Ma Zil was the grandmother of Ayama, who sent her to the thorn wood.
When the king requested a messenger to forge a truce with the beast that was terrorizing the lands, Kima and Ayama's parents planned to leave the valley and escape to the coast, but Ma Zil did not want to leave. She suggested they send Ayama as the king's messenger. Ayama was afraid, but Ma Zil reassured her, saying that interesting things only happen to pretty girls and Ayama would return safely. Ma Zil helped Ayama dress for her journey to the thorn wood, giving her a blue apron and a wide hat with a band of red poppies.
After some time, the king again requests a messenger to meet with the beast. Ma Zil again suggests Ayama, emphasizing the greater riches and benefits their family would receive. Again, Ma Zil assuages Ayama's fears, and Ayama returns to the thorn wood. When the king tells Ayama to kill the beast upon her return to the valley, Ma Zil says nothing, despite her earlier claims that adventures only happen to pretty girls.
Ayama marries the beast, Kima marries the human prince, and Ma Zil is given a pride of place. It is revealed that Ma Zil knew courage was the only requirement for adventure, not physical beauty.
Ma Zil carries a cane and has a creaky, ancient voice. She often chews jurda leaves and sits on a low stool by the fire. In her youth, she was unattractive.