The Crocodile and the Fly
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: Elizabeth T.

Crocodile knows he’s stronger than everyone else in the swamp — but that doesn’t make him smarter. See how he learns his lesson in this fable. Students will read the passage and answer follow-up questions about the plot and other story elements.

Topic(s): Fairy Tales & Fables. Skill(s): Theme, Character Traits, Fact & Opinion, Main / Central Idea. Genre(s): Prose

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


Crocodile was the biggest animal in the swamp. He spent most of his time in the cool, shady parts of a green pool. When he was hungry, he slithered into the sunshine towards the drinking hole where all the animals gathered to sip the clear water on hot days. Crocodile was very sneaky and kept only his eyes above the water as he moved towards the other animals. Then SNAP! His big jaws closed in on some unlucky bird or frog that didn’t see him coming.

“I’m so strong that no one can escape me!” Crocodile bragged.

All of the animals were afraid of Crocodile.  

One day, Fly noticed Crocodile creeping up on the other animals. Fly buzzed around Crocodile’s eyes to get his attention.

“You might be strong, but I bet you won’t catch anything today!” Fly teased. She flew in circles and figure-eights around Crocodile’s face.

Crocodile rose up out of the water a bit so he could talk to Fly. “Of course I will,” said Crocodile. “I’m the strongest animal in the swamp. I can catch any animal I want,” Crocodile bragged.

Fly zipped past Crocodile’s nose. “I don’t think so,” she said. Fly flew vary close to Crocodile’s ear and tickled him with her buzzing wings.

“Stop that!” Crocodile shouted. Two birds looked up from the drinking hole and blinked. They couldn’t see anything unusual, but their ears were never wrong about danger. They flew to the treetops just in case.

Fly danced on the air just in front of Crocodile’s snout. “Being strong isn’t everything, you know.” And with that, Fly landed delicately on the tip of Crocodile’s snout. She tickled his leathery skin with her wings.

Crocodile did not like being teased. “How would you like if I eat YOU?” he roared. Crocodile opened his powerful jaws wide and snapped at the air. He thrashed about in the water and raised a ruckus as he tried to bite down on Fly.

The rabbits and frogs at the watering hole looked up and saw a terrifying sight. Crocodile was splashing and trying to catch something. In a flash, they all hopped away and hid. 

Fly held fast to Crocodile’s nose. Eventually, Crocodile stopped biting at the air and gave up, panting and tired. Fly laughed. “You can’t catch me or you’d bite your own nose off,” she said. “And now you’ve made so much noise trying to show off that your lunch ran away.” With that, Fly flew away, laughing on the breeze.

Crocodile sulked and swam back into the shade, hungry and unhappy that he had been outsmarted by such a small creature.

Comprehension Questions

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