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"The Kite's Daughter" ("Bint al-Hedaya")

Labiba Mazin tells an Egyptian folktale called "Bint al-Hedaya" , بنت الحداية (The Kite's Daughter). Labiba was a multi-talented folk artist from Luxor who danced, sang and told folk stories. Along with her sister Fahima, they taught their nieces the skills which lead to the group famously known as the "Banat Mazin".

This video was recorded by Giovanni Canova as part of his work "Folk Life of Upper Egypt" and is currently held by the Makan ECCA Cairo archives. (

Lyrics & Translation provided by:

Transcript and translations by Ammar ( Translation editing and caption files provided by Shining Peacekeeper.

Transliterations reflect the dialectical pronunciations as appear in the video.

Two options have been provided and are accessible under the captions option: ENGLISH ONLY [English-United States] and 3 in 1-- ARABIC/ENGLISH/TRANSLITERATION [English]

Some notes about the translation: المَجور (al-mador): a plant fiber woven container المكبة (al-makabah): a clay cooking pot الحداية (al-hedaya): a bird of myth and legend often depicted kidnapping people or stealing their possessions, most closely resembling the goshawk and sometimes translated as a crow, raven, kite or other hawk. صليتوا على النبي (Saletoh 3a nabih): "Let’s send peace and blessing upon the prophet." In the context of this video Labiba says this about three times, during moments of transition in the storyline. It was suggested by Ammar that this helps to bring people's attention back to the story and break up monotony. الحجاز (al-Hijaz): An area of Saudi Arabia, may or may not be depicted as a trip for Hajj. الفص (al-fous): The precious stone set into a ring, a magical item. (In this case I chose to adjust the translation to a jinn or genie but Ammar later clarified that it is the item itself speaking to the girl rather than a separate spirit inhabiting the object.) عمتي / عم (masc. -- 3am/ fem. -- 3amety): "Uncle/Aunt", a semi-casual way to address someone, in the context of the story the feminine form is used when the girl addresses her mother-in-law (with varying degrees of formality based on her mood) while the masculine form is used after the first servant returns to the palace and he is spoken to.


كانوا يحكوا على وشاحد مراته مش بتجيب عيال.

Kanu yahko 3ala waheed merato meesh bdeeb 3ayal.

They tell about a man whose wife was infertile.


وفايت واحد في الشارع قالها "أنا الطبيب اللي هدي لوحدة دوا تحبل".

Wfayat waheed fee shar3 galha “ana tabeeb elly hady lawahda dawa tahbal”.

Someone was passing by in the street and told her “I’m the doctor who will give you a medicine and you’ll get pregnant”.


قالت له "تعالى". نادهته قال لها "هديكي دوا".

Galetloh ta3ala. Nadahatoh galha "hadeeky dawa".

She told him “Come here”. She called him and he said “I’ll give you a medicine”.


"والدوا ده تحطيه في جوز فراخ تاكليه انتي. وجوزك تعملي له فروجة لوحده مافيهاش دوا."

Wedawa dah tehoteeh fidjoaz frakh wtakleeh anty. Wedjoazik ta3amaleeloh farodah lwahdo mafhash dawa."

“Put this medicine inside two chickens and you eat them. And cook a different chicken for your husband alone that contains no medicine.”


تحبلي علطول". قالت له "طيب".

Tahbaly 3ala toul. Galatloh tayeb.

“This way, you’ll get pregnant right away.” She said “OK”.


خدت الدوا منيه ونضفت الفراخ والفروجة,

Khadat edawa mneeh wanadafet ilfrakh wafaroodja,

She took the medicine from him and cleaned the chickens,


حطت في جوز الفراخ الدوا وطيبته, وحطته تحت المكبة.

Hatet ledjoz alfrakh edawa, watayabetoh wahatatoh tah almakaba.

she put the medicine inside the chickens, cooked and covered them with the makaba.


وطيبت الفروجة حطتها تحت المَجور.

Watayabet alfaroodja hatatha tahteh almador

She cooked the other chicken and covered it with the mador.


أول ماجه جوزها, قالت له خد اللي تحت الَمَجور, ماتقربش على اللي تحت المكبة.

Awal madjeh djozha galetloh khod illy taht almador, matgrabsh 3ala illy that almakabah

When her husband came home, she told him to eat the chicken that was covered with the makabah, and not touch the other one.


