SECOND WAG (sadly). My chain!
THE MAN AND THE ALLIGATOR
TIME: the morning after the cyclone.
PLACE: The Man’s garden.
* * * * *
* * * * *
[The MAN enters the garden carrying his big stick and small net. The garden has been almost destroyed by the ALLIGATOR, who still wallows among the beds.]
MAN. There should be enough apples on the ground to fill my net. ’T was a fierce storm last night!
(He looks about; sees the Alligator; shows indignation.)
Thou—within my garden!
ALLIGATOR (meekly). Be not angry with me, O master! By accident I—
MAN (indignantly). Accident! Thou hast wallowed among my flowers by accident, hast thou?
ALLIGATOR. It is true; not of my own will came I hither.
MAN (more indignantly). Thou hast broken my fruit trees by accident, I suppose!
ALLIGATOR (nodding). It was not of my own intentions, I assure you. I—
MAN (interrupting). Thou art this moment crushing my strawberry plants beneath thy great body! I’ve a mind to beat thee with my big stick!
ALLIGATOR. Do not beat me, O master! The cyclone is at fault.
MAN (surprised). The cyclone?
ALLIGATOR (nodding). Aye, it blew me here from the river last night.
MAN. Ha, ha! A likely story!
ALLIGATOR. I speak the truth. A great waterspout lifted me out of the river. Then a fierce wind caught me and blew me about as if I were a feather. Finally, I was dropped here within thy garden.
MAN (only half convinced). Well, there’s
no cyclone to blow thee back.
Wilt thou be good enough to walk thyself out?
ALLIGATOR. Alas! I can scarcely move me. I fear some of my ribs are broken.
MAN. Nonsense! Out with thee!
ALLIGATOR. But see how the wind has crippled me! It has even blown some of my claws loose—
MAN (interrupting). I am sorry for thee, but thou canst not remain here.
ALLIGATOR. I will go now, if thou wilt help me.
MAN (surprised). I help thee?
ALLIGATOR (nodding). I will be so grateful to thee!
MAN. Oh, I know how grateful thou canst be! The other animals have told me that!
ALLIGATOR. What say they?
MAN. That thou art the most cruel of all the animals—that thou never dost any one a favor—
ALLIGATOR (interrupting). Nonsense! No one could be more grateful for favors than I! I’ll prove it to thee!
MAN. Prove it? How?
ALLIGATOR. If thou wilt help me to the river, I’ll show thee where to find the biggest fish.