WE had neighbors called Dhahaina, and in their hosh(courtyard) they had a large nabga (nabqa^ lote-tree).1 Whilst they sat and ate in their yard, stones were thrown on them from above. They rose frightened and called to the neighbors, 'Who threw stones at us?' The neighbors replied, 'We threw no stones ! How could we throw stones on you?'That night when they were asleep and the world was dark, stones were again thrown on them. All cried out in alarm, men, women, and children. Houses with high walls surrounded them, so that stones could not have been flung from the street. They concluded that the stones must have come from the lote-tree. They called in Shaikh Jodaand said to him, 'Can you exorcise this so that it departs from amongst us ?'Shaikh Joda advised them to take a palm-branch and cut it with a knife near the tree, for when evil spirits seeiron, they fear and depart. They did this, but it was of no avail. The flinging of stones increased. They hid and watched, but never saw any cause of it.Now my father had a writing, a charm which he used to read over salt 2 for exorcism, and with it he exorcised evil enchanted places such as this, for he was a Nasurai.But they let the woodshed to a Mosulawi, who slept thereto take care of his wood. The first night he slept there it rained stones and wood on him all night, falling, not so as to injure him, but so as to frighten him. He was constantly stoned, day and night, and at last came to the Subba,crying out, 'Dakhtl\ (Protection !) O Subba, what is this ?what is wrong with your house ?' They soothed him saying,'Why are you afraid ? You are a man, be not afraid of a few falling stones ! There is nothing wrong with the house !'He went back and sat in the courtyard. It was night and the moon was full and the weather was hot. He cooked his food, rice, meat, and so forth, with his own hand, and sat to eat his meal in the open. It was dark in the courtyard and as he sat, he saw a white cat before him. It became big, and the man said to himself, 'Shinu hail What can this be ?' He looked, and it became as big as a dog.
His heart began to fear. It became very tall and he could endure it no longer but began to shriek, 'Come to me! DakJul, dak]ul\' The Subba sleeping on the roofs 5 around cried out to him, 'Fear not, fear not!' When he heard their voices he seized courage to move, and fled forth to the neighbors, trembling and mad with fright. The Subba tried to calm him, saying, 'Why are you thus?'while he said, 'What is it in the Subbi's house ? Why did they not tell me?'In the morning he got a man to go to the woodshed and take out his wood, and he sold it all cheaply. He would not return himself, for he was afraid of the place. After that,he left Amarah and went back to his wilay at. And from that time, if people in Mosul, to plague him, called after him,'The tantal has come!'6 he trembled and gazed behind him and feared.Yes, that stone-throwing was not the work of a man,mu shpghl admiVNOTES ON XVIII. The nabga or nabqa, called the sidr or sidra in Lower Iraq andEgypt (Zizyphus Spina Christi), a thorny, evergreen tree which bears asmall, edible, apple-like fruit, holds a unique place amongst the trees ofIraq. While little, or no, reverence is paid by Iraqis to the date-palm, so
Edited by MacQdor, 20 August 2017 - 07:00 PM.