Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Chapter 12

By Donna Jo Napoli

Chapter 12

  • Frank Raymond is nowhere around, so Calo thinks he must be off adventuring. He sneaks a horse and rides to see Joseph, aware that he could get into trouble because he doesn't have permission to use the horse or go this far away. Still, he is determined to get Patricia the bowl he made.
  • It's so hot that Calo feels like he's melting. He stops to get a drink and thinks he's lost his way—he doesn't really remember how to get to Joseph's.
  • While resting for a bit, Calo thinks about how his little brother's birthday just passed, about how he will buy him a gift and mail it, and about how he will use the money he's got to buy ice cream. Some of the money is Cirone's, so he'll have to pay him back somehow.
  • Calo weaves two mats out of ferns to wear like a hat to block the sun, and he walks on. Joseph's shack is empty when he arrives.
  • Then an arrow whizzes by his head and sends the horse galloping away, scared. That was a close call.
  • Joseph sees it is Calo and apologizes, telling the boy it is good that he didn't have his gun today—a fact that sends Calo to his knees in gratitude. Phew. His bowl has already been fired and is good to go, but Calo doesn't want to be rude, so he doesn't take it and run off. Instead he sits to watch what Joseph is doing.
  • Joseph is making an alligator bowl. He tells Calo that alligators may not look pretty, but they are honest. Calo wants to learn to weave an alligator basket, but Joseph won't teach him. He will, however, tell him a story.
  • Then Joseph lets Calo pick another story, so he asks why Joseph has a non-American Indian name. Apparently, Joseph used to have an American Indian name that meant bullfrog, but white boys bullied and beat him for being American Indian—they even buried him in rocks—so he moved away and changed his name.
  • Calo and Joseph wrap the bowl in ferns, and Calo takes off for Frank's house (where he hopes to paint the bowl). No one's home.
  • When Calo arrives back home, everyone is waiting for him, disappointed—again—that he didn't do what he said he was going to do. It's a pretty tough crowd to please back at Calo's place.
  • Luckily, Calo doesn't get punished again, probably because everyone's in such a great mood about the party that night.
  • When Calo shows Cirone the bowl, he says he feels bummed that it isn't painted, but his cousin says that Patricia will love it, anyway.

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