Story Time

The bane of Snapjaw, the alligator's existence was the fly. On hot days, the fly clan would drive him mad. As Snapjaw held his mouth open to cool off, flies would dart in and out. Inevitably, one would land on his tongue and he would snap at all of them, thinking that a bird had been foolish enough land there.

All during the summer months, Snapjaw and his cousins would lay along the riverbank, looking for food and snapping at flies. It grew very tiresome.

On the first day of summer a tiny bird took up residence in a nearby bush. "Hello. I am Darting Beak. I am the solution to your woes." The bird introduced himself"

"How is that? You are not large enough to make even a decent snack. Go away. You`re keeping my lunch away."

Darting Beak did not go away, instead, it landed on the alligator's nose and began snapping up flies. A fly landed in the alligator's mouth and he snapped irritably. Darting Beak was already gone, hovering well above his head.

"If I keep these flies away? Will you promise never to eat me or my kind?" He asked.

"If you can keep the flies away, I will promise to eat anything that threatens to eat you." Snapjaw answered.

"Will you eat anything that threatens to eat any of my people?"

"I will protect whoever keeps flies away from me. I cannot be everywhere."

"What of your cousins? Will they join the bargain?"

Snapjaw asked his cousins. They were in favor of anything that got rid of the pesky flies.

"Very well." Darting Beak began to catch and eat every fly that buzzed around the gator's head. "Come my people! `Join in the feast without fear!" Soon, a flock of the little birds darted and hovered around the alligators and lo! there were no more flies, he could keep his jaw open and he was cool!

"You have done the impossible!" Snapjaw announced. You are safe whenever you are in the presence of I or my people!"

All during the summer, the little birds enjoyed the new alliance. As autumn turned into winter, however, food grew scarce and some of the alligators began to look on the flock of little birds with an unpleasant gleam in their eye.

Snap Jaw was particularly hard pressed. "He had no friends who would share a kill with him. He grew hungry, until even one of the tiny birds began to look appetizing.

"It is not enough, that you keep the flies away." He told his own group of birds, Darting Beak among them. "That is a task for summer. You must earn your safety during winter also."

"And how shall we do that?" the fly catchers asked

"You must lure others animals here, so that we may catch and eat them"

"And how will we do that?"

"By taunting them, and letting them hunt you."

That is why we agreed to eat the flies. We did not wish to be hunted."

Snap jaw, lunged at the nearest of the birds, throwing up great sheets of water. They scattered, crying out there fear of him.

"And who will protect you if I die of hunger?" He demanded. So the flycatchers lured others within reach of the alligators. But they were not happy. Darting Beak was determined to get even with Snapjaw. That evening, Darting Beak waited until all the alligators were asleep.

Darting beak found a hornets nest and then determined the fastest route between the nest and the alligator.

At dawn the following morning, he found a small pebble and clutched it in one foot. Then he attacked the nest until the hornets chased him. He led them straight to the alligators, who were laying on the river, their jaws lolling open. Darting Beak flew straight thru Snap jaw's open mouth. As soon as he was clear, he threw the pebble back. It landed and Snapjaw lived up to his name. His maw closed on half a nest of angry hornets.

Flycatchers are no longer required to bring gators their lunch.

The End.