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the Angel of the Animals


     Coreeda the Crocodile slipped slyly into the water of the Eachy Peachy River.  She flipped her giant tail quickly from side to side (for that is the way a crocodile swims).  Silently, she slid along the rough riverbed.

     Mande, who was one of the dearest little monkeys in all of the good lord's earth, was watching carefully with the eyes in the back of her head.  She jumped back to the banana tree and laughed as Coreeda's giant jaws snapped closed. Mande wiped the water from her mouth and deliberately splashed the drops in Coreeda's eyes.

     "What good tasting water they have in the Eachy Peachy River!" she cried gaily,  "It's a shame they pollute it with such baggage!"

     "Baggage," roared Coreeda, splashing and thrashing with much ado.  "Why you chattering little simian, who are you to call anyone baggage?"

     "Well I know a case of bad baggage when I see it as well as anyone.  Or maybe I should have said 'yesterday's' baggage.  Ageeda told us all how they caught you and threw you back.  They said you were only secondrate stuff!"

     Coreeda thrashed madly towards the banana tree where Mande was sitting calmly peeling a banana.

     "Thank your lucky stars, crocodiles can't climb trees!" purred Ageeda the Alligator.  She had been lazily sunning herself in the sun and now she stretched a large stretch.

     "No," said Mande, "I think I'll thank the good lord if you please!"

     "Suit yourself." said Ageeda drowsily,  "Sometimes, though, I think you chatter too much my silly little friend."

     "Friend!" shouted Mande awestricken,  "And who cares what a lazy alligator thinks anyway?"

     "Well, one should know when to keep one's mouth shut." said Ageeda, opening her mouth wide and yawning a big yawn. Now you could really see her teeth!

     "If you ask me," said Mande examining Ageeda's sharp bicuspids closely.  "I think you and Coreeda only know when to keep your mouths open.  And it is usually when some helpless animal is in the way of your teeth!"
     "Ah my dear little Mande morsel," said Ageeda, "but you are so unfair.  Crocodilians do not do well on land.  You should not judge us until you have walked in our shoes."

     "No thank you!" said Mande,  "I do not need shoes, especially alligator shoes.  I use my tail.  At least I did until someone took half of it off!"  Mande rubbed the stub of what was left of her tail and eyed Ageeda suspiciously.

     "If you ask me," continued Mande, "I think you do rather nicely on land.  One minute sleeping in the sun, the next snapping at my back door!"  She reached for another banana.

     "Ah," said Ageeda licking her teeth, "but we are really very awkward.  It is hard to catch a square meal.  We must grab  whatever comes our way when we can."

     "Then you should try eating bananas instead of monkeys!" said Mande tossing a banana in front of Ageeda's long snout. Ageeda's mouth snapped open and closed quickly, but she missed it.

     "Why, that's a wonderful idea," said Ageeda slyly,  "Why don't you come down here and put one in my mouth?  I am not very good at catching things."

     "Oh, no," said Mande, "and lose my hand as well as my tail.  I'll be a monkey's uncle first."  (Which, of course was impossible for Mande).

     "But," said Ageeda, "you are not very nice.  Don't you remember crocodilians can't climb trees!"

     "Yes," said Mande, "and if they could, monkeys would have to learn how to fly!"

     At that very moment there was such a commotion and hollering from the other side of the river.  Coreeda had gone there trying to catch a jungle bird.

     "Help!" she cried,  "Oh please help.  I'm stuck."

     Mande's bright little eyes perked up devilishly.  "Caught is it?  What is this another crocodile tale?  She dashed high through the trees to the spot.

     "Oh, no, please, I'm really stuck!" cried Coreeda, large crocodile tears rolling down her rough cheeks.

     And there she sat her long snout caught fast in a large tree log where the jungle bird had darted for safety.

     Ageeda could not help snickering as Mande dropped down on Coreeda's leathery back.
     "And what have we here?  I don't get a chance like this too often!" she said dancing up and down on Coreeda's back

     "Argh, argh, argh," roared Coreeda,  "Get this stupid monkey off my back!"

     "Ha, ha," laughed Mande,  "Why this is strange crocodile business indeed."

     "You just wait," growled Coreeda,  "I'll get even with you.  You silly simian monkey face.  Why don't you keep your mouth shut and mind your own monkey business!  Monkeys are such silly things anyway."

     "If you ask me," laughed Mande, "I'll say it again, it is crocodilians who don't know when to keep their mouths shut. Why this is more fun than a barrel of monkeys!"  And she did another little Irish monkey jig on Coreeda's back.