Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/237

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Some Alge^nan Sniper shtions. 227

The Ouled Ziane nomads claim to be Arabs, speak Arabic, and regard their Berber neighbours with consider- able distrust ; but at the same time, their principal sheykh informed me that they had migrated from the Seggia el Hamra in Morocco, where, he says, some Ouled Ziane are still to be found, and had not originally come to the Moghreb with the Arab invaders. It would appear, there- fore, that there has never been any great amount of Arab blood in the veins of the Ouled Ziane, and the custom so prevalent among them, despite their dislike of their neigh- bours, of choosing their wives from among the pretty daughters of the Shawia, has tended to obliterate what little there may have been at the time of their migration from Morocco about the year 1500 A.D.^ Concerning the reason for this migration the sheykh told me the following legend. Seven men of the tribe had gone forth to bring in a bride. On their return with the lady they encountered a jinn known as a " khatef el areis," or stealer of the bride, who promptly captured the girl and flew away with her. The seven men, ashamed to return home without the bride, turned their steps eastward, and, gaining a livelihood as professional herdsmen, gradually made their way to the plain of the Hodna, in central Algeria, where they settled down, married, and founded that portion of the Ouled Ziane which, by treachery and conquest, later became masters of the country south west of the Aures which they now inhabit.

Most of the superstitions which we noted during our wanderings refer to the dread which both the Shawia and the Arabs entertain for the jenoun (plural of jinn), one of whom is mentioned in the above legend.

These demons, some of which are good, though the majority appear to be evilly disposed towards man, have

^Tliis is the approximate date given by Colonel de Lartigue {JMonographie de r Aures, p. 322) for the immigration of the Ouled Ziane ; the sheykh gave me no date-