By Rhonda Wood
In a muddy river of East Texas lived a very large alligator named Alexander. Because his name, Alexander Alligator, was so long everyone called him Al for short. One day Al had just finished munching on his lunch when he noticed something was stuck between some of his long sharp teeth. He tried to get it loose with his tongue, but it just would not budge. Of course, his short arms could not reach in his mouth to pick it out so he thought, ” I need someone to help me.”
Pretty soon Mrs. Cardinal flew in and perched on a tree branch near Al. He had to ask quickly before she flew away. He also had to be careful not scare her, so he said in a kind voice, “Pardon me, Mrs. Cardinal. Would you be willing to help me?” The red bird was startled because she had not noticed the scary looking alligator. Only his eyes and nostrils poked out of the smooth water when he was quiet. But when he spoke, his long wide mouth caused all kinds of splashing. Mrs. Cardinal fluttered her wings, but then decided to stay and listen to the polite alligator.
“You see, I have food stuck in my teeth, and I need some one to help me get it out. It is very irritating. You are small. Your beak is perfect for picking it out for me. Will you help me, please?” pleaded Al. He opened wide his mouth to show her the problem.
Mrs. Cardinal thought for a moment and said, ” I would be glad to help you, but how do I know you will not eat me? I saw some very sharp teeth in your mouth!”
“Oh, I would never do that! I do not like to eat feathers.” replied Al.
The red bird was not so sure she could trust him, so she told him that she would be right back. She flew to her friend Wise Owl and told him about Al’s problem. Wise Owl had a great idea to help Al and keep Mrs. Cardinal safe at the same time. Together they flew to Mr. Busy Beaver’s den. They explained the plan to help Al, and Mr. Beaver agreed to help too. So all three friends came back to Al’s muddy river home.
“We have come to help you, Al. But first you must take a nap.” “Oh, do I have to?” whined Al.
“Yes, you most certainly have to!” said Mr. Beaver, Mrs. Cardinal and Wise Owl all at the same time.
The sun was shining so warm, and the breeze was very relaxing. Sitting still and quiet, they all began to yawn. First, Mrs. Cardinal opened wide her beak, and then lifted her wing to courteously cover her mouth. Waiting for Al to feel sleepy, they took turns yawning. At last, Al felt a great big yawn and opened wide his mouth. At that very moment Mr. Beaver sprang into action with their plan. He used the strong stick he had brought along from his beaver dam to prop open Al’s great big mouth. When they were sure he was asleep, Mrs. Cardinal flew down quickly and picked the food from Al’s teeth. When she was finished and out of the way, Wise Owl flew past with a mighty swoop. His strong wing knocked the stick from Al’s mouth so it would close.
Al woke up when his mouth snapped shut. He saw his friends smiling. He felt his teeth with his tongue and knew the food was gone. ” Oh, thank you so much!” Al was so happy he rolled over and over in the water splashing everyone. They laughed together.
Picking up his strong stick, Mr. Beaver said, “I have to get back to my business now.” Wise Owl gave a wink and a hoot before he disappeared. Mrs. Cardinal felt good inside for helping, so she tweeted a lovely tune before flitting off to check on her children.