The Story of Antar Bin Shaddad of Wadi Rum
 
 As told by Qasem Swelhiien , a proud camel herder

Antar Bin Shaddad, according to this version, was a wicked djin that lived in Wadi Rum. The hero of the story is Thiab, a Bedouin from Bani Hilal, who had tried to settle in the Sharah mountains, but the cold drove them away and they said about that experience:

"Sharah mountain, we do not want any part of you, because you and the cold are synonymous !"

Therefore, Bani Hilal went to live in Wadi Rum where the cold was not as severe, and where water and grass abundant. But Antar, whose village was in the area, raided their flocks every night and hid the sheep that he looted near a well accessed by means of astaicase at the entrance of Wadi Al-Ytim Between Aqaba and wadi Rum. Finally, Thiab set forth to seek out Antar and put an end to his tribe's suffering.

After a long search, he reached a village the like of which he had never seen in his life. He chanced upon an old woman who informed him that this was the village of Antar. He entered the village and called for Antar, but more than hundred Antars answered him. Seeing that so many males in the village bore the same name, he specified: " I seek Antar Bin Shaddad."

The Antar concerned came forth. He was a black giant with three heads and he asked Thiab whether he was a human or a djin, but Thiab evaded the question by saying: "A guest is normally received with greetings, but you seem to receive yours with suspicion and questions." Confirming to the Bedouin custom never to ask a guest his name for three days, Antar excused himself and invited Thiab to lunch.

At Antar's abode Thiab found a human woman captive who was bound. He asked her he could kill Antar, and learned that he could only do so by cutting off his middle head.

The meal consisted of a whole camel which was divided into two portions: One for Antar, and the other for Thiab. To get to the brain of the camel, Thiab had to use both hands to break the skull, whereas Antar was so strong that he simply chewed through the bone.

Undaunted, Thiab challenged him to a duel. The battle raged on for several hours, at the end of which Thiab contrived to serve the middle head, thus killing his opponent.

The victorious Thiab placed Antar's head in a sack, liberated the captive woman, and took both to his tribe. There he threw the severed head on the floor before all his tribesmen, who were so terrified by the sight of it that they ran away. Enraged at such cowardice, the chief of the tribe banished the men that escaped.

As for Thiab, he was rewarded by the tribe, and married the woman whom he saved. With Antar's evil having been brought to an end, Bani Hilal came to rule over the Wadi Al-Ytim.

*Written by Rami Sajdi, Copyright © Rami Sajdi 1997 All Rights Reserved