This week’s fairy tale was all about an elephant. He was very proud of being the largest and strongest animal. He was very boastful about it and no-one ever dared to argue with him. The Rain Spirit heard the elephant boast and questioned how Elephant could possibly be greater than him. Elephant insisted that because he had a mighty trunk and tusks and could shake the earth that he was the greatest in the land. The Rain Spirit argued that he filled the lakes so that animals could drink. Elephant was adamant that he could look after himself. The sky cracked with thunder and the Rain Spirit said that he would leave him to his own fate then!
When the rainy season arrived, there was no rain to fill the lakes and water the plants. The animals grew thirsty and hungry. They came to see Elephant who they insisted should give them food and drink. Elephant told them to ask Crow to make rain. Crow tried but couldn’t produce enough rain. Elephant claimed the last waterhole for himself.
The next day, while Elephant was looking for food, the other animals approached the waterhole. Tortoise said it was Elephant’s drink so they must not drink it. Lion did not take any notice of Tortoise. He drank and the others followed, slurping and lapping up all of the water until it was gone.
Elephant returned, feeling super thirsty, and flew into a rage when he realised all of ‘his’ water had gone. The animals argued and fought with one another. Elephant was so angry with Tortoise that he picked him up and ate him!
Suddenly, the sky grew dark. The Rain Spirit asked what all of the noise was about. Elephant asked for some help as Elephant was the greatest in the land, but The Rain Spirit was the greatest in the sky. The Rain Spirit burst out laughing and his laughter rained down and filled the lakes and watered all of the plants. When he heard the rain, Tortoise gave Elephant such a fierce butt with his head that Elephant coughed him out again!
‘An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)