Novel Reading Excercise–Tilka al-Ra’iha

Tales of Horror in Arabic (An Egyptian Monster)

Calling all Arabic-Studying Horror Fans!

Do you love monsters? Have you watched way too many Dracula and Frankenstein films? Do you love to study new material in Arabic? If so this might be a fun exercise for you! I have recently discovered a book called موسوعة الظلام (Encyclopedia of Darkness) written by the famous Egyptian horror writer Ahmed Khaled Tawfik. I have selected one story below about an Egyptian monster and transcribed it here. Just below it I provide a word bank with English translations of words you might not be familiar with yet.  At the bottom you will find a translation. Follow this four step process for best results.

  1. Read the main text once WITHOUT looking at the word bank.
  2. Read the main text again this time using the word bank.
  3. Read the main text again this time writing your own translation.
  4. Check the translation against your own.

Enjoy this spooky story in Arabic!

القصة حول ام الشلاشل (Story around “Um al-Shalaashil”)

مسخ مصري عبارة عن شيطانة تتزين بالكردانات والخلاخيل تمشي ليلاً فتصدر أصواتاً مميزة، والغرباء تعساء الحظ هم فقط من يرونها. هذه واحدة من اساطير في قرية السروانة في مصر. والقصة تبدا بزوج وجد في الحقل ثوباً نسائياً غارقاً في الدم. فاخذه وغسله و اهداه لامراته…كان هذا خطا فادحاً لان الزوجة وجدت ان الثوب يختفي اهيانا لتظهر مكانه هرة صغيرة. قررالزوج التخلص من الثوب في البئر، وكانت هذه غلطة اكثر فداحة لان أم الشلاشل لم تترك القرية من حينها

المفردات (Vocabulary)

  1. مسخ  === Monster
  2. الكردانات === Bracelets
  3. الخلاخيل ====Anklets
  4. اساطير ===== Legends
  5. قرية ==== Village
  6. غارقاً ==== Mired/Drowned
  7. اهدا ===== To Gift
  8. فادحاً ==== Terrible
  9. يختفي ==== To Disappear
  10. هرة ==== Kitten
  11. التخلص === To Get Rid of Something (something) [hint this is Masdar]
  12. البئر ===== Well (as in a water well) 
  13. غلطة ==== Mistake

الترجمة (The Translation)

A term for an Egyptian monster who is demoness decorated with bracelets and anklets and walks at night, issuing forth special sounds and only unfortunate strangers see her. This is one of the legends from the village of Sarwana in Egypt. The story begins with a husband who found, in a field, a woman’s dress mired in blood. He took it and washed it and gifted it to his wife…This was terrible luck because the wife found that the dress disappeared sometimes and in its place a small kitten appeared. The husband decided to get rid of the shirt in a well. This was a more terrible mistake because “Um al-Shalaashil” never left the village since then.





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