By Alvin Schwartz
"Alligators" is the fifteenth story included in the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. A woman marries a very nice man. Every night he goes swimming in the river. She does not like this because he always leaves her at home alone. Soon they have two children and when they get older, their father takes them swimming and leaves his wife at home again. One night, they go out and do not come back...
A young woman in town married a man from another part of the country. He was a nice fellow, and they got along pretty well together. There was only one problem. Every night he'd go swimming in the river. Sometimes he would be gone all night long, and she would complain about how lonely she was.
This couple had two young sons. As soon as the boys could walk, their father began to teach them how to swim. And when they got to be old enough, he took them swimming in the river at night. Often they would stay there all night long, and the young woman would stay home all by herself.
After a while, she began to act in a strange way — at least, that is what the neighbors said. She told them that her husband was turning into an alligator, and that he was trying to turn the boys into alligators.
Everybody told her there was nothing wrong with a man taking his sons swimming. That was a natural thing to do. And when it came to alligators, there just weren't any nearby. Everybody knew that.
Early one morning the young woman came running into town from the direction of the river. She was soaking wet. She said a big alligator and two little alligators had pulled her in and had tried to get her to eat a raw fish. They were her husband and her sons, she said, and they wanted her to live with them. But she had gotten away.
Her doctor decided she had lost her mind, and he had her put in the hospital for a while. After that nobody saw her husband and boys again. They just disappeared.
But now and then a fisherman would tell about seeing alligators in the river at night. Usually it was one big alligator and two small ones. But people said they were just making it up. Everybody knows there aren't any alligators around here.
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