ELMER ELEPHANT (1)
DEEP IN THE FOREST lived a little boy elephant.
His name was Elmer, and he was as bright and plump and healthy an elephant child as anyone could ask.
He would have been a happy one, too, but for one thing.
The other animal children in the forest, the lion and tiger, the giraffe and the rhinoceros and hippopotamus children, laughed at his nose.
It was a fine, long, curly elephant nose, but just because it was different from theirs, they laughed at it.
Of all the animal children in the forest, Elmer liked Tillie Tiger best.
Tillie was a pretty girl tiger, she was friendly and sweet, and best of all to Elmer, she did not make fun of his nose.
So when Tillie Tiger's birthday came, and Emer was invited to her birthday party, he picked her a beautiful bouquet of birthday party, he picked her a beautiful bouquet of jungle flowers for a birthday present.
He went skipping down the forest path to Tillie's home, whistling happily.
All the children were standing around a table set up on the lawn, when Elmer arrived.
In the center of the table stood a big, beautiful birthday cake with lighted candles.
Tillie looked up from the cake as Elmer came in.
" Hello , Elmer," she called. " You're just in time. I'm going to blow out my birthday candles."
Then she saw the flowers in his hand.
" Oh, Elmer, flowers for me ? " she cried, taking the bouquet.
" How sweet of you. "
ELMER ELEPHANT (2)
Then she turned back to the table, where the candles were still burning brightly.
Tillie took a deep,deep breath.
Woosh ! She blew at the candles. The flames bowed and fluttered, but they did not go out.
Again she took a deep, deep breath. And Woosh ! she blew again.
The flames quivered and danced, but still they did not go out.
Tillie's face was quite red now, and her paws were tightly clenched as she took another breath, deeper,deeper, deeper.
Then she blew out as hard as she could !
But the flames only flicked and winked as if they were laughing at her.
" Oh,dear, said TIllie.
" Let me help," said the hippopotamus child.
He took a deep breath, then opened his mouth and blew !
Whoosh ! Candles, frostring and all went flying aceoss the table and right into Elmer Elephant's face.
" Ho ho ho ! Ha Ha Ha ! " laughed all the animal children at the party.
" Happy birthday,Elmer. You take the cake ! '
Elmer just stood there, with frostring dripping down his trunk and cheeks and his big, drooping ears.
As the children laughed and joked about him, he could feel his face getting hotter, right down to the tip of his curly trunk.
But Tillie Tiger was not laughing at him.
She came over and wiped the frostring all off, every last sticky bit of it.
Then she gave Elmer a kiss, right on the tip of his trunk.
That made Elmer happy, but it just made the other children tease him worse than ever.
The moment Tillie went up into her house to get another cake, they all clustered around, making fun of him.
ELMER ELEPHANT (3)
The monkey child flapped his hands beside his head to imitate Elmer's big ears.
The lion child wadded along Elmer's swinging walk.
The hippopotamus child dangled a long stem from the end of his nose like Elmer's swaying trunk.
And all of the other animals chanted, funny-face Elmer, Big nose Elmer. Hiya, Elmer ? "
He tried to take it as a joke, but soon the hippopotamus child pulled his trunk while the monkey ran between his legs to trip him.
Elmer went rolling down the hill and went out the gate.
He did not stop until he landed Plonk ! against a coconut palm tree.
When he pulled himself together, Elmer walked off through the forest, feeling very sorry for himself.
He tried to roll his trunk up in the ball.
He tried to tuck it under his blouse.
He even tried a knot it.
But nothing helped.
It was always still there.
Tears trickled down his cheeks as he realized at last there was nothing he could do.
" My, my ! " said a voice far above Elmer's bowed head.
" Whatever is going on here ? It looks mighty bad."
Elmer wiped his eyes with the back of his paw and looked upーway up to the very tiptop of the trees, where old Mr.Giraffe's
smiling face came poking through the leaves.
" G-good morning, Mr.Giraffe, " said Elmer politely, but his voice shook as he said it.
" Having nose trouble, Elmer ? " asked Mr.Giraffe with a wise, kind look.
ELMER ELEPHANT (4)
" How did you know ? " asked Elmer.
" Just figured, Elmer, just figured, " chuckled Mr.Giraffe.
" You see, I used to have same trouble myself over my neck.
But folks stopped laughing when they saw me eating the fresh, green, top leaves they couldn't reach.
Same thing with nose.
Look at those pelicans over there if you want to see funny beaks.
But do you think they complain ?
No, sir !
They're too busy eating all the good fish they can scoop up in those beaks to worry about being laughed at.
Same thing with your trunk.
You'll find plenty of use for it...Say, what goes on over there ? "
The pelicans had risen into the air and were flying away, cawing loudly.
And way up above the treetops plumes of smoke started to streak through the air.
" Looks like a fire, " said Mr,Giraffe.
" Jump on, Elmer, let's have a look. "
So up the hill they raced,with Elmer bouncing on top of Mr.Giraffe's long neck.
" It's Tillie's house ! " cried Elmer, as they came in sight of the fire.
" And she's up there on top of that high pole in the middle of the frames. We'll have to save her ! "
" Don't worry, son, " said Mr.Giraffe.
" We'll save Tillie Tiger.
When they raced in through the gate, Mr.Giraffe and Elmer found the animal children running around in all directions.
They did not know what to do.
When they held out a blanket for Tillie to jump into, a burning chip dropped down and burned up the blanket.
When the monkey child tried to climb the pole, flames slapped at his hands and face and he had to drop back.
So by the time the Giraffe came charging up, they all just stood and watched, to see what he would do.
Mr.Giraffe and Elmer had their plans all made.
They did not waste a moment.
" Come on, boys, " called the Giraffe.
" Get your squirter busy, Elmer. "
Up flew the pelicans, one after another, with their beaks full of water.
Elmer sucked up the water into his long trunk and sprayed it out on the flames.
Splash ! Splat !
The water sizzled against the fire.
Soon the flames were pushed back, and Elmer could see Tillie Tiger standing on her little charred front porch.
" I'll save you, Tillie, " cried Elmer, and he curled his trunk firmly around Tillie's waist.
" Okay, Mr.Giraffe, " said Elmer.
Then slowly and gently Mr.Giraffe let down his long neck, and Elmer and Tillie stepped to the ground.
”Elmer, you're my hero ! " cried Tillie Tiger, and she gave him a big kiss.
Now all the animal children, and lot of grown-up who had hurried over to see the fire, crowded around Elmer and Tillie.
But this time they did not make fun of Elmer's trunk.
Oh, no !
Now they would all gladly have traded their little round ears and their little blunt noses and their twirly tails for a wonderful curly trunk like his.
" Look at how he can curl iy right up to his mouth," said the hippopotamus child.
" Let's see you squirt some more water, " said the see you squirt some more water, " said the young monkey.
" Gee, that really is something ! " said the little lion admiringly.
" I think it is the nicest nose in the whole world, " said Tillie Tiger.
Elmer Elephant grinned a broad happy grin.
He did not say so, but he did not think his nose was bad himself now.
In fact, he thought it was a pretty nice nose.
And so do I.
Don't you ?