Ziryab is known as the slave who changed the world. His real name was Abul al-Hasan. He was born in Persia in 789 AD. He was nicknamed Ziryab which means Blackbird because of his dark complexion and the sweetness of his voice.
Twelve-year-old Georgi had been sleeping for nearly a year. He had lost consciousness shortly after his family found out they would be kicked out of Sweden. Georgi and his family are refugees. Seven years before, they escaped religious persecution in their home country. They had made a new home in Sweden. Although Sweden is one of Europe’s most welcoming countries for refugees, it has become stricter.
As his ship passed by a lonely island, Odysseus heard beautiful voices singing a haunting melody. It was a melody that could lure even the most seasoned sailors to wreck their ships on the rocky shores, trapping them forever. Odysseus was warned about the dangers of the beautiful part-bird part-human Sirens and their magical song, but he was curious. Not wanting to be tempted away from his ship, he ordered his men to plug their ears with wax and tie him to the ship. The song pulled at Odysseus’s heartstrings, and he fought to free himself. He begged his men to untie him, but they stayed true to their word and kept him from losing himself to the Siren’s song.
Christopher Columbus was a hero to some and a villain to others. He was a brave explorer, but he also enslaved, murdered and stole from native people across the Americas. He first met the Arawak natives in the Bahamas in 1492. They generously traded everything they owned. Columbus saw this as a weakness. He wrote in his journal, “They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things. They do not bear arms, and do not know them. They would make fine servants.”
There’s an amazing diversity of greeting customs around the world. In Tibet sticking out your tongue can be a way of welcoming people. In New Zealand, Maori greet each other by touching noses. Ethiopian men touch shoulders, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, male friends touch foreheads. In many Asian countries, people bow to each other when meeting. And in some European countries, as well as Arab countries, hugs or kisses on the cheek are more the norm.
Adapted from image by: Donkey Hotey (CC BY 2.0)
Mihailo Tolotos spent his entire life without ever seeing a woman. He was a monk who lived on the Mount Athos peninsula in Greece. Mount Athos is a unique place in Europe. It is home to 20 monasteries and roughly 2,000 monks. For more than a thousand years, women and female animals have been prohibited […]
The ancient civilization of Atlantis was a utopia. It was lush and full of food and wildlife. And the people of Atlantis were wise and just. They were a knowledgeable society capable of amazing feats of architecture and engineering. Most people believe that the story of Atlantis is just a legend, but some say it was a real place that was destroyed by a flood and earthquakes.
Babka Vanda’s grandmother claimed to be able to heal people with just a whisper. The local priest forbade her from treating people until one day a snake bit the priest. Vanda’s grandmother whispered words into the wind, and just like that, the priest was cured and she was allowed to heal people again.