Whenever the adults wanted to scold us, they would say things like "If you don't study hard you'll end up stupid like Mutt!", "Wash your face, you're dirty like Mutt!", and when we misbehaved, they'd say "Stop that mischief or Mutt will come and get you!"
Whenever we went out to play, there she was: wondering aimlessly through the undergrowth, sitting on the stairs of her run-down house, or cackling to herself behind the village well. I never knew how old she was; with her constant grin and a mane of unkempt ashen hair, she seem to be frozen in her teens, although she must have been much older. Sometime we teased her so she would chase us. Usually she would get annoyed and shake her fist and swear in her gibberish tongue, but sometimes she laughed with the same playfulness as us, and for some reason that always filled me with unease.
Years later, I came home from college one day and found my mother crying. I asked her what happened.
"Mutt's dead", she answered.
"Mutt? Why would you cry about Mutt??"
She lifted her tear-streaked face.
"Mutt was the nicest person in the world, don't you know?" she said between sobs and cigarette drags.
I remembered, and I knew.