هو جوزها مع طمعه قال "تاكل فراخ لوحديها؟" راح بالع جوز الفراخ كَلُه.

Howa dozha ma3tama3oh gal “takol frakh lowahdeha?” rahbal3a douz alfrakh kaloh.

Her husband felt greedy and thought to himself “She’ll eat these two chickens all alone?”. So, he swallowed the two chickens instead of his separate one.


راح لمراته قالت له "كلت ايه؟" قال لها "كلت جوز الفراخ". قالت له "دلوقت تحبل".

Rahlamaratoh galetloh “kalte eh?” Galha “kal doz alfrakh”. Galatloh "delwak tahbal".

His wife asked him “Which did you eat?”. He told her “I ate the two chickens”. She told him “Now you’ll get pregnant”.


“عاد ايه نعملو دلوك احنا؟”

“3ad eh n3ameloh delwak ehna?”

“So, what are we going to do now!?”


شهر في شهر , بطنه بقيت قد كدا.

Shahr fshahr, batnoh baket qad keda.

Month after month, his belly grew this much!


جاه يولد قالت له "ماتولدش عندي, روح اولد في الجبل.

Da yuled galatloh “matawledsh 3ande, roh awlad fedabal.

When he was about to give birth, she told him “Don’t do it here, go to the mountains.


إن جبت واد هاته, جبت بت ارميها في الجبل. قال لها "حاضر".

Indjebt wad hatoh, djebt bit ermeha fedabal.” Galaha “hader”.

If it’s a boy, bring him home, and if it’s a girl, throw her there in the mountains.” He told her “Ok”.


راح ولد جابله بنية. شوحها.

Rah weled dabloh bnaya. Showaha.

When he gave birth, it was a girl, so he threw her away.


أول ما جا قالت له "جبت ايه؟". قال لها "جبت بت ورميتها زي ماقولتيلي".

Awal madjah gatloh “djebt eh?” Galha “djebt bit wara mat-ha zay magulteely”.

When he came back home his wife asked him “What was it?”. He told her “It was a girl and I did as you told me to do”.


قال لها "لكن جميلة جمال! ما أقدر أقولك". قالت "طب روح هاتها".

Galha “lakin djamila djamal! Magdar agulek.” Galat “tab roh hat-ha”.

But he told her “You know, she was very pretty, can’t even describe her”. She told him, “Fine, then go get her back”.


راح يجيبها مالقهاش. قال "خطفتها الحداية".

Rah idjiba malgahash. Galeh “khatafat-ha alhadeya”.

He went to bring her back but couldn’t find her. He said “The hawk has taken the girl”.


صليتوا على النبي.

Saletoh 3a nabih.

Let’s send peace and blessing upon the prophet.


أول ماراح لها وقال لها خطفتها الحداية, الحداية بقت تُخطف من ده وتدي البنية.

Awel marahlaha wgalaha khatafa alhedaya, elhedaya beget tokhtof mindeh wtady albanaya.

When the hawk took the girl, it kept taking things from people and bringing it to the girl.


.وتخطف من ده وتزغط في البنية لما البنية ايه؟ كبرت فوق النخلة

Wetokhtof mindeh wadzaget filbenaya lamal benaya eh? Kebret foggenakhla.

It kept taking food from people to give it to the girl. The girl grew up on the palm tree.


وبقت تُخطف لها دهب وتخطف لها خلق.

Wabeget tokhtoflaha dahab wtokhtoflaha khalag.

And the hawk continued to steal gold and clothes and bring them to the girl.


كبرت شويتين, ولد الملك, تحت النخلة فيه حوض بتاع مية, بيزقي حصانه.

Kibret shwayeteen, weldel malek, that nakhleh fi houd bte3a maya, byezgihssano.

The girl grew up a little more, the king’s son was passing by and stopped to give his horse water from a water source that was near the palm tree.


انها كبرت وزهزهت كبرت كدا.

Enaha kbret we zahzahat, kbret kideh.

The girl has grown up and bloomed!


بصت على ولد الملك, اتزاول الحصان من الدهب زغف الحوض .. في الميه.

Bassat 3ala weldel malik, edzawel elhossan min edahab zaghaf alhoud…filmaya.

She looked down to the king’s son, and the horse become distracted by the sheen of her gold that reflected in the water.


راح متزاول هو وولد الملك وبص لفوق والدِه اتشبَك معاها.

