The Al is a mythological spirit in Armenia. People say that the Al attacks pregnant women and steals her baby and liver. God created the Al as Adams first companion and made him out of fire. When God made Eve, it angered the Al which is why it only attacks women. The Al cannot be touched by iron, so pregnant mothers are supposed to put an iron object next to their beds before they sleep.
My informant first learned of this Armenian spirit from her grandmother when she was four. When my informants mother was pregnant with her little brother, her grandmother told her to get a butter knife from the kitchen and place it on her mothers nightstand. When my informant asked why, her grandmother told her of the Al. She described the Al as part-human and part-animal, with fiery eyes, large tusks, and long hair and nails. My informants grandmother said that her mother should stay out of the corners of the room because the Al likes damp, dark places.
My informant says most Armenians are aware of the Al, but it is mostly women who fear it. It is not unusual to see pregnant women with a knife or sword next to their bed to protect them from the Al.
My informant does not believe in the Al and does not plan on placing iron objects next to her bed when she becomes pregnant. However, she predicts that her grandmother will insist that she at least keep a butter knife next to her bed, and she says she will oblige her.