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The Mule of the Graves

By : Mohamed Ben Saleh – Morocco

In every country you find a myth that defies time and passes through generations, without being erased by the acceleration of events and developments in this world. Today I decided to write about a very old and famous legend in my country.

In the ancient times, in an area called Souss in southern Morocco, there was a woman living with her husband alone, their lives were happy and full of love. However, no happiness lasts forever. One day the husband became seriously ill and died. The wife entered the period of mourning. According to the customs and traditions of that region, the widow must wear a white dress and not show for men for four months and ten days. But that widow didn’t bear to stay alone all that time, and committed a great sin, took a lover and slept with him during the mourning period with no respect to the memory of her late husband and the religious traditions and values that prevent women from sleeping with a man without marriage, Therefore she was subjected to divine punishment, God cursed her, turned her into a Horrible beast, half a mule and half a woman, but larger than an ordinary mule and with a tremendous power, bound by iron chains, pulls it behind her, and eyes that burns like a crater.

In the daylight she sleeps with the dead and at night she appears in the cemeteries searches for men to prey on them, or bury them alive. That is why they call it (Tnkmart Namsdalen) in the Tamazight language, meaning (The Mule of the Graves).

She doesn’t hurt women, only men, because they are the cause of what happened to her.

According to some tales, she has the ability to change her shape. Sometimes, when the darkness comes, she goes to the houses of nearby villages in the form of one of their acquaintances, Lure a man, puts him on her back, and returns to the cemetery to eat her catch. Sometimes she may kill more than a man; there is a story about a tribe of nomads who move from place to place in search of food and water. One day, they reached a forest, there was an old cemetery in that forest but it is not visible. Unaware of the cemetery near them, the tribe decided to spend the night there.

In the morning the women awoke to a scene that froze blood in their veins, all men have been killed, even male children, their bodies have been torn, their guts and limbs is scattered everywhere. There were footprints of a mule, stained with blood.

The strange thing is that this terrible massacre took place without sleeping women feeling or hearing anything... Not even a cry! Everything happened in a strange silence.

Because of these horrific stories, the men were so afraid, to the extent that men in some tribes avoided passing by the cemeteries for fear of encountering the mule of the graves.

The myth is one of the strangest Tamazight myths; it seems closer to a horror film than to a legend and in some respects, it resembles the vampire myth.

Perhaps the reason for the distinction and the strangeness of this legend among the myths lies in that it targets men in particular and does not hurt women at all, the mule of the graves haunt men only, humiliate them, tear their genitals, and bury them alive sometimes, as if she were avenging herself, and other women, of the agony and pain caused to them by some men. From this perspective, in the old days, when a Tamazight woman was angry with her husband, she asked God to hasten a close meeting between her husband and the mule of the graves! To avenges for her from that bad husband in the worst ways.

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