Fruit-Bat was sick.
Having no one at home to care for him, he died, so the neighbors called his kinfolk to prepare the funeral.
“Come, Birds!” they said. “Your cousin, Fruit-Bat, has died.”
The Birds came, but when they saw the dead Fruit-Bat, they said, “He’s no kin to us; he doesn’t have feathers.”
Then the neighbors called upon the Rats.
“Come, Rats!” they said. “Your cousin, Fruit-Bat, has died.”
The Rats came, but when they saw the dead Fruit-Bat, they said, “He’s no kin to us; he doesn’t have a tail.”
Thus, having no kinfolk, Fruit-Bat was left unburied.
[a Yoruba story from Nigeria]
Inspired by: "Why the Ajao Remained Unburied" in The Yoruba-speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa by A. E. Ellis, 1894.
Notes: You can read the original story online. The ajao is a kind of flying-fox, or large bat. Compare a similar story told by the Igbo about the owl trying to arrange the hornbill's funeral.
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