Rahmetzawel howa weweldel malek wa bas lefoug weldeh eshabak ma3aha.

So, the horse and the king’s son became distracted and looked up and he fell in love with the girl.


راح للمرا اللي بيتها تحت النخلة. قال لها "يا خالتي يا أم العجوز"

Rahlel mara elly beyt-ha taht enakhla. Galha “ya khalty yamol 3adjooz”

The king’s son talked to an old woman that had a house by the palm tree. He called to her “Oh old lady”


“ايه غرضك في البت اللي فوق النخلة؟ أنا حبيتها.”

“Eh gharadek filbeyt elly foug enakhleh? Ana habet-ha.”

“what’s the deal with this girl up the palm tree? I fell in love with her.”


قالت له "يا ولدي دي بت الحداية

Galatloh “ya walady de bit alhedaya

The old lady told him “Boy, this is the daughter of the hawk,


واللي يركب النخله تموته الحداية".

Wellyrkab enakhla tmawotoh alhedaya".

whoever climbs the palm tree, the hawk kills him”.


قال لها "طب وايه يخليه تدلى؟". قالت له "هات لي خروف,"

Galha “tab weh ekhalya tindala?” galetloh “hatle kharoof,”

The king’s son asked the old lady: “So what can make her get down?”. She told him “Bring me a sheep,”


وانت اِلْبِد بحصانك".

Wenta elbed bahsanak”.

“and stay on your horse”.


راح جاب لها خروف, بقت تدبحه من ودنه تقول لها "لا يا خالتي العجوزة ادبحيه من رقبته".

Rahdjablha kharoof, Biget tadbaho min wednoh, tegulaha “la yakhalty el3adjuza edbaheh men ragabtoh”.

So, he brought her a sheep, the old lady pretended to be slaughtering the sheep from its ears, so she would say “No, old lady, slaughter it from the neck”.


تدبحه من ديله تقول لها "لا من رقبته". قالت لها "ادلي يا بتي ادبحيهولي".

Tedbaho min deloh tegulaha “la min ragabtoh”. Galatlaha “adely yabety edbahehooly.”

The old lady pretended to slaughter the sheep from its tail, and the girl says “No, old lady, from the neck”. The old lady said “O dear, come down here and do it for me”.


نزلت تدبحهولها راح غارفها ولد الملك وقال القيام على قصره.

Nazlet tadbahoolha rah gharifha weldel malik we gal ilge3am 3ala gasroh.

So, she came down to slaughter the sheep for the old lady, and the king’s son took her and ran away to his castle.


أول ماروحها قصره اتجوزها وخدله مدة معاها,

Awel marawaha gasroh etgawazha wkhadloh mouda ma3aha,

When they got to the castle, he married her and spent some time with her,


وبعدين قال "يا أمايا أنا رايح الحجاز واوعي مرتي

Wba3aden gal “yamaya ana raih alhidjaz wew3ay marate”

then he told his mother “Mom, I’m going to Hijaz and you take care of my wife,


غلوي أنا يبقى غالية مرتي عليكي. قالت له "حاضر يا ولدي, في عيني".

Ghalwe ana yebga ghalya marate 3alaky". Galatloh “hader yawalady, f3ayny”.

my wife is as precious as me to you”. She told him “Sure my son, she’ll be kept safe”.


خلت ولدها مَشى , المرا اتحففت واتنتفت.

Khalet walad-ha mashy, almara wethafafat wetnatafat.

Once her son went away, the old lady started ornamenting herself.


ومرت ولدها بتقولها "يا مرة عمي, أنا جعانة". قالت لها "أخد عين من عينك من عيونك".

Wmarat walad-ha betgoulha “yamarat 3amy, ana da3ana”. Galat-ha “akhod 3ayn min 3aynik, min 3ayunik”.

The young girl said “O auntie, I’m hungry”. The old lady said “I’ll take an eye of yours”.


قالت لها "كه يا عمتي تاخدي عيني وأنا مرة ولدك؟"

Galatlaha “heh y3amaty takhdy 3ayny wana marat waladik?”

The girl said “Seriously, aunt? You are going to take an eye of mine for food when I’m your daughter-in-law?”


قالت "ما أعرفش ولدي" خدت عينها.

Galet “ma3refsh walady” khadet 3enha.

The old lady said “I don’t care about that” and took her eye.


كلت البنية قالت لها "عطشانة". قالت لها "أخد عينك التانية".

Kalet ilbenaya galet “3atshena”, galetlaha “akhod 3eneky etanya”.

The girl ate and told the old lady “I’m thirsty”. The old lady said “I’ll take your other eye”.


"تمشيني عمية يا عمتي؟" قالت لها "تعمي تعمي"

"Temasheny 3amya ya 3amety?". Gatlaha “te3my te3my”.

“You will make me blind, auntie?”. The old lady said “It’s none of my business”.


خدت عينها التانية. البنية قالت "راح أقعد لما تقطع رجلي؟".

Khadat 3enha etanya. Elbenaya galat “rah ag3od lamma tegate3 reglae?”.

The old lady took the girl’s second eye. The girl thought “Am I going to stay here until she takes my legs?”.


حبت على فوق , بتلعب في الوقيد لقتلها فص.

habat 3ala foug, betel3ab filwaged legetlaha fous.

She made her way upstairs. While she was groping around, her hands fell on a precious ring.


داست على الفص , الفص قال لها "لبيك بين اديكي,

Dasat 3alfous, elfous galaha “lobek been edeky,

While she was cleaning it with her fingers, a jinn in the ring spoke and said “Your wishes are my command,


ايش تطلبي أجيبهولك". قالت له "أطلب عينيا".

Eash totloby agebholick". Galatloh “atlob 3enaya”.

order me and I’ll bring you what you wish”. She told him “I want my eyes back”.


قال لها "راح أجيبلك أحلى من عينيكي الأولانية".

Galaha “rah ageblick ahla men3eneky elawalaneya”.

The jinn said “I’ll give you more beautiful eyes than the ones you had”.


جاب لها أحلى من عينيها. "ايش تطلبي تاني؟" قالت له "عايزة قصر,

Gablaha ahla men 3eneha. “eash totloby tany?”. Galetloh “3ayza gasr,

The jinn did what it promised and said “What else do you wish?”. The girl said “I want a castle,


جنب قصر جوزي وأعلى من قصر جوزي,

Jamb gasr jozy wea3la men gasr jozy,

near my husband’s castle and taller than his,


وجميع الفواكه من غير هوان تبقى فيه".

Wejame3 elfawakeh mengher hawan tebga feh”.

“and I want all kinds of good fruits in my castle”.


ياللي تصلوا على النبي.

Yally tesalu 3anaby.

Let’s send peace and blessings to the prophet.


خدت بعضها أمه اتزوقت واتحففت واتنتفت.

Khadet ba3daha omoh etzawagat wethafafat wetnatafat.

The mother started beautifying and changing herself a little,


ودارت وشها...ودارت وشها وخلت ولدها نيلها.

Wedarat wesheha…Wedarat wesheha wekhalat waladha nayelha.

She changed her face…she changed her face and fooled her son to sleep with her.


"فين مراتي؟ فين أمي؟"

"Feen maraty? Feen omy?"

“Where is my wife?" I mean, "Where is my mother?”


الغرض , ماعرفش الولد , بقى يقابل أمه , حبلت.

Elgharad, ma3refsh elweled, begy yegabel omoh, heblet.

Anyway, the guy didn’t know and kept sleeping with his mother until she got pregnant.


قالت له "أمانة يا ولد الناس أنا بتوحم على عنب من اللي عند الست اللي قصرها أعلى من قصرنا".

Galatloh “amana ya weldennas ana batwaham 3ala 3enab men3end esset elly gasraha a3la mengasrena”.

One day, she told him “Please, I desire grapes from the castle of the lady whose castle is taller than ours”.


قال "حاضر, روح يا خدام وقول "يا ست يا ستنا ياللي قصرك أعلى من قصرنا,

Gal “hader, rouh ya khadam wegul ya set ya setena yally gasrek a3la mengasrena,

He said “All right. Servant, go to the lady next door whose castle is taller than ours,


ادينا عنقود للوحمة اللي عندنا". قال "حاضر يا ملك".

edena 3angud lelwahma elly 3endena”, gaal “hader ya malek”.

and tell her to give us a bunch of grapes for the pregnant woman who’s desiring it.” “Yes, your majesty” said the servant.


راح خبط "مين؟". قال "يا ست يا ستنا ياللي قصرك أعلى من قصرنا,

Rah khabat “meen?”, gal “ya set ya setena yally gasrek a3la mengasrene,

The servant knocked on the door. “Who is it?” Someone asked. “Oh lady whose castle is taller than ours,


ادينا عنقود عنب للوحمة اللي عندنا".

edena 3angud 3enab lelwahma elly 3endena.”

give us a bunch of grapes for the pregnant woman who’s desiring it.”


"قالت "ياسلام , ولد الملك يحبل أمه وتاجي وحمتها علينا؟

Galat “ya salam! Weld elmalek yehabel omoh wetagy wahemet-ha 3alena?”

“Oh really? The king’s son impregnates his own mother and I should help her with her desire?” she exclaimed,


"روح يا مقص قص لسانه لحسن يخبص علينا." راح يبلبل للملك.

"Ruh ya magas gos lesanoh lahsan yokhbos 3alena." Rah yebalbel lelmalek.

“Oh scissors, go and chop off his tongue before he tells people about me!” Then the servant went back fumbling in his speech.


"ايه يا عم؟" قال له "بلا بلا ..." قال "ايه ده؟". قال "بلا بلا..."

"Eh ya3am?" Galoh “Ba ba ba..." Gal “eh deh?". Gal “Ba ba ba...”

“What happened?” they asked him. The servant started making incomprehensible noises.


قال "ودي الخدام التاني". راح الخدام التاني.

Gal “wady elkhadam etany". Rah elkhadam etany.

The king’s son said “Send the other servant”. So, the other servant went.


"يا ست يا ستنا ياللي قصرك أعلى من قصرنا , ادينا عنقود عنب للوحمة اللي عندنا."

“ya set ya setena yally gasrek a3la men gasrena, edena 3angud 3enab lelwahma elly 3endena.”

“Oh, lady whose castle is taller than ours, give us a bunch of grapes for the pregnant woman who’s desiring it.”


قالت "يا عيني الدنيا اتقلبت , ولد الملك يحبل أمك ووحمها يجي علينا؟"

Galat “ya 3eny, eddenya etgalabat, weld elmalek yehabal omoh wewahamha yagy 3alena?”

She said “Oh really? Things are upside down now. The king’s son impregnates his own mother and I have to help her with her desire?”


"روح يا ماقص قص لسانه ليخبص علينا." قص لسان التاني.

"Ruh ya magas gos lesanoh lahsan yokhbos 3alena." Gaselsan etany.

“Oh scissors, go and chop off his tongue before he tells people about me!” So, the scissors did it.


قال "أنا رايح أنا. كلها بتبلبل".

Gal “ana rayeh ana, kolaha betbalbal”.

Finally, the king’s son said “I will go myself, all of them come back mute!”


راح هو ولما وعيتله طبعاً جوزها.

Rah houa welamma we3etloh tab3an jozha.

Then he went to the lady next door and she recognized him of course as he is her husband.


يا حيطان سندوه يا بِبان سندوه.

Ya hetan sanedouh ya beban sanedouh.

The lady called to the walls and doors to help him in.


"ايش عاوز؟". قال لها "عاوز عنقود عنب للوحمة اللي عندنا". قالت "ياسلام,"

“Eash 3awez?”. Galaha “3awez 3angoud 3enab lelwahma elly 3endena”. Galet “ya salam!”

“What do you need?”. He told her “I want a bunch of grapes for the lady who’s pregnant and desiring it”. She replied “Oh really?


"تحبل أمك ووحمها يجي علينا؟"

“Tehabel omak wewahamha yagy 3alena?”

“You impregnate your mother and I have to help her with her desire?”


“يا مقص روح قص طرف شاشه ده غالي علينا.”

“Ya mugas rouh gos tarf shashoh da ghaly 3alena.”

“Oh scissors, go but only chop off a part of his clothes, because he’s precious to us.”


"سندوه يا حيطان يا ببان." طلع عندها فوق حكتلوا القصة.

"Sanedouh ya hetan ya beban." Tele3 3andah foag hakatloh elgessa.

“Oh, walls and doors, help him come up here.” Then she told him the whole story.


راح قاد في أمه النار , وخلف صبيان وبنات وتوتة توتة. فرغت الحدوته.

Rah gad fe omoh ennar, wekhalaf sobyan webanat wetuta tuta ferghet elhaduta.

The king’s son set fire to his own mother and after that, they had lots of kids; boys and girls. That’s all there is to tell.



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