A young friend is feeling existential angst. His job, his education, life journey seem to have stolen his soul. So I wrote him this story as a gift. Then because I’m me, I also illustrated it. Tell me what you think.
Sharaba, was a ferocious monster who wreaked havoc across the universe. There was not a single family that hadn’t lost a member to his insatiable appetite. A composite being – part lion, part bird and part human, there was none other like him in all creation. All trembled before him and called him the Souless One. Eventually that reached his ears and made him stop between the acts of rampaging and pillaging. At first it was just a tiny tickle of a thought, what was this soul? Why didn’t he have one?The thought then grew and grew until all Sharaba thought of was his missing soul. It seemed really unfair. He couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, too much. Who could he ask? There was no one like him. Everybody else either feared him or hated him or both. He needed a Soul and he needed one now. So he went shopping. Physician after physician, wise man after wise man, homoeopath, allopath, naturopath, chiropractor. None in all the 14 worlds was able to get him a soul. So he ate them all except the pranic healer who trembling in fear suggested that he visit the Hag. The Hag was a fearsome woman with wild matted hair. She remained naked, but her hair would swirl about her like the Milky way. It is said that when she would flick a strand aside a few stars would collide and explode. So Sharaba reached her doorstep begging her to heal his mysterious ailment. But the Hag was a busy lady. She had children to send to school and a husband to pack off to work. And then there was the stream of visitors that would keep pouring in to ask a question, heal a boil, to stop a war… Sharaba had to wait. That made him angry and eat a few of the visitors, but ultimately he sat quietly outside her home and began taking down the names of the visitors and issuing them tokens. And while they waited he listened to their tales of woe. Many of then had it way worse than him it seemed. Particularly, one little boy from Syria who wouldn’t say a word…It was a year before his turn came to pose his question to the Hag. Quivering and shivering with excitement he asked, Mother, where can I get a Soul?
Why do you want another one, you greedy fellow, she replied, all the while rolling out chapatis for lunch.
Here, roast the chapatis while I roll them out.
It seemed that they made a thousand chapatis before Sharaba could dare ask for clarification.
What do you mean another one, Mother, I am the Souless One!
Drama Queen, more like. If you didn’t have a soul, you wouldn’t have bothered to come here looking for one.
Afterwards they ate a nice meal of chapati and alu bhaaji.
You don’t have a soul. You’re a soul, you have a body- C S Lewis? Maybe.
2 thoughts on “The Hag”
How beautiful is this! And the painting of above blew me away. You are brilliant, Hema Sah!!
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Thank you ❤