The Forgetful Elephant
The Elephant woke up at the bottom of a ravine. And rudely, too, for he found a pack of dogs biting at its bum.
The startled and confused Elephant promptly shook them off and stood up. He did not remember how he had gotten there. In fact, the Forgetful Elephant did not remember anything.
Standing up, the Forgetful Elephant discovered that his hind leg was badly injured. For that reason, he decided he would go and try to find out who he was and what had happened to him. He chose a direction and followed it.
He first found the wild pig. His mighty tusks were red with berry juice. He greeted the wild pig and asked if he knew him. The wild pig said no, but that taking the other direction, he would come to find a snake, and snakes know a lot.
The grateful Elephant then walked back and took the other direction, considering how lucky he had been to so quickly find out he had picked the wrong one.
The snake was enjoying the sun on top of a rock. Its skin was yellow and dry, anxious to be shed. It did not stir as the inquisitive Elephant came close. Again, he asked her if she knew him and again she said no. She told the downtrodden Elephant to try over the other side of the river, for she knew of a horse that talked about Elephants. The reinvigorated Elephant thanked the snake and headed to the river.
When the hopeful Elephant got to the river, he sought the help of a crocodile. Its jaws grinned like twisted fate. The crocodile told the Elephant he could not carry him, but vowed not to eat him and told him the water was shallow enough for him to cross. So the trusting Elephant crossed the river, only to be attacked by the treacherous crocodile.
Fortunately, the endangered Elephant survived the fight by hitting the crocodile with his mighty trump. But the betrayed Elephant did get hurt and so left the river even more injured than he was before. Still, he did not waver and continued on.
The limping Elephant made its way out of the Savannah wastelands where he had woken up, marching onwards for what seemed forever.
The exhausted Elephant experienced the prairies, and lush forests, as it sought after this horse. It had to fight further, the poor Elephant. But he also ate things he loved and drank of water he much enjoyed. In time, the adventurous Elephant grew used to the limping, and accustomed to the injured hind leg as, alone, he braved the lands, meeting more and more animals in his quest to remember. Witnessing sights that challenged imagination.
The raven, its feathers black as night, told the Lost Elephant what direction to take. As did the squirrel, its tail like a wandering wave, and the bunny, its snout possessing a life of its own. The wild cat, its eyes merciless, warned him off the territory of its pack, and the spider, its voice all-knowing, told the wandering Elephant where to find this mythic horse.
Finally, the persistent Elephant found the horse. The horse, a mare, was galloping along, enjoying a run. Its fur was brown, with spotted marks of beige, and it danced to the wind as if it was an extension of her. The despairing Elephant asked her if she knew him and the mare said yes. She called him Chichinak, which meant big and proud, and told him she thought he was dead.
The mare told Chichinak, the shocked and forgetful Elephant, that he had broken a leg, and because of that, had made the journey to die. Because you see, Elephants are more attuned to death than your average creature of nature. When they feel it is coming for them, they journey to their graveyard. And his was just next to a ravine…he had gone there to die but had tripped and fell over. It dawned on Chichinak that his assumption that the fall had broken his leg had been wrong, it had been broken long before.
“But I have now walked so much more,” Chichinak said to himself. “I went to die, and yet, have lived on for so much longer. I gave up on life over this wound and now have experienced what I would have missed. The wound was not the end I thought it was.”
Chichinak thanked the Mare and marched off, not towards the graveyard, where his old self, the injured Elephant had been left to die, but towards other lands, and other adventures…as a new Elephant.
This short story comes directly from Shadow Conclave, my ongoing webnovel, where it made an appearance as part of a character’s background. You can read Shadow Conclave here: https://shadowconclave.wordpress.com/