Do you remember Rudyard Kipling’s story of how the elephant got its trunk? Part of the Just So stories, this one tells us of the Elephant Child who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity about all sorts of things, including what the crocodile ate for dinner. Having been spanked by everyone who could, he set off for the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees to find out for himself. When he at last met the crocodile he was told ‘I think to-day I will begin with Elephant’s Child!’ With that, the crocodile pulled at the Elephant Child’s little nose.
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. And the Elephant’s Child’s nose kept on stretching; and the Elephant’s Child spread all his little four legs and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose kept on stretching; and the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and at each pull the Elephant’s Child’s nose grew longer and longer – and it hurt him hijjus!
In this way the Elephant Child’s nose was stretched to the trunk it is today. He waited for three days for it to shrink – it didn’t – and gradually came to realise how useful it was: he could swat a pesky fly; he could pluck grass and stuff it into his mouth; and when he was hot, he found he could could schloop up a schloop of mud from the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo, and slap it on his head, where it made a cool schloopy-sloshy mud-cap all trickly behind his ears.
Today we are going to look at the elephant’s trunk:
While another elephant: