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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Why Bats Are Classified As Animals
a Creek legend

One time, a long time ago, in the beginning when all the animals were in charge of everything, they decided they were going to have a big ball game on a certain day. The various animals and birds all gathered up out in a big field. It was going to be all the land animals against all the birds of the air. Some of the reptiles were to be the judges--but that's another story about a broken nose! The two teams got their leaders chosen, got their balls and were fixing to play. As you surely know, the bat often sleeps during most of the day. Well, the little groggy bat woke up from all the commotion and came on out; he wanted to play, too.

The animals said, "You can't play on our team because you fly, you have to play with the birds." The birds said, "Oh no, you can't play on our team because you don't have feathers, you have fur, you have hair just like the animals." The poor bat-- she wanted to play very badly. Finally, the animals relented and said well, you can play on out team but don't get hurt, you're so small you can't do much anyway, just stay out of the way but we'll let you play on our team. Of course the birds were happy about this, they were a smug lot at times.

Well, the game got started and even though the animals could run very swiftly, and jump very high, the birds kept taking the ball and scoring. And they scored and they scored. Among the birds, the Crane was the most graceful and the strongest flyer. But, the crane is kind of slow you know and the birds would get the ball and the Crane would take it and he would fly to the goal and score. The animals were just loosing very badly. Well finally, the little Bat just jumped up and flew into action. Now as you know, the Bat is very swift and can turn very quickly--can turn on a dime and give eight cents change back. Soon, the Bat had taken the ball away, gone swiftly to the goal and scored. And then the Bat took the ball away again and scored--the Bat repeated this feat over and over. The Bat won the ball game for all the animals.

Now, the birds were very sorry that they didn't let the bat play on their team and immediately set out the claim the bat as one of their own because it could fly. The animals of course were very happy and claimed the Bat because of its fur. Seemed to be a tie of wills going on. Well, the rat (who) took council among them all, finally and wisely made this little announcement, "even though you can fly like a bird, you have fur--hair like us.....and even though you can fly like a bird you have skin like animals, you cannot be part of both." Just then, the birds said--the Bat is one of us. No, No, all the animals shout, Bat must be one of us. The rat continued after the interruptions. "Well, the bat also has teeth like the animals." The animals took note of this observation by the rat said yes, you have teeth like the animals.

And so it was agreed on that day that the Bat would always be counted as one of the animals. And now you know how the Creeks classify the Bat. The Bat is an animal because it has teeth.


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