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Early Specimens of Pashto Folklore

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Chapter Summary

The article examines the early Pashto folklore texts included in The Khatak Chronicle which is the original part of the historiographical compilation Tārīkh-i muraṣṣa‘ (The Ornamented History) by the Pashtun tribal ruler Afḍal Khān Khatak (d. circa 1740/41). Among these texts are few Pashto proverbs (matal) used as expressive stylistic means to answer various didactical purposes, a distich landǝy representing a fragment of an improvised battlefield song, two short anecdotes demonstrating how an allegorical story may have been a halfway towards pithy wise saying, and four genealogical legends, each having roots in Pashto oral tradition in contrast to those bookish accounts which fabricated the “Biblical” origins of the Pashtuns. Literary material collected and analyzed in the article may both contribute to the ethnological studies of the Pashtun tribes in pre-modern times and prove the fact that the earliest recorded specimens of Pashto folklore should be traced in the works of Pashtun literati written long before the first European researches on the subject were published in the second half of the XIX century.



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