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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Kingdoms of Myth

The Kif Mountains beyond Koh-e-Kaaf

“Kif” is a mythological mountain range in Pakistani folklore. It is the kingdom of the King of Giants, Deo Safeyd.

Before all else, it is important to explain to our English-speaking audience a little fact. The term giant is often used for Deo, for the lack of a better word in English. However. Deo's are not exactly giants. Known as the Div in Persian, they are somewhere in between a giant, an evil spirit and a monster.

Invariably malicious male spirits, they are capable of shapeshifting and performing magic. However, their powers only work after nightfall. In their original form, they are as tall as giants. They tend to lean towards victimizing fairies, young women and children. They live far away from people, either on islands, in the mountains, or in the desert. Unlike European lore, where fairies can be both good and bad, the pari and parizad (the female and male fairy-like spirits) in South Asian and Middle Eastern lore are always benevolent creatures. The Deo's are also notorious for trying to capture pari's, and force the pari or the maiden into marrying them.

Anyhow, back to Deo Safeyd and his Kingdom, Kif's mountain range lies beyond the Koh-e-Kaaf.

Koh-e-Kaaf, Mount Kaaf, roughly translates to "the Caucasus mountain". Metaphorically speaking, it is an inaccessible place; mortals can only stay on one side of it, beyond it, lies the abode of giants and fairies.

Presumably, Deo Safeyd's Kingdom would be somewhere beyond the Caucasus Mountains, in present-day Georgia or Armenia. However, in Persian mythology, his fiefdom is said to lie in the mountains of Mazandaran. He is known as “Div-e-Sepid” in Persian, and is featured in the Shahnameh (Book of Kings) for decimating Kay Kavus and his forces. Interestingly, “Kif” is also the name given to marijuana cultivations in the Rif mountains of Morocco!

So, where are the lands of Kif? We will be happy to hear of any further information our interested readers may have on the matter.

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