Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
Salman Rushdie concludes the story of Ibn Rushd and Dunia, his wife, the jinnia princess:
The mark of shame was wiped off the old philosopher’s brow, his exile ended; he was rehabilitated, un-disgraced, and returned with honor to his old position of court physician in Cordoba, two years, eight months, and twenty-eight days days and nights after his exile began, which was to say one thousand days and nights and one more day and night…He left without finishing his breakfast or saying goodbye...and she went on loving him even though he had so casually abandoned her. You were my everything, she wanted to say to him, you were my son and my moon, and who will hold my head now, who will kiss my lips, who will be a father to our children, but he was a great man destined for the halls of the immortals, and these squalling brats were no more than the jetsam he left in his wake.
One day, she murmured to the absent philosopher, one day long after you are dead, you will reach the moment at which you want to claim your family, and at that moment, I, your spirit wife, will grant your wish, even though you have broken my heart.
It is believed she remained among human beings for a time, perhaps hoping against hope for his return...but now that the sun and the moon of history had set forever on her house, her story became a thing of shadows and mysteries...in most people’s eyes the story of her life had become a stuttering line, its letter dissolving into meaningless forms, incapable of revealing how long she lived, or how, or where, or with whom, or when and how---or if---she died.
Nobody noticed or cared that one day she turned sideways and slipped through the slit in the world and returned to...the world of dreams whence the jinn periodically emerge to trouble and bless mankind. To the villagers...she seemed to have dissolved, perhaps into fireless smoke. After Dunia left our world the voyagers from the world of the jinn to ours became fewer in number, and then for a long time they stopped coming completely and our ancestors were left to do the best they could without the benefits or curses of magic.
---from Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie