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Registered User
(12/15/05 4:31 am)
The Damiya
I originally posted this story in response to another post but I thought I would share it with all of you. It is an Iraqi story that my dad used to tell me before I went to bed. I see many similarities between it and other stories but this one is my favourite!
Apparantly it is to teach children to listen to their parents, and also to be resourseful if they do not listen It was about a species of monster called the Damiya who lived in caves. One day a little boy called hudaydan and his sister lived in a remote village with their family. Huadaydan wanted to go for a picnic with his sister and to collect some mushrooms that grow underground (which are delishious aparantly). The made thier picnic and were preparing to go but their mother told them that they must come back before it gets dark, becasue it got dangerous after dark. The ran through the medows collecting flowers but it began to get dark and the children had walked much further away than they were supposed to. Hudaydan's sister wanted to go back home but Hudaydan wanted to stay and play. The area was surrounded by wild beasts that looked like monkeys but could talk like men and these were called the Damiya. One of these monkeys, captured the children and took them to her cave. The damiya wanted to eat the children whilst they slept so she tried to lull them off to sleep. Each time the Damiya came to check on the children, Hudaydan made up one excuse after another to stop the damiya form eating them.
She came to check and Hudaydan said that they cannot sleep until they have had their dinner. So Damiya went away and cooked them some dinner and fed them.
She came to check again and asked the children why they were not sleeping. Hudaydan said that they wanted a drink of water, but not just any water. It had to be water collected from the river and collected in a seive. So damiya walked all the way to the river and tried over and over to collect the water. Soon she became angry and stalked back to the cave.
In the meantime Hudaydan and his sister took the Damiya's daughter and dressed her in their clothes. The put her in the bed where they were supposed to be sleeping. Then Hudaydan collected some thorns and placed them all around the trunk of a tree up which he and his sister climbed. When the Damiya came back she said that she would eat the girl first, so she killed and cooked the child in the bed. She began to eat her. Then when she went back to the bed to eat Hudaydan she found no one there! She followed the footprints out of the cave. Hudaydan began to tease her, singing a song:
Sharanta baranta
akalat binta
(This means the one who ate her daughter - or something like that)
So then the Damiya say Hudaydan's siter saw the little girl up the tree and walked back to her cave and realised what she had done...she died of misery.
Hudaydan eventually cam down form the tree and he and his sister ran back towards the viallage. The villagers had been out hunting for them and they were happily reunited with their family.
A very controversial story one might say but for some reason I used to love hearing it before I went to bed!

The damiya was an ape like race that were hunted by humans. If a female damiya who was without a male came accross a human male she would take him and keep him as her male partner. To prevent him from running away she would lick the souls of his feet which would make his skin very thin and it would be impossible for him to walk due to the pain of standing.
They had short legs and bulky gorilla's I guess, although they are presented more as a species of deformed humans.
Apparantly in the Qu'ran Allah/God would transform ancient sinners/non believers into monkey's and Pigs. I haven't actually read this but I could be one of the sources for the story.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User

(12/15/05 10:56 am)
Re: The Damiya
That's a good story--got a lot of classic elements in it.

Registered User
(12/15/05 11:17 am)
Thanks :)

Registered User
(12/16/05 10:51 am)
Re: :)
I've done a rewrite of this based upon your description. If you send me your e-mail I'll send you a copy. If you like it I'll see if Heidi would be interested in adding it to her site.

My e-mail is

Edited by: Writerpatrick at: 12/16/05 10:53 am
Registered User
(12/20/05 3:11 pm)
Re: :)
Since you may have missed my request, I'll post the retelling here.


Hudaydan and the Damiya

By Patrick J. McNamara

Based upon a description by Princess Terribel(?)
of an Iraqi folk tale

Hudaydan lived in a small remote lived with his sister and their parents. One day Hudaydan wished to collect some of the delicous mushrooms that grew in caves, so he and his sister planned a picnic.

As they prepared to leave, their mother warned them to return before dark lest they become victim of the cave lurking ape-like Damiya. But the children lost themselves in play running through the meadows and collecting flowers, and wandered further than the daylight lasted.

As the sun dropped to the sand, Hudaydan's sister wanted to return home but he wanted to stay and play. With the darkness came the Damiya, creatures similar to us with short legs, bulky bodies and human-hungry bellies. Seeing the children, the Damiya set upon them. One of the Damiya captured the children and took them to her cave where she lived with her daughter.

Having a taste for humans, especially young children who don't listen to their parents, the Damiya planned to eat the children in their sleep when they are the sweetest. So she tried to lull their weary eyelids to rest.

But Hudaydan knew what the Damiya planned and would not to allow himself or his sister to sleep. As the Damiya prepared a bed for them to sleep in, Hudaydan worked to keep himself and his sister awake.

“You must be so tired,” said the Damiya. “Why don't you sleep?”

“We can't sleep,” said Hudaydan. “We haven't eaten supper and our empty bellies keep us awake.”

So the Damiya went off and cooked them supper and fed them. Hudaydan felt sleepy after the meal but knew he couldn't sleep or he would be the Damiya's meal.

Thinking the children must be asleep, the Damiya came back to check on the children to find them still awake. “You must be so tired. Why don't you sleep?”

“We can't sleep,” said Hudaydan. “We're thirsty and can't sleep. We must have water.”

“I'll fetch you water,” said the Damiya.

“But it can't be just any water,” said Hudaydan. “It must be river water collected in a seive.”

“If I fetch you the water, will you sleep?” asked the Damiya.

“We shall fall fast asleep,” said Hudaydan.

So the Damiya walked many miles to the river and vainly tried to collect the water in a seive, but the water poured out as fast as she scooped it in. Eventually, hunger and frustration turned her back towards home. Asleep or not, she would eat the children anyway.

While the Damiya was away, Hudaydan and his sister took the Damiya's daughter and dressed her in the sister's clothes. After putting the Damiya’s daugter in the bed where the children were suppose to sleep, they crept from the cave and climbed to the top of a date palm tree. To protect themselves, the children placed thorns around the base of the tree, then waited for the Damiya to return.

Upon returning home, the Damiya found what she thought was Hudaydan's sister sleeping, so she killed and cooked the child sleeping in the bed. She returned to the bed agian for Hudaydan, only to find it empty. But she did find the footprints the children left when they fled from the cave. The Damiya followed the footprints until she found the tree with the children, but the thorns prevented her from getting near it.

Hudaydan watched the Damiya circling the tree without any way to reach them. He mocked her as she walked about, singing,
        “Sharanta baranta
        akalat binta.
        Silly ape can't carry water.
        Foolish ape ate her own daughter.”

When the Damiya saw Hudaydan and his sister in the tree she realized what she had done. She walked sadly back to her cave where she died of misery.

After the children saw the Damiya leave, they climbed down from the tree and returned back to their village. Villagers out searching for the children found them, and returned them happily to their family.

The End

Registered User
(12/21/05 3:09 am)
no no
I did mail you but didn't get a response.
Hehe...Its great! I just reread mine and saw one too many grammatical errors and the like :\ I particularly like that you have added to the rhyme.

1 mini mistake here "Hudaydan lived in a small remote lived with his sister and their parents." You just missed out 'village'.

Oh, my name is Gemila Sultan.

Thanks Patrick. :)

Registered User
(12/21/05 8:42 am)
Re: no no
It seems my email wasn't downloading. I'm using a program called YPops to read Yahoo in my Outlook Express. It seems my version was out of date. You e-mail did get to Yahoo, but didn't download.

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