Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile

October 1, 2017

According to evolution, Mrs. Chicken is actually kind of right.


This is a trickster type of tale. I guess tricksters are often traditionally narcissists. It's a traditional story from the Dan people in the vicinity of Liberia in Africa.

A chicken is bathing in a puddle. She wants to see the reflection of her wings, but the puddle is too small, so she goes to the river to take a bath. She gets captured by a female crocodile, who for some reason takes her home instead of immediately eating her. When they enter Crocodile's home, Chicken escapes and flies up into the rafters and refuses to come down. Crocodile says, "I'm going to eat you! Come down!" Chicken says, "Don't eat me! We're sisters!" Crocodile says, "Fine, I'll fatten you up and eat you later."

In between laying on her eggs, Crocodile feeds Chicken grain. Chicken lays her own eggs. Crocodile is getting hungrier and thinner, and Chicken is getting fatter. The night before their eggs are all about to simultaneously hatch in a massive coincidence, Chicken secretly trades eggs with Crocodile. The next day when the chicken eggs in Crocodile's nest hatch, Crocodile (a complete idiot) freaks out and goes, "Oh no! Why do my babies look so stupid! I guess we were totally sisters!" And Chicken says, "And you almost ate me!" Crocodile says, "And your babies look so much like me!" Chicken says, "I got an idea, why don't we trade babies!" "Oh, thanks! That's a great idea! I'll see you later!" And Chicken says, "No you won't!" and then leaves.

Why do stories where the clever person wins always seem to end up with the clever person lying, and the other person being phenomenally stupid?? Why does a trickster have to completely, full-on, lie? There's nothing clever about lying to an idiot. I don't understand that. Is it funny for people to be idiots?

And after the book ends, Crocodile and her babies all starve to death. Hilarious!


Crocodiles are idiots.

Publication Year
  • 2003
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