Baghlet el Qebour

Baghlet el Qebour

Mule of the Graves



According to the tenets of Islam, there is a proscribed waiting time before a widow can take a new husband. Officially this is described as a period of mourning, but it also serves to clarify and establish paternity, especially back in the day before instant pregnancy tests.

According to the legend of the Baghlet el Qebour, a Marrakech widow flouted this proscription. (Alternatively, she prostituted herself before the official mourning time was complete.) When she died, she was not allowed to rest in peace but was punished. Every night (except Wednesdays, her night off) she transforms into a mule. From just before midnight until thewee hours of morning, Baghlet el Qebour roams Marra kech’s deserted quarters looking for men out gallivanting. She buries them alive.

Presumably the Baghlet el Qebour was not the only woman to flout this rule: why she was singled out for punishment is unclear. Furthermore, although she’s described as being punished, Baghlet el Qebour is something of an avenging angel, the morality police in the shape of a mule. She doesn’t bother anyone who’s at home after dark. She also doesn’t bother streetwalkers; it’s their customers she has within her sights.

Baghlet el Qebour’s modern legend may be a cautionary tale reminding widows to behave properly. She’s not punished for being the only woman to misbehave; she’s punished for being a potential role model. The Baghlet el Qebour is sometimes classified with Djinn (who are a different species from people; Djinn, unlike some other spirits, do not have prior human incarnations). Lurking beneath this urban legend may be a pre-Islamic spirit who upholds matrilineal traditions, flouting the desire to establish paternity. She may be a spirit of contraception, also potentially flouting paternal control. Mules, notoriously, are sterile; it doesn’t matter when they have sex, they won’t conceive.


A solitary mule, all saddled up. Those who attempt to mount her, mistakenly thinking they can catch a ride home, are in for an unpleasant surprise.


Aisha Qandisha; Djinn; Xtabey


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.