Why the Bat Flies at Night

An old Nigerian tale which explains why bats no longer make soup

There are many texts of the story on the internet (Why the Bat Flies at Night). Most cite Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa (1910). The author was Elphinstone Dayrell (1869-1917), a District Commissioner of South Nigeria.

As so often, I came across the tale quite by chance. Last week in a small bird hide on the Dutch island of Schirmonnikoog, I bumped into (almost literally) an old acquaintance, Austrian storyteller Karin Tscholl, aka Frau Wolle. She happened to ask whether I knew a folk tale about a rat and a bat. Intrigued, I went looking – and found the story I have now recorded.
However, the next day Karin told me that this was not the tale she had in mind, which was The Possum Who Wanted to Become a Bat (here in a German version.
So a chance encounter which led to two new stories!

Here are two more Nigerian folk tales:


The video clips here are all amateur quality, shot in various theatres or, as here, in my home studio.

Their intention is just to show the range of my storytelling and give a flavour of a live performance.

Permission is granted for use in non-commercial educational contexts.

The videos are © Richard Martin.

Professionally recorded CDs and DVDs are available here.

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Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright

For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling