Story Inspired by the Emirates
Crafted at Zayed University
Editor: Brione laThrop Story consultation and editing by Rym Ghazil
Table of Contents In The Souq
Al Roua’a’s Kids
1 2 3 6 7 8 9 10
The Guardian of the Mountains
The Fateful Decision
Hemarat Al Ghayla
The Guardian of the Mangroves
Mansour and Abu Ras
Kotof and Khattaf
The Orphan Protector
Heart of a Woman
A Mother's Love
A Box Full of Memories
Fadhel and the Fox
22 23 Sweet Tooth
Guardian of the Liwa Fort
Abu Karbah & the Rich Man
Collaboration Makes Happiness
Mother of the Machete Nahessa (The Nanny Owl)
Guardian of the Mangroves Myth or Reality
The Broken Hearted Giant
31 Saber the Brave
When Mountains Speak
Spirit of the Nation
The Fireworks and Qawm Al Deseas
The Fourth Room
Nasser & the Ghaf Tree
The Gentle Giant
The White Camel
The Jinni & the Abaya
The Hidden Enemy
48 The Promise
Mansour and Abu Ras
The Haunted Coffee Shop
Al Roua’a by Noura Ali Almansoori
here was a strange man named Al Roua’a, who worked in an Abu Dhabi company, but didn’t have any friends because of his secret identity. Al Roua’a was human during the day, but at night he transformed into a monster. When he was a monster he only intimidated people, but if anyone did something evil, he killed them.
Although he was a very kind person who was successful in his job, no one wanted to befriend him. At night he went to the park to play with the children, but they cried when they saw him. Al Roua’a felt sad because nobody wanted him.
One day he went to work, sat near one of his co-workers and asked if he could question him. The man said with fear “Y y y yes you can.” “I want to know why you don’t like me and won’t talk with me?” Al Roua’a asked. The man said, “Don’t you know you change into a monster at night and everyone is terrified of you?” he answered. Are you sure? Al Roua’a asked in a voice filled with shock. I am a monster? That’s impossible! The man said, “If you don’t trust me, I will make a video for you at night andwill show it to you tomorrow.” Then Al Roua’a went back to finish his work. At night he transformed and he went to the park. The man from work was walking behind and filming Al Roua’a. The monster turned around saw a scared man with a camera and Al Roua’a said, “Don’t be afraid I won’t hurt you. I know I am awful.” The next day the man showed Al Roa’a his video. He began to laugh and said, “I am so beautiful.”
Don’t be afraid I won’t hurt you. I knowI am awful. The man also laughed and finally introduced himself. I am Saeed and I would like to be friends. Al Roua’a felt very happy and decided he would not hurt anybody, even if they hurt others, instead, he would tell the police about them. Saeed tweeted Al Roua’a’s story on his Twitter account and told all of his followers of his kindness. Not long after, people stopped fearing Al Roua’a and started talking with him. Al Roua’a is now rich with friends and happy for Saeed’s help.
Illustration by Aysha Al Hamrani
Al Roua’a’s Kids by Afraa Rashed Al Mazrooei
n a very cold winter night, Salama remembered her family’s laundry that she hung on a clothesline on the roof earlier in the day.
“It is almost 2 a.m., isn’t it too late?” Salama thought to herself. I am not used to leaving my bed at this time, father always asks us not to. But I have to go or else mother will get mad at me if I don’t take the laundry down before it rains.” Salama murmured to herself. She got out of bed without making a noise, and walked up to the roof. “Can the weather get any better?” she said as the wind played with her long hair. She started to sing and happily collected the clothes. The wind was strong and making the clothes move as if they were being pulled by someone. One piece of clothes wouldn’t leave Salama alone.
It kept flying and covering her face and blew away as she tried to remove it. “But wait!” she said to herself. “Why aren’t the trees in the street moving? I mean, it is cold but nothing is moving but my laundry!” She tried to ignore her inner voice and as soon as she collected all the clothes, Salama heard a voice she couldn’t recognize coming from somewhere behind her. “Leave my kids alone,” it yelled.
“What? Which kids? Is my brother trying to scare me? Am I hearing voices and letting my imagination run away from me because I’m sleepy?” she questioned. “Put the clothes back and leave. Now!” the voice said angrily. Salama froze. confused over what to do next when she heard her mother’s voice coming from downstairs.
Why aren’t the trees in the street moving? I mean, it is cold but nothing is moving but my laundry!
“Salama! What are you doing up there at this time of the night?” she asked as she came up. Salama told her about the voice and her mother grabbed the laundry basket filled with clothes and returned them back to the line and took Salama quickly back to her room.“Don’t ever leave your room at night, no matter what,” said her mother. “That voice you heard Salama was Al Roua’a’s. He hates it when people disturb him and his kids.
Illustration by Amna Al Tunaiji
The Guardian of the Mountains by Noura Alkhouri
nce upon a time, there was a giant called Shanaq Bin A’anaq. Unlike other giants, this one was rather sweet. He lived among the mountains all by himself. However, anytime he saw some escaped animals, he would take them back to the farmers nearby. Although he had good intentions, his body always caused massive destruction to the houses in the village.
One day Shanaq was returning some stray sheep, when the property he destroyed cost way more than the animals he brought back. The farmers were furious and had had enough. They shouted angrily at Shanaq and told him to never come back to the town again. He was devastated and now knew what it meant to truly be alone, but he respected the farmers’ wishes and stayed away from the town and its people.
He was devastated and now knew what it meant to truly be alone.
As days passed, all was quiet and calm in the village until one day, a slight earthquake occurred causing the mountains to crash over the houses. Shanaq remained loyal to the farmers and pushed away the falling rocks with his gigantic arms to save the people.
The farmers were grateful and invited Shanaq to lunch. They treated him with extreme hospitality and roasted a whole cow especially for him. They kept thanking him for saving their lives and one of the farmers named Khalid noticed how chapped and wounded the giant’s feet were and had an idea.
Khalid decided to make a giant pair of shoes from goats’ skin with the help of the other farmers. As a show of gratitude, Khalid handed over the shoes to Shanaq on behalf of the entire community. Shanaq put on the shoes, and for the first time in his life, felt a strange sensation, a warm feeling inside his chest.
6 This new sensation was one of appreciation and love. The conflict between the gentle giant and the farmers came to an end; and over the years as they got closer, Shanaq was crowned with a new title, â€œGuardian of the Mountains.â€?
Writer:: Noura Alkhouri Illustrator: Noora Al Shaikh
In the Souq by Fatima Al-Muqahwi
eem: Grandma! Grandma! That man just stole from our shop, he ran away! Hussa: Tsk, Tsk, these people. No one can stop them, back when I was little we had Bu Ras, he protected us from people like that, but not anymore. Reem: Why Grandma? Where did Bu Ras go? Hussa: We thought he made a mistake once and the people of the souq didn’t forgive him. He accused a customer of stealing, which made the shop owners very angry. They called him an ugly beast and told him to never come back to the souq again.
Illustration by Fatima Al Hameli
After Bu Ras left, the shop owner found out that he was robbed and Bu Ras was right. But the shop owner didn’t do anything about it. No one has seem Bu Ras in over 60 years. Reem: He didn’t apologize? That is rude! Hussa: well that’s what happened and he is probably protecting another souq now. Reem: No, I will find him, I will tell him we need him. He will come back I know he will. Hussa: I wish my dear, we are losing a lot because of these thieves, we need him more than ever. Reem went searching for him in every corner of the souq but there was no sign of him. Frustrated, Reem spoke out loud, “It is your fault adults. You didn’t trust him, and now he’s gone.”
They called him an ugly beast and told him to never come back to the souq again.
Then, she heard a voice calling her from a dark corner. Reem: “Hello, is anyone there? Bu Ras: “Stop, there, I don’t want you to see me Reem.” Reem: “Who is there? How do you know my name?” Bu Ras: I’ve watched you grow up in the souq, you are Hussa’s granddaughter. I am Bu Ras. Reem: I’ve been looking for you, please comeback. Bu Ras: I want to, but they said never to comeback. Reem: that was a long time ago, we really need you. Bu Ras and Reem went back together to the souq, Hussa gathered all the shop-owners and apologized to Bu Ras on their behalf. Bu Ras: thank you, I dreamt all these years of coming back and guarding the souq. Reem: thank you Bu Ras, see grandma I told you he would come back.
The Fateful Decision by Eiman E Al Hammadi
I want to be rich! Can you make this happen? Hamda asked. “Of course,” warned Abu Al Les, “but everythinghas price”.
