Crocodiles and their ways
| CROCODILES and other stories
This is a true story. The crocodile told me himself.
It was the year of the great drought, rivers dried up and the water animals, that is the crocodiles and hippopotamus, converged from the east and the west into the central area where there was still water to be had.
As it was the habit of the crocodiles, they were sunning themselves on a sandbank. My friend, the crocodile, who was a monster for his age, started a conversation with a much smaller crocodile than himself.
“Hello there stranger, I have not seen you around these parts before. Where are you from? I am from the east.”
It is not a commonly known fact, crocodiles are a very friendly lot of creatures. Look at their faces and you will see that they have a permanent smile on their faces and they even allow defenseless little birds to wander into their mouths to eat the titbits that are available there. They only eat what they need. They are not gluttons as some other animals are, who can really make pigs out of themselves sometimes.
“Hello yourself, yes, I am from the west. What with this drought, we all had to move to get some water. You seem to be doing well here? If I may ask, how old are you?”
Now crocodiles consider the summers as years for that is the time when they grow well.
“I am eighty summers and I do eat well. There is no shortage of food around here. I catch mainly people that come to collect water at the water hole. How old are you?”
Crocodiles consider anything that comes to the water's edge as food. They have no inherent fear of man as most other animals do.
“Surprisingly, I am also eighty summers old and I too, eat mainly people. Looking at you, the people around here must be of a very nutritional value?”
“That is strange, as I heard for a fact, all people have the same nutritional value. Tell me, how do you go about catching your people?”
“Well, I go to the grass's edge on the bank, then, when the people bend down to scoop the water with the bucket, I give an almighty roar and I grab them from behind.”
“Ah, that is where your problem is! I too, catch them in exactly the same way. The only difference is that I do not roar, I rush out silently and grab them. Because if you roar, all you get is the bucket, boots and poo."
BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Baboon told me this one evening, after having had a few too many, him – not me. One thing about baboons, give them one too many and the talking carries on and on and on. Stories about their lives and the gossip about all the other animals in the game park.
I was sworn to secrecy in this case, as Baboon told me this story in the strictest confidence, his life may be at stake if King Lion gets to hear about this incident.
Baboon was sitting in a tree on a nice warm day, his tummy full of all the illegal treats the tourists had offered him. He was looking around at all and sundry when his eye caught the Queen Lioness laying under a tree close to his and she was taking an afternoon nap. Now Baboon is the typical male and he looked and thought to himself, what did King Lion find so appealing about his Queen?
He looked and looked, slowly he started seeing the beauty of the Queen, the fine muscular lines of her flanks flowing into a well formed chest area and onto a supple neck which carried a regal head. The Queen was sleeping deeply and a fine ladylike snore was making her lips quivering with every exhaling breath.
Baboon was fascinated, never had he seen the Queen in this way. He was used to see her crouching and stealthily crawling in the grass when she was hunting her quarry. Then he was normally sitting high up on an anthill and barking his shrill warning to his kinfolk or even better, higher in a treetop, somewhere out of the lioness's reach, as she was a formidable huntress and highly respected by all.
All of a sudden, Baboon had an urge, a vision of such beauty started playing in his mind – he wanted to kiss the Queen – come what may. An old saying he heard from his wise old grandfather turned in his mind … “To live life as a lion for a day, is much better, than to life as a lamb for all your life” It made no sense to Baboon, yet it sounded like something important and grandiose and the thing to do now!
Softly, silently, Baboon climbed out of the tree and on tiptoe, he neared the object of his overwhelming passion. He stood in front of her, crouched down, puckered his lips to their full extent and a placed the sloppiest baboon-kiss imaginable on the Queen's lips.
A few things then happened …. Baboon's mind jumped into fear mode as his face was within hair's breath from his arch nemesis .... The Queen's eyes opened to focus on the most unlikely image she could ever imagine – a baboon with the longest puckered face ever, kissing her – and then …. action!
Baboon jumped into the air, turned around in the air and started running before his feet even touched the ground, the Queen, still in a sleep-mind and not quite comprehending what happened, got to her feet and the thought of the happening sank into her mind. Then it hit home “You bloody baboon, you will pay for this” and she started her killer run on the spoor of the baboon.
Now baboon was back in his mind and talking to himself, telling himself what an idiot he was, what stupid nincompoop of a motherless monkey's uncle he was. And he ran, as fast as his little baboon legs could waddle, he ran for the safest place he knew about, the one place where even the Queen would not dare go into. That was the tourist's camping area where all the bungalows were and all the people stayed after dark. But the Queen was furious and the insult grew in her mind. What if the other animals got to hear of this? She would be the laughing stock in all of the animal kingdom. She had to find that baboon and make sure that this was the end of that horrendous story.
