Abdullah now ran a charity company for orphans and the poor called «Abu Karbah Charity” that has many branches around the world.

Writer: Sharifa Bader Al Baloushi Ilustrator: Mayyada Abdulhakeem Alkatheeri


A Box Full of Memories One day we had a family gathering; Everybody was busy laughing with each other. I was sitting right beside my grandmother and overheard her tell my father that she had a secret chest made of al asedra hidden under her bed. “A box that is full of memories that can never be replaced or forgotten.” I tried to leave the gathering as soon as I heard her talking about that box, I was so curious to know what memories it carried. I ran as fast as I could so that no one could see me. I entered the room, looked under the bed and found an old wooden chest, rich with the scent of cedar. It had a traditional design from long ago, edged in gold on the corners. I tried to open it, but it was locked. I kept trying until it opened without a key. I looked inside and saw an envelope with this written across it, “Deep in the heart, never forgotten.” I opened it; and was transported back to another place, back to the golden days of the Emirates. Women were waving to the sea, saying goodbye to their fathers and husbands. It seemed they were leaving for months. I asked a lady that was standing right beside me. “Why are they leaving and why do you seem so sad?” She looked at me and replied in a depressed voice, “They will leave us for a long time, because they will collect pearls

for us to wear and sell, so we can live.” I asked her name because she seemed familiar to me. She replied, “I am Hessa Bent Saif.” She turned her face and left with the rest of the women. I stood there alone soaking up their sadness. Suddenly, I was back in my grandmother’s room. I heard her footsteps coming and so I closed the box and put it back where I found it. The woman I talked to was my grandmother, I recognized her. I wished that I could have stayed with her, to see what she had been through. Living alone in a house without a father or a husband. I understood why the box was special to her, and it became special to me too.

Writer: Muzna Khalifa AlMansoori Illustrator: Khawla Ahmed Al Meraikhi

“There was an envelope written on it “Deep in the heart, never forgotten.”


A long time ago, there was a tall, dark man named Baba

Baba Daryah searched endlessly for the robber but

Daryah, who lived on a coastal island in the Arabian Gulf.

his efforts were in vain. He screamed, yelled, and ran

Baba h was a hard working poor man from East Africa

everywhere in a rage so the entire city was afraid of him

who dreamt of buying his own ship. A rich Sheikh: Kasain

and ran away and hid inside their homes.

heard about his honor and asked him to supervise his work. Sheikh Kasain kept his pearls on a dhow, which

An eerie quiet came over the city for several days.

Baba Daryah guarded at night. One night, Baba Daryah

Everyone stayed hidden, nobody worked or wandered

was so tired that he fell asleep behind the ship and the

around the city. Sheikh Kasain wondered why people had

Sheikh’s pearls were stolen.

disappeared! What’s happening in my city? He asked.

Sheikh Kasain’s soldiers spread out around

He gathered all people in a large area of the

the city looking for the thief. The penalty was

city to learn what was taking place. Everyone

declared, “Cut the robber’s hands.” Then,

chanted “Baba Daryah” is the reason.

everyone who lived in this Kingdom began chanting, “Cut the robber’s hands! Cut the

Then as the Sheikh was listening to the story,

robber’s hands.” The sailors agreed that they had to find

one of the residents confessed his crime and admitted

a quick solution and many of the men who worked on

that he was the real criminal. He felt guilty over what had

the ship were jealous of all the responsibilty given to Baba

happened and realized if he hadn’t confessed, life would


grow even more difficult in the Kingdom. Sheikh Kasain deeply regretted the injustice served on

Since Baba Daryah was very poor, no one would come to

Baba Daryahn, apologized and made him the supervisor

his help if he had a problem, so, everyone agreed that they

of all his ships. After 5 years Sheikh Kasain died and left

would say Baba Daryah was the thief. Thus, Baba Daryah

all his possessions to Baba Daryah.

was condemned and his hands were cut off.

Writer: Alya Salem Al Zaabi Illustrator: Mariam Mohamed Al Binali


Ghareeb Once upon a time, there was a simple couple that moved to a quiet town. They were happy in this town, and spent a lot of time outdoors. Every day the husband and wife went to the park for a walk. One day, the weather changed suddenly from sunny to rainy in a moment’s notice. They wondered about the change in weather, but continued their walk through the gardens. Then the rain became very strong, and the wife, who was pregnant at the time, became equally frightened as the rains wept violently from the heavens. The wife could no longer walk her legs simply wouldn’t carry her any further.

She was terrified of having her baby in the park. Her husband tried to make her feel comfortable and helped her to stay on her feet, but it was so wet, he was afraid he would drop her and hurt her and the baby. His wife was in so much pain. She looked at her husband and said, “I can’t take another step,” and sat down on the rain soaked ground. She screamed in terror as she felt the baby pushing his way into the storm surrounding them. Her husband tried to call the hospital, but there was no network. So she had her baby, in the midst of a storm that came from nowhere, in the middle of the park drowning in rain.

Writer: Fatema Masood Aljneibi Illustrator: Mayyada Abdulhakeem Alkatheeri

The new parents called their son «Ghareeb», which means strange, due to his bizarre birth. Ghareeb also had a strength that no baby should possess. One day when he was five years old he shocked his parents and threw the ball so high until it touched the clouds.

So my grandchildren, now that you know about your grandfather’s story, will you tell this story to your children in the future?

Soon after, Ghareeb became a famous hero, all the bad men were afraid of him even the biggest man in town couldn’t beat him.

The children replied in a chorus «of course grandfather.» Now Ghareeb’s super powers will live on forever in the minds of his children’s children and theirs as well.

When he grew up he was still inhumanly strong even though he was short, and his body looked frail.


Mother of the Machete The stories of Um Al Duwais are endless. People have different versions and each tale has a different purpose. The only common element in all of her tales is men. Men are always the victim and the enemy. Why does Um Al Duwais hate men? A long ago, Um Al Duwais was a lovely, beautiful woman with long, dark hair and huge dark eyes. She was treated badly by her father and brother. Whenever they felt angry, they used to hit her on the legs with a das (‘machete’). This made her legs look very ugly.

Each evening at midnight, she used to escape from her house and go near the mountains to see the moon. Watching the moon gave her peace and relief. She used to go back home before dawn so that her father and brother would not discover her trips. One particular night she was out but the night was so dark that there were no stars to guide her. Feeling afraid, she took her father’s machete. She went out to her usual spot and watched the moon. She felt great peace and fell asleep. When she woke up, it was late. The sun had risen and Um Al Duwais was afraid to go home. She was terrified of her father’s and brother’s reactions and punishment.

When she reached home, both of them were waiting for her. Their eyes were full of anger. Her brother stood in front of her, bellowed his rage and struck her. Um Al Duwais’ eyes glazed over and she raised the machete to hit her brother’s head and stopped in horror when she saw blood. Her father was shocked, started to cry and shouted at her to leave the house. He said, “Don’t ever come home again and take this machete with you!” Since then, the mountains have become her home and she never leaves the place during daylight. At midnight, she walks around the village in search of men like her brother who hurt the females in their families. She kills them with the machete that has now become an extension of her arm. This is why the villagers call her ‘The Mother of the Machete’.

Writer: Maitha Abdulla Al Harmoodi Illustrator: Dana Naser Al Mazrouei


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