Julie is twelve years old and has been in the convent dedicated to Heviossi for two and a half years. Heviossi reigns the sky and installs fear in people by thunder and lightning. Julie is a twin.
Three years ago, her twin sister Juliette suddenly died in hospital after complaining of a headache.
The cause of her death was never found. Because a twin is considered a gift of the Gods they may never be separated, not even when one of them dies. In this case the place of the deceased is taken by a wooden doll. By means of a ceremony the spirit of the deceased is invited to take possession of the doll. Through this the doll becomes a togbovi, the living twin will always carry it. The togbovi is nourished, washed and pampered and, in all respects, considered a living person.
However, Julie and Juliette’s parents had omitted to carry out the ceremony after Juliette’s death.
A few months after Juliette’s death, Julie was taken to hospital with the same complaints. No cause was found there and the parents decided to consult Fâ, the oracle that can communicate with the Gods.
The Fâ decided that, in order to save Julie’s life, both girls Julie and Juliette had to be initiated into a convent dedicated to Heviosso. Because there was no togbovi, Julie’s roaming spirit had to be found first. The mother had to buy a doll in the market. She had to prepare a dish of beans, red palm oil, manioc meal and maize. She also had to offer a hen and a cock to Tohossou, the God of the twins, so Juliette’s spirit could join her sister’s by taking possession of the doll.
After the mother had complied to the conditions, both children, Julie and her togbovi Julliette, could be initiated. Julie received the tattoos recognising her as a child of Heviosso, the ceremonies were completed and the sacrifices were made. Once in the care of Heviosso, Julie was cured.
To get Julie and Juliette both out of the convent, Heviosso demanded two sheep, one for each child. As long as the parents could not pay the sacrifices, Julie and her sister would have to stay in the convent. Leaving the convent without making the sacrifices was no option. Julie would certainly die.
Gilbert took Juliette’s fate to heart and proposed to the chief of the convent to sacrifice two white cocks, gifts that Heviosso accepted more often if less important matters than the lives of two children are concerned.
The chief consulted the Fâ through a bokonon, but Heviosso refused the sacrifices three times. Finally Heviosso accepted a small sheep, a white cock, beans with red oil and a gourd of palm wine.
Once Gilbert has found the money, Jullie and Juliette can safely leave the convent. The rest of their lives they will be guarded by the mighty Heviosso. No-one will ever try to harm them.