Elephant Story

elephantYou may remember that early this year I said you should be thinking about elephants. I hope you have all been working on your assignments, because there are some important metaphorical discussions ahead concerning elephants.

And some jokes. Do you know why elephants are wrinkled? Because they’re very difficult to iron. And whatever do you do with an elephant with three balls?  Walk him and pitch to the giraffe. [bah-rump-bump] (One pity about blogging… A line that bad really demands a rimshot, or other funny sound effect, for proper punctuation.)

Here’s another little gem from my collection. Just love a good punch line!

This Is An Incredible Story

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.
The elephant seemed agitated and distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.
He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant’s foot, and there he found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.
As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife. When he was done, the elephant gingerly put its foot down on the ground.
After testing his stance, the elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.
Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.
Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.
Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenage son.
As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing.
The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at Peter.
Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. He summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure.
He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.
The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and then slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.
Probably wasn’t the same fucking elephant.
This is for everyone who sends me those heart-warming bullshit stories. If it wasn’t clear by now: not real big on the inspirational, heart-warming stories. It really boils down to not responding well to blatant attempts to play my heart-strings. A Happy Ending makes me as gooey as the next cupcake, and a really good one can completely take me apart. But the storyteller has to work for it, at least a little! It isn’t so much “seeing the brush strokes” so much as realizing it was put on—often inexpertly—with a roller.

telelephoneHere’s a bit of fun to wrap things up.


~ Laura Richards
Once there was an elephant
who tried to use the telephant;
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone.
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)
Howe’er it was he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I’d better quit this song
of elehop and telephong!)

Watch out for elephants!

elephant crossing

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

21 responses to “Elephant Story

  • kerbey

    Well, I hope you’re happy. Here I was caught up in the story, thinking Peter and the elephant would be lifetime friends. You are the anti-chicken soup for the soul! 🙂

  • dianasschwenk

    haha! That Peter story caught me completely off guard! Love the surprise ending!

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    Yeah – don’t every think you can be a wild animal’s friend. I don’t care how long it’s been in captivity. Even your pet cat will scratch your face without provocation. Love the second poem!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      To be honest, cats scare me a little. I’ve got a friend who loves her three, but she’s been attacked pretty good a couple of times now. (No doubt part of the problem is taking in strays, but still… cats seem pretty wild to me.)

  • Alex Autin

    Great elephant story. I’m, at this moment, trying to figure out how I’ll fit it into conversation. 😀

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I find that, “Speaking of elephants,…” always works for me! 🙂

      You might have to set that up with, “Say,… here’s a phrase you never hear: ‘Hand me that elephant.'”

  • Michelle at The Green Study

    Between this and the dog post – it’s enjoyable to see your more lighthearted pieces. Of course, there might be something wrong with me that I find a story of a man-killing elephant to be lighthearted. Then again, I loathe Hallmark movies and falsely sentimental tales as well. And Thomas Kincaide paintings and Oprah and Martha Stewart….yup. It might just be me.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      (Well, not mine, as such; I’m not the author.) You’re not alone; I’m with you on the Hallmark and Kodak moments. (So much of it is treacle fed to us by advertisers; the perfect convivial moment… brought to you by Brand ‘A’!) I like a bit of edge, or at least reality, even in the fairest fairy tales. And just from a storytelling perspective, I like it when a story surprises me, does the unexpected. (But no worries; I’ll be back to my usual fare soon enough! :twisted:)

  • bronxboy55

    There you go with those intentional walks again. I say pitch to the elephant — he’s batting .215 against left-handers.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, and I really should know better. The Twins keep walking Cabrera to get to Fielder, and that never works out like they hope. (What a name for a ball player: Prince Fielder! One can’t help but wonder about siblings named In and Out.)

  • reocochran

    I was happy to check out this sad but “true” story that had a date on it, Kenya, too. Nice details! My brother tells them like he ran into the person or family member. I love his silly one liners, The other day I was at the ATM waiting on an elderly woman, she asked me to help her check her balance and I knocked her over. The next one is a little less obvious, I was walking into the revolving door of a store and witnessed two blonde women texting and walking into a building. One of the blondes noticed. Subtle, huh? Take care and sending you smiles!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      So true! The details are what sell it and make it interesting. Your brother sounds a little like that guy, Jack Handey. One of my favorite Handey-isms is, “I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because they’d never expect it.”

  • E.D.

    The truth is elephants never forget, do they? – I use to love those parable stories. Often I would keep them and share them on my blog but of late, I have lost interest. I am losing my wonder with the world, and that quite honestly, is a sad sad thing. oh well. sigh! – Eve 😉

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Why do they associate memory with elephants? Good question!

      My mom used to read us kids the Kipling “Just So” stories, and we particularly loved the one about how the elephant got its long nose (a crocodile pulled it). I’ve been meaning to do a post on elephants a long time, but somehow have never gotten to it.

      I understand the loss of interest very well and feel it, too. A combination of age and jadedness, perhaps, but certainly feeling the world’s value system is mostly upside down from mine. Sometimes the only choice is to keep walking. Who knows what tomorrow brings.

      (For instance, I’m delighted Bernie Sanders is getting traction, and it’s a hoot watching the Republicans continue to lose relevance. It’s quite possible the Tea Party will Stupid Stubborn themselves right out of the political arena. I’m surprised they lasted this long, but USAnians don’t have the sense they once did.)

      • E.D.

        The only thing I really concentrate on nowadays is Bernie S. I always thought he was a great bloke and he is. Remember my blog post on him a couple of months back, when i backed him fully?. But then it was way too soon. The only think i worry about with Bern, is a bernout before the elections. huh! Eve

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Or that his embrace of “socialism” will turn off too many who don’t try to understand where he’s coming from. We shall see what happens. I just watched the Dem debate from CNN last night. Interesting, but I found myself underwhelmed by all them, sadly, even Bernie. None of them talked like actual human beings… that’s the thing about Trump… he doesn’t talk like a politician, and it’s really refreshing. If only we had someone like that who wasn’t such a clown.

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