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Juntel Jabali Wrests the Secret of Weaving from Jinn


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(Tukulor/Senegal)

The Mabube are masters of weaving, experts in its techniques and magic.

In a myth having to do with the origin of weaving, jinn play a central role in the craft, along with activities of a semidivine ancestor, Juntel Jabali. From Juntel Jabali, the Mabube have inherited their lore and magic, and they are descended from him. Jabali Nango was the son of ‘Nango, son of Feynar. Jabali married a jinni, and they had a son, Juntel, the one who brought weaving to man. Juntel was sent by his father to learn fishing, and while he was collecting firewood for the grilling of fish, he encountered a jinni weaving in the forest. Juntel secretly watched as the jinni wove, the jinni speaking loudly, pronouncing incantations with each thing he did. Juntel returned again and again to watch the jinni weaving in the forest, and he learned much. Then he decided to take the loom for himself. When he saw the jinni, he recited an incantation to make himself invisible. He crept quietly, but stepped on a piece of wood. The jinni lifted the cloth-beam from his lap and ran out of the loom. Juntel collected the loom parts, removed the threads, rolled them together, and returned with them to the canoe. When Juntel's mother saw the equipment, she knew from whom he had taken the loom: it was from her people. There were still many things he did not know about weaving, how to set up the warp, thread up the loom, start weaving a new warp. His mother taught him what he did not know, how to grow cotton, make threads, and wind bobbins. When people asked Juntel for a particular number of cloths, he spoke his mother's name and created the number of cloths required. See also: Jinn.

Subjects: Religion.


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