Baboon ran in-between the bungalows and realized that the Queen was on his tail and gaining ground fast. He saw an open door, flew into the bungalow, the people's garb was on the bed and baboon dressed as fast he could. And there he was - dressed in a tracksuit with a cap on his head, spectacles low on his nose and a pair of running shoes on his feet, sitting in a recliner behind a open paper, looking at the meaningless print.
The Queen, on the scent of the baboon, slowly peered around the doorway into the dim interior of the bungalow's room and saw a people in a recliner. Before she could focus properly, the people spoke and said; "Excuse me, but are you not the lioness that got molested by a baboon today?”
The lioness was shocked to her core and replied in a soft, scared voice; “Oh no, is it in the papers already!” and she turned and sulked away.
Baboon said, if I breathed a word of this, he would never speak to me again.
A tourist was driving along on the dirt road inside the game park. He had a few too many the night before and his stomach was overly sensitive. It was making strange and unusual sounds and it told the tourist …. he had to … Now, in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest facility and with the possibility of tourists coming down the road?
An emergency is an emergency - and he decided that the clump of bushes over there looked like a safe place.
There he was, behind the bushes, on his haunches, with a much relieved feeling and as he looked up, there was a lion looking directly at him.
Now, this was a dry year which meant that food was scarce and a lion might take what is on offer, even if it was not his usual fare. And here was a plump and tasty looking tourist on offer in front of him.
The tourist looked and said; “Well, if the gods are on my side, let the lion have compassion and pass on. If the gods favor the lion, let the lion kill me with one single bite. But, if the gods are not gonna take sides, please, all stand aside, as there may soon be a hell of a fight.”
The lion then sat down neatly on his backside, looked up to the heavens and said; ”For what I have received, make me truly thankful.”
The lion told me this story.
As far as I can remember, this was told to me by my neighbor, who in turn heard from his brother, who heard this from a traveling salesman. And we all know, traveling salesmen never lie.
So … this is a true story.
Down in the desert area somewhere, where it is fairly hot at night and even hotter during the day, there lives a man. His name is John. He has goats that he farms with. Not many goats, enough to keep him going. Him and the wife, Sue. There they live next to the main highway, that goes from north to south, with a town at either end. They have goat's meat almost every day as their main fare and now and then a fresh roadkill, when they are lucky. They also have a small, two-pump gas station combined with a service station with a little shop that supplies the basics like cigarettes, soda, candy, a few trinkets and emergency spares.
Their dwelling is connected to the business via a curtain-veiled passageway.
They do have problems with vagrants or hooligans from time to time. John had tried a few dogs through the years, somehow they never lasted, mostly due to the heat or snake-bites and then of course, the highway took its toll with speeding motorists and careless curs. This was a bit of an issue as Sue abhorred firearms and they have no other way to feel safe.
The gas station was not busy, so most of the time, a notice against the wall told the patrons to either ring the bell for service or go to the back where the entrance to the house was. There was a small yard enclosed by a wire mesh with a dirt pathway leading to the porch, Here John would enjoy his end-of-day drink, a long Rye on ice. The dogs would normally lie around on the cement porch at his feet, this John enjoyed, as it was so peaceful and quiet in between the odd vehicle rushing by. He really missed having a dog. He thought, he must look for a pup when he goes to town again.
Twice a year, John would take the surplus goats to the town's auction.
John went earlier than usual to the auction, as he wanted to look around for a few extra items. Maybe that pup he was looking for. He was walking through all the animal stalls where the stock were exhibited for the day's sale, when he noticed a lonely little piglet all on its own. It was a brown and white piglet, in good condition with the promise of becoming a good porker. There were no pups on sale.
An idea started forming in John's mind and when it came time to bid on the piglet, he got the highest bid in and was the proud new owner of a piglet. The people that knew John, only shook their heads in amazement. What on earth would he want with a pig in the desert?
Afterwards, when all the basics were done, John went to the pet-shop. Sue complained about her being so lonely and quiet, and as there was a bit of spare money, what with the good price he got for the goats, John thought he would surprise Sue with a little present.
And home they went, piglet in a box on the floorspace, various goods all packed on the seat next to John for the shop's stock. On the back there were feed bags and an assortment of boxes with stocks and Sue's new surprise gift, covered with a sheet, tied onto the the top of the all the goods.
