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Fabulas de Tamalameque: A Colombian Treasure of Animal Tales

Fabulas de Tamalameque is a book of fables written by Manuel Zapata Olivella, a Colombian writer and anthropologist. The book was published in 1978 and contains 32 stories that feature animals from the region of Tamalameque, in the department of Cesar. The book is available for free download from the Internet Archive .


The fables are inspired by the ancient tradition of oral storytelling among the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities of Tamalameque, a town located on the banks of the Magdalena River. Zapata Olivella, who was born in Lorica, Córdoba, in 1920, spent several years living and researching in Tamalameque, where he learned about the local culture, folklore, and history. He also collected many stories from the elders and storytellers of the town, who shared with him their wisdom and humor.

Zapata Olivella's fables are not only entertaining, but also educational and moral. They teach valuable lessons about friendship, cooperation, justice, respect, courage, and solidarity. They also reflect the social and environmental issues that affect Tamalameque and Colombia in general, such as violence, corruption, poverty, deforestation, and pollution. The fables are written in a simple and clear language, with a touch of irony and satire. They are suitable for readers of all ages, especially children.

Some of the characters that appear in the fables are: the jaguar, the monkey, the turtle, the parrot, the crocodile, the snake, the ant, the bee, the butterfly, the frog, the fish, the crab, the mosquito, the spider, the bat, the owl, the eagle, the vulture, the hummingbird, the rabbit, the fox, the dog, the cat, the mouse, the rooster, the hen, the duck, the goose, the turkey, and many more. Each animal has its own personality and role in the stories. Some are wise and noble; others are foolish and greedy; some are friends; others are enemies; some are heroes; others are villains.

The book is divided into four parts: The Peace Conference of Animals; The War of Animals; The Adventures of Animals; and The Wisdom of Animals. Each part contains eight fables that are connected by a common theme or plot. The first part tells how all the animals gathered to sign a peace treaty and end their conflicts. The second part narrates how some animals broke the treaty and started a war that threatened to destroy Tamalameque. The third part describes how some animals escaped from the war and had various adventures in different places. The fourth part shows how some animals learned important lessons from their experiences and shared them with others.

Fabulas de Tamalameque is a unique and original contribution to Colombian literature and culture. It is also a tribute to Tamalameque and its people, who have preserved their ancestral traditions and values despite many difficulties and challenges. Zapata Olivella's fables are a source of joy and inspiration for anyone who loves animals and stories.


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