The Bat & the Eel

A race between an haughty bat and an eel. Spin-off of "the Rabbit and the Turtle" fable.

In his younger years, the bat was excluded by the other animals due to his unusual appearance. His short, stubby wings and black, coarse fur appalled all that saw him. The bat traveled the forests of Africa, hoping to find a tolerant home. Most nights the bat could sleep only on the outskirts of a dark, barren, gray forest, where no tree bore fruit and no other animal ever slept.

On such a lonely night, the bat, tired and frustrated, cursed his life and wished to be accepted by the other animals. When he awoke, hanging from the branch of a lifeless tree, he found that his wings had grown! Now, his wings were much longer and stronger than all the birds in Africa.

Delighted, the bat soared towards the birds’ nesting grounds. Discreetly, he perched on the tree top of a large tree. Unaware of the bat’s presence, the birds prepared for their annual race a few feet below the bat.

As soon as the birds began racing, the bat swooped by, speeding past them all. Stunned by his speed, silence spread through the birds. After a few moments of hushed surprise, all the birds burst out in thrilled twitters and chirps of congratulations and awe.

Soon, the bat was known throughout the animal kingdom as being the fastest creature in the air. By now, the bat was not only accepted, he was admired. Many young hatchlings aspired to grow wings just like the bat.

Regrettably, the bat’s victories had only made him more arrogant and haughty. One day, he boastfully declared he could beat any animal in air, on land, or in water. An eel, hearing such a ridiculous challenge, accepted.

The day of the race had arrived. Hundreds of animals gathered to see the spectacle. The monkeys chattered and screeched up on the treetops, the birds fluttered and pecked excitedly, and the toads croaked anxiously in anticipation.

The bat marched into the river, instantly sending cheers through the crowd. The bat tauntingly stood beside the eel and shrieked, “You pathetic, miniscule, slimy fool,” much to the crowd’s appreciation. Shortly after, the sun’s rays shone through the sky, signaling the start of the race.

As the race progressed, the eel sped ahead, slithering and squirming between the river’s jutting rocks. Contrasting the eel’s fluid movements, the bat’s wings could not budge in the water. Desperately the bat tried to grab ahold of some driftwood, wailing frantically.

The current smashed the bat into a colossal rock, snapping his wings, gnashing his bones and rupturing his skin. Surrounded by water tainting with blood and shredded fur, the bat let out his final moan.

Then suddenly, the bat’s body turned limp, shivered uncontrollably, and collapsed, completely devoid of life.

"Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble."

The End

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