Variations: Pālīs, Pa-lis, Pali (erroneously)
The Palis (“foot-licker”; rhymes with “police”) can be encountered in the deserts of Iran. There is no description given for this creature, but its appearance is presumably as vile as its habits.
A palis is a vampiric creature that preys on sleeping travelers. It locates their feet and proceeds to lick the soles, steadily draining blood away until the host dies.
Most means of thwarting a palis revolve around concealing one’s feet. The palis is thankfully rather stupid, and can be easily convinced to give and go elsewhere. The best-known method of dealing with a palis was pioneered by two muleteers from Isfahan, who went to sleep in the desert with the soles of their feet touching, blanketing themselves so that only their heads were visible. When a palis arrived, it circled for hours, searching vainly for their feet all night long. By daybreak it slunk away, lamenting its bad luck. “I have wandered through a thousand and thirty-three valleys, but I have never seen a man with two heads!”
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Christensen, A. (1941) Essai sur la Démonologie Iranienne. Ejnar Munksgaard, Copenhagen.
Dubois, P.; Sabatier, C.; and Sabatier, R. (2005) The Complete Encyclopedia of Elves, Goblins, and Other Little Creatures. Abbeville Press.
Masse, H. (1954) Persian Beliefs and Customs. Behavior Science Translations, Human Relations Area Files, New Haven.