A little man

The "little bat" that appears in the evening sky in Nausicaa is described naturalistically in Gerty's portion of the chapter: "a bat flew forth from the ivied belfry through the dusk, hither, thither, with a tiny lost cry"; "something queer was flying about through the air, a soft thing, to and fro, dark"; "there was none to know or tell save the little bat that flew so softly through the evening to and fro." Bloom, however, imagines it as "Like a little man," prompting thoughts of "Metempsychosis," and the truncated form that the word takes four times in a paragraph and a half of his interior monologue, "Ba," is an Egyptian term for a part of the human soul that lives on after death. These thoughts suggest, outlandishly, either that "poor little Paddy Dignam" has been reincarnated, or that his soul is hovering about his earthly haunts.

JH 2020

Photograph of a grey-headed flying fox, Australia's largest native bat, by David McKellar. Source: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au.

Ancient Egyptian depiction of the Bâ hovering over a mummy in a tomb. Source: keysproject.wordpress.com.

Ancient Egyptian depiction of the Bâ hovering over a corpse. Source: www.landofpyramids.org.

The Book of the Dead text recovered from the papyrus of Ani, published in many different editions. Source: wisehouse-classics.com.