Arab. "Ghul," here an ogre, a cannibal. I cannot but regard the "Ghul of the waste" as an embodiment of the natural fear and horror which a man feels when he fases a really dangerous desert. As regards cannibalism, Al-Islam's religion of common sense freely allows it when necessary to save life, and unlike our mawkish modern sensibility never blames those who
Alimentis talibus usi
"Employing such food extend lives."
(Thanks to Tim Spaulding for the translation.)] Ghuls in the Nights are rather fearsome, and do not seem to prey on humanity mearly through necessity. Their appetite is nearly insatiable:
Allah ease thee, O King of the age even as thou hast eased me of these Ghuls, whose bellies none may fill save Allah! ix. p. 152
Even their names are fearsome, such as this one - The-Ghul-who-eateth-man-we-pray-to-Allah-for-safety.
Burton had some additional comments on the female Ghuls and the origin of the word "ghul".
The Ghulah (Fem. of Ghul) is the Heb. Lilith or Lilis: the classical Lamia; the Hindu Yogni and Dakini; the Chaldean Utug and Gigim (desert-demons) as opposed to the Mas (Hill-demon) and Telal (who steal into towns); the Ogress of out tales and the Bala yaga (Granny-witch) of Russian folk-lore. Etymologicaly "Ghul" is a calamity, a panic fear; and the monster is evidently the embodied horror of the grave and the graveyard. i. p55