I’ve been writing short, folkloric-feeling or fairy-tale-ish stories for a book I’m working on. The stories are Arab-inspired, people-centered, and hopefully, tell their own tale, even within the context of the larger story.
This one is called Breekh and features a wife stolen by a jinn from right under her husband’s nose.
Tell me in the comments what you think!
There was a man and a woman, married for years who were wise to believe in the evil eye. They knew spirits that were made of smoke, not flesh, roamed the earth, looking for ways to cause mischief.
The man’s name was Pot, and the woman’s name was Kettle. They both wore small blue beads on their clothes to protect them from the evil eye, which was the magic of the spirits, but could be cast by unwitting humans with ill, or at least, unkind, intention.
One day, the man grew tired of his wife’s talking, and wished her to stay silent. The woman was hurt her husband did not want to listen to her, and felt lonely as she drew water from their deep well.
A jinn by the name of Breekh was passing by the well, invisible to the human eye.
After a while of silence, the woman continued her story, trying to get her husband’s attention. But the husband, who wanted nothing but silence, cursed out at his wife, “Ya nan al Breekh!” he said, “Damn you, Breekh!” And in that moment, the man cast the evil eye on his wife without knowing it. Breekh, the jinn, heard this, and thus he was summoned.
The man did not know why he called out Breekh instead of his wife’s name, but he ignored the thought and sat brooding on why he married this woman in the first place.
“It was her beauty,” he thought, “Her beautiful mouth blinded me to the tongue inside it. If I had known I would know no silence, I’d have never married her. What I wouldn’t do for silence.”
What the man and woman didn’t know, though, was that in the jinn language, Breekh meant Kettle.
The jinn stole the wife away from the man, forcing her into a world made of fire and smoke and ash. A world where the earth erupted in plumes of flames, and spewed molten rock on the cities below the fiery mountain.
The jinn locked the woman in the belly of the mountain, leaving her to sweat and her body to shrivel in the heat.
The man cursed himself for his foolishness, and he called upon the old sheikhs, who drew on their powers against the evil eye. And though the woman noticed the blue bead she wore glowing, the spell would not break. Breekh held her captive for years, until Kettle became the molten earth itself. She became the fiery mountain, and that is why the great mountain in the distance is called the Kettle of Fire.
The man lived his days in solitude, but it was not a peaceful one. He was lonely, and missed the sound of his wife’s voice. He cursed himself until his dying breath for giving up the one person who loved him enough to want to talk to him.
Copyright (C) 2020 by Rania Hanna