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the sahara: folklore

Tale of Tafaka

One day, Binta and her two friends were returning to camp with their goats when they spotted a tafaka, an unusually beautiful lizard, sunning itself on a rock. The tafaka was heavily pregnant. Taking pity on the lizard, Binta offered to help with the birth. A few weeks later, a stranger appeared at Binta’s tent and told her that Tafaka was ready to give birth and had summoned her. Binta did not know anyone called Tafaka, but she followed the stranger. Instantly, the two arrived at a luxurious tent. Inside was a very beautiful, pregnant woman. Binta did not recognize her. It was, in fact, a djinn that had shown itself as the pregnant lizard sunning itself on a rock. Binta helped care for Tafaka and stayed with the djinns for 40 days, learning much about their powers. When she returned to her camp, word spread about her adventures. One day a handsome young man appeared at Binta’s tent looking for a wife. For a bride, Binta knew there could be no human more beautiful than a djinn. She summoned one to be the stranger’s wife, and peace was declared between man and djinn. That is why, to this day, the women of Aïr are as lovely as fairies, with hair as long and black as crow’s wings. They are all the children of djinns.

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