Once upon a time in a land so very hot and dry there lived an elephant named Maxwell. Everyone in Maxwell’s family was very concerned about him because he always seemed to have learning problems. When Maxwell was born his mother was obsessed with caring for him. He was her only child and she wanted the best of everything for him.
She spent weeks teaching him how to use his muscular trunk. He was not aware that he could use his trunk as a nose, a hand, an extra foot if need be, to dig with, gather food from high branches and to siphon water from the river. He was so very shy he stood beside his mother and whined constantly. He wanted her to gather his food for him. He wanted her to put water into his mouth and he did not want to use his feet for anything but walking.
The hot sun blistered down upon Maxwell’s dry skin. He was so uncomfortable he just couldn’t stand it so he cried as loud as he could. Tears rolled down his face and he bellowed an ear piercing roar to let his mother know he was very unhappy.
“Take hold of my tail Maxwell. We are going into town. I want to show you what humans look like. If you are a good boy perhaps I will sneak an apple for you.” She said trying her best to satisfy her spoiled son.
So Maxwell grabbed hold of his mother’s tail and followed her into a local village. His eyes became wide when he saw all the dark skinned people and he roared pulling back on her tail.
“It’s okay Maxwell. These people are friendly and will not hurt you. Just look around at all the sights so you can tell the other elephants when we get home. Now stay very close to me. There is a man just ahead who has a market with lots of sweet juicy fruit. I am going to pay him a visit. If you are very quiet I will give you something good to eat.” His mother whispered softly.
A man named Babu had made a tent of sort to shade his fruits. He had displayed them on a table for all the people to see.
Maxwell’s mother slowly moved close to the fruit stand and stood their patiently like she had done many times before. Babu recognized her because of her odd shaped tusk. He stood up from his stool and gave a hearty laugh.
“I see you have come back to visit me my friend and this time you brought your little one. It is nice of you to remember me. Here is a nice melon for you. It is just a little over-ripe but you will find it delicious. I have another smaller one for your baby.” He said as he handed the large melon to Maxwell’s mother.
Maxwell could not wait for his mother to put the melon into his mouth. He quickly began crunching on the juicy melon. It was delicious and the juice ran out of his mouth onto his chin.
“Maxwell remember your manners and clean up your face. Give the nice man a hug to say thank you for the melon.” Maxwell’s mother said giving Maxwell a gentle nudge.
Maxwell was about to reach out his trunk when a huge bee began buzzing around his nose.
“Ouch! Something just stung me on my nose. I think it is a monster bee!” He cried.
He began to swing his trunk all around. It went high up into the air, then from side to side and finally all around in circles. Before he knew it he had his trunk all tied in a knot. He was so frustrated he didn’t know what to do so he cried louder and louder.
“Oh my goodness what on earth have you done now? Stop moving or you will just make it harder to get lose.” Maxwell’s mother cautioned.
“My nose hurts! My nose hurts! My nose hurts really badly!” Maxwell cried still tossing his head in all sorts of fashions.
If that wasn’t bad enough his trunk began to swell bigger and bigger.
“I have never had to untie a trunk before but I suppose there is a first time for everything!” Babu said.
“Just let me get some palm oil and rub it onto your trunk. It will make it slippery and then we can just slip it out of this knot you have tied so well.”
“Be still Maxwell! This nice man is going to put some ointment on your nose. Stop tossing your trunk every which of way. Don’t hit this nice man with your trunk!” She said firmly.
Babu pulled out a huge bucket filled with liquid and began to pouring it upon Maxwell’s trunk. Once it was well saturated he gently pushed the trunk out of the knot.
“Oh wow! That feels so much better. I don’t know what that stuff is mom but it sure does taste good.” Maxwell sobbed.
All of a sudden people began to gather around the fruit stand. They were laughing and touching the elephants.
“Mom these black humans are putting their hands all over my trunk and laughing at me. Is my nose swollen really big? Is that why they are laughing?” He questioned quite bewildered by all the people around him.
“Your nose is swollen some but it will be fine. These people are only happy to see us. Now calm down and I will take you to the river to soak for a while. I’m sure the cool water will make it all better.” She smiled down at the little helpless creature beside of her.
“You are the best mother in the whole world.” Maxwell grunted as he rubbed his nose against his mother’s skin.
Maxwell did get to go to the river and soak his swollen trunk. It did feel so much better and the swelling went away within a few days. Everyday he asked his mother to go back to the village for more melons. He remembered the sweet juicy taste and the nice man who helped him untie his trunk.
“Mom please don’t tell anyone about my trunk getting tied in a knot. All the other elephants will laugh at me and call me a baby.”
Maxwell’s mother gently caressed her young son assuring him she would never tell anyone his secret.
However she did wait for a while before she returned to the village for more fruit. She wanted to be sure Maxwell had learned his lesson. Patience is a very hard thing to learn.
The sun was about to set in the red colored sky. The day was almost over and night would soon be settling over the land. Maxwell’s eyes were heavy from the long hot day. It wasn’t long before he was dreaming of the fruit stand and the delicious melons just waiting for him to eat. Then suddenly he heard a loud buzzing sound. His eyes popped open quickly. It was just a dream!
“Hush Hush little Maxwell! Everything is just fine. Close your eyes and sleep. Tomorrow will be another new and exciting day in India!”
Question: What did they use to untie Maxwell’s trunk?
Written By Sybil Shearin
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