An Elephant’s Tale

By Clive Howey

In the Serengeti grasslands a group of elephants wandered wild and free. They had lived in here for generations and considered it their homeland. They knew each tuft, watering hole and tree, each contour and each day, they followed the same, well-trodden paths to find food and water and a place to sunbathe. The paths were rocky and hard underfoot and the scrub to which they led was bitter and dry. There was never any place to wallow and sunbathe. Yet their instinct was to follow their traditions and beliefs and, even when they observed other groups exploring alternative routes and returning contented and soaked, they stuck to their well-established habits without noticing how arduous, unpleasant and dreary their days had become.

A baby elephant from the family had been drawn away from the usual trodden route by the sound of other families splashing in water, a faint sound which sparked interest and curiosity. She followed the sounds and, before long, found a green, sun bathed water hole with no crocodiles or other predators. She noticed how this awoke all her positive feelings and she settled into her new surroundings and as she wallowed and splashed in the water, absorbing the singing sounds of birds, the joyous sounds of other animals and the breeze blowing by. The young elephant noticed how relaxed and energetic she felt and returned to her family, as usual, treading the same paths, dirty, hungry and fed up. She ran as fast as she could when she saw them, telling all of the new place she had found with all its gifts and riches.  When she saw her mother, she felt overwhelming triumph and pride. All the family wished to find and see this new place.  I will take you now, said the baby but at first, she felt an enormous sense of trepidation and fear.

As they set off and ventured further down the new path she had found, she began to feel more confident but at the same time, calm.  Eventually, they arrived and all basked in the sun, swimming happily and feasting on the vegetation which surrounded the area.  The baby sensed her pride at what she had found, and pride flowed through her as she watched her family and friends happy in their new surroundings.