Why Jinn are Good

Informant: My friend’s mother tells stories about the Jinn, as her grandfather told to Shiva. She says she does not know if Jinn exist, but there are certainly people in Iran who swear they are real. She has fun telling these stories because of their potential for belief.

Original Script: “Okay so initially, this is what my grandpa told, this is the story that has been passed down to him. The reason they were all good—the villagers were all good with the Jen, because, apparently this one girl one day comes home and the mom had peeled a lot of garlic. But she didn’t want to dispose of the garlic skin anywhere because they’re so light they fly away. So she had put them in a little bag and she gives it to the daughter and says, ‘take it to that pond over there and release it to the water’ because then it won’t get—spread out all over. So she goes and there is this pretty, pretty girl sitting by the pond and she says, ‘no, don’t dispose these here, just give them to me.’ And she says, ‘Okay, here they’re…they’re just garlic peels, whatever.’ And she gives her, the pretty woman gives the young girl, a bag of something and she says take these to your mom. And she takes these to her mom, the bag, and the mom says, ‘why did you accept anything, that was trash I gave you.’ And she says, ‘well this was a nice lady, she asked me to do this, I am doing this.’ And they open it up and the bag is full of pearls. So since then, the villagers have been good to these creatures. They aren’t scared of them, if they see them they won’t freak out.

Context of the Performance: Over dinner, family members exchanged old folk stories they remember from Iran.

Thoughts about the Piece: I love the Jinn stories. I especially loved the story, passed down through generations of families. The storyteller said she might believe that it is true, which made listening to it all the more enjoyable.