They — the women and their daughters — are gathering nuts

from shea butter trees when the girl declares they must not


cut her. If they do, she promises, the djinn in the trees will

disappear all their budding girls. But her mother says,


Tradition, and her grandmother insists. The grandmother

swears that her dead mother insists, too. Then the girl, flipping


her dark braids, says they must never cut her or she will take

a panga machete and slash all the shea trees, and when


they drag her from the schoolroom and sell her to some

old man, she will slash him, too. Down below. Then


the women say it’s her father who wants her cut so she’ll

be a faithful wife and will not stray. Him, she cries, dropping


her basket of shea nuts, clapping until legions of tiny djinn

swarm from the trees. So, the reason is my father!


Now the djinn will kidnap budding girls, and she’ll stand

by him with her panga, as she cuts. Kills him? No. Herself.