Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.
Jinn pictography, centuries old
Jinn (or Genies in their anglicized form) are magical creatures found in early Arabian mythology. Many variations have appeared in popular culture over the years, the most recognized being Disney’s Aladdin, based on the story found in Arabian Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folktales. Freed from his lamp by Aladdin, the Genie offers him three wishes with the following provisos: he can’t kill, he can’t make anybody fall in love, and he can’t bring people back from the dead. Aladdin first wishes to become a prince, so that he can win the heart of Agrabah’s princess, Jasmine. Next, he wishes to be rescued after an attempt on his life by the villainous Jafar. For his final wish, Aladdin sets the Genie free from his bonds, no longer bound to a master or a lamp.
I Dream of Jeannie was a sitcom that ran for 139 episodes between 1965 and 1970. Its plot revolved around a 2,000-year-old genie (Barbara Eden) named Jeannie who falls in love with her astronaut master, Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman, a decade before J.R. Mania conquered the airwaves via Dallas). The show mainly consisted of Jeannie’s antics and Tony’s attempts to cover them up. It is revealed that Jeannie was a human turned into a genie because of her refusal to marry the Blue Jinn. Subsequent episodes refute this, insisting she’d always been a genie who hailed from a family of them!
Hunters of the paranormal Sam and Dean Winchester encounter a group of Jinn on the TV show Supernatural. Unlike their mythical counterparts, these creatures do no grant wishes. Using their own poison, this class of Jinn produce powerful hallucinations in the minds of their victims, giving the impression of wishes granted while feeding on their blood. Time passes slowly in this state, the victim often convinced they’ve lived an entire lifespan. The only way for a human to ‘wake up’ is to commit suicide in the dream state. The risk is that if they were to die any other way, the victim perishes in real life. Sam and Dean once met an offshoot of Jinn that induced a victim’s greatest fears instead of their inner desires. The victim’s route of escape was to let go of their fear, lest it destroy them completely.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by editorial assistant Jared Hughes and poetry editor Jon Riccio.