By Sarah Levine
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Extra resources for The Saint of Kathmandu: and Other Tales of the Sacred in Distant Lands
He said. With a sigh he added, “Hoping this will do the Bori: Spirit Possession in a Muslim Town 41 trick,” and trudged on. He and his allies against the powers of darkness, the vengeful spirits who punish human beings indiscriminately, made three complete circumambulations of Kaura and withdrew to await the outcome of their joint venture. It did the trick. The next afternoon, just as before, cumuli mounded up to great heights, lightning flashed, and thunder rolled. But this time the heavens opened and within moments the Kaura river was awash and, as children danced and splashed and shouted with glee in racing ditches, a great dense cloud of winged insects whose eggs had been waiting since autumn to hatch, rose up and crashed kamikaze-like into each other and into everything else that moved.
Sarkin Rafi and Dan Galadima were particularly demanding; they required evidence of their victims’ submission more frequently than most. The madman we’d seen yesterday—leaping and plunging and covering himself with dirt—was obliged to spend every dry season in Kaura with the Magajiya because almost every afternoon Sarkin Rafi called him out to dance. Were he to refuse to obey his master, instead of being able to return quietly to Sokoto when the summer rains began, he’d be in the bush chattering, screaming, throwing stones at goatherds and cattle, a madman once again.
They went by car to Kano where, together with several thousand fellow pilgrims, they were transported to Saudi Arabia in a fleet of chartered planes. “When we arrived we were separated,” said Adama. “Men to one side, women to the other,” said Hasana. 36 The Saint of Kathmandu “For fifteen days we were on our own,” said Fatima. “We could please ourselves. ” Why should there be? In their camp there were only women and eunuchs. “Hasana added, “There were some boy-girls like Akbar also, but should we worry about them?