THE LEGEND OF THE CROCODILE

A crocodile’s tears

The crocodile’s tears pour like a waterfall into the big river. The moon watches him, laughing. It asks the sun for some light, so that it can take a photograph of the scene. The crocodile cries for the small, delicate gazelle who used to run free between the river banks. She is not going to run anymore, and she won’t be eating the tasty grass off the riverbanks anymore. This thought makes the crocodile weep with sadness and guilt for his moments of cruelty. The yellow face of the sun disappears into the darkness of the sky, and the crocodile feels even lonelier. Eventually, he loses consciousness and manages to sleep a healing sleep. He sleeps for few hours, being woken by a feeble sunray. The path to dawn has begun. His first feeling is one of deep hollowness. His stomach is grumbling and demanding to be filled. Like every morning, this demand is one that the crocodile simply cannot wish away; so he crawls into the thickest bush on the riverbank, and he waits.
Soon he will open his humongous jaws, drool flowing copiously between his two rows of sharp teeth. Now he is ready to jump – how beautiful and tender the gazelle seems! He rises and falls back down, his stomach mute. Dawn arrives and his journey ends; it is now broad daylight. The crocodile falls back to sleep. He opens his eyes to the darkest of nights. He is sad, and slowly sinks into the river waters that welcome and comfort him. He cries and recalls the young and sweet gazelle, and how happy she was as she grazed on the tender grass. He can’t forgive himself and he feels guilty for the wickedness that he has within. Eventually, tired from the day’s emotions, he falls asleep. A warm blanket of water and mud covers him. The moon watches and laughs.

Ercole Bonjean

Translation by Chiara Amoretti

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