Alexis and Mélina were so very proud to have been chosen. You see Rose needed two extra pairs of hands for her special re-telling of the story of how the elephant got its trunk. Off they went, not knowing quite what was in store for them. And a mere ten minutes later, we were invited to watch what they had been up to.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin my retelling of Rose’s (and Mélina’s and Alexis’) version of The Elephant’s Child. Originally of course by Rudyard Kipling.
In the high and far off times, the elephant, oh best beloved, had no trunk…..he had only a short bulgy nose.
And the elephant’s child (with his short stubby nose) and ably manipulated by Mélina, was always asking questions. ‘What,’ he asked his mummy, ‘does the crocodile like to eat for dinner?’
‘You naughty boy,’ scolded his mother. ‘You must not ask such questions. The crocodile is a dangerous animal.’
So the elephant’s child went and found his friend the giraffe.
‘What,’ he asked, ‘does the crocodile like to eat for dinner?’
‘Oh no,’ said the giraffe. ‘You should not ask a question like that. The crocodile is a terrible animal. Stay well away from him.’
So the elephant’s child went off to find out for himself. Soon he met the kolokolo bird sitting in the middle of a thorn bush.
‘How can I find out what the crocodile likes to eat for dinner?’ asked the elephant’s child.
‘Go to the banks of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees, and there you shall find out.’ answered the bird.
And so off the elephant’s child went, to the banks of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees. The first thing he found was a bi-coloured-python-rock-snake curled round a rock.
‘Scuse me,’ said the elephant’s child. ‘Have you seen the crocodile? Could you kindly tell me what he has for dinner?’
‘Have I seen a crocodile? What will you ask me next?’ answered the python.
And he spanked him with his scalesome, flailsome tail.
Finally, the elephant’s child reached the edge of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees. And almost stepped on a log. Which turned out, of course, to be the crocodile.
‘Scuse me,’ said the elephant’s child. ‘Could you kindly tell me what you have for dinner?’
‘Come closer little one,’ answered the sly old crocodile. And as the elephant’s child leaned in closer, the crafty crocodile snapped hold of his nose and tugged and pulled. ‘I think today I will begin my dinner with elephant’s child.’
‘Let go by dose,’ shouted the elephant’s child. ‘You’re hurtig be.’
Luckily the bi-coloured-python-rock-snake wrapped his coils around the elephant’s child and he tugged and pulled back. And the crocodile tugged and pulled.
And the elephant’s child’s nose stretched and stretched. And they pulled and they tugged and they tugged and they pulled until at last, with a plop, the crocodile let go. And the elephant’s child put his poor, sore and very stretched nose into the water to cool and to help it shrink.
‘You will have to wait a long time,’ said the bi-coloured-python-rock-snake.
So the elephant’s child went back home to his mother and showed her his nice, new, very stretched nose. Which, he had discovered on the way, was very useful for plucking bananas and the leaves from the tops of trees.
There now. Did you enjoy that? You did?
Thank you Rose!
And now here’s a question for you. What did Rose (and Mélina and Alexis) use to tell the story?
‘Paper animals that they cut out,’ answered Melchior.
‘They made shadows,’ Joseph added.
Yes, they are called shadow puppets. This is what the crocodile puppet looks like.
The crocodile’s mouth can open because its two parts are joined together with a split pin. The bottom part of the jaw is attached to a stick and by moving the stick up and down Alexis was able to make the jaws snap shut and open up again.
The elephant’s child puppet has a secret. If you look closely, you will see a split pin through his nose.
Can you guess what is hidden?
I wonder. Can you tell a story using shadow puppets like Rose (and Mélina and Alexis) did?
PS When we were back in the classroom, Anusha asked an interesting question. ‘Do people,’ she wondered, ‘always make up stories, or are there are stories that are true?’ You see I think she was a little unsure about whether or not an inquisitive elephant’s child did once have his short bulgy nose stretched into a long trunk by a crafty crocodile.
‘Yes and no,’ answered Nicholas. ‘And in between.’
And he is right. Because yes, stories can be true – even though no, this one isn’t. Or at least, most of us think it was made up…..
Have you ever heard a story that is true? Would you like to share it with us sometime?