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Silly Zoo Story of the Month

The Do-It-Later Alligator
The frog named Fernando sat on a lily pad and kept chanting five syllables. Pro--cras--tin--a--tor. 

      Sometimes his voice went up, and sometimes it went down. Sometimes he smiled when he said it and sometimes he frowned. 

     “Is that a word game,?” asked his Uncle Julius, who was always teaching Ferdie new words, but none as big as that. 

“Well,” said Ferdie, “I was just wondering what it meant.  I saw it on a sign by the lily pond.  It said  ‘pick up after your picnic immediately, or you will be a pro--cras--tin--a--tor, PS By the way, don’t pick lilies either.’  It was signed ‘Lilly Pond.’ " 

     Uncle Julius chuckled.  “Those are two good ideas but they don’t go together,” he said.  “Then we must figure out if Lilly is a frog or a person.  Maybe she’s a platypus who would like to be anonymous.  We all live in the Silly Zoo, and some things are downright willy nilly silly.  But silly things are important too,” he said. 

     “If we knew who Lilly was, then we could figure out what the word means,” said Ferdie. 

     “That’s easy,” said his uncle, “it means putting things off.  A pro--cras--tin--a--tor will always delay and say "I’ll do it another day.”

     "I never do that," said Ferdie.  "I’m like that Now Owl who lives in the tree and is always talking to that silly alligator.”

     “I heard that,” said a deep  voice.  “That alligator is me, and I’m quite intelligent.  You see, I talk to the owl because owls are very wise.  It would surprise you to find out how many things they know about the weather and feathers and astrology.”

     “Are you as smart as the owl?” asked Ferdie.

     “Of course,” said the alligator.  “I’m a whiz at a quiz, it’s just one fault that stands in my way or I would be the smartest alligator in the world.  In fact, I would know everything.”

     Uncle Julius did his best hurrumft.  “Oh bother,” he said, “you can’t even read. I daresay you have as many faults as you have teeth, far in excess of anyone’s need.”

     “Now, now,” said the alligator.  “That’s how nature designed me. Did you ever see an alligator with false teeth?"

     “No,” said Julius, “but I’ve seen several alligators who make false promises.”

     “But that would never be true of me,” said the alligator.  I am always true to my word.  But I do have one fault.  That must be why I’m not the center of the universe or this lily pond.”

     “You mentioned that before, I believe,” said Uncle Julius, who was becoming quite indignant about the boastful alligator and all his allegations. 

     “Halt!” said Ferdie.  “I’m tired of all this arguing.  What is your fault?"

     “You spelled it,” said the alligator.  “I heard you chanting it when I came up, I thought you were talking about me. I can’t say the word, it makes me nervous.”

     “Oh,” said Ferdie, “you mean pro--cras--tin--a--tor.”

     “Exactly,” said the alligator.  “I do it all the time, it’s my nature.  I would do anything to overcome it --- but I think I’ll do it tomorrow.”  He sighed, “I guess I’m just a pro--cras--tin--a--tor alligator. 

     “Better late than never,” said uncle Julius.

     Of course! It was then little Ferdie knew that alligator was the one who had left the sign at the lily pond, so the mystery was solved.  Lily Pond was alligator, and he should not have told others not to do what he did himself.  Uncle Julius laughed and said, "Lily Pond indeed!  It’s nice to know we can still get along with him, even though we know his faults."


Copyright 2001, by Pauline Comanor