The Demon Woman
Narrated by Aykabadane Basha
Once there was a drought in the country and people ate berries and fruits because there was nothing else.
Two girls were looking for fruits in the forest to eat. One went to one side of the forest and one to the other side of the forest.
A chiriak demon (a woman with a veil on her head to hide the two eyes in the back of her head) came to the girl and said, “What are you doing?”
“I am looking for berries to eat.”
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Dula. I’m looking for berries to eat.”
“I have so much tef,A grain grown in the highlands of Ethiopia. sorghum, wheat, barley ready to eat in my house,” said the demon. “Why look for berries? Come home with me and drink milk and eat.”
So they went to her home.
The daughter of the demon was grinding maize when they arrived. When her mother went to the guarda (the storeroom), the demon’s daughter asked her, “What did my mother tell you when she brought you home?”
“Well, she said there are lots of things here, that’s why I came.”
The demon’s daughter said, “Don’t be frightened and don’t tell my mother what I will tell you. My mother lied. There is no tef, no wheat or sorghum in our house. We eat human flesh. There are many bones here. We eat bones ground with the faeces of rats. She will give you poisonous food when she goes to the guarda. She will not see us. When you take the food, hand it to me and I will eat it because it’s not poisonous for us.”
So they slept.
The chiriak had a bell on the door hanging by a thread, and a different kind of snoring by which you can tell whether she was asleep or not.
So the demon’s daughter said, “When she’s asleep and you want to go out, I know by her snoring if she’s asleep. When she does it in that certain way I’ll tell you. I’ll open the door and you can escape.”
They did so. The girl went out and ran.
She ran on and on and the chiriak got up and saw that the door was open.
“Oh! My meat! It’s run away. Did you see where she went?” she asked the daughter.
“No, I was asleep.”
“How did she escape me?”
She was mad. Angry.
Dula had crossed the river.
“Dula! Dula! How did you cross the river?”
A crocodile was lying in the river.
Dula answered, “I ran across a log of wood in the water. You can do the same.”
The demon tried to cross over on the crocodile too, and it ate her and she died.