An Elephant Story


A young elephant is separated from his mother in the wild and captured by a group of hunters. They treat the young pachyderm well feeding and caring for his every need. He takes a fantastic voyage across the sea with many other beasts from his homeland. Arriving in America he is quickly employed by a world famous circus.

It is an exciting life for the trunk entrusted friend. Each week he and a team of men set out the large tent, set steaks, and lift the red and white stripped canvas dome. With the tent set the nomadic family gets dressed and marches down Main Street where he carries a flag in front of everyone.

In the evening, for his safety and the safety of others, his keeper explains, they lock his left rear leg in a shackle welded to a ten foot long chain an inch thick that is driven into the ground two feet. It takes a team of three men fifteen minutes to secure him in each new setting and another half hour to remove the riggings.

At night, when the lion paces in his cage scouting the darkness, or the zebras stand and sway in their sleep, the young elephant walks a slow circle around the midpoint pin. The chain is heavy, keeping his pace slow and steady. When he steps to far away for his worn path the chain clinks with the reminder it is there.

Our elephant friend stayed in show business another twenty years leading the parade, setting the tent, and lifting the loads no smaller creature could touch. He was no longer a young smooth gray floppy eared creature. He was now a giant mass that carefully watched where he set foot for fear of stepping on toes.

One night, when the last of the game stalls closed and the green eyes of the tiger began to glow, the elephant started his clockwise circles in the route he had started two nights before. With each step his body would gracefully glide the wrinkles smooth. In another step his skin would return to the valleys and folds that were there before. After a while he noticed that it was a little easier tonight than any other night for his exercise. With a flop of his ears and turn of the head he could see that the chain had bound in the steak and snapped.

In this moment of freedom he realized that he was much stronger than the chain. He was mightier than the steak. This mammoth could have left his constraints years ago. As he took his first step outside the ringed path he had walked he realized something else. He didn’t want to leave show business.

That next morning the man who fed and cleaned him found the broken chain and the enormous steak in a mangled mess. The man rubbed behind the elephants ear in that spot he liked, patted his trunk and said with a soft smile “good boy, good boy.”