There was once a mother, and she had a son; the son's name was Masmer.
Masmer went on a journey. At nightfall, he came to a village.
"May I spend the night here?" he asked.
"Yes!" said the people. But instead of offering their guest a meal, they killed him.
When Masmer didn't return, his mother died of grief, and her soul became a bird. All night long, she flies here and there, crying, "Masmeraye! O Masmeraye! What kind of meal did they feed to Masmer? What meal did they feed him?"
So Masmeraye became the bird's name.
[a Tigray story from northern Ethiopia]
Inspired by: "Of the Bird Called Mameraye-mi-tedarrara" in Tales, Customs, Names, and Dirges of the Tigre Tribes by Enno Littmann, 1915.
Notes: You can read the original story online. The author does not provide any information about the bird. Because it is a nocturnal bird, and because there are many nightjars in Ethiopia, I chose a picture of a nightjar: