On a hike through the desert mountains of Jordan last month I met some Bedouins. Over a cup of tooth-curling sweet tea we discussed, amongst other things, wolves. Suleiman, a local tribesman, told me that they also have the wolf myth in their culture. A wolf’s tooth, sin-el-ḏheeb, is tied to a piece of coloured thread and used to protect against evil. They also believed that the fur taken from between the eyes of a wolf and worn around the neck of a hunter would keep him awake all night. I asked if there had been any sightings in the local area. The Bedouin are generally very respectful of the wolf and admire its hunting abilities but Suleiman told me regretfully that last month his cousins had to kill a couple of them as they had attacked their goats, leaving 14 dead. Some of the older women of the tribe would use parts of the wolf to make medicine for women about to give birth.
This is the amulet I found amongst my late mother’s belongings and there is a similar one on display at the Babylonian Heritage Museum in Israel. Generally they would have a gold Hamsa attached and a small turquoise stone. They would be pinned to a baby’s crib as protection against malevolent spirits.
Does anyone else have memories of this amulet? I’d be very interested to hear from non-Jewish Iraqis as well.