Never Tickle a Crocodile
When Wrinklebeard the Robber Chief dies, his daughter takes over the family business
Robber Chief Wrinklebeard has two cheeky sons and a very obedient daughter. On his deathbed he gives his children the following advice: do what you want, steal anything from anyone, but never tickle a crocodile. Only his obedient daughter does as she’s told.
The boys laze around, merely wave as the queen goes by in her coach, pay for their bread like everyone else, and then go off in search of a crocodile. But when they finally find one, it almost proves the death of them. Fortunately their sister arrives just in time to rescue them and turn them into good, obedient robbers.
Thé Tjong-Khing’s illustrations for this book are remarkable. In spite of the many witty details, the landscapes are spectacularly desolate: these robbers clearly live far from civilisation. Bette Westera has written a story in poems, with a quirky, back-to-front moral message, which could just as easily have been written by Annie M.G. Schmidt or Roald Dahl.