The Young Girl and Aia the Spirit
La jeune fille et Aia le genie
In our ancestral village, there was a forest full not only of animals, but also with strang murmuring winds and spirits of all kinds. Not far from this forest stood a huge Lokoti tree, a great spirit-tree that all the inhabitants worshipped. A poor blacksmith and his wife lived near this tree. Many many years rolled by and their hair began to take on the color of pure cotton white, before they had their first and only child, a girl called Liokin.
With the birth of their daughter, the parents seemed to take joy in life again. They became blessed with fortune. They prospered at every task they attempted. Liokin grew, beautiful as the most beautiful rose. Her beauty turned the heads of all the men and each one showered his gods with offerings in the hope one day taking Liokin as wife.
From all over, rich and poor, lords and peasants, all tumbled over themselves to admire her. She was not at all haughty, the little Liokin; she received each one who presented himself to her and advised each one to speak with her father about having her hand in marriage.
However, her father had among his friends, without knowing it, a Spirit-man who helped him with his work and brought him gifts. He convinced the father to give him Liokin’s hand in marriage, Liokin, according to custom had no say in the decision.
One night, Liokin, went out to fetch water, her jar on her head, when a young man from the neighboring village stopped her. He must have watched her and learned the time when she went to the well for water. He had lain in wait for her. He spoke to her of her beauty and offered his love. Liokin did not hide her regret, and told the young man of her upcoming marriage with a man who used her father’s smithing assistant and whose name is Aia. At his questions, Liokin described Aia quickly. The young man, who hunted, fished and traveled to market with all the young men of the village, was astonished to never have met this Aia.
Stories of spirits from the neighboring forest that would transform into young men to come and steal away the girls of the village were too widespread for Liokin to ignore the doubts about the identity of this mysterious fiancé that trembled in her heart. Her curiosity rose: she wanted to know where her fiancé was from, his family home.
A few days later, she told her father about her investigations and broke off her engagement with the Spirit immediately against her parents’ wishes.
Liokin’s marriage to the young man she met at the well enfuriated the spirits of the forest. The young man was hunted by Aia; the blacksmith cursed and disowned his daughter because he was in the clutches of the terrible spirit. The spirit wrecked the smithy and attracted all sorts of evils to harass the family.
But the father did not suffer for long. His son-in-law succeeded at defeating Aia, and thanks to that, he ended his days in peace.