World Tales by Idries Shah


BBC World of Books

Available worldwide in all formats – including ebook and audio – on Amazon. In the USA go to, in the UK, in India You can also order Wisdom of the Idiots in paperback and hardback from your local bookstore — and in the UK and USA we also recommend; and in Australia and New Zealand Booktopia. ISF also publishes a Limited Edition

What can account for the durability and persistence of certain tales, in different places, through the ages? How can it be that the same story is found in Scotland and also in Pre-Columbian America? Was the tale of Aladdin and his wondrous lamp really taken from Wales to the ancient East and, if so, when and by whom?

These questions and more are answered in Idries Shah’s remarkable volume World Tales, which is subtitled, The extraordinary coincidence of stories told in all times, in all places. It is an anthology of 65 enduring folk tales, some famous, others virtually unknown, from every part of the globe.

Each story is preceded by a short introduction giving a brief history of the tale’s literary mutations, and that also remark on the astonishing similarities of other versions in different parts of the world.

No ordinary collection of fables, World Tales is the result of extensive research that led Shah to conclude that there is a certain basic fund of human fictions, which recur again and again throughout the world and never seem to lose their compelling attraction.

Chosen as a US Book of the Month Club feature selection

‘I have yet to meet anyone who is not fascinated by this book.’

Doris Lessing

‘A delightful book, filled with stories that will appeal to the eye, mind and especially the heart.’

New Frontier

‘An enchanting volume equally interesting on the levels of entertainment, information and art.’

The Courier

‘This is the book that turned my interest as an adult to folklore and inspired me to take up storytelling.’

Norah Dooley, author and storyteller