The gators made it to Tennessee, but ran into some bad luck there. They were tuned away from the motel because they were alligators. Then the place they chose to sleep turned out to be a cold river, and they were on the edge of torpor. When we left them, they had just been discovered by a couple of bears. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Bear (looking closely): It’s those two alligators from work. What’re they doing here?
Cub: Alligators! Our teacher told us about alligators, but I never thought I’d really see one! They live where it’s hot!
Bear: I know, Billy. These two came up to visit, but weren’t allowed to stay at the motel because the owner was afraid of losing business. They must have decided to sleep here.
Billy: But, daddy, it’s much too cold for them here. They probably can’t even move they’re so cold. We have to help them.
Bear: What do you think we should do, Billy? Won’t they get better in the morning?
Billy: The teacher said that it takes a long time in the sun for them to wake up. What if it’s not sunny tomorrow? We need to get them out and warm them up.
Abby and Al listened to this, and relaxed a little. At least the bears weren’t talking about eating them. On the other hand, the cub was right. If it didn’t get warm enough to revive them fully, the gators would start going into torpor. They hoped the little bear had some kind of good idea.
Bear (looking at the river): Umm. Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Gator. I’m Will Bear. I think we met earlier today in town. My son tells me that you may be in trouble and we need to get you out of that river. You look kinda long for me to do it by myself, so I’m going to get someone to help. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.
Will and Billy walked into the woods. The gators waited, hoping for the best. The bears returned home and told the neighbors about the gators. Will’s wife Betty seems a little hesitant.
Betty: Are you sure they’re really alligators? Maybe you two were just looking at a couple of logs.
Will: Dear, we live in the woods. I know what a log looks like.
Billy: And they had eyes.
Betty: I don’t know. Couldn’t they eat us?
Will: They seemed nice enough when I saw them in town. No one would let them stay, so they came out here to sleep.
Billy: Besides, Mom, they can’t move.
Bob: There are more of us than there are of them. If there’s a problem, we can handle it.
The bears went down to the river. They appeared to be puzzled.
Bob: There’s definitely a couple of reptiles in there. But they’re big and look like they’re stuck in the mud. How do we get them out?
George: I think we need three bears per gator. One at the head, one at the tail, and one in the middle. If we lift together, it should work.
Bob: OK. Then what do we do?
Will: We’ll take them back to my den. I’ll get my older boys to help us warm them up.
The gators were a little concerned about this plan, but really didn’t have a choice. They hoped they didn’t end up in three pieces getting out of the river. The bears climbed in and put their paws under the gators. With a little effort, they got the gators out of the mud. The six bears managed to get the two gators to Will’s den and lay them down.
Betty: OK, Joe and Jim are here. Now what?
They all stood in silence, watching the gators.
Billy: I know! We’re all warm and furry. Let’s put them between us tonight. Maybe it will be enough to get their blood flowing.
Abby was terrified. But before she knew it, she was between two large sleeping bears. She tried to relax. Before she knew it, the bears were moving again.
Betty: Good morning, everyone. How are our guests doing?
Billy: Let me see!
The larger bears got up and looked at the gators. The larger one tried to say something.
Will: What’s he saying?
Billy (leaning down): I think it’s “Thank you.”
Will: It’s quite all right, Mr. Gator. Are you OK?
Al closed his eyes again. Will nudged him with a paw to see if he was still alive.
Al: Need more sleep.
Will: I have to get to work. The rest of you lay down again. Don’t get up until they can stand.
The bears surrounded the gators again and relaxed. By the time Will got home, everyone was up and talking.
Abby: Here he is. Our hero!
Will (embarrassed): It wasn’t me. If Billy hadn’t noticed you, none of the rest would have happened.
Abby: We were all laughing about how we were afraid we would be eaten by the other.
Betty: It’s such a shame that they couldn’t stay in town. They are such nice creatures.
Will: You know how they are in there. If you’re not a small mammal, they’re sure you out to make them dinner.
Al: But you work there.
Will: As security. That’s the only job a bear can get. Just in case something bad comes walking through the door.
Billy: Well I’m glad they wouldn’t let the gators stay. I never would have met them otherwise. And now they’re staying!
Betty: I’ve convinced them to stay a couple of days with us. I’m going to show them a couple of nice sunny spots for daytime, and they can sleep here.
Will: That’s great! Welcome!
The gators ended up having a great vacation. They spent the days in the sun, and the bears caught fish for dinner. They knew the other gators would never believe them, so they took lots of pictures and promised to keep in touch.
All pictures courtesy of Google Images