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The Thousand and One Nights, Vol. I. by Anonymous

Saw a Ghool while on a journey to Syria


The injuries related to have been inflicted upon human beings by evil Jinn are of various kinds. Jinnees are said to have often carried off beautiful women, whom they have forcibly kept as their wives or concubines. I have mentioned in a former work, that malicious or disturbed Jinnees are asserted often to station themselves on the roofs, or at the windows, of houses, and to throw down bricks and stones on persons passing by.[86] When they take possession of an uninhabited house, they seldom fail to persecute terribly any person who goes to reside in it. They are also very apt to pilfer provisions, &c. Many learned and devout persons, to secure their property from such depredations, repeat the words "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful!" on locking the doors of their houses, rooms, or closets, and on covering the bread-basket, or anything containing food.[87] During the month of Rama[d.]an, the evil Jinn are believed to be confined in prison; and therefore, on the last night of that month, with the same view, women sometimes repeat the words above mentioned, and sprinkle salt upon the floors of the apartments of their houses.[88]

To complete this sketch of Arabian mythology, an account must be added of several creatures generally believed to be of inferior orders of the Jinn.

One of these is the Ghool, which is commonly regarded as a kind of Sheytan, or evil Jinnee, that eats men; and is also described by some as a Jinnee or an enchanter who assumes various forms. The Ghools are said to appear in the forms of various animals, and of human beings, and in many monstrous shapes; to haunt burial-grounds and other sequestered spots; to feed upon dead human bodies; and to kill and devour any human creature who has the misfortune to fall in their way: whence the term "Ghool" is applied to any cannibal. An opinion quoted by a celebrated author, respecting the Ghool, is, that it is a demoniacal animal, which passes a solitary existence in the deserts, resembling both man and brute; that it appears to a person travelling alone in the night and in solitary places, and, being supposed by him to be itself a traveller, lures him out of his way.[89] Another opinion stated by him is this: that, when the Sheytans attempt to hear words by stealth [from the confines of the lowest heaven], they are struck by shooting stars; and some are burnt; some, falling into a sea, or rather a large river (ba[h.]r), become converted into crocodiles; and some, falling upon the land, become Ghools. The same author adds the following tradition:--"The Ghool is any Jinnee that is opposed to travels, assuming various forms and appearances;"[90] and affirms that several of the Companions of the Prophet saw Ghools in their travels; and that 'Omar, among them, saw a Ghool while on a journey to Syria, before El-Islam, and struck it with his sword.--It appears that "Ghool" is, properly speaking, a name only given to a _female_ demon of the kind above described: the male is called "[K.]u[t.]rub."[91] It is said that these beings, and the Ghaddar, or Gharrar, and other similar creatures which will presently be mentioned, are the offspring of Iblees and of a wife whom God created for him of the fire of the Samoom (which here signifies, as in an instance before mentioned, "a smokeless fire"); and that they sprang from an egg.[92] The female Ghool, it is added, appears to men in the deserts, in various forms, converses with them, and sometimes prostitutes herself to them.[93]


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