87. The Tortoise and the Bat

Tortoise and Bat used to be friends. A mutual acquaintance invited them to dinner; Tortoise wore a white shirt while Bat wore his usual black.
The journey was long, so they decided to nap before dinner.
Tortoise whispered to their host, “Wake the one wearing white when dinner is ready; let the one in black sleep. He’s very tired and doesn’t want to be disturbed.”
Bat overheard, so he switched their clothes when Tortoise was asleep.
The host woke Bat when dinner was ready, and Bat ate all the food; Tortoise got nothing.
Tortoise and Bat are not friends anymore.

[a Calabar story from southern Nigeria] 

Inspired by: "The Tortoise and the Bat" in Calabar Stories (in Journal of the Royal African Society) by J. Maxwell, 1906.
Notes: You can read the original story online. The next part of the story says that tortoise went to another town and committed some unspecified crime which got him in trouble; as his punishment, they put him in a tree, and he fell down which smashed his shell and the snail tried to fix it by using saliva. Since the storyteller didn't provide information about tortoise's crime, I left that part out.

1 comment: