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ALAWIYA SOBH

something special to offer. However, these things didn’t satisfy her anymore, and she blamed her late grandfather for not appearing to her in a dream to bring her good news of a marriage proposal in the offing. At some point she had concluded that someone must have produced a magic amulet, tied it to a rock, and thrown it into the depths of the sea, and that this amulet was the source of a curse that prevented men from proposing to her. It was so potent, in fact, that even all the water in the sea had been powerless to nullify its effect by dissolving its pages or erasing its contents. Add to this the fact that her unseen spiritual companion, who could only deliver her from harm on dry land, was unable to reach the amulet in its hidden location deep beneath the sea. This companion would hurt people who had hurt Amina and, tender-hearted girl that she was, tears came to her eyes when she told us about this.

“Once, when the three of us were having dinner together early in our friendship, Amina told Anisa and me how her grandfather had pampered her because she was the only girl among six children. After he died, she said, his spirit had attached itself to her, and he’d started appearing to her in dreams. He would tell her things that would happen in the future, and his predictions would come true. Anisa and I were inclined to believe it, too. Many times she’d predicted things that actually happened.That same evening over dinner, Amina told us that after her first night vision came true, everyone in her family and even her entire village stopped dreaming altogether.Whoever did happen to have a dream would forget it as soon as they’d opened their eyes. She was the only person in the village who both dreamed and remembered what she had dreamed, as a result of which she’d been dubbed ‘the dream snatcher.’

“She told us that lovers, young women anxious to find husbands, married women hoping to divorce or fearful that their husbands would take another wife, people dreaming of recovery from some illness – in short, all those with wishes they wanted fulfilled in their lives – would knock on her door and ask her if she had seen her grandfather in a dream, hopeful that he might have told her something about them.Whenever she answered this question in the negative, the inquirer would leave crestfallen, hoping and praying that the hoped-for nocturnal visitation might still come. Her grandfather’s spirit had thus become the village clairvoyant, the one who could discern their secret hopes and fears and tell them what the

94 BANIPAL 70 – SPRING 2021

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