Awesome Animal Stories

Super Shorts

Elizabeth Holland

Kingfisher

Chapter One

Crocodile Tears

Joyce Dunbar

Two mother crocodiles were basking by the river, their jaws wide open in the
sun.

They were very proud crocodiles because their eggs had successfully
hatched, and in each of their mouths was a tiny baby crocodile.

But these mother crocodiles had a problem. It was time for their babies to
leave the comfortable pouch in their jaws and join the other baby crocodiles
in the swamp, but the babies just wouldn't let go. They were frightened of the
big, wide world.

The mother crocodiles looked at each other, chewing over their problem. This
in itself wasn't easy, for it is very hard to chew anything at all when you have
a lot of sharp teeth and a small baby crocodile in your mouth.

"I've never known a baby to be so clingy," said the first mother crocodile. "He
wants me to carry him everywhere."

"Mine's just the same," said the second mother crocodile. "I've coaxed and
cajoled, but this baby will not be put down. I have to eat on one side of my
mouth. Just try that when you're attempting to dig into a wart hog."

"I know how it is," said the first mother crocodile. "So tiresome."

Then, with their jaws still wide open in the sun, cozily cradling their babies,
the mother crocodiles went to sleep.

A crocodile bird came along, pick-pick-picking at the teeth of the first mother
crocodile for pieces of food left between the teeth. Her baby didn't like this.
They were his pieces of food. He gave a snap with his baby jaws, but the
crocodile bird escaped. It flew to the second mother crocodile's jaws. Pick-
pick-pick, it went again.

The second mother's baby also gave a sharp snap with his baby jaws. Again
the crocodile bird escaped.

"Yah! Missed!" said the first baby crocodile to the second baby crocodile.

"So did you!" said the second baby crocodile, peeping between his mother's
teeth.

"So what if I did?" said the first baby crocodile. "My mom's bigger than yours."
"So what if she is bigger?" said the second baby crocodile. "My mom's
scalier than yours."

"So what if she is scalier?" said the first baby crocodile. "My mom can swim
faster than yours. She catches more fish."

"Well, my mom caught a shark this morning," said the second baby
crocodile. "And she ate it all, and that was just for breakfast."

"I don't believe you," said the first baby crocodile. "There aren't any sharks
around here. Anyway, my mom frightened some people this morning. Three
people in a boat. She frightened them away."

"Did she only frighten them?" said the first baby crocodile. My mom catches
people. She catches them and puts them in the fridge."

"No, she doesn't," said the second baby crocodile. "Because my mom went
looking in your mom's fridge yesterday, and there weren't any people there.
There was only a skinny water rat."

"Oh, did your mom go looking in my mom's fridge?" said the first baby
crocodile. "Well, I'll tell my mom when she wakes up. My mom will take a
bite out of your mom."

"Oh, will she?" said the second baby crocodile. "I'd like to see her try. My
mom has a lot more teeth than your mom."

"How do you know that?" asked the first crocodile. "You can't count!"

"Oh, yes, I can!" said the second baby crocodile. "Three. One hundred.
Seventy-one. Four thousand."

"Well, my mom's teeth are sharper and longer than your mom's teeth, so
there!"

"How do you know that?" asked the second baby crocodile. "You can't
measure!"

"Just you come along here and take a look!" said the first baby crocodile.

"I will an' all," said the second baby crocodile, "and you just come along here
and take a look."

"I will an' all," said the first baby crocodile. By this time, the two baby
crocodiles had forgotten all about how frightened they were of the big, wide
world. The first baby crocodile slithered out of his mother's jaws and started
to make his way to the jaws of the second mother crocodile.

The second baby crocodile slithered out of his mother's jaws and started to
make his way to the jaws of the first mother crocodile.

They passed each other on the way.

"Hey, look!" said the first baby crocodile. "We're down on the ground!"

"So we are!" said the second baby crocodile. "On our own four legs!"

They swished their tails and snapped their jaws happily at each other.

"There's the swamp," said the first baby crocodile, "and a whole lot more
baby crocodiles. Why don't we go for a splash?"

"We can count teeth later," said the second baby crocodile, belly crawling
along after him.

The crocodile bird saw his chance. Pick-pick-pick, he went on the first
mother's teeth and then pick-pick-pick on the other.

Suddenly, the mothers woke up.

"Where's my baby?" said the first mother crocodile.

"Where's mine?" said the second mother crocodile.

They raced down to the edge of the swamp. There they found the two baby
crocodiles, playing and splashing with all of the other baby crocodiles.

"Ah! Aren't they sweet?" they said to each other, grinning from eye to eye.
Then they wept great big crocodile tears.