Living anywhere in Oman, you're bound to hear a story or two. Even in Muscat.
Have you ever passed by the orange-and white villa with big clear windows directly across from Bareeq Al Shatti complex? Well rumour says that it is haunted.
One of my good friend's family villa is built right next door. The true story is that the villa belongs to an Omani man's foriegn wife whose only child died so she usually flies away back home to her home country because she's lonely and sad here. Her house is maintained by its staff. When the cement on the facade falls off, it is repaired ASAP. It is not some magical entity.
What about the tale of the hitchhiking old man who is picked up around Nizwa, when lo and behold, the driver of the vehicle discovers that the man has the legs of a donkey?!
Well, ask around about the driver from the tale, and you'll find out he was a fellow from Jebel Akdhar that all too often sampled his own home grown wine;).
Friends of an old friend (not my friends, lol, let me make that clear) told her that they had a similiar experience in the Interior. They were driving home late one night and were waved down by the most beautiful Omani woman they had ever seen. She was wearing an old style of dress and spoke in an old way and they being guys, immediately stopped to help her inside.
Only after driving a few miles did they realize, she had the legs of a goat.
"Were you drinking?" my friend asked them, eyebrows raised.
"No," they told her.
She thought for a minute. "Were you on drugs then?"
"Well...." they relented, admitting they'd been high on hasheesh. "But it really happened! We really stopped to let this woman in and drove with her a ways! It was a Jinn."
"Really, it was a Jinn."
IF THEY REALLY DID stop and pick up the Jinn-Goat Girl, I amuse myself picturing three high-out-of-their-minds Omani guys driving back from Nizwa spotting a helpless "girl" on the side of the road, and cramming a bemused goat into the backseat of their car, and trying to coyly sneak their arms around the cud-chewing kid until the drugs wore off enough that the hooves of the 'jinn girl' began to manifest. A bad 'trip' in more ways than one;XD
What about the Witch-man from Bahla who sits atop the mountain and casts curses and hexes on the travellers that pass through the valley that was once his land? Story goes that the road was built through his property. Many a man and innocent perished under his accursed gaze as they tried to make their way through the valley.
Truth is? That man doesn't OWN any lands. He doesn't know any spells. He's a Shepherd. What he does for a living is accompany sheep and goats while they graze, and the valley is perfect for them to nibble and eat as they must. He found that from the mountain top he can watch his whole flock easily.
What about the deaths?
At the bottom of the valley is a road with a dangerously sharp curve. It is the curve in the road that causes the men driving vehicles that are driving too fast to meet their eventual doom a day or two early, not an old man above keeping his eye on some sheep and a gaggle of goats;)
What about the chained tree in Bahla's souq? I heard a tourist guide telling visitors that the locals built a wall around it because anyone who ventures under it is turned into a cow.
Honestly, when I heard that, I was like, I am going to climb me a wall!
But no folks, that is not true, though there is ACTUALLY a curse to Bahla's chained tree. For real this time.
Way before Islam came to Oman the pagan folk in Bahla used to offer sacrifices under the Bahla souq tree. Some of them were blood sacrifices. The practice continued way after the advent of Islam in Oman, well into the 1960s. Witches (who were later charged as con-men and women by the ROP for blackmailing gullible folk) convinced people that if the tree were killed it would let the evil of some of the bad wishes people had made while giving their sacrifices out so folk would not burn or cut the tree down (as some of them already had tried to do). [It is a dense type of wood and does not burn quickly or easily and is hard to chop] and so it was chained to keep the spirits in.
The more religious (and intelligent Bahla citizens) eventually made a move to stop superstitious people from offering blood sacrifices under the tree, and erected a wall around it, and it exists in that state to this day.
That story IS true about there being a chained and walled wicked tree in Bahla that was once the altar of the willayat's witches. Just not the cow part of the curse.;)
Nadia has written about Salalah citizens throwing gold into the sea for wishes, and the rumour about Sultan Qaboos having a ring that helps him control a Jinn/Genie, on the Dhofari Gucci blog.
Dear readers residing in Oman: what other wondrous tales have you been told or been telling?;)