“It’s an aye-aye!” shrieked my little brother Ayo, pointing a shaking finger at the lemur. It stared up at him curiously with wide brown eyes.
My grandfather picked up a basket and threw it over the creature, trapping it.
It scratched desperately at the sides of the basket.
“I’m going to kill this demon before it kills me,” Grandfather snarled. He believed in the ancient legend that these creatures poked people’s eyes out with their long middle fingers, murdering them in their sleep.
“I’ll help you,” Ayo smiled up at Grandfather. “I’m old enough.”
“No!” I cried. “It’s innocent. It hasn’t done anything to you. Why don’t you just let it free?”
Grandfather clucked disapprovingly. “Your mother has put strange ideas in your head, my poor child.”
Impulsively, I lifted up the basket and let the creature scamper away. I was beaten that day, but I still smiled every time I thought of that cute little ball of fur.
Years later, I found the love of my life and married him. One day, an aye-aye crawled into our home. It looked just like the one that had visited me and Grandfather and Ayo.
I winced, expecting my husband Faraji to brutally murder the creature.
Instead, he reached down and gently patted its tufted orangey fur.
It made a sweet sound, something like a purr.
“Do you believe the creature brings death?” I asked, testing Faraji.
He shook his head, smiling. “It is part of the natural world, and can only mean life for us,” he said, patting me on the shoulder.
The next month, I discovered I was with child. Every day from then on, I looked at the constellation in the sky that resembled an aye-aye and thanked the creature for remembering me.
After Grandfather passed away, Ayo came and cried in my arms. He said, “I should have killed that terrible monster creature that invaded our house.”
“It’s sad that Grandfather passed, but that’s the natural order of things. He was very old,” I replied. “The aye-aye has only brought life and happiness to this village, and I hope it continues to live here.”
“But what about Grandfather?”
“Grandfather is probably in a paradise cloud forest right now filled with aye-ayes,” I said, smiling.
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