The Desperate Witch Back To Main Page

The Desperate Witch

Fahim Ahmad Khan

One of the old myths of Chitral and Gilgit is the belief in witches called "Gor Kimery"in Chitral and "Rui"in Gilgit. It is an evil spirit which inhabits a common woman. The woman lives a normal life during the daytime, but at nights when she is sleeping, the evil spirit leaves her body and joins other witches for feasting and merry-making. They gather at certain meeting places and feast upon the spirit of some normal human or an animal. Every witch takes her turn to bring the victim. Next morning the person whose spirit had been devoured, dies from some illness or accident. Many women were suspected of possesing such evil spirit but they were never persecutd for this. The Ruis of Punial were especially notorious for being numerous and fearsome. (Editor)

Faheem Ahmad Khan

Once upon a time a man and his wife quarrelled over some domestic issue. Unfortunately, came a point which turned the conversation sour, preceding to heated arguments. The husband’s blood began to boil. Fuming with anger he hurled insults at her wife; subsequently throwing her along an infant son out of the house.

The poor soul had no place to live and in search of a safe place to stay at night, she ventured out with her few month-old baby. She wanted to go to her parents who lived in another village. She walked many miles in distress and left behind her former house but was stll far away from her parents'village.

She continued her pitiful journey till it became pitch-dark. Except howling of wolfs and barking of dogs there were no signs of human life. Finally, she saw an abandoned house in the middle of a forest. She decided to take shelter and spend the night in the house till morning.

When she entered it, a wave of fear struck her, but with no other choice, she had to stay on. With this in mind, she sat down near the hearth and put her infant son to sleep on the floor. After a few moments of respite her heart began to freeze with fear. Stories of fearsome ghosts and witches living in abandoned houses flashed back on the back of her head. Somehow she mustered the courage to cope with the situation and a hit upon an idea to protect herself and her child from the clutches of evil spirits.

With that, she scooped the baby up and brought him to her chest; and took him near the door and closed the door bolt with his tiny finger and came back to her sitting place. Few hours had passed that a witch smelled human presence in her abode approached the house with a cry ‘Human Smell, Human Smell!’ On coming near she realized the presence of human inside. So, she inched slowly towards the main entrance wooden door. But to her surprise, it was bolted from inside by a man.

The witch went to the roof and peeked through the smoke-hole (Kumaal), to see who were there. Through the pitch dark, she got hold of a woman sitting. She rushed back to the wooden door to check again there she got the scent of a man on the door bolt. Hit by pangs of hunger she had to quickly enter the house and eat the human alive, but stuck by fear from the man she couldn’t go inside. In a desperate attempt to saciate her hunger, she went again to the process of checking and repeated the same process but found confusing shreds of evidence. She continued the too and fro marathon from the entrance to the roof eventually collapsed and died due to frustration and exhaution. Her soul departed into the sky transforming her lifeless body into a magpie’s carcass.

The early morning rays of the sun coming through the smoke-hole blinded the woman’s eyes and she woke up. Realising the advent of dawn, she quickly took her son into lap and left for her parents’ village. As she came out she confronted a magpie’s carcass in front of the door. On seeing that, she thanked God for protecting herself and her infant son from the clutches of the evil spirit and embarked on her journey happily.

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