Scientific Tales
Sandpiper and Crocodile

by Farid Alakbarov

Once upon a time in faraway Africa's Nile river there lived a crocodile. It was a very strong and dangerous animal. Other animals living in that forest were very afraid of him. Because he used to catch, tear to pieces and eat every living being that approached him. Once the animals that came to the river saw the crocodile crying bitterly, half of his body outside the water. "What's happened to the Crocodile?" ­ wondered the animals. But none of them was courageous enough to ask the reason from the Crocodile himself. After short discussion the animals decided to send the Lion to the Crocodile. They said:
­ The Crocodile is sick. And you are strong. Moreover, you are the king of animals. The Crocodile won't dare to touch you.
But the Lion did not agree with this proposal and said:
- No, I have quarreled with him. Let someone else go. For instance, the Elephant. He is both strong and friendly. Perhaps he can help the Crocodile.
­ I won't go either, ­ said the Elephant. Because I have a grudge against him. Last week I came to the riverside to drink water. Suddenly the Crocodile came out of the water and wanted to bite me. After that I don't want to speak with him.

A little Sandpiper that had been listening to them said:
­ But the Crocodile is sick. He is probably suffering a lot. We can't leave him helpless in such a condition!
All the animals looked at the Sandpiper in surprise. The Lion said:
­ Alright, go to the Crocodile. But watch out. Because the Crocodile is a very sly animal. He can tear you to pieces and eat.

Without uttering a word the Sandpiper flew to the river. All of the animals gathered and were looking at him with great interest. Finally the Sandpiper approached the Crocodile who was lying on his stomach and crying. He didn't pay any attention to the Sandpiper. The Sandpiper indecisively approached the Crocodile and asked:
­ Crocodile, why are you crying?
The Crocodile answered sobbing:
­ Oh Sandpiper, you'd better not ask. My teeth are aching. It hurts me so much. Ouch, ouch! What an awful pain!
- Did you clean your teeth in the past? ­ asked the Sandpiper.
­ Unfortunately, not­answered the Crocodile. ­ My arms are so short that I can't reach my jaws. How can I clean my teeth with such short arms?
- Now everything is clear to me,- said the Sandpiper. ­ Open your mouth!
The Crocodile opened his mouth faint-heartedly.
­ Don't be afraid, ­ said the Sandpiper. - Keep your mouth open and don't move.
The Sandpiper entered the Crocodile's mouth and pecked the food remains from his teeth. The Crocodile calmed down very soon, looked at the Sandpiper and said:
­ Thank you very much, Sandpiper. You've rescued me from great suffering.
­ You're welcome, ­ answered the Sandpiper.
The Crocodile thought a little and said:
­ Let's be friends from this on. Come and clean my teeth one or two times a day. This will be profitable for both you and me.

The Sandpiper agreed. Since then these two animals, one of which was very big and dangerous and the other one very tiny and weak, have become friends. If you happen to be in Africa, you'll be able to see crocodiles lying by riversides, with tiny quick birds playing among their big and frightful teeth. These are sandpipers. Such a friendship between living beings, which is useful for both sides is called SYMBIOSIS by scientists. Symbiosis exists not only between sandpipers and crocodiles, but also between other animals and insects.

Translated into English by Arzu Aghayeva
Web design: Farida Sadikhova

Back to - Scientific Tales Index
Back to - Just for Kids Index
Back to - Azeri Latin Index

Home | About Azeri | Learn Azeri | Arabic Script | Store | Contact us

© Azerbaijan International. Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.