When the world first began, according to legend, nothing but
birds and animals lived on the earth. All of them could talk. One day
the birds set a date to play ball. The birds, large and small, gathered on
the day arranged. One large, strong bird threw the ball higher than
anyone else had. An old alligator was lying in the sun watching the birds
play. He was angry because he was invited to play with them. When he
saw the ball go high into the air, he made magic and kept it in mid air.
All the birds flew about trying to bring the ball back to earth, but it could
not come down.
After a long time, the alligator let the ball drop, and caught it in
his mouth. The birds tried in vain to pry his mouth open. A wise
cunning eagle sat on a rock and watched the weak, helpless little birds
fluttering around the great reptile, begging him to return their ball.
Finally he decided to help. He flew down and pinched the alligator's
back with his sharp claws. The alligator was so surprised his mouth flew
wide open and he hissed "Ah-ah-ah!" at the eagle. As he hissed, the ball
dropped out of his mouth, the birds quickly seized it and flew away.
That is the reason the alligator opens his mouth and hisses "Ah-ah-ah!" to
this day when he is surprised. (1)
THE ALLIGATOR AND THE RABBIT
Another legend about the alligator shows how the rabbit tricked
him into a confession. When all the animals could talk to each other,