Fatima and the Dream Thiefby Rafik Schami, Els Cools (Author), Oliver Streich (Illustrator)
A Folk Tale from Middle East!
Hassan and Fatima are siblings. They are very poor. Their widow mother works hard to provide for them. But one day she falls sick and the family is running out of food. So Hassan decides to go and find work.
After asking around and knocking on several doors, Hassan finally arrives at the castle of a wealthy master. The Master hires him on ONE important condition… that Hassan cannot lose his temper. If he does, then Hassan loses his weekly pay of 1 gold coin and all of his dreams! Hassan would never be able to dream again!
Hassan readily accepts and sets upon his daily tasks. He encounters an old woman who works to clean the hundred rooms in the castle. One room is always locked and only the old woman is allowed inside. The master of the castle visits it once a day. When he comes out of the room, he seems to be re-energized and happy. Hassan observes all of this.
Finally on the day of the payment, Hassan arises early. He is eager to get about his duties and earn his gold coin. He can’t wait to take it home and feed his hungry sister and mother and make them proud. But alas, the master has other plans.. evil plans. He taunts Hassan and tests his patience. He makes Hassan do his chores over and over again. He makes him work out in the cold. Finally Hassan can’t take it anymore. Hassan loses his temper! and stomps out of the castle losing not just his gold coin but also his dreams.
Hassan returns home empty handed and dejected. His mother and sister Fatima are happy to see him home. Hassan then shares all that had transpired. Fatima listens carefully and decides to take matters in her own hands and teach this Dream Thief a rich lesson!
This rather long but engaging folk tale is a choice read-aloud. This tale of wit and courage will engage readers and make you want to read it again! The story setting is exotic and the illustrations capture this beautifully. The minarets, palaces and the “Aladdin” style atmosphere is appealing.