El Naddaha: The Wickedly Beautiful Siren

Nile River Scene, 1852 Watercolor on paper Works on Paper

There is nothing more enchanting than forbidden beauty, the type of beauty wrapped in the magic of mystery. It consumes you, forcing you to get closer. With every step you take, you know you are inching closer and closer to death. But this will not stop you from running toward it. A myth that is inherited from one generation to another. A story that instills the fear of temptation and demands integrity. It is the story of the wickedly beautiful El Naddaha or The Caller.

This mysterious folklore is considered one of the most infamous legends. An alluring woman roams the nights near the Nile River. She calls out the name of a person, and her beauty instantly hypnotizes him. He can not resist her call because of the magic of her beautiful voice, captivating his heart. He follows the echos of his name until he reaches her, then they find him dead the next day.

There are many different narratives regarding the details. A detail that is clear across the different accounts is that a person who sees her explains what happened to him due to madness or death. Some say that El Naddaha only appears to those she loves to take him into her world and marry him. If she succeeds, the person will disappear. But if he can fight off her charms, she will kill him to punish him.

The origins of where the legend originated in Egypt are unknown. It is still a mystery when the legend was first told or what was the incident that caused its rise. However, many believe it reflects the deep intertwined history the Egyptians have with the Nile River. In Ancient Egyptian mythology, numerous water spirits and deities governed the Nile River, such as Anuket, goddess of the Nile and nourisher of the fields. The legend of El Naddaha, as we know it today, grew in popularity in the 1950s, when stories involving the Nile grew to be more menacing and gloomy.



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