” Illustration by Aysha Al Hamrani
“Life is all about choices, choose wisely or live the rest of your life in regret.”
ur story began with Hamda’s path to happiness. Hamda lived with her mother Maryam in a small house. Maryam did her best to not let Hamda feel less than others because they were very poor. Nevertheless, Hamda always complained about their lives and refused to help her mother. One day, while she was on her way back from school, she met a fox named Abu Al Les. At first, Hamda was afraid of him, but when he called her by name, she was surprised. “I’m a magician,” he said. “You want to be rich, am I right?” “Yes, you are right, I want to be rich. Can you make this happen? She asked. “Of course but everything has a price,” he warned. ”I don’t care; just make me rich,” she said. “Ok my dear, your wish is done.” Suddenly, Hamda became a rich wife and lived in the finest palace with the best jewelry, clothes and food. She was finally happy. But after a few months she was bored. Her husband was always away on business and she didn’t have anyone to talk to. Then, she remembered the love and kindness of her mother and began searching for her. Hamda went to the old house where she once lived, but there was no sign of her mother.
She asked one of the neighbors who said, “When Hareb came to propose, he had one condition, that you would never contact or visit your mother again.” “What did I do?” she said with doubt. “You agreed,” said the neighbor with disdain. Hamda was shocked. “Where is my mother now?” The neighbor shook her head sadly as she said, “Your mother died two days ago.” She remembered her mother’s words, “Try to live the life you have, and you will realize how rich you are.” Suddenly, the fox appeared with a malicious smile. “Hello, what can I do for you my dear?” “This is not the life I want. Bring my old life back!” she demanded. The fox laughed and said: “I told you, every wish has a price.” Hamda shouted at the fox but it was too late because he disappeared.
Hemarat Al Ghayla by Sharifa Bader
nce upon time, there were two friends Rashid and Salem who were also neighbors. Rashid was a kind boy who always helped others and was liked by everyone. His friend Salem was not as lovely. He liked to hurt others and never listened to his mother. Every morning the two played football. One day, Salem and Rashid were playing at Salem’s house when Salem decided to deliberately hurt Rashid. He put a small, sharp fork under the place where Rashid usually stepped. Suddenly they heard some terrifying sounds coming from far away. Everyone ran away but when Salem tried to run he couldn’t go anywhere because he had stepped on the fork intended for Rashid. Although he screamed for help, there was no answer. Then he heard a strange voice talking to him that came from a human with a donkey’s head standing in front of him. “Who are you?” Salem cried. Rashid was also scared but when he saw that Salem wasn’t behind him, he returned to see what had happened. He immediately ran over to protect Salem when he saw the strange creature standing nearby. “I’m a Hemarat Al Ghayla. I come to take children away who hurt others. I saw your plan to hurt your friend.” “I was joking with him,” Salem said fearfully. Hemarat Al Ghayla responded in a stern voice, “You should never hurt anyone on purpose, even if it is a joke. When you tried to hurt Rashid, I hurt you instead. All the other boys left you alone when they heard a strange sound but Salem came back and is still trying to protect you. This is the real meaning of friendship.”
Illustration by Shamma Binmasoud
Salem was very sorry and begged Hemarat Al Ghayla to give him another chance. As the creature moved threateningly towards the boy, Salem’s tears increased. The donkey sympathised and made him promise to be a better person and a dutiful son. Salem agreed and thanked Hemarat Al Ghayla for giving him a second chance. He explained to Rashid what he had planned then apologised to him. Hemarat Al Ghayla watched over the boys for the next two years. Salem never hurt anyone from that day forward. The two boys became the dearest friends and Salem, a respectful and loving son.
I’m Hemarat Al Ghayla. I come to take children away who hurt others.
The Guardian of the Mangroves
by Maha Al Sakkaf
nce upon a time there was an ugly man named Fatouh who lived alone in the mangroves. He was very ugly and scary since the day he was born. His family abandoned him because they thought he was half demon due to his ugly looks. His ears were very long, his nails very sharp and he had big eyes that looked like those of a cat. For many years, all the families in his town believed his looks were proof that his soul was possessed and prohibited their kids from playing in the mangroves, because they feared Fatouh might harm their children.
Fatouh avoided people at all costs and used to sneak into the town late at night to get food. One day, Kenza, the baker’s daughter was up late at the bakery when Fatouh came in through the window. Kenza was terrified at first but then she stood still and looked at Fatouh going inside very quietly and eating left over bread. Kenza felt sorry for him when she realized he was hungry and started to think that he wasn’t scary at all, just different.
Kenza decided to visit Fatouh at his house in the middle of the mangroves. At first, both of them felt uncomfortable, but after a while, Fatouh felt very happy that someone didn’t think he was ugly and saw the real him. Kenza’s visits to Farouh become more frequent, she brought him food, read to him, and talked about what was happening in town. Fatouh and Kenza fell in love and decided to get married without telling anyone.
