|Grouping||Genie. Water spirit|
|Region||Nile delta region|
El Naddaha (Arabic: النداهة) (translated: the caller) is a modern legend concerning female naiad-like genie (ginneyya in Egyptian Arabic), who calls men to the Nile, most likely to their deaths. It is well known in the Nile Delta, the northern agricultural-based area of Egypt, typically north to Cairo, where the Nile is prominent.
The origin and place of the legend is unknown. The story became popular around the 1950s where Egypt was less urban than it is now, and people would spend more time closer to the Nile. Children would play by its shores after school had released them, and young men would chat there at night. It has become less popular at present though it's still familiar to the youth.
El Naddaha takes the form of stunningly beautiful woman who appears, as if by chance, to men walking by the Nile at night. The men are usually a pair. The creature calls one by his first name, rendering him speechless, hypnotized, and obedient to her voice which he blindly follows, while the other man is unaffected, and attempts to pull the other back. The creature calls in a soft, sleepy, hypnotizing voice until the second unaffected man succeeds at last in reviving the called man from his trance. The two run away as fast as they can, hearing her voice still echoing as they run.
Usually the men do not get close enough to the Nile to get a glimpse of what the creature before they run away. In rare instances, they get a glimpse of her. She is described as being a very beautiful white female; tall, slender, with long flowing hair down her back. She stands steadily very near to the bank of the river, her hands placed at her sides, and wearing a loose, long semi-transparent dress. In many instances she's described as having a semi-transparent body and possibly a genie. Her voice is calm and soft, yet loud.
In rural Egypt, the creature may call for men in their homes by the shores of the Nile, who then eagerly attempt to leave home for her. In other tales, the affected man will not immediately try to follow; rather enter a state of disturbed distraction for a few nights before at least departing late at night. People in rural Egypt believe that a man who is called for by El Naddaha is doomed, curing him from the curse is impossible, and the process irreversible. Not a single instance has been recorded where a man is seen devoured by her. But many old local citizens believe she consumes or fiercely pulls her victims into the Nile and drowns them.
Ahmed Khaled Towfik in his The Legend of Al Naddaha, says that a man who prevents the called man from reaching the creature by any means would be the next to be called.
- The Legend of El Naddaha, by the Egyptian novelist Ahmed Khaled Towfik; an Egyptian novel writer; Original Page: List of titles of Ma Waraa Al Tabiaa series
- عفاريت شبرامنت (in Arabic)
- A poem based on the El Naddaha legend (in Arabic)
- Discussion on the Legend of El Naddaha in a public Egyptian forum Archived 2009-05-15 at the Wayback Machine (in Arabic)