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Retold by V.Suteev
Illustrated by V.Suteev
Everyone knows that elephant have trunks.
But many, many years ago they had no trunks at all. At that time, there lived in Africa an elephant calf, he was awfully curious.
He kept bothering his aunt ostrich, asking her why her tail feathers were growing the way they were, and not the other way round.
He kept bothering his uncle giraffe, asking him why he had spots on his skin.
He kept bothering his aunt hippo. Asking her why her eyes were so red.
And the fat aunt hippo would always give him a punch with her heavy hoof.
But even this didn't make him less curious, and he kept asking his uncle baboon why melons were so sweet.
One fine morning the little elephant. A bore and a nuisance. Asked: "What does a crocodile eat for dinner?"
Nobody had ever asked such things and everybody shouted: "Hush! Hush!" and rushed at him with punches.
They'd been beating him for a long time, but when they stopped, he ran up to a colocolo bird and said:
"And still I'm eager to know what the crocodile eats for dinner."
And the colocolo bird said:
"Go to the river Limpopo. There you will find out everything."
"O.k! Bye-bye! I'm off for the Limpopo!"
The little elephant shouldered 100 pounds of bananas, 100 pounds of sugar-cane, and 17 crisp green melons.
He ate the melons while walking, and threw the peels to the ground (he had nothing to pick them up with).
Finally he reached the Limpopo.
The first thing that caught his eye was a two-coloroured python — a rocky serpent.
"Will you be so kind to tell me what the crocodile eats for dinner?"
"What a stupid thing to ask!" said the python angrily and gave the little elephant a punch.
"How strange." Said the elephant: "I was beaten by my father. And my mother. And my uncle used to beat me. And the same thing happens here."
The little elephant said a polite good-bye to the python and went on.
Soon he came across a sort of a log.
But it wasn't really a log. It was a crocodile.
And the crocodile gave him a wink, like this.
The little elephant was terribly glad and he said: "You are the person I'm looking for! Tell me. Please. What do you eat for dinner?"
"Come a bit closer, sonny, and I'll whisper it in your ear."
The little elephant at once bent his ear to the crocodile's large-toothed mouth.
"Starting today, I'm going to eat young elephants." And the crocodile caught him by his little nose.
And he tugged and tugged... And the elephant's nose grew longer and longer. And it hurt badly.
"Stop it! That'll do! Stop it!" Bellowed the little elephant through his nose.
Having heard that, the two-coloured python rushed down from the rock to his rescue.
The two-coloured python tugged with greater force and. Finally, the crocodile let go of the elephant's nose.
The little elephant had to take care of his streched nose as soon as possible. So he wrapped it up with damp banana leaves.
"What are you doing?" asked the two-coloured python.
"I want my nose to be short again."
"It's really a wonder how some can't see what's to their own benefit," said the python. "You haven't seen your nose yet. It's a real treasure of a nose."
"Thank you," said the elephant. "I'll take that into consideration and try my nose on my family." And the little elephant went back home the same way.
And he picked up the melon peel he had thrown away on his way to the Limpopo.
He walked. Waving his trunk. Elies gave him a lot of trouble. But the moment he struck them with his trunk, they fell dead.
If he wanted to have a snack, he reached his trunk to the ground for some grass and put it into his mouth.
When the sun was too hot, he put his trunk into the river and poured water over himself.
One fine night he came to his dear relatives.
"Will you come up here so we give you a punch or two for your unbearable curiosity!"
"Why, you know nothing about punches, as for me, I'm a good judge of them!"
"What an ugly nose!" said uncle baboon. The little elephant caught him by his leg and threw him into a wasps' nest.
And the little elephant became so angry that he beat up all his dear relatives.
Since them all elephants have a trunk like that of the curious little elephant.
Author: Kipling R.; illustrated by Suteyev V.
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