Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: An Elephant Never Forgets
By Gregory Kane
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Sebastian the elephant didn't mean to cause trouble. He had just passed the crooked tree on his way to the water hole when he suddenly stopped in his tracks. He sat down on the soft, leaf-covered ground and began to think about something rather important.
Monkey was the first to encounter Sebastian. He was leaping and laughing and not looking where he was going. He curled his tail round a branch and sprang forward, smashing abruptly into Sebastian's huge, grey bulk.
“Hey, what you doing?” said Monkey, picking himself up off the floor. “You no sit there. You in the way to the water hole!”
But Sebastian didn't reply. He just sat in the middle of the path, his round, sad eyes staring into the distance.
“I tell the others,” cried Monkey. “They shift you.” Jumping into the air, he climbed up one side of the crooked tree and sprang nimbly across the top of the forest. But the elephant didn't even notice that he had gone.
Giraffe was feeling thirsty. She had just reached the top of the trail that led down to the water hole when Monkey found her. Being so very tall, she spotted Sebastian long before she reached him. Stepping gingerly over the elephant, she first bent her long, gangly legs and stooped to drink from the water hole. Then she turned around and scolded her friend for blocking the path.
“Sebastian, dear, you really need to move. The other animals won't be able to get past.”
But the elephant didn't say a word. Although his eyes were wide open, he didn't see Giraffe standing right in front of him.
“Let me try,” said Monkey, who had sneaked past Sebastian by clinging on to Giraffe's neck. “I blow down his nose and he have to move or he sneeze.”
But Sebastian didn't respond. He didn't sneeze and he didn't move. He just sat there, deep in thought.
All that long day the animals tried to push past Sebastian. Lion roared so loud that the parrots all screeched and flew away. Rhino butted him with his hard, sharp horn but the elephant didn't move an inch.
Porcupine rolled herself into a ball and asked Hyena to hurl her at Sebastian's broad, grey back. Several of her quills pierced the elephant's hide but in the end Gnu had to pull her down because Sebastian clearly hadn't felt a thing.
Even Mouse had a go. Begging a lift from Zebra, he clambered over the elephant's shoulder and whispered in his large, leathery ear. But Sebastian paid no attention to his tales of puny, little mice terrifying bold, strong elephants. Eventually he too gave up, sliding down Sebastian's yellow, curved tusk and running to the water hole for a long, refreshing drink.
The sun was just touching the tops of the trees when Sebastian finally stirred. Climbing slowly to his feet, he blew a loud trumpet call and stomped down towards the water hole. The thirsty animals let out an enormous cheer that echoed through the jungle. Sebastian stopped, a puzzled look on his face. “What's the matter?” he asked.
“What you thinking about?” demanded Monkey. “You sitting there for hours.”
“Oh, was I?” replied Sebastian. “I, um, forgot where I had left something. But now I've remembered.”
The other animals didn't wait for the rest of the conversation. They charged past the elephant and dived into the welcoming water hole. Fifteen minutes later everyone had drunk their fill. Impala was messing round in the water with Duiker. Leopard and Cheetah were preening themselves in the warm, soft hues of the twilight. Aardvark began telling a long, complicated joke but only Honey Badger was paying any attention.
Sebastian was the first to leave, muttering that it was well past suppertime. He had just reached the crooked tree when Monkey called after him. “Hey, what was it you lost?”
The elephant turned round and squinted at Monkey. “Do you know, I can't quite remember. Let me think for a moment. I'm sure it will come back to me.”
Baboon was the first to groan. Oryx quickly followed suit. Soon all of the animals were lying on the ground moaning. Sebastian had sat down in the exact same spot as before, blocking the trail that led back into the rest of the jungle. Supper would have to wait.
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