Research Article

The Travelling Folktales of the Basil Girl’s Wiles


  • Hamza Bekkaoui Doctor from Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Fez, Morocco


This article sheds light on the translation, evolution, transformation, and circulation of "The Merchant's Daughter," a highly significant piece of Moroccan folklore, tracing its journey within Morocco and globally. Central to our analysis is the tale's origins, which, as theorized by Hasna Lebbady, trace back to Andalus and were carried across the world by Muslims exiled from Spain. This journey encompasses varied landscapes and geographies, across three continents, North Africa, Europe, and South America, illustrating the tale's adaptability and enduring relevance. A focal point of exploration is the tale's nuanced portrayal of women's wit as a tool to navigate and subvert the constraints of patriarchy and authoritarian power structures within their societies. By compiling and comparing variations of the tale from different regions, this study demonstrates the diverse ways in which the narrative has been refashioned to reflect local cultures, societal norms, and resistance strategies. Through the lens of "The Merchant's Daughter," we contend that cultures are not monolithic entities bred in isolation but are instead the result of centuries-long encounters and exchanges. By engaging with this folktale's transnational circulation and thematic richness, our study contributes to a broader understanding of how folktales cross borders, circulate, and adapt as well as the dynamic processes of cultural transmission and adaptation. It underscores the role of storytelling in preserving cultural identity, fostering resilience, and navigating the complexities of global and local intersections.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

7 (5)





How to Cite

Bekkaoui, H. (2024). The Travelling Folktales of the Basil Girl’s Wiles. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 7(5), 35–46.



Transnational folklore, The Merchant’s Daughter, storytelling and agency, oral tradition and resistance.