Abu was a poor fisherman. Every morning, he rowed his boat to the middle of the ocean, where he cast his net and waited. Some days he had a good haul, but gone were those days. Off late, he’d been returning empty-handed while his fellow fishermen were hauling in fishes by the score. It appeared that the fishes just refused to come anywhere near Abu’s nets alone.
Abu didn’t give up. Every single morning, he ventured out into the sea with hope in his heart and a prayer on his lips. He smiled good-naturedly at others’ success and accepted their condolences on his failure with grace. He knew that his luck was due to turn a corner.
One night it started raining. A storm was brewing which turned into a huge cyclone and destroyed all the huts in the fishing hamlet. The distraught fishermen had lost their boats and nets as well. Surprisingly, Abu’s boat and nets had survived as he had taken care to tie them up to a tree. He decided to venture out into the sea to catch some fish so that everyone could have something to eat.
Other fishermen tried to stop Abu from leaving; not because they felt it was dangerous, but because they felt that Abu was being followed by bad luck. Few of his friends offered to take his boat out to fish, but Abu refused. It was his boat and he would be the one to go out to fish, he declared.
The sea was still rough, waves were larger than usual and keeping the boat steady in one place while trying to cast the nets was next to impossible. After a while, Abu gave up and decided to cast the smaller net first. Soon the net snagged something heavy and Abu used all his strength to haul the net in.
There were no fishes in the net, but there was a sealed copper pot with strange inscriptions on the lid. As Abu placed his hand on the pot, it started vibrating with a strange energy. The storm clouds drifted away and the sea calmed down. A voice came from inside the pot.
‘Release me…I’ve been a captive for too long…’
Abu was shocked. ‘Who are you?’ He asked.
‘I’m a Jann,’ the voice replied. ‘I’ve been trapped inside this pot for centuries. Release me and I’ll shower you with riches.’
Abu looked confused, ‘What is a Jann? I’ve heard of Jinns, but never a Jann.’
‘I’m a Jinn, yes. But one from the lowest classes possible.’
‘What!’ Abu exclaimed, ‘Do you Jinns have a class system as well?’
‘Of course,’ the Jann replied. ‘There are Marids – the most powerful of us, Ifrits, Shaytan, Ghul, and then us – the weakest of the lot. Now please open the lid and let me out.’
‘How do I believe you? Will you give me riches as you said?’ Abu asked, ‘What is the guarantee that you will not kill me after I let you out.’
‘A Jann’s promise is an eternal contract,’ the Jann said. ‘I, hereby promise that I will cause you no harm.’
Abu nodded and used his knife to break open the seals and opened the lid. A huge plume of smoke rose up from inside the pot as the Jann appeared. It was black in colour and looked monstrous. Its eyes were red like a roaring fire that terrified Abu.
‘Thank you, Abu’ it said. ‘Now, take me to your village.’
‘I’m hungry!’ it said.
‘You said that you wouldn’t hurt me…’
‘I won’t hurt you,’ it said and started laughing. Abu realised his folly. His momentary greed had blinded him.
‘Foolish human!’ the Jann said. ‘Let’s go. We have a lot of things to do.’
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1. Tales With A Twist – A collection of my short stories.
2. Route 13 : Highway to Hell– An anthology of horror short stories.