Just finished the annual gathering of the Storytellers of Canada – Conteurs du Canada which took place in Montreal this year. Four days of great stories, workshops, meeting old friends and making new acquaintances.
One thing I am always on the lookout for at the sale counter is books of African stories and I found four of them. By chance the first one I opened, published by Beacon Press of Boston in 1962, is called Umbundu: Folk Tales from Angola. It was translated and collected by Merlin Ennis and had a story in it that linked directly to my last post about bats in Uganda.
The story is called Fruit Bat and Sun. I have edited it slightly. It explains quite nicely why it is that bats spend their daylight hours in dark places and ties in with my last post about Ebola.
When the only child of Sun was sick, Sun went to the house of Elder Fruit Bat, and said to him, “Save my child for me.” Fruit bat went and soon cured the child.
Not long after this marvelous cure Elder Fruit Bat’s child got sick and so of course he went at once to Sun’s house and said, “Now my child is sick. Will you please come and save him for me in your turn.”
Sun replied “Come tomorrow very early and seek me. Don’t be late for once the day has started I never turn back.”
So, Fruit Bat came good an early, but not early enough for Sun, who said “Didn’t you listen to me? I said come early because I never turn back. Come again tomorrow but make sure you arrive while the ground is still black.”
Next day, when he arrived Sun said “You are late.”
Fruit Bat again turned for home, but when he arrived he found that his child was dead. Of course he was very sad and he swore an oath that he would never again speak to or see Sun.
From that day forward he has never once seen Sun, for, as he says, “He has done me a wrong.”
So, now we know.