Al-Ruhban : a strange creature from the Algerian folklore

By : Abdel Razzaq Touareh – Algeria

In North Africa, specifically in eastern Algeria, the legend of “Al – Ruhban” is one of the most famous legends of Algerian folk tales. According to my grandmother and some people close to me, this creature is the product of a marriage between humans and the jinn. When this creature is born, he lives in the care of his father or mother from the jinns, where they raise him in their ethereal world until he becomes mature and able to take responsibility of himself.

Of course, “Al – Ruhban” have already acquired certain human qualities because one of his parents are human, and these qualities help him to take the form of a normal human, so as to live among us without we noticing that, unlike his counterparts of the  jinns, who usually take the forms of animals, such as cats and dogs, when they want to show themselves in the human world.

He may pass you without you being aware of him

You may wonder why this creature prefers to hang around our world? The answer is that “Al – Ruhban” are born with apparent qualities such as those characterized by the jinn, But he also carries some inner qualities such as that which characterize human beings, such as avoiding the eating of leftover food, bones and waste, as the jinn does. He prefers cooked human food, he likes to spend most of his time in the midst of human gatherings, may be you find him in front of you, he may sit next to you on the bus, and he may accompany you on the road, and perhaps talk to you, without you being able to identify his true identity.

There are some signs by which we can distinguish “Al – Ruhban” and know his truth. He is of an average tall, has long hand, his skin is white, almost like Caucasian, with blue eyes and yellow eyelashes. He always hides his hands in his pocket to avoid being aware of his identity by some marks on his hand. He is a fast runner, if he is recognized by a human and his real identity is exposed, he runs away immediately, and he can know that you have revealed his truth even if you do not tell him, because he can read your thoughts even without talking to you.

But why run away when his truth is revealed?

Despite his very peaceful nature, some sorcerers and wicked people seek to catch him and take him to mountains and remote areas to guide them to the precious treasures hidden in those places, where the jinns knows its places because they are its guards.

The legend of this creature might seem strange, but he is highly respected and appreciated in the Algerian folklore, and it is always advised to leave him to live in peace, and not to chasing or harming him. He is one of the best supernatural beings which live among humans.

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