The Kalevala
The Kalevala, an Epic Poem After Oral Tradition
Elias Lonnrot, Keith Bosley (Translator), Albert B. Lord
Oxford University Press

It's the equivalent of the Norse sagas derived from Finnish lays (short songs). Although written in more contemporary times as an attempt to create a saga from the Finnish lays, it is representative of what a Finnish saga would have been like. Sorta like an SCA storyteller... [MoY]
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Kalila Wa Dimna: Fables from a Fourteenth-Century Arabic Manuscript
The Fables of Bidpai first appeared in Sanskrit nearly 1,700 years ago, and they crop up over and over again in various forms and guises. Although the original stories were from India (and the Persians got a hold of it and made their own version), it's noted that Richard I of England was enamoured of at least one of the stories of Kalil and Dimna, which makes these stories good for crusaders as well as those folks whose origins are more easterly. Many editions of this collection have been published, but few are in print. I like the one by Esin Atil (which is sadly out of print) because it is illustrated with reproductions of pages made in Baghdad in the mid 1200s (the pages are now in the Topkapi Museum). This version, however, is not a complete collection of the stories. [ AY
Kalila Wa Dimna

King Harald's Saga
H. Magnusson and H. Palsson (Translators) Penguin Classics, 1971

1066 and all that featured not one but two chaps with homophonous names.  This one is the gigantic Harald of Norway or Harald Hardradi who rampaged everywhere from Constantinople to Russia to Jerusalem. After the death of Edward the Confessor, Harald arrives in the North of England to claim the throne. A messenger from the English, upon being asked how much land Harold of England was willing to give to Harald Hardradi, replied "seven feet of ground." So they fought at Stamford Bridge and the English won by routing the Norwegians and killing their King. Lots of battles, threats, promises, sad poetry and mighty rhetoric. [MI]
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Kitezh: The Russian Grail Legends
Munin Nederlander, Tony Langham (Translator)
Aquarian Press, 1991 [Aquarian Press is a British imprint of HarperCollins]
ISBN 1855380374

Kitezh is the Grail Castle of Russian mythology.  The city was supposedly founded in 1168 by Juri Vselodovich -- but at some point the city mysteriously disappeared (like the Grail itself).  There are a lot of parallels between the Arthur legends and the Kitezh legends, although in the West, the knights of Arthur's round table go out in search of a thing, while in the East the knights of Vladimir's golden table go out in search of a place -- Kitezh, the Invisible City.  Those who study this sort of thing comment that it indicates a basic difference between Western and Eastern cultures.  Traditionally, the source for the Kitezh legend is dated to the year A.D. 1138 -- the fifth of Septemeber, to be exact -- but the original source has been lost to the ages.  The Kitezh legend intersects with some of the Russian bylini (hero stories), and more than 25 bylini, from differing regions of Russia and covering different heroes are contained in this volume, along with commentary. [AY]
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The Koran

The Koran was revealed by Allah, the most compassionate and most holy through the intermediary of the archangel Gabriel in the years 610-630, according to the calendar of you unenlightened ones and not according to the Hijra dates which we use, to his most-blessed and enlightened prophet Mohammed. As the followers have an oral based culture, the Koran was passed down through word of mouth. The second caliph, Abu Bakr (may Allah guard memory of his good name forever!)in his wisdom realized that the important words of the Prophet were in danger of being lost (may Allah prevent such a catastrophe from ever taking place) and entrusted the task of gathering them to Zayd ibn Thabit, one of the Prophet's chief scribes. The final, authoritative text was released through the wisdom of Allah by the third caliph, 'Uthman in your year 651.

The Koran is divided into sura wherein one can find much wisdom. In addition, to the pearls of truth as to how one should live one's life, one may also find many stories. Some of these will seem to be familiar to you from your Bible:› the story of Hagar and Ishmael, Yusuf being thrown by his brothers into the well, the birth of Jesus (whom we hold to be a prophet in the line of prophets which Allah, the most gracious and most kind, blessed with revelation until the final revelations given to Muhammed). You will notice that our versions are usually a little different--I would of course argue that they are better but perhaps those who do not see through enlightened eyes might disagree. For example, in the story of Yusuf and his brother, Jacob is aware of the enmity of the brothers and warns Yusuf to be careful of them. There's a story about Mary being fed by the angels because she's just that holy. Off the top of my head (for it has been shamefully long since I heeded the muezzin's call and heard the chanting of the Koran), I can't remember if there are any stories which appear in the Koran which do not appear in the Old and New Testament. However, every story which is duplicated is very different.›The Koran is definitely a different source than Old and New Testament and definitely an equally valid source. ›

I believe most bookstores should have copies of the Koran and certainly Amazon does. The version I can recommend (because it's the one I own *grin* I have not acutally done comparative readings of various translations) is:

The Koran Interpreted: A Translation
A.J. Arberry
Touchstone Books, 1996

All translations can be considered nothing better than an interpretation as meaning cannot help but be lost when the sacred words are shifted from Arabic into English which Arberry acknowledges through the title of his translation.› However, his words are poetic and beautiful to read. [TbIaI]
Buy The Koran Interpreted
 
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Contents © 1999-2006 Alex Newman for the Carolingian Storytellers Guild