Long ago, when the Earth was new, the sun always shined. There was no nighttime. No twinkling stars or golden moon. No owls sighing, "Whoo." No buzzing insects, and no leopards growling in the still of night.
The people did not know when to awaken because there was no dawn, and there was no dusk to tell them when to go to sleep. Sunlight filled the skies all the time.
Then one day Yemoya, the magical goddess of the river, sent her daughter Aje to wed Oduduwa, the Earth chief. Aje left her cool and shady home deep within the river and came to the surface.
Aje and Oduduwa soon were married. Aje loved her new home and husband, but as time passed she began to grow weary of the bright, hot sun. "Oh, how I miss the dark, cool waters of the river," Aje said. "I wish Night was here!"
Oduduwa wanted his bride to be happy, so he asked, "What is Night? Where can we find it?"
"Night is a cool, crisp sheet that covers the day's warm bed," responded Aje. "It calms all who are weary, but Night can only be found beneath the water in my mother's home."
Aje and Oduduwa decided to summon Crocodile and Hippopotamus, the river's messengers. Aje wrote a note to her mother asking her to send Night to the surface. She gave the note to the messengers.
Crocodile and Hippopotamus swam deep beneath the water until finally they arrived at Yemoya's beautiful river palace. Yemoya read the note from Aje and began to fill a sack full of the mysterious Night for the messengers to bring back to Earth.
"Careful," Yemoya warned them. "Do not open the sack. Only Aje can control the Night spirits."
Crocodile and Hippopotamus nodded, bowed, and then swam away with the sack. Once they reached the shore, they stopped to rest. Suddenly, a strange noise could be heard coming from the sack. It was the Night spirits!
Can Crocodile and Hippopotamus resist opening the sack? Go to the next page to find out.