the Elephant’s Child went home across Africa frisking and whisking his
trunk. When he wanted fruit to eat he pulled fruit down from a tree, instead
of waiting for it to fall as he used to do. When he wanted grass he plucked
grass up from the ground, instead of going on his knees as he used to do.
When the flies bit him he broke off the branch of a tree and used it as
a fly-whisk; and he made himself a new, cool slushy-squshy mud-cap whenever
the sun was hot. When he felt lonely walking through Africa he sang to
himself down his trunk, and the noise was louder than several brass bands.
He went especially out of his way to find a broad Hippopotamus (she was
no relation of his), and he spanked her very hard, to make sure that the
Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake had spoken the truth about his new trunk.
The rest of the time he picked up the melon rinds that he had dropped on
his way to the Limpopo–for he was a Tidy Pachyderm.
One dark evening he came back to all his dear families,
and he coiled up his trunk and said, “How do you do?” They were very glad
to see him, and immediately said, “Come here and be spanked for your ‘satiable
“Pooh,” said the Elephant’s Child. “I don’t think
you people’s know anything about spanking; but I do, and I’ll show you.”
Then he uncurled his trunk and knocked two of his
dear brothers head over heels.
“O Bananas!” said they, “Where did you learn that
trick, and what have you done to your nose?”
“I got a new one from the Crocodile on the banks
of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River,” said the Elephant’s Child.
“I asked him what he had for dinner, and he gave me this to keep.”
“It looks very ugly,” said his hairy uncle, the
“It does,” said the Elephant’s Child. “But it’s
very useful,” and he picked up his hairy uncle, the Baboon, by one hairy
leg, and hove him into a hornets’ nest.
Then that bad Elephant’s Child spanked all his
dear families for a long time, till they were very warm and greatly astonished.
He pulled out his tall Ostrich aunt’s tail-feathers; and he caught his
tall uncle, the Giraffe, by the hind-leg, and dragged him through a thorn-bush;
and he shouted at his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, and blew bubbles into
her ear when she was sleeping in the water after meals; but he never let
any one touch the Kolokolo Bird.
At last things grew so exciting that his dear families
went off one by one in a hurry to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy
Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to borrow new noses from
the Crocodile. When they came back nobody spanked anybody any more; and
ever since that day, O Best Beloved, all the Elephants you will ever see
besides all those that you won’t, have trunks precisely like the trunk
of the ‘satiable Elephant’s Child.