Thursday, October 28, 2010

Satiable Curtiosity

This picture was on the Telegraph website today. My first thought was, "it's the Elephant's Child!" One of my favourite stories ever, although when I went to an American nursery school a couple of years ago to share it with the kindergarten class I suddenly realised it was utterly politically incorrect because they were all spanking each other, and I had to make some speedy and unsatisfying adjustments as I read aloud. Anyway, poor little elephant of course but also the story come alive:

"'Come hither, Little One,' said the Crocodile, 'for I am the Crocodile,' and he wept crocodile-tears to show it was quite true. Then the Elephant's Child grew all breathless, and panted, and kneeled down on the bank and said,

'You are the very person I have been looking for all these long days. Will you please tell me what you have for dinner?'

'Come hither, Little One,' said the Crocodile, 'and I'll whisper.' Then the Elephant's Child put his head down close to the Crocodile's musky, tusky mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by his little nose, which up to that very week, day, hour, and minute, had been no bigger than a boot, though much more useful.

'I think, said the Crocodile--and he said it between his teeth, like this--'I think to-day I will begin with Elephant's Child!' At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant's Child was much annoyed, and he said, speaking through his nose, like this,

'Led go! You are hurtig be!' Then the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake scuffled down from the bank and said,

'My young friend, if you do not now, immediately and instantly, pull as hard as ever you can, it is my opinion that your acquaintance in the large-pattern leather ulster' (and by this he meant the Crocodile) 'will jerk you into yonder limpid stream before you can say Jack Robinson.' This is the way Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snakes always talk. Then the Elephant's Child sat back on his little haunches, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose began to stretch. And the Crocodile floundered into the water, making it all creamy with great sweeps of his tail, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled."

You may read the rest of the story here. To be reassured that the baby elephant was saved, you may read this.

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