Weekly Features


In Arabian folklore there is a demon known as a Devalpa which usually takes the form of a broken-down old man who seems to be struggling in getting around. This demon often plays on other people’s sympathy requesting to be carried about piggyback style to his various destinations. Once taken on the back of a good Samaritan his legs turn into two huge snakes which wrap about the victim and refusing to let them go. If the demon allows his victim to live, he will be forced to be the demon’s slave from that point on. The Devalpa is mentioned in the legend of Sinbad the sailor. At one point the demon captures Sinbad in its horrible grip refusing to let go. 

According to the legend the good hearted saw the demon in his favorite form as a pathetic old man unable to cross a stream. Sinbad hoisted the old man up on his shoulders with the demon shapeshifting with its legs turning into the two snakes and trapping him. The demon commanded Sinbad to gather fruit for him and be the monster’s camel. Finally, Sinbad decided to make some wine from the fermented fruit. As Sinbad drank and became drunk the demon became envious and wanted him to share his beverage. The greedy devil drank so much that he too became drunk. Given the chance to escape Sinbad pulled away from the drunken monster. This left the demon vulnerable, and Sinbad grabbed a large stone and killed the monster with it. And so, it goes.