The Little Jackal and The Alligator
The little Jackal was very fond of shell-fish. He used to go down by the river and hunt along the edges for crabs and such things. And once, when he was hunting for crabs, he was so hungry that he put his paw into the water after a crab without looking first, — which you never should do! The minute he put in his paw, snap ! — the big Alligator who lives in the mud down there had it in his jaws.
“Oh, dear!” thought the little Jackal; “the big Alligator has my paw in his mouth! In another min ute he will pull me down and gobble me up! What shall I do? what shall I do?” Then he thought, sud denly, “I’ll deceive him!”
So he put on a very cheerful voice, as if nothing at all were the matter, and he said, –
“Ho! ho! Clever Mr. Alligator! Smart Mr. Alliga tor, to take that old bulrush root for my paw! I hope you’ll find it very tender!”
The old Alligator was hidden away beneath the mud and bulrush leaves, and he couldn’t see any thing. He thought, “Pshaw ! I’ve made a mistake.” So he opened his mouth and let the little Jackal go.
The little Jackal ran away as fast as he could, and as he ran he called out, –
“Thank you, Mr. Alligator! Kind Mr. Alligator! So kind of you to let me go!”
The old Alligator lashed with his tail and snapped with his jaws, but it was too late; the little Jackal was out of reach.
After this the little Jackal kept away from the river, out of danger. But after about a week he got such an appetite for crabs that nothing else would do at all; he felt that he must have a crab. So he went down by the river and looked all around, very carefully. He didn’t see the old Alligator, but he thought to himself, “I think I’ll not take any chances.” So he stood still and began to talk out loud to himself. He said, –
“When I don’t see any little crabs on the land I most generally see them sticking out of the water, and then I put my paw in and catch them. I won der if there are any fat little crabs in the water to-day?”
The old Alligator was hidden down in the mud at the bottom of the river, and when he heard what the little Jackal said, he thought, “Aha! I’ll pretend to be a little crab, and when he puts his paw in, I’ll make my dinner of him.” So he stuck the black end of his snout above the water and waited.
The little Jackal took one look, and then he said, — “Thank you, Mr. Alligator! Kind Mr. Alligator! You are exceedingly kind to show me where you are! I will have dinner elsewhere.” And he ran away like the wind.