Phabbo and the Deo
There used to be a little girl, Phabbo. She used to go to the forest every day to collect flowers. One day, a Deo saw her and took a liking to her. So he acted nice to her and helped her collect flowers. They became friends.
However, in his heart, he always thought, “What a pretty girl this is, how I would love to eat her.”
One day, he told her, “Phabbo, you’re so pretty, I love you so much, that I could eat you.”
She was a little taken aback, but she played along and told him, “Alright. Come over to my house tonight and you can have me.”
“I will come. Leave the door unlocked for me,” he replied, mildly surprised but very happy.
The little girl rushed home and told her mother what had happened. Her mother thought of a plan. She brought lots and lots gurr, melted it, and made a statue out of it, roughly the size of Phabbo. Her mother put the statue in Phabbo’s bed on the rooftop and covered it with some sheets. She instructed Phabbo to hide beneath the bed, and talk back to the Deo if he speaks to her.
Her mother also made lots of sherbet, mixing gurr in water, and filled up many matkas and left them in the staircase.
After nightfall, the Deo came to Phabbo’s roof. “Phabbo dear, where should i start eating you from, head first or feet first?” he asked. “Start from my feet Deo, so we can keep talking. After all, we’re friends, aren’t we?” she replied from beneath the bed.
The deo bit a bite of the statue. “Mmm, yummy! You’re so sweet Phabbo. No wonder your words are always so sweet too.” The Deo ate a little more, and a little more, till he felt very thirsty.
The Deo made his way downstairs and was overjoyed to see so much water lying around. He picked up a matka and slurped it. However, he still felt thirsty. After eating so much gurr, it was water he needed, not more sweet sherbet! Anyhow, he gulped down another matka, and another, and another. After he had finished all the sherbet in four matka’s, his stomach had become so bloated that he could barely move.
Phabbo’s family came out and caught him, and finished him off. Her mother’s wisdom had saved Phabbo’s life!
A deo is a male djinn, usually evil, invariably gigantic. The name does not have a precise English translation, but the creature regularly features in South Asia, Persian and Arab folklore.
A matka is a round jar made of mud, used to store fresh water in rural areas in Pakistan. Gurr is a natural product of sugarcane, brownish in colour, and less refined than white sugar.
Character credits (Phabbo) go to a Pakistani digital artist. She goes by the name of Alif-Be on Twitter.