“The Borrowed Wings”- Samoa

Did you know that rats once had wings? Well, here’s a cheeky tale that tells how the bat tricked the rat into acquiring its wings. It’s a Samoan story that was printed in the book Tales Told in Hawaii. Enjoy this Pacific Islands legend…

The Borrowed Wings

Long ago the rat had wings and he could fly over the tree tops like a bird. The bat, who had no wings, was very envious of the flying rat and he used to stay awake nights wondering how he could get the rat’s wings away from him. He could not steal them for the careful rat always folded his wings neatly and used them for a pillow, and as soon as he woke he put them on and flew away.

One day the bat said to the rat, “You seem to enjoy your wings very much. Let me try them on and see if I like to fly as well as you do.”

The unsuspecting rat took off his wings and helped the bat into them. “You will be careful with them, won’t you?” he cautioned.

“I’ll be as careful as if they were my own,” replied the bat as he fluttered to a high shrub. He then spread his borrowed wings and flew so far away the rat was never able to find him.

To this day the bat still wears his borrowed wings and the poor rat has to live on the ground and hide from his enemies just as a mouse does.

The Borrowed Wings (Samoa)

“The Borrowed Wings,” illustration courtesy of Tara Bonvillain, copyright 2019.

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