Urban Legends
Ready-To-Tell Tales
The Freedom Bird
The Magic Pot

TROUBLE by David Holt and Bill Mooney ©1992 from Ready-To-Tell Tales
Hear "Trouble" on Why The Dog Chases The Cat - Great Animal Stories

nce a long time ago, when stories walked and animals talked, the alligators had beautiful smooth golden skin. They had the easiest life of all the creatures. During the day they swam around the swamp, fishing and eating. When they got tired of that, they would sun themselves on the banks, or chase rabbits for a snack. If it got too hot and tiring for them, the alligators would slide down into the water and cool off.

One hot summer day when all the alligators were lazing in the water, Rabbit came hopping along the bank. You see, not long before, he'd had his tail bitten off by these same alligators. And he was coming to pay them back. So he started singing like he didn't have a care in the world.

"Trouble, Trouble,

"Trouble's in the air,

"Trouble, Trouble,

"Trouble's everywhere.

"Trouble is a teacher, and just like a friend,

"It won't be long before you see it again,

"You're not livin' if you don't have strife,

"'Cause if you don't know Trouble, you don't know life.

"Trouble, Trouble,

"Trouble's in the air,

"Trouble, Trouble,

"Trouble's everywhere."

When the King of the Alligators heard that happy little tune he called out, "Hey, Rabbit, what is this "trouble" thing you're singing about?"

Rabbit stopped in his tracks. "Trouble? You mean to tell me you never heard of Trouble?"

"Naw, never heard of it. We don't get outta the swamp much. We all just fish and eat and laze around in the sun all day. But we sure do like to hear about new things--things like this here Trouble."

"Oh, I can tell you about Trouble. I've seen it lots of times," said Rabbit.

"I've seen trouble as wide as a river

"Or narrow as a sliver.

"Big as a sky

"Or small as a fly.

"Once you see Trouble you'll never be the same."

"That sounds exciting," said the King. "Sounds like something I would like to see."

"You want to SEE Trouble?"

"Yeah," said the alligator, "could you show me some?"

"Yes, I can show you BIG Trouble," said Rabbit. "Trouble so big, you'll dance a jig. "Trouble so wide, you'll be goggle-eyed."

"Where can I see it?"

"Well, lemme think... You and all your family meet me in the center of the hay field in the morning.

"Yes, sir," said the Alligator King. "We'll all be there, looking for Trouble."

(laugh) "See you then!"

"Trouble, Trouble, Trouble's in the air,

"Trouble, Trouble, Trouble's everywhere."

The next morning, not long before the sun touched the top of the gum tree, the King of the Alligators got up on a big cypress stump. He sang out in his big bass voice,

"Alligators, gather 'round,

"We're gonna see Trouble,

"Won't you come on down."

And the mamma and papa alligators echoed:

"Alligators, gather 'round,

"We're gonna see Trouble,

"Won't you come on down."

And all the baby alligators answered:

"Alligators gather 'round,

"We're gonna see Trouble,

"Won't you come on down."

So all the alligators gathered on the banks and started off. They were laughing and singing, running and playing. It was the finest jamboree of alligators that the creatures in the swamp had ever seen. Big ones, little ones, long ones, short ones all parading to the hay field, their golden skin shining in the sunlight.

Rabbit was waiting there to meet them.

"Rabbit have you got Trouble with you?"

"Yessiree bobtail," said Rabbit, "I brought you big Trouble! Just like I said I would. Gather all the 'gators in the center of the field and I'll send Trouble out to meet you."

So the alligators all bunched together in the center of the field where the grass was high and the grass was dry.

In the meantime, Rabbit hopped off to the far corner of the field. He pulled out a kitchen match and started a fire in the grass. Then he hopped off to another corner of the field and lit another fire. In no time, he had fires burning all around the edge of the dry hay field.

One of the big alligators hollered out, "What's that pretty red stuff comin' this way?"

"That must be the Trouble that Rabbit is bringing to us."

The fire moved closer, and the fire got hotter.

"MY, my, my, it's warm and rosy.

"Trouble makes you feel all nice and cozy."

And the fire got closer, and the fire got hotter.

"My, my, my, isn't Trouble hot.

"Feels like the sun on a big hot rock."

And the fire got closer still, and the fire got hotter still.

"My, my, my, it's biting me.

"Trouble feels like a swarm of bees."

The King of the Alligators said, "I've enjoyed about as much of this Trouble as I can stand. LET'S GET OUTTA HERE!"

The alligators jigged to the left and they met fire. They jigged to the right and they met more fire. They jigged forward, and they jigged backwards, but there was fire all around.

Then the King of the Alligators hollered, "Follow me." He lowered his head and plowed through the burning grass. All the other alligators followed along behind him.

Each alligator scrambled through the burning grass till at last they reached the banks of the river. One by one they slithered off the bank and flopped into the water, sizzling and crackling as they hit. Aah! That water was co-o-o-o-o-ol and ca-a-a-alm and comforting. Yessssir. They were HOME.

As they lay in the water feeling good, the alligators looked around at each other. Their smooth golden skin had turned dark grey-green, all covered with cracks and ridges and still smoking.

The King of the Alligators started to sing in a slow bluesy voice:

"Trouble, Trouble,

"Trouble's in the air.

"Trouble, Trouble,

"Trouble's everywhere."

As he was singing the blues, along hopped Rabbit. "So how'd you folks like Trouble? I told you it was a good teacher."

"I don't want to learn anymore about Trouble, Rabbit!"

But Rabbit said, "Oh, it's too late for that now. The first rule of Trouble is: 'NEVER TROUBLE TROUBLE, TILL TROUBLE TROUBLES YOU!'"

And to this day, the alligator has remained near the water ever since, so he can cool his rough cracked skin and stay away from Trouble.


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