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Main > Australian folktales > Fairy tale "Narahdarn the bat "

Narahdarn the bat

Narahdarn, the bat, wanted honey. He watched until he saw a Wurranunnah, or bee, alight. He caught it, stuck a white feather between its hind legs, let it go and followed it. He knew he could see the white feather, and so follow the bee to its nest. He ordered his two wives, of the Bilber tribe, to follow him with wirrees to carry home the honey in. Night came on and Wurranunnah the bee had not reached home. Narahdarn caught him, imprisoned him under bark, and kept him safely there until next morning. When it was light enough to see, Narahdarn let the bee go again, and followed him to his nest, in a gunnyanny tree. Marking the tree with his comebo that he might know it again, he returned to hurry on his wives who were some way behind. He wanted them to come on, climb the tree, and chop out the honey. When they reached the marked tree one of the women climbed up. She called out to Narahdarn that the honey was in a split in the tree. He called back to her to put her hand in and get it out. She put her arm in, but found she could not get it out again. Narahdarn climbed up to help her, but found when he reached her that the only way to free her was to cut off her arm. This he did before she had time to realise what he was going to do, and protest. So great was the shock to her that she died instantly. Narahdarn carried down her lifeless body and commanded her sister, his other wife, to go up, chop out the arm, and get the honey. She protested, declaring the bees would have taken the honey away by now.

"Not so," he said; "go at once."

Every excuse she could think of, to save herself, she made. But her excuses were in vain, and Narahdarn only became furious with her for making them, and, brandishing his boondi, drove her up the tree. She managed to get her arm in beside her sister's, but there it stuck and she could not move it. Narahdarn, who was watching her, saw what had happened and followed her up the tree. Finding he could not pull her arm out, in spite of her cries, he chopped it off, as he had done her sister's.

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