Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything
- Umboo, the Elephant - 3/19 -
beasts were the elephants, for the big animals had no regular home. They did not live in caves as did the lions and tigers, for no cave was large enough for a herd of elephants.
And, except in the case of solitary, or lonely elephants, which are often savage beasts, or "rogues," all elephants live in herds--a number of them always keeping together, just like a herd of cows.
Another reason why elephants do not live in one place, like a lion's cave, or in a nest or lair under the thick grass where a tiger brings up her striped babies, is that elephants eat so much that they have to keep moving from place to place to get more food.
They will eat all there is in one part of the jungle, and then travel many miles to a new place, not coming back to the first one until there are more green leaves, fresh grass, or new bark on the trees which they have partly stripped.
So Umboo, the two-hundred-pound baby elephant, lived with his mother in the jungle, drinking nothing but milk for the first six months, as he had no teeth to chew even the most tender grass.
"Well, are you strong enough to walk along now?" Umboo's mother asked him one day in the jungle, and this was when he was about half a week old.
"Oh, yes, I can walk now," said the baby elephant, as he swayed to and fro between his mother's front legs, while she stood over him to keep the other big elephants, and some of the half-grown elephant boys and girls, from bumping into him, and knocking him over. "I can walk all right. But why do you ask me that?" Umboo wanted to know.
"Because the herd is going to march away," said Mrs. Stumptail, which was the name of Umboo's mother. "They are going to march to another part of the jungle, and your father and I will march with them, as we do not want to be left behind. There is not much more left here to eat. We have taken all the palm nuts and leaves from the trees. We have only been waiting until you grew strong enough to march."
"Oh, I can march all right," said Umboo, telling his story to the circus animals in the tent. "Look how fast I can go!"
Out he started from under his mother's body, striding across a grassy place in the jungle. But Umboo was not as good at walking as he had thought. Even though he weighed two hundred pounds his legs were not very strong, and soon he began to totter.
"Look out!" cried his mother. "You are going to fall!" and she reached out her trunk and wound it around Umboo, holding him up.
"Hello!" trumpeted Mr. Stumptail, coming up just then with a big green branch in his trunk. "What's the matter here?"
"Umboo was just showing me how well he could walk," said his mother, speaking elephant talk, of course. "I told him the herd would soon be on the march, and that he must come along."
"But we won't go until he is strong enough," said Umboo's father. "Here," he said to Mrs. Stumptail, "eat this branch of palm nuts. They are good and sweet. Eat them while I go and see Old Tusker. I'll tell him not to start to lead the herd to another part of the jungle until Umboo is stronger."
Then, giving the mother elephant a branch of palm nuts, which food the big jungle animals like best of all, Mr. Stumptail went to see Tusker, the oldest and largest elephant of the jungle--he who always led the herd on the march.
"My new little boy elephant is not quite strong enough to march, yet," said Mr. Stumptail to Tusker. "Can we wait here another day or two?"
"Oh, yes, of course, Mr. Stumptail," said the kind, old head elephant. "You know the herd will never go faster than the mothers and baby elephants can travel."
And this is true, as any old elephant hunter will tell you.
"Thank you," said Mr. Stumptail, to Tusker; for elephants are polite to each other, even though, in the jungle, they sometimes may be a bit rough toward lions and tigers, of whom they are afraid.
Back to the mother elephant and Baby Umboo went Mr. Stumptail, to tell them there was no hurry about the herd marching away. And two or three days later Umboo had grown stronger and was not so wobbly on his legs. He could run about a little, and once he even tried to bump his head against another elephant boy, quite older than he was.
"Here! You mustn't do that!" cried his mother. "What trick are you up to now?"
"Well, this elephant laughed at your tail," said Umboo. "He said it was a little short one, and not long like his mother's!"
"Don't mind that!" said Mrs. Stumptail, with a sort of laugh away down in her trunk. "All our family have short, or stumpy tails. That is how we get our name. The Stumptail elephants are very stylish, let me tell you."
"Oh, then it's all right," said Umboo, who was called by that name because he had made that sort of noise or sound through his nose, when he was a day old. And elephants and jungle folk are named for the sort of noises they make, or for something they do, or look like, just as Indians are named.
So Umboo played in the deep jungle forest with the other little elephant boys and girls until his mother and father saw that he was strong enough to walk well by himself.
"Now we will start on a long march!" called Tusker one day. "The jungle here is well eaten, and, besides, it is no longer safe for us here. So we will march."
"Why isn't the jungle safe here any more?" asked Umboo of his mother.
"I'll tell you," answered Tusker, who heard what the little elephant asked. "The other day," went on the big chap, "I went to the top of the hill over there," and he pointed with his trunk. "I heard up there a noise like thunder, but it was not thunder."
"What was it?" asked Umboo, who liked to listen to the talk of the old herd-leader. The other little elephants also gathered around to listen.
"It was the noise of the guns of the hunters," said Tusker. "They are coming to our jungle, and where the hunters come is no place for us. So we must march away and hide. Also there is not much food left here. We must go to a new jungle-place."
Raising his trunk in the air Tusker gave a loud call. All the other elephants gathered around him, and off he started, leading the way through the green forest.
"Now if I go too fast for any of you baby elephants, just squeak and I'll stop," said the big, kind elephant. "We will go only as fast as you little chaps can walk."
"You are very kind," said Mrs. Stumptail, helping Umboo, with her trunk, to get over a rough bit of ground.
On and on marched the elephants to find a new place in the jungle, where they would be safe from the hunters, and where they could find more sweet bark, leaves and palm nuts to eat. Umboo walked near his mother, as the other small elephant boys and girls walked near their mothers, and the bigger elephants helped the smaller and weaker ones over the rough places.
Pretty soon, in the jungle, the herd of elephants came to what seemed a big silver ribbon, shining in the sun. It sparkled like a looking glass on a circus wagon, though, as yet, neither Umboo, nor any of the other big animals had ever seen a show.
"What is that?" asked Umboo of his mother.
"That is a river of water," she answered. "It is water to drink and wash in."
"Oh, I never could drink all that water," said the baby elephant.
"No one expects you to!" said his mother, with an elephant laugh. "But we are going to swim across it to get on the other side."
"What is swimming?" asked Umboo.
"It means going in the water, and wiggling your legs so that you will float across and not sink," said Mrs. Stumptail. "See, we are at the jungle river now, and we will go across."
"Oh, but I'm afraid!" cried Umboo, holding back. "I don't want to go in all that water."
Mrs. Stumptail reached out her trunk and caught her little boy around the middle of his stomach.
"You must do as I tell you!" she said. "Up you go!" and she lifted him high in the air.
"Oh, did she let you fall?" suddenly asked Chako, who, with the other animals in the circus tent, was eagerly listening to the story Umboo was telling. "Did she let you fall?"
SLIDING DOWN HILL
"Look here!" cried Snarlie, the tiger, when Chako, the monkey, had asked his question. "Look here, Chako! You mustn't interrupt like that when Umboo is talking! Let him tell his story, just as you let me tell mine. And maybe Umboo's jungle story will go in a book, as mine did."
"Is yours in a book?" asked Humpo, the camel.
"It is," answered Snarlie, and he did not speak at all proudly as some tigers might. "My story is in a book, and there are pictures of me, and also Toto, the little Indian princess. For I came from India, just as Umboo did."
Previous Page Next Page
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 19
Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything