A VERY selfish crocodile is causing trouble in the river and the other forest
animals are too scared to stand up to him.
The Selfish crocodile written by Faustin Charles and Illustrated by Michael Terry.
Deep in the forest, in the river, lived a large crocodile. He was a very selfish
crocodile. He didn't want any other creature to drink or bathe in the river.
He thought it was his river. Every day, he shouted to the creatures of the forest,
‘Stay away from my river! It's my river! If you come in my river, I'll eat you all!”
So there were no fish, no tadpoles, no frogs, no crabs, no crayfish in the river.
All were afraid of the selfish crocodile. The forest creatures kept away from the
river as well. Whenever they were thirsty, they went for miles to drink in other
rivers and streams. Every day the crocodile lay on his great big back in the sun,
picking his big, sharp teeth with a stick. But early one morning, the forest was
awakened by a loud groaning sound. Something was in terrible pain.
The creatures thought it was an animal caught by the crocodile. But as the
Sun came out brightly, they saw that it was the crocodile who was in pain.
He was lying on his big back, holding his swollen jaw, and he was crying real
tears. The creatures drew closer – but not too close. Some of the creatures
felt sorry for the crocodile. ‘What's the matter with him?’ asked a deer.
’I don't know,’ said a squirrel. ‘Maybe he's going to die,’ chirped a blackbird.
‘If that happens it'll be safe to go in the river!’ grunted a wild pig. The animals
thought about this. They hung from branches, they hung from vines; they
buzzed in the air, and they shook their heads as they watched the great big
crocodile in pain. No animal tried to help. Suddenly a little mouse appeared,
sniffing the air. He ran along the crocodile’s tail, then on to his tummy.
The other creatures stared. ‘Look at that mouse!’ chatted a monkey.
‘He's either very brave or mad!’ ‘He's going to be eaten for sure!’ said an
iguana. The mouse crept along the crocodile’s big neck, and into his open
mouth. There was a hush in the forest. The mouse got hold of something,
and pulled and pulled and pulled. Then he put it on his shoulder and walked
out of the crocodile’s mouths. There was a loud cheer from the astonished
creatures. The crocodile sat up and said, ‘I don't feel any more pain. It's all
gone!’ Then he saw the mouse walking down his tummy, carrying an enormous
crocodile tooth on his shoulder. ‘Your bad tooth was giving you the tooth-ache!’
answered the mouse, turning around to face the now-smiling crocodile.
‘Do you want it back?’ ‘Oh no, no, no, get rid of it, and when you've done
that,come back, I'll have a present for you.’ The mouse went and buried the
bad tooth under a tree, and when he returned, the crocodile had a nice juicy
nut waiting for him.As the crocodile watched the mouse eating the nut,
he said to him,‘You were very clever, getting rid of my tooth-ache – and
kind too.I am so grateful. But what should I do if my tooth-ache comes back?’
‘Don't worry, I'll help you take care of your teeth,’ answered the mouse,
nibbling. Soon the crocodile and the mouse were the best of friends. And one
day the crocodile sent all the animals an invitation. Please come to drink and bathe
in the river! I won't hurt you.’ The river belongs to us all!’he said. The creatures
weren't afraid to drink and bathe in the river any more.Although the crocodile was
sometimes snappy, they grew to love him. And soon the river was full of fish
and tadpoles and crabs and crayfish.
1. What did the crocodile do to shoo off all animals in the river?
2. Discuss what made the crocodile cry. How was his problem resolved?
3. Define selfishness. Is it good or bad? Why do you think so?