Book Review- Pakistani Folk Tales (by Ashraf Siddiqui and Marilyn Lerch

 

I chose this book because I am doing a research project on Pakistan’s history and culture. I was looking at my shelves and decided that I wanted to read this book because I thought I would learn more about my Pakistani heritage/culture. Overall, I don’t feel like I learned a lot. This book contained many short stories including… I think that the theme of this book is to teach children morals. Morals are important for children but I believe that it’s also important for these children to get out and experience things themselves. These experiences will put their morals into question and help them learn new things. Don’t get me wrong, books are great for children, but I also want to stress that life experiences are more important. Generally, I love this book. I don’t know how to rate it because of the stories’ simplicity, but I would probably re-read it. I would recommend this book to anyone because the stories have great morals. I have read lots of short stories so I could connect this book to any of those. However, I haven’t read other Pakistani short stories, so I found this book to be a different experience.

The Rat Who Made One Bargain Too Many

This short story is about a rat that kept making deals for his own gain. He started by finding a stick that he wanted to use for kindling. The rat noted that the stick would help keep his fire alive for the coming winter. He then offered it to a man who needed it more. The man was very thankful and he gave the rat a piece of dough. The rat explained to the reader that this dough would last him a week. He then gave the dough to children in need and was offered a clay pot. The rat was excited because he knew that the pot was worth more than the dough. Then, the rat gave the pot to a farmer that needed a pail to hold buffalo milk. The rat was offered a sip of milk in return, but he explained that he would rather have the buffalo because if it wasn’t for him, the milk would not be clean. The farmer (inwardly laughing,) tied the buffalo’s rope onto the rat’s neck. The rat soon realized that he could not choose where to bring the buffalo because the buffalo was stronger than him, so he went along and followed the buffalo. The rat spotted hungry bride-bearers from a wedding procession and offered them the buffalo. After this, the rat demanded to have the bride. The bride was happy for some company but was unamused to find that she couldn’t fit into the rat’s home. The bride then tricked him into going to the palace. She got him to hop into an oven until the queen made him promise to never make a deal again.

One of the characters in this story is the rat. He started by being kind, and sharing what he had with people who needed it more. After a while, he became more selfish and wanted all the gain for himself. I wouldn’t mind meeting the rat in the beginning when he was kinder. I think that if I met him when he was selfish, I might’ve been able to talk kindly to him instead of locking him in an oven. I would recommend this book to someone who is selfish and who may need a good perspective on life.

The message that this story was trying to send is that even though the rat thought he was clever, his cleverness (in the end) only helped serve his greed. The moral of this short story is to not push your good luck too far, because what you have is precious and you may loose it.

Questions Answered:

  • 1. Why did you choose this book?
  • 2. Explain the plot of the book, or if it is a non-fiction book, what topics are covered.
  • 3. Describe one of the characters in the book. Would you want to meet this character? Why or why not?
  • 4. What is your opinion of the book? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
  • 5. Explain how this book is similar to another book, film, story, or article that you have read or seen. What connections or comparisons can you make?
  • 6. What do you think the main idea or theme of this story is? What is the author trying to tell you about life or our world with this book?

Thanks for reading!:)Please check out some of my other posts to get good reading suggestions. Feel free to comment below!

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