Once at home, even before the goods were unpacked. John had piglet out of the box and with a pride, showed Sue his new acquisition.
“Now John, in heavens name, what are you gonna do with this pig?”
“Well, I saw it this way, this is our Christmas pig, we'll have pork for Christmas, now wouldn't that be nice?”
“And where will this pig sleep and stay? It's too hot out, it won't last a day!”
“In the house, where else?”
“In the house? What about the smell?”
“The pig will get used to it, I did”
The rest of this conversation went a bit heated. The goods were off loaded and at the end, John realized that his surprise gift was missing. Now that is another story.
Anyway, pig stayed and grew and grew.
Then, one day a new salesman, Peter, came to the service station to sell goods and take orders on the workshop's stock. The shop was closed and he walked to the back and on the gate was a notice on a self- painted board tied with wire to the gate: BEWARE OF THE PIG and on the porch was a sleeping John in his rocking chair with his feet resting on a massive brown and white pig. Both of them snoring ever so happily together. There was a cowbell on a pole at the gate and the Peter pulled on the chain to give it a polite 'ding'.
The pig snorted and John opened his eyes and took his feet off from the pig's belly. The pig struggled to its three feet and stood in a very aggressive stance till John said “Now pig, good pig” and the pig got a scratch behind the ear., The pig visibly relaxed and went back to laying on the floor and John patted the pig and told the Peter to come on up and not to worry about the pig as the pig was now happy with the situation.
A very nervous Peter came carefully up the pathway and warily went past the apparently sleeping pig into the house. After the business was concluded, the general chit-chat started. Eventually the conversation turned to Pig. As Pig had waddled into the house in the meantime on his three feet and made himself comfy at John's feet.
Peter asked about Pig as this was the pig's name and John told the story about the pig.
“Well, you see the original plan was to have a roast at Christmas and things were on track, when the week before Christmas, the week we were planning in turning 'you know who' into that meal. Well, we were sleeping and Pig was sleeping in the kitchen on the cooler cement floor, when I heard a terrible lot of noises. All I had was this baseball bat, and when I came into the living room, here was Pig on top of a burglar, just like a dog, snarling, growling at the slightest movement the burglar made. Well, we couldn't then do it, and as you see, Pig is now my watchdog.”
A few commendable comments and a general discussion followed and then Peter asked;
“Why is it that Pig has only three legs?”
“Well, you see, we couldn't very well not have a roast either.”
In a pet shop, somewhere in the south, north of the desert, was a forlorn parrot. He was a bit short of feather as he was prone to plucking himself out of boredom. All day long he would pace up and down his perch, bob his head up and down and in a scrawcky voice demand; ”POLLY WANTS A CRACKER”
Bob had him in the shop for quite a while now and had brought Polly's price down substantially from the original.
Bob was the owner of the pet shop and if the truth be told, he would have given Polly free to any taker. The parrot was returned to the shop by a few unhappy prospective buyers. Reasons supplied; too loud, too lewd, too raucous, too greedy, too profane, and a few other reasons that made no sense at all. 'Too vulgar and with only one thing on his mind.' was the one excuse given when Polly was returned.
Now to tell the truth, as this is a true story, Polly had a checkered past. He originally was born in Africa somewhere and was sold to a English merchant sailor who kept him for a few years till the evil booze ended the sailors life in a sad accident. At that stage Polly was bequeathed by the sailor to a mission nurse where the sailor spent his last days. That explains some of the Spanish words, then the nurse had to get married and Polly was adopted by a pole-stripper who was a friend of the nurse. What that explains, we do not know, maybe a few of the more choicer words that Polly knew. Then the pole-stripper saw the errors of her ways and with the help a ex-con friend of hers, she accepted a more responsible life and her ex-con friend became a very successful lay-preacher and Polly was converted into a new language as well.
Now this ex-con preacher, whom shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, we will not reveal his name. Anyway, ECP, (short for ex-con preacher) trained Polly as he was trained by his father. ECP tied to each leg, a ribbon. A red ribbon to Polly's right leg and a blue on the other leg, which was his left leg.
Then, with a basic reward system, ECP taught Polly to react as ECP wanted. When Polly said a bad word, ECP would tug hard on the red ribbon and a scolding would follow “bad word Polly. bad word” and if Polly said a good word, a biscuit, a soft tug, a praising word and even a scratch would be given.
Polly was not stupid and soon caught on to this ribbon training and eventually was overfed and obese and lazy. He would just sit and wait till someone came along and tugged on a ribbon. Surely, the congregation got to be trained as well as Polly himself. Some would pull the one ribbon and expect him to react in the way they knew he should. And the winner was Polly.
