A Genie is a corruption of the Arabic djinn or djinni. In the original legends, djinn's are fairy like mythical beings of extraordinary power. Djinn's popularity in Arabic storytelling is great. They even appear in the Koran.

Djinn, an ancient, Islamic, insvisible, illusion casting creatures that have lived for centuries, they can manifest into any form and travel any where instantly. Like] the Greek daimon, they are spirits of an intermediate nature; that is to say they are between humans and angels. The Djinn have no bodies of their own but are masters of illusionary diguse. It is also said in the Q'uran Djinn are older than humankind and created of smokeless fire. However because the djinn are made of fire when ever they take human form their eyes, which are are set vertically in their head, can be seen flaming. Djinn are considered to be the cause of shooting stars, violent sandstorms, and whirlwinds.

Djinn although have been known to live in ruins, wells, kitchen fireplaces and public bathrooms, but most commonly their favorite abode - the desert.

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  • J.D. Berry's The Djinni Chronicles was an entry in the 2000 Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. It is a very surreal story, told from the point of view of a djinni (or, in some interpretations, three of them). It is in many ways reminiscent of Dan Schmidt's For a Change.

    Djinn is also a novel by the French novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet, master of the nouveau roman (Fr. `new novel'). A man joins a secret organisation dedicated to the overthrow of technology and meets a mysterious woman named `Djinn'. As with much of the nouveau roman genre, Robbe-Grillet's novel exhibits a great deal of uncertainty and confusion regarding identity and time.

    As for the word, the singular is `djinni', while the plural is `djinn'.

    I met a guy last week who is Arabic and has travelled extensively in the area where the legends of djinn (pronounced "gin") originated. He told me of many encounters he himself had had with djinn, as well as stories told to him during his travels. I thought it important to add a bit more to the description of djinn above.

    According to Kalid (my Arabic aquaintance), there are good and bad djinn the same way there are good and bad humans. You can call on a djinn for help or guidance (or curses), but its risky business as everything in the ritual has to be JUST SO, in order not to offend the djinn. If you get on the wrong side of the djinn, you are in deep trouble.

    While the attention of a djinn may be tempting and exciting, in reality, its not good to get mixed up with them. If you feel or see the presence of a djinn, a phrase recited from the Koran (Arabic bible) will banish them like holy water or garlic will vampires. I gathered there was a specific phrase in particular (loosley translated as "In the Name of God..." that was most often used, but generally anything you could remember on the spot would work.

    They have laws they must follow in their society the same way we do; they arent allowed to show themselves to humans, and though they are able to take animal forms, they are forbidden to. But, as with humans, theyre only in trouble if they are caught at it.

    He told me a story of a djinn who appeared to a man and stepped on his feet, sinking him down below the earth to a djinn city, to be put on trial for killing the djinn's son. But when it was discovered that the djinn's son had been in animal form at the time, the case was dismissed on the grounds that the djinn's son had been in an illegal activity himself.

    He also told me that djinn like to hide on stairways or in sinks, because if they are hurt by a human (as in unwittingly pushing them down stairs or turning hot water on them) they are entitled to just recourse.

    Above all, djinn are mischievous. This puts me so much in mind of the Irish/Scottish legend of the Fae, that it seems impossible that they havent stemmed from the same origins. And with similar legends from every corner of the world, it seems hard not to believe that these stories must have come from some common truth.

    In North America we seem to scoff at these "folktales," but in the old countries people take them very seriously. The guy I spoke with about djinn was in every way serious about the stories he told me. Djinn are a part of peoples lives there; anyone off the street would believe you if you said you had a djinn sit on your chest so hard you could barely breathe to recite the Koran as you went to sleep the night before.

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