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Why the Bat Sleeps All Through the Day and Only Goes Out at Night

AFTER Nambi had gone to live on the Earth her father Gulu, the King of the Cloud Land, called a great council together, and gave presents to all his friends.

                Those who lived far away were called by special messengers, and he sent the Bat to call the Sun, and the Dove to call the Moon. The Dove is a sweet obedient creature, and it flew away swiftly, and the Moon arrived in good time for the Council. But the Bat is a lazy good-for-nothing tramp, and he dawdled on the road and played at every turning, and the time passed, and all the guests were assembled, and yet the Sun did not come.

                Then the King sent the Dove to call the Sun, and he came very quickly, but the Council had already begun. The Sun explained that the first message had never reached him, and when the King sent to find the Bat, he was brought in tied up like a prisoner. The Sun was very angry and said: "If ever I see you again I will kill you."

                Then the King gave the Moon a beautiful cloak of silver and said: "Go and shine on the Earth where Nambi is, so that if she wants to walk at night, she may have your light; and all Nambi's children will love you and rejoice when they see you, and beat drums and make music, and all people on the Earth shall praise you and sing songs to you."

                And to the Sun the King said: "I give you a cloak of gold. Wrap it round you all day so that Nambi and her children may not be scorched by your rays. Shine every day on the Earth, and make the trees and gardens and flowers grow, and make the children healthy and strong!"

                When the Council was over and all the guests had received their presents, the Sun went out to find the Bat, but he had run away and hidden himself, and no one could find him. To this day the bats hide all through the day under the roofs of houses and in dark corners, and when they see the Sun sinking behind the horizon they peep out, but they know it is not safe to come out of their hiding-places before the Sun has disappeared. And they tell their children and their grandchildren, and in the early dawn, when the first streaks of light appear in the East, all the bats hurry home to their dark corners and stay there snug and safe all day.

                But if any foolish young bat stays out too long and the Sun sees him he kills him; for he remembers how the Bat made him late for the King's Council when he might have lost his beautiful present of a golden mantle.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why the Bat Sleeps All Through the Day and Only Goes Out at Night
Tale Author/Editor: Baskerville, Mrs. George (Rosetta)
Book Title: King of the Snakes, The: And Other Folk-Lore Stories from Uganda
Book Author/Editor: Baskerville, Mrs. George (Rosetta)
Publisher: The Macmillan Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1922
Country of Origin: Uganda
Classification: unclassified

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