A Bakongo Folktale
by Joan M. Lexau
Reading Level 2.2
|Setting:||The land along the Congo River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.|
|Characters:||Crocodile, Hen, and Lizard|
|Plot:||Crocodile really wants to eat nice fat Hen, but she is not afraid of him and says they are brother and sister. This is extremely perplexing to Crocodile, and he seeks an answer.|
|Solution:||Lizard explains that they have one thing in common that could make them brother and sister: both crocodiles and chickens lay eggs.|
|Summary:||Hen goes down to the river to look for food, and there she meets Crocodile. Crocodile wants to eat Hen. Hen, however, stands her ground, looks at him strangely, calls him brother, and then walks away. The next day, Hen goes to the river again, and once again Crocodile wants to eat her. But Hen has so little fear that she simply closes her eyes and fluffs up her feathers; Crocodile shuts his mouth and swims away. He still does not understand how they could be brother and sister. On the third day, Hen goes again to the river. Crocodile is determined to eat her this time, but she just drinks the water. He can't bring himself to do it and decides to ask the Wise Old Woman about this. On his way to see her, Crocodile meets Lizard, who explains that hens, crocodiles, and lizards all lay eggs, and so they must be related. Crocodile really doesn't want to be Hen's brother because he would rather eat her, but from this time on, they are friends.|
|Curriculum Connections:||Storytelling unit, Africa unit, folktales|
Ask the children what they know about Crocodiles. If there are any misconceptions, have a nonfiction book available to clarify misunderstandings.
Ask students if they have ever seen a crocodile. Explain the differences between alligators and crocodiles.
Show students the cover of the book and have them predict what they think the story may be about.
Ask students how they would find more folktales in the library. Explain that there is a special area in the nonfiction section for folktales, fairy tales, tall tales, and legends from around the world.