Elephant Jam

For Children

A young elephant has a lot to learn about trumpets, earning his big ears and how to have a great summer.


  • excerpt:
    from older children’s version (ages 7-11)
    It’s the first day of summer. Abu is sent to find jelly leaves and sets off, meeting locals on the way, some of whom need his help

    The mountains are cold on the topmost reaches and stretch to the edge of the world. During heavy rains they stop the land from sliding away and in summertime they bring a cool welcome breeze. From the foot of the slopes, dense jungle spreads in every direction. It surrounds the village and is home to many wondrous creatures: gadalouffs, barrabs and samonbeasts, sometimes giraffes and ibren from the prairie. There are parrots and zizzers and hallabrims galore.

    The thick banana groves in front are filled with families of big spiders. Bananas are good for you but the elephants only eat them when they feel poorly.

    Beyond the jungle to the north lies a long golden beach with silver saucer-crabs and tall date palm trees. On a still night you can hear the sharks singing songs to one another from the waterline.

    When Abu set out that morning the bush was humming for it was the first day of summer. The buttery, warm air fizzed with exhilaration and high spirits.

    Abu went through the front gates and turned straightaway off the path into the cool shade of the forest. Within moments, a fly had landed on his trunk and began to ask him questions. ‘What had it been like yesterday?’ she wanted to know. ‘And the day before? And the day before that?’

    She was born that morning, she explained, and expected to live for three days at most, so she wanted to pack in as much as possible.

    ‘Yesterday was nearly the same as today,’ Abu said, ‘except today is summer as well, but it’s a long time before the rains.’

    ‘I feel so excited, I don’t know where to start,’ the fly said.

    ‘Why don’t you land on some flowers,’ Abu suggested, wondering what he would do if he only had three days. ‘Or perhaps you could meet some of the other flies.’

    ‘I’d like that,’ the fly said, ‘but you know, I want to have children, just a few hundred or so, and maybe some lunch. Anyway, see you,’ and she buzzed off flying straight into a spider’s web where she got stuck, pinging up and down between two silver threads.

    ‘Oh no,’ Abu said, ‘how unlucky is that.’
    He went up to the spider whose web it was, thinking of all sorts of things to say that might help.

    But before he could even begin with, ‘Please don’t eat my friend today, it is the first day of summer,’ the spider said, ‘Very well, just this once.’ And with his front leg he flicked the fly off his web .

    ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, elephant,’ the fly said and she flew off into the dark green jungle as fast as her wings could carry her.

      //Second half posting soon…

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