I am back with the tale of the animal farm manage by the White the wily wolf. This week I want to tell you the story of a small section of the farm located not far from the centre, where White’s quarters are. A place with a huge swamp inhabited by crocodiles.
The swamp was named Dakaville after the first crocodile that moved into the swamp, Daka.
Although the crocodiles were an integral part of White’s farm, they mostly loved to hang out in Dakaville because the swamp kept them cool and was not as busy as the centre where animals converged and all pretended they were different types of animals. The new leader of the swamp, who assumed control at the same time that White took over management of the farm from Goodhead, was a small but feisty crocodile called Sir Na. Sir Na had a reputation for being neat and orderly and kept the only water source in the centre of the farm clean and free from tadpoles, bacteria and weeds. The crocodiles trusted Sir Na because of this and had no trouble making him leader of Dakaville which was infested with frogs and harmful bacteria. The bacteria had over time seeped into the otherwise tough skin of the crocodiles, making them break out in boils that burst whenever they were touched by the sun. The boils had spread so much and were so painful that crocodiles became afraid of heading out into the sun altogether. Slowly, however, the boils were healing.
It did not help that years before, a huge fight had broken out between crocodiles that were more brown than gray and those that were more gray than brown. Slowly, a segregation had begun to happen, with the result that crocodiles chose different sides of the swamp to inhabit based on the color of their skin. The swamp became murky and filthy and everyone in the entire camp complained about how Dakaville had lost its former glory. Many of the older animals that were popular in the camp used to come drink from that swamp. In fact, there was at least one former farm manager who used to hang around the swamp, drinking and making merry with his friends and other farm owners, until, according to legend, one day he was asleep and soldier ants climbed all over him, and killed him leading to a war on the farm.
Even White, in spite of what Dakaville had become, still took strolls around the swamp, hands behind his back, staring into the murky waters, silent.
Now, there was this popular crocodile who had once been chained by a former farm manager because that manager thought he was dangerous to the farm. When that farm manager died, this popular crocodile named Hump, was released alongside all those that had been chained by that farm manager. Hump never failed to mention to any animal that cared to listen, that he had once been chained in the far end of the farm. Hump got his name from his love for camels, especially the hump. He used to spend time crushing the cartilage in the hump of dead camels, regaling young crocodiles with exaggerated tales of his time in chains.
Sir Na sat down one day after taking control of the swamp and decided that he was going to throw a party in addition to his attempts at cleaning up the swamp. However there was no love lost between Hump and Sir Na. Hump expected that being a popular, once-chained crocodile, he should have been consulted when Sir Na was taking decisions. He felt slighted that he, having spent more time in the swamp than Sir Na, in fact deserved to lead Dakaville. So when Sir Na proposed the idea of the party, Hump rallied all the baby crocodiles and took them to the general square where all types of animals regularly converged and made a speech.
“Fellow crocodile inhabitants of Dakaville and fellow animals,” he began. “Since my unchaining many years ago I have had only love for this farm in general and for Dakaville in particular. In fact, I love Dakaville more than I love camel humps. It is no wonder I am popular, more popular than Sir Na. In fact I would have been the leader of Dakaville if White, in all his wisdom as our new, white farm manager, had not asked me to let Sir Na be the leader. I respect White. However, Sir Na is irresponsible. How can a crocodile propose a party, when crocodiles are sad and dreary and only recovering from boils? Sir Na needs to be stopped.”
And many of the baby crocodiles were puzzled because it made no sense to them that a swamp that was joyless and without life, should not have a party that all crocodiles could enjoy.
“But please sir,” a baby crocodile interrupted. “Do you not think that now that this swamp is starting to get cleaned and we are slowly healing from our boils, we need this sort of party to bring crocodiles from their segregated corners to have some joy?”
But Hump was not listening. Hump was only hearing the sound of his own haughty voice, screaming and rubbing his neck where he claims he still has pains from being chained many years ago. Hump spoke and spoke until one by one the animals dispersed.
And Hump was satisfied with his own speech and pat his own head as he finished.
And all the while, White walked through the farm, hands behind his back, observing, and as always, saying nothing.
Ps. As always, no animals were harmed in the production of this story, not even haughty crocodiles.