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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

A Traveller from the Otherworld


Sometime after the formation of Pakistan, a man from Ghizer was crossing the Shandur in autumn. Just as he began his descent to Wadi-e-Ghizer, it started to snow heavily. The man, like any man from the mountains, knew well that getting trapped in a snowstorm could be lethal. He decided to quicken his pace and soon reached Langar, relatively much lower in elevation, where steady cold rain pelted down rather than snow.

Now that he had crossed Langar, he knew that the first settlement, Barsat, was a little way off. However, he saw a small bourg on the opposite bank of the stream. Exhaustion got the better of him, soaked as he was, so he decided to wade through the cold but shallow waters of the stream and seek refuge in the village. The presence of the hamlet evaded his memory anyhow. He assumed it may be a group of nomads, as was the norm in these regions, and went ahead to cross over anyway.

Upon entering the village he saw plenty of people going around their business; locals, speaking in Khowar. It struck him as incredibly odd that none of them seemed to notice his presence. That was… until a small child saw him and screamed.

The toddler collapsed and his father quickly bundled him up, taking him into his hut. The traveler followed them inside. Soon, a spiritual elder, the religious leader of the village dropped by, observing the child whilst he muttered verses.

The traveler, who was apparently still invisible to them, nearly had his life frightened out of him when the distressed father asked the preacher what had happened to his son.

The preacher told him, “Your son has been exposed to the shadow of a human!”

Upon hearing this the traveler made a dash for the door in utter horror and fear. He crossed the stream as quickly as he could and ran as fast as his legs would take him, and did not stop even to catch his breath till he reached Barsat.


 

Commentary: Shandur is a mystical place. In many stories the high mountains are home to fairies, both good and evil. It is commonly believed that the world of the jinn and that of humans has a veil between them, and is rarely ever crossed.

However, in most cases, it is usually the jinn, the fairies, or other supernatural beings who pay a visit to the human realm. In this case, the opposite happened.


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