Legends and Myths
Many of the Sakalava and Malagasy people of Madagascar believe that the aye aye is deadly. One myth claims that if an aye aye points its long, skeletal middle finger at you, you are cursed to death. Another describes how they sneak into villages at night and use their digit to stab sleeping locals in the aorta (Largest artery in the human body), and according to yet another, the sighting of an aye aye predicts the death of you or someone in your community. As a result of these beliefs, aye ayes, though protected by law, are often killed immediately if unfortunate enough to cross a human's path, and hung up so that the ‘bad spirit’ can be carried away by travelers. This unique primate is in fact so feared by so many islanders that it is thought its name originated from "heh heh,", which translates into the simple answer "I don't know." in Malagasy. This was probably a response to curious Europeans long ago to avoid saying the words that defined the so-called demon.