On a warm evening in September, Jacob, the little mouse, was running as fast as he could through the surrounding fields. Jacob was practicing for the upcoming school competition. Each class was looking for the fastest animal. Last year, Jacob had not been fast enough to win; his competitors were bigger and stronger. But this year, he was determined not to miss out on first place.
A great prize awaited the winner every year. This time it was a trip. The winner would spend an exciting and thrilling time in a tent camp with his best friends. Jacob’s eyes lit up at the thought of telling his friends about his victory. Campfires, playing hide-and-seek, telling scary stories in the evenings… He was already imagining all this, and it was making him run faster and faster.
Completely out of breath, he suddenly stopped. In front of him stood a large and lonely tree in the cornfield. “It looks old and withered,” thought Jacob. The tree no longer bore a single leaf on its branches.
Jacob had completely lost track of time and only now noticed that the sun was already quite low and the sky was slowly becoming gloomy.
“Hello, little mouse,” he heard a deep voice say. “I’m up here.” Jacob looked up and saw, hanging from a mighty bare branch, a black creature he had never seen before in his life. The unknown creature spread its wings, making it seem even more imposing.
“Hello,” whispered Jacob, who was now getting a little scared. “Who are you?”
“I’m Carlo. You look like you’ve never seen a bat before. Am I right?”
Jacob nodded eagerly. “Bat… I’ve never heard of a bat before. Why do you stretch out your arms like that, Carlo?” Jacob asked.
“You call them arms, but to me, they’re wings. You see, I’m a pilot. When you go to sleep, the day begins for me. I’m just getting ready for my trip.”
Jacob sat under the big branch, completely excited, and he kept asking Carlo more and more questions. He learned from Carlo that bats don’t need their eyes at all in complete darkness. They only find their way around by using their ears. During the day, they sleep in caves or crevices.
While Carlo was telling about his many adventures and his many night flights, Jacob heard the calls of his mother from far away. Apparently, she was looking for him.
Carlo did not miss this either. When Jacob turned around only briefly, he heard a “Farewell!” and saw only a dark shadow rising toward the sky.
“Jacob, there you are at last,” squeaked the mother mouse. “What are you doing out here in the cornfield in this darkness?”
On the way home, Jacob told his mother everything he had learned about bats. He absolutely had to tell his siblings about Carlo the next morning. After all, he now had a pilot for a friend.