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Once upon a time, in the distant past, there was a great war between the animals who live in the sky and those that live on the ground. Nobody now remembers how the war started or what it was about, but it was a terrible time. Many animals on both sides were wounded or killed, and eventually somebody said that if they carried on like this, there would be no animals left on the earth. So some of the sky animals and some of the ground animals had a meeting, and as nobody could recall what they were fighting each other for, it was agreed that a truce should be called, and peace declared.

For the sky dwellers, the heron was appointed to make the announcements, and for the ground animals, the hare would do this job, as he was able to get around the area very quickly. This was done the next morning, but as all animals settled down, realising they could now live in peace and rebuild their lives, some body found the body of Mr Bat. He was the last victim of the war, and must have been killed late the previous day. All the flying animals were very upset, and the decided to organise a big burial for their friend. But as they were preparing his body for the funeral, one of the birds noticed that Mr Bat had teeth in his mouth.

How was that possible? Flying animals don’t have teeth. They called a meeting, and they agreed that Bat can’t be one of them, as no other bird has teeth in his mouth. So they took bat’s body to the ground animals, and told them that as Mr Bat was not a bird, it was their responsibility to give him a decent burial.


The ground animals agreed to accept the body, but then, as they were preparing for the burial, one of them shouted: “Wait a minute, this bat may have teeth, but he definitely also has wings! How can he be one of us if he has wings?”

So now the ground animals had a meeting to consider the problem, and they decided that no ground animal can have wings, so therefore, Mr Bat can’t be regarded as one of them. So they too, refused to bury Mr Bat.


Poor Mr Bat, the flying animals refused to accept him because he has teeth, and the ground animals refused to accept him because he has wings. And that is why the bat is still flying around every night.

Found among the papers of John Fumey, my deceased father in law, in Madina, Accra.

By Bhavesh Parmar Collaborator


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