Then one day, the cops arrived and ECP and his partner were escorted away. Words like; once a stinker always a stinker; a leopard will never change his spots; and a few other words that Polly knew well and if those people had red ribbons tied to their legs, they would be tugged right off their feet. There Polly was - back in the pet shop.
John walked into the pet shop and explained to Bob why he was there and what he wanted. He wanted a pet for his wife, something that could be in the kitchen, make a noise to amuse Sue and be of some company to her. Sue had complained to John that she had no company and no one to talk to, and this was, John's thought, the solution to the problem. Sue needs a pet, as a man needs his dog.
Bob was absolutely delighted to introduce John to Polly. Polly looked at John and in his parrot fashion, liked what he saw. Bob explained to John about the ribbons and John said that was something for the books and should amuse Sue to no end.
Then John said; “So, if I pull this one he swears, and if I pull that one he has praise words. Now what if I pull both?”
Before Bob could reply, Polly replied; “Then I fall on my %$* you stupid idiot.”
To which John laughed and laughed, much to Bob's delight as well as Polly's, and the deal was clinched. There Polly was, in his new cage, with a new bowl and drinking trough – a bag of food and all the toys he could wish for. Even a lovely winter blanket to cover the cage at night. These were all tied up on top of the load at the back of John's pickup, as there was no other place left in front.
And home they went.
A few miles from John's home, Polly was getting bored and started playing with the twine around his cage and soon he had frayed the twine right through. John had to slow down for something in the road and as he started to accelerate, the cage fell off the top onto the side of the road and rolled into the grass.
The reason John had to slow down was there was a drunk in the road, hitch-hiking, standing on the tarred surface.
John had to slow down and swerve out for this obviously drunk. The drunk looked at the pickup pulling away and saw an object falling from the top and rolling into the grass. The drunk staggered up to the cage and bent down on one knee, steadying himself with a hand on the grass and looked at the weird pink thing in between all the toys and said, slurring his words; “What the …..... is this.” And 'this' answered; “What the …... are you looking at, you …..... drunken ....... “
It is rumored that the drunk ran into the next town and swore high and low about seeing a Leprechaun and he never again put his lips to a single drop of booze and he became a lay preacher, as the town's preacher had apparently left in a hurry.
Polly shook the few feathers he still had and looked at the road ahead and started walking. Home is where the heart is, and his heart was with John.
At home, John and Sue had unpacked the load and all the stock was brought in. Then John confessed to Sue about the missing 'surprise gift' and then Sue told John, in no uncertain terms, to get back in his pickup and go and look for her 'present'.
John was upset with himself, with Sue and with life in general. How could he have been so stupid, as to not make sure that the parrot could not fall off, as it was clear to him that the parrot bit the twine to pieces. Then he saw the apparition in the road, waddling as fast as his little legs could carry him. Polly was going somewhere. John picked up Polly and then a hearty scratching and how glad he was to see Polly. He covered Polly in his sweater where Polly fell asleep almost immediately. The parrot was not one for exercise. A little way further on, John found the cage and all the other stuff, not too badly damaged. A victorious and happy little band returned home to a hero's welcome, well ... John got off with a minor reprimand, when Sue saw the 'poor Polly' sleeping like a little battered angel, and all ends well.
The next day, Sue started getting introduced to her new 'little Angel' as she called him, he would end up getting a lot of names from Sue, with 'Angel' being used less and less. John had explained about the ribbons, which endeared Sue even more to Angel as she was amused all day long with a barrage of hymn and verse and ribald bar songs. For a reason they did not understand, Polly started using mainly bad words. Which was very well and funny at first, then slowly it became a problem, sometimes, as the more people there were, the worse the words.
What they did not realize was, that Polly was reacting as he did before he had the ribbon training. He was not punished by Sue or John and they found him to be enjoyable company at times. Then one day, Sue decided to train Polly. She stood in front of him and told him in no uncertain way, that he must stop using bad words. If he did not, she was going to pluck his last few feathers and throw him into the deep freeze for a while for punishment. With that she opened the deep-freeze and told Polly to look inside.
And there on top was the Thanksgiving turkey John had bought in town for the coming festivity.
Polly looked at this with big eyes, he ruffled his few remaining feathers and said; “Mama Mia. mi padre, what terrible words did you use?”
Thereafter, for a long while, Polly never said one bad word.
And they lived reasonably happily ever after.