Abdul-rahman Abdullahi, a storyteller from Harar
You will find on this website a unique collection of stories recorded between 1997 and 2001 from every region of Ethiopia. The stories were originally collected in order to provide material for the production of simplified English language readers, so that schoolchildren in each part of Ethiopia could read stories from their region's particular cultural heritage while practising their English. In all, eight such readers were produced.
This web-site has been set up to allow the rich and varied folk stories collected during the project to be available to a wider audience. It's a treasure trove of the tales which Ethiopians have told to each other since time immemorial, many of which had never before been written down or translated into English. The stories were collected by Elizabeth Laird under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and the British Council with the collaboration of the Ethiopian Regional Cultural and Educational Bureaux.
All the stories are available to read in English and Amharic. You can also listen to many of the original recordings in the voices of the narrators, which were made in the field under various conditions with imperfect equipment. Most stories are narrated in Amharic and a few in English, but there are others in a variety of languages including Oromiffaa, Somali, Anuak, Gumuz and Nuer. The recordings run on in sequence, and at the present time it has not been possible to match each spoken version to the written translation. The order of the stories may also not always match.
The storytellers, both men and women, came from many different cultural, linguistic and social backgrounds. They included farmers, teachers, health workers, government officials, students, shopkeepers, old soldiers, an Ethiopian Orthodox nun, a priest and a retired diplomat, among many others.