"C OME," said Mamma Bat, flying toward her home in the cave, "it is time that you children went to bed. The eastern sky is growing bright, and I can see the fleecy clouds blush rosy red as the sun looks at them."
The little Bats flitted along after her, and
And now the night was over and their mother had called
them to go home. One of the little Bats hung back with
cross look on his face, and twice his
father had to tell him to fly faster. He was thinking
how he would like to see the forest in the daytime. He
had never seen the sun rise, and he wanted to do that.
He had never seen any of the
"It is your turn next," said
"I'm not going to bed," the little Bat answered.
"Not going to bed!" said his father. "Are you crazy?"
"No," said the little Bat, "I'm not."
"I don't believe the child is well," said
"I am well, and I haven't eaten too much," said the little Bat. "I think you might let a fellow have some fun once in a while. I've never seen the sun in my life, and there are whole lots of birds and animals in the forest that I've only heard about."
"I won't go to bed!" said the little Bat.
"Very well," said his father. "I shall not try to make you. Fly away at once and let us go to sleep."
After he had gone,
The little Bat flew away feeling very brave. He guessed he knew how to take care of himself, even in daylight. He felt sorry for his brothers who were in the cave, but he made up his mind that he would tell them all about it the next night.
The eastern sky grew brighter and brighter. It hurt
his eyes to look at it, and he blinked and turned away.
Somebody went scampering over the grass, kicking up his
heels as he ran. "That must be a Rabbit," thought the
little Bat. "The
Just then a sunbeam came slanting through the forest and fell on his furry coat as he clung to a branch. "Ow!" he cried. "Ow! How warm it is! I don't like that. The moonbeams do not feel so. I must fly to a shady corner." He started to fly. Just what was the matter, he never knew. It may have been because he couldn't see well, it may have been because he was getting very tired, or it may have been because the strangeness of it all was beginning to frighten him; but at all events, he went down, down, down until he found himself pitching and tumbling around in the grass.
A Crow had seen him fall, and cried loudly, "Come!
Come! Come!" to his friends. The Rabbits, who were
feeding near by, came scampering along, making great
leaps in their haste to see what was the matter. The
Goldfinches, the Robins, the Orioles, the Woodpeckers,
and many other birds came fluttering up. Even a
"What is the cause of all this commotion?" he asked. He might have said, "What is the matter?" and then they would have understood him at once, but he was too haughty for that. He thought he had to use big words once in a while to show that he could. If people didn't understand them, he was willing to explain what he meant.
"We've found such a queer bird, sir," said the biggest little Rabbit, without waiting to find out what a "commotion" was. "Just see him tumble around!"
"Bird? That is no bird," said a Woodpecker. "Look at his ears and his nose. He hasn't even a bill."
"Well, he flies," said the biggest little Rabbit, "because I saw him, so he must be a bird."
"Humph!" said a Chipmunk. "So does my cousin, the
"And this fellow hasn't a feather to his skin!" cried an Oriole.
"I don't say that my son is right," said Papa Rabbit, "but this creature has wings." And he gave the Bat a poke that made him flutter wildly for a minute.
"Yes, but what kind of wings?" asked the Goldfinch. "A pair of skinny things that grow on to his legs and have hooks on both ends."
"He must be a very stupid fellow, at all events," said the Ground Hog. "He doesn't talk, or walk, or eat, or even fly well. He must come of a very common family. For my part, I am not interested in persons of that kind." And he walked away with his nose in the air.
Now the other forest people would have liked to watch
the Bat longer, but after the Ground Hog had gone off
in this way, they thought it would show too much
curiosity if they stayed. So one after another went
away, and the little Bat was left alone. He fluttered
around until he reached the branch where the
"Oh dear!" he said, "I wonder how long a day is.
I am hot and blind and sleepy, and if any more of the
forest people come and talk about me, I don't know what
I shall do. They don't think me
And then, because he was a very tired little Bat, and cross, as people always are when they have done wrong, he began to blame somebody else for all his trouble.
"If my father and mother had cared very much about me," he said, "they would never have let me stay up all day. Guess if I were a big Bat and had little Bats of my own, I'd take better care of them!" But that is always the way, and when, long afterward, he was a big Bat with little Bats of his own, he was a much wiser person.