(January 8th to 14th)

Format: Triple

An elephant who will not work and is not tied up is about as manageable as an eightyone-ton gun loose in a heavy seaway. He slapped old friends on the back and asked them if the stumps were coming away easily; he talked nonsense concerning labor and the inalienable rights of elephants to a long “nooning”; and, wandering to and fro, he thoroughly demoralized the garden till sundown, when he returned to his picket for food.


This is from “Moti Guj, Mutineer” in Life’s Handicap.

Moti Guj is a working elephant, with a dissolute mahout, Deesa. Deesa gets permission to go away for ten days to get throughly drunk, and tells the elephant to obey the planter’s orders during this time, ehich he does. On the eleventh day, when Dessa has not returned, Moti Guj refuses to work, and because he is a powerful creature, nothing can be done about it. Not until Deesa reappears does he return to his labours …

He let out wid his fore-fut like a steam-hammer, bein’ convinced that I was in ambuscade adjacent; an’ that wag’nette ran back among the other carriages like a field-gun in charge. Thin he hauled ut out again an’ shuk ut, an’ by nature it came all to little pieces. Afther that he went sheer damn, slam, dancin’, lunatic, double-shuffle demented wid the whole of Antonio’s shtock for the season. He kicked, an’ he straddled, and he stamped, an’ he pounded all at wanst, his big bald head bobbin’ up an’ down, solemn as a rigadoon.


This is from “My Lord the Elephant” in Many Inventions.

Mulvaney tells how in his youth he had encountered a runaway elephant, which had caused much damage and commotion. He succeeded in mastering it, and made friends with the great beast. Later, as Learoyd recalls, rising from his sickbed, Mulvaney had persuaded the elephant to cross a dangerous bridge, unblocking an army corps on the march though a narrow pass.

There was one blast of furious trumpeting from the lines, and then the silence shut down on everything, and Kala Nag began to move. Sometimes a tuft of high grass washed along his sides as a wave washes along the sides of a ship, and sometimes a cluster of wild-pepper vines would scrape along his back, or a bamboo would creak where his shoulder touched it; but between those times he moved absolutely without any sound, drifting through the thick Garo forest as though it had been smoke.


This is from Toomai of the Elephants in The Jungle Book.

It is the end of the season’s drive to catch wild elephants, and one moonlit night Kala Nag, one of the experienced elephants assisting in the hunt, has broken out of his pickets and set out across the jungle. Little Toomai, the son of Kala Nag’s mahout, has gone with him, and sees what no man had seen before, the dance of the elephants in the heart of the Garo hills.