Idries Shah believed that stories are not merely a part of culture – but rather that they are culture. During his lifetime, he published thousands of tales drawn from all corners of the world. Shah delighted in observing how varying versions of the same tale might be found in China, Latin America, Africa, and in the northern-most reaches of Europe.

By telling stories, and learning from the wisdom contained within them, he insisted that the Occidental world could once again harness a critical psychological mechanism – one that has been side-lined for centuries.

In the same way that a botanical garden collects and preserves material in a seed bank, the ISF StoryBank will gather every kind of tale from every continent. The project will seek to re-introduce tales that are in danger of being lost, as well as grouping stories by theme and geographic location, and studying how and why folklore works on the mind as it does.

This exciting and potentially ground-breaking endeavour will continue over months and years, and will dovetail in with ISF’s other projects – including the UNESCO-ISF collaboration, and the Books for Afghan Children Project.