Tag Archives: alligator

Never trust Alligators

Piece

Uhhm. So my grandpa used to tell me this story. I think the girl’s name was Sally. So she lived in the Bayou. Do you know what the Bayou is? The swamps and stuff. And has all these really scary critters. But like people live there like Cajun people live there.  But I’m not Cajun, I’m creole. But yeah Sally was Cajun. I assume she is Cajun. 

But so she— uh… She was like “Mom can I have a dog?” and her mother was like “We don’t have the money to feed you nonetheless a dog.” and anyway later Sally is finds a cat and she is like “Mom can I keep the cat.” and her mother is like “No we can’t afford it. Cause then I’d have to feed the cat.” and Sally finds a squirrel and asks her mother if she can keep it… and the mother is like “No cause we don’t have any fuckin’ money Sally” *laughs*. Sally wanders around to find pets to keep her company in the Bayou.

    She is sitting down by the swamp water and she is really lonely. Then she sees a set of eyes rise up in the water. And she’s like “Oh my god. What a cute little lizard. I’ll just sneak it in my house and it’ll just eat flies and stuff or like insects. I’ll just hide it in my room.” And so she gets the lizard thing and she realizes that it is a baby alligator. And she’s like “Okay, baby alligators just eat frogs and stuff so I’ll just raise it vegetarian.” 

    Anyway, her mom comes in the room one day and she’s like “Hey Sally, I have a surprise for you.” She got her a puppy. And Sally is like OH MYGOD! I have a puppy and a lizard. This is great.” *laughs*. Things are great until one day, her mom goes into her room and there’s no Sally and there’s no puppy. She goes into Sally’s bathroom and sees an alligator in the bathtub… Very full… and… and that’s why you don’t trust alligators. *laughs*

Background

    My girlfriend is from the south of America where there are a lot of swamps. She heard this story from her grandfather who she describes as a blind crazy old man. She told me that all the stories that he ever told her were about why you should never trust alligators. This is really funny to her and she was relating a story humorously that illustrated the humour of her grandfather’s alligator paranoia.

Context

My girlfriend and I were hanging out and joking around and she was telling me about her family at home. I thought this was a good time to collect some folklore. She is trying to convince me that her grandfather is crazy in this conversation through telling me one of his dozens of “anti alligator propaganda pieces”.

Thoughts

    Alligators are probably one of the most dangerous predators in the region that her grandfather was from. Although this story probably never happened it is insightful and revealing of the older people’s warnings to the younger generations in the area. Alligators are dangerous and they should never be adopted as pets. 

The Bad Lady

I collected this piece of folkore from a co-worker who grew up in Tampa, Florida. He told me about a common story that was used to scare children into behaving. His learned it from his parents, who would tell him the story in order to make him behave. Nowadays, he finds the story amusing, but when he was a child he took it very seriously and was very scared of it.

“Sometimes she’s referred to as “the bad lady” other times she’s referred to as “the swamp lady” The common theme of the story and the story I was told as a child was that there was a woman who would live in the swamps in the Everglades who was kind of like a witch who would have whole groupings of gators that would live on her property in these swamps, that she would be very close to and have a deep-seated connection to, like she could speak to them, control them and if you were bad your parents would threaten to drive you into the swamp and she would put you in a cage above the gators and depending on how bad you were she would lower you farther and farther into the lake and you’d have to try to survive with these gators. If you were really bad, your parents would just say “put him in” and you would be thrown to the gators and she would control them to whether or not they were going to kill you or how they were going to go about it based on her judgment of your crime.

So, I remember when I was five years old, I really didn’t want to go to church, and I knew I wasn’t allowed to go to church if I didn’t have shoes on, so I told my parents ‘I’m not going to put my shoes on. You can’t make me go.’ And they threatened to take me to the bad lady and leave me there with a ‘he goes straight to the gators’ thing and I very quickly put on my shoes and went to church. I was devastated when I was a little bit older and I realized there was no woman who would do this, that was against the law! But, I don’t know, it was a really common thing growing up, I would talk to my friends and be like ‘Did your mom tell you you were going to go to the bad lady?’ and they were like ‘Yeah, she’s real’. It was like Santa Claus”

This piece of folklore feels very specific to the location it comes from, since swamps and alligators don’t exist outside of a specific geographic region. So, it makes sense that the swamp lady would be in Florida, and that this specific story probably wouldn’t exist in a different state. It’s also interesting that children learned the story from their parents, and not from other children.