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Many years ago a small crocodile lived in a swamp in a far away place. He dreamed of becoming a big crocodile but as food was scarce, he became weak and grew sadder and sadder.

He left for the open sea, to find food and realise his dream, but the day became increasingly hot and he was still far from the seashore. The little crocodile - rapidly drying out and now in desperation - lay down to die.

A small boy took pity on the stranded crocodile and carried him to the sea. The crocodile, instantly revived, was grateful. “Little boy”, he said, “you have saved my life. If I can ever help you in any way, please call me. I will be at your command…”

A few years later, the boy called the crocodile, who was now big and strong. “Brother Crocodile”, he said, “I too have a dream. I want to see the world”.

“Climb on my back,” said the crocodile, “and tell me, which way do you want to go?”

“Follow the sun”, said the boy.

The crocodile set off for the east, and they traveled the oceans for years, until one day the crocodile said to the boy, “Brother, we have been travelling for a long time. But now the time has come for me to die. In memory of your kindness, I will turn myself into a beautiful island, where you and your children can live until the sun sinks in the sea.”

As the crocodile died, he grew and grew, and his ridged back became the mountains and his scales the hills of Timor.

Now when the people of East Timor swim in the ocean, they enter the water saying “Don’t eat me crocodile, I am your relative”.

From the East Timor's Independence Day Committee

A Boy and the Crocodile: The Legend of East Timor
Illustrated by children from the Familia Home Orphanage

The Boy and the Crocodile is the legend of East Timor, about how the island of Timor got its curious shape. It is also a parable about kindness, and now a children's book that is benefiting vulnerable kids. The book was illustrated by children from the Familia Hope Orphanage in East Timor, including many who lost their parents in the country's violent struggle for independence. proceeds from sales go to the orphanage.

B99a Labarik Ho Lafaek: Aik-nanoik id husi Timor-Leste
Desnhu husi labarik orfenato Familia Hope

Tetum version

Affirm Press, 2011 $20 each, paperback


A Boy and the Crocodile: The Legend of East Timor

Labarik Ho Lafaek: Aik-nanoik id husi Timor-Leste



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