His family abandoned him because they thought he was half demon due to his ugly looks. Illustration by Shaikha Al Suwaidi
Kenza’s family was furious when they learned of the secret wedding. They thought that Fatouh’s demon soul possessed Kenza’s body and for that reason she had to die. On a full moon night, Kenza’s family kidnapped and killed her, and then threw her body into the mangroves. When Fatouh found out what Kenza’s family did because of him, he was heartbroken. He took his own life in the same place where Kenza’s body was discarded. His soul remains there to this day, protecting his beloved Kenza and the mangroves that embraced her. That is how Fatouh became the Guardian of the Mangroves, a place where forbidden love is buried.
han Protector p r O e h T by Ayesha Al Sayari
here was a happy rich family that lived near the coastal area. The father, Abdul Rahman was a sea captain of the ship “Al Nowktha” and would stay away from home for many months. His wife died giving birth to their daughter Mouza leaving him to raise his son Ali and baby Mouza all alone. At the same time, these children had an uncle who took care of them while their father was away at sea. Before one of his voyages, Abdul Rahman went to his brother and asked him to come over and take care of his children while he traveled.
Illustration by Shamma Binmasoud
He left his children with tears in his eyes, and dread in his heart. After a few months, shocking news arrived about the drowning of the Nowktha ship. Many years passed and the children grew up under the abusive care of their greedy uncle who wanted to take all the wealth left for them by their father.
As was common, the children had a horrible day as they suffered from their uncle’s mistreatment. Every day Mouza wished that someone would help them, and one night she dreamt of Um Al Duwais walking alone on the beach. Mouza ran behind her and asked her for help. Um Al Duwais said, “we’ll see,” then Mouza woke up. Mouza dream’s came true and her uncle had terrible days. The first few days he saw Um Al Duwais in his dreams where she threatened him if he did not stop mistreating his brother’s children, but nothing changed. Then, he saw his brother’s ghost following him, taunting him.
At that time there was a story about a beautiful jinniya called Um Al Duwais. She was known for her mercy and protection of orphans from those trying to hurt them in some way.
He left his children with tears in his eyes, and dread in his heart.
The ghost was Um Al Duwais disguised as Abdul Rahman. When that didn’t work, Um Al Duwais took the uncle to the underworld. He was terrified and promised her that he would change. Only then did she return him back. From that time onwards, the uncle was kind to his niece and nephew. He set up a special fund for his brother’s children and tripled their wealth.
Mansour and Abu Ras by Safeya AlRomaithi
ansor left the house complaining and grumbling. The match was about to start in ten minutes, but his mother asked him to buy fish for dinner. She told him that his father would be disappointed if she only served rice. Mansor reached the market and bought fish from the first shop. While he was paying, a worker at the fish stall dropped a bucket full of fish nearby, staining Mansor’s kandora by mistake. Mansor lost his temper and yelled at the worker who kept apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Mansor ran to the washroom mumbling how he hated servants while trying to clean his clothes. He felt a movement behind him, raised his head to the mirror and saw the reflection of a man with a big head a donkey’s leg and lion’s paw standing behind him. Mansor asked: “Who are you?” The big headed man said: “I am Abu Ras, the Guardian of the Souq.” Mansor asked: “What do you want from me?” Abu Ras: “I saw what you did in my souk, you acted in a very unpleasant way.” Mansor: “You mean the servant? He deserved that.” Abu Ras: “You must go back to him and apologize!” Mansor: “No way!” Abu Ras: “Are you refusing?” Mansor: “Yes, I will never apologize to a servant!” Abu Ras said: “You have chosen your fate,” and he disappeared.
I will never apologize to a servant!
Mansor immediately dismissed what happened. He felt a harsh hot breeze as he opened the door and found himself in the middle of an old souq, built with wood and palm fronds. Then he heard Abu Ras from the top of a shop saying:
“You are going to work as a servant for a day before you are returned to your time.”
It was an unforgettable lesson for Mansor, who had to work hard and be at the mercy of rude unfeeling customers. At the end of the day, Abu Ras returned and asked Mansor again, “Are you going to apologize to the servant?” Mansor nodded as he said, “After a day in his shoes, I don’t think anyone deserves to be mistreated.” With those words, Mansor found himself back in front of the fish souq with an appreciation for his life and all the people around him.
Illustrations by Khawla Marzouqi
Kotof and Khattaf W
hen 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. 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.
Khattaf was furious. He wanted to make them crazy but his brother stopped him.
As far as he was concerned, unless he found some humans who were completely selfless, he would continue to punish them.
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.
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. Th xthe 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.
Illustration by Hana Bastaki