The Elephant's Child

(an adaptation)

Rudyard Kipling

Parts: (9)   Narrator 1         Narrator 2         Elephant Child	Kolokolo Bird
             Crocodile         Brother 1	Brother 2	   Ostrich          Giraffe
Narrator 1:  In the high and far-off times, the elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had
             only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from 
             side to side--but he couldn't pick up things with it.

Narrator 2:  But there was one elephant, a new elephant--an elephant child--who was full of
             'satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions!  He lived in
             Africa, and he filled all Africa with his 'satiable curiosities.

Narrator 1:  He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich:

Elephant:   "Why do your tail feathers grow just so?"

Narrator 1:  And she spanked him with her hard, hard claw.

Narrator 2:  He asked his tall uncle, the Giraffe:

Elephant:   "What makes your skin spotty?"

Narrator 1:  And Uncle Giraffe smacked him with his tail.

Narrator 2:  He asked his broad aunt, the Hippopotomus:

Elephant:   "What makes your eyes red?"

Narrator 1:  And she spanked him with her broad, broad hoof.

Narrator 2:  He asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon:

Elephant:    "Why do melons taste just so?"

Narrator 2:  And his Uncle Baboon spanked him with his hairy paw.  And still he was full of
             'satiable curiosity!

Narrator 1:  He asked questions about everything that he saw, or heard, or felt, or smelled, 
             or touched and all his uncles and aunts spanked him.  And still he was full of
             'satiable curiosity!

Narrator 2:  One fine morning, this 'satiable elephant's child asked a new, fine question that
             he had never asked before.  He asked:

Elephant:   "What does the crocodile have for dinner?"

Narrator 2:  Then everybody said:

All:         Hush!

Narrator 2:  And they spanked him for a long, long time.

Narrator 1:  By and by, when that was finished, he came upon the Kolokolo bird and he said to him:

Elephant:   "My father, my mother, all my aunts and uncles, have spanked me and I still want to 
             know what the crocodile has for dinner!"

Kolokolo:   "Go to the banks of the great grey-green Limpopo River, and find out."

Narrator 2:  That very next morning, this 'satiable elephant's child took a hundred pounds of
             bananas --

Narrator 1:  The little, short, red kind --

Narrator 2:  And a hundred pounds of sugar cane --

Narrator 1:  The long, purple kind --

Narrator 2:  And seventeen melons --

Narrator 1:  The green, crackly kind --

Narrator 2:  And said to all his dear family:

Elephant:   "Good-bye.  I am going to the great, grey-green Limpopo River to find out what the
             crocodile has for dinner."

Narrator 2:  And they spanked him once more for luck.

Narrator 1:  Then he went away, eating melons and throwing the rind about, until he came to what 
             he thought was a log of wood at the very edge of the Limpopo.

Narrator 2:  But it was really a crocodile, and the crocodile winked one eye.

Narrator 1:  Then the crocodile winked the other eye and lifted half of his tail out of the mud.

Narrator 2:  And the elephant's child stepped back most politely because he did not wish to be
             spanked again.

Elephant:   "S'cuse me, but do you happen to have seen a crocodile in these parts of the river?"

Crocodile:  "Come hither, little one.  Why do you ask such things?"

Elephant:   "S'cuse me, but my father and mother and all my aunts and uncles have spanked me, 
             and so, if it's quite all the same to you, I don't want to be spanked anymore...."

Crocodile:  "Come hither, little one, for I am the crocodile."

Narrator 1:  And he wept crocodile-tears to show it was quite true.  Then the elephant's child
             grew all breathless, and he panted and kneeled down on the bank and said:

Elephant:   "You are the very person I have been looking for all these long days.  Will you 
             please tell me what you have for dinner?"

Narrator 2:  The Crocodile leaned toward the elephant's child and said:

Crocodile:  "Come hither, little one, and I'll whisper."

Narrator 1:  Then the elephant's child put his head down close to the crocodile's musky, tusky 
             mouth and the crocodile said:

Crocodile:  "I think today I will begin with the elephant's child!"

Narrator 2:  He clamped his teeth together, biting elephant's child's nose and elephant's child
             wrinkled up his nose and tried to back away.

Narrator 1:  Up to that very week, day, hour and minute, elephant's child's nose had been no 
             bigger than a boot--though much more useful!  Speaking through his nose, elephant's
             child said:

Elephant:   "Let go!  You are hurting me!"

Narrator 2:  Then the elephant's child sat back on his little haunches and pulled, and pulled, 
             and pulled and his nose began to stretch.
Narrator 1:  And the crocodile floundered in the water, making it all creamy with great sweeps 
             of his tail, and he pulled, and pulled.

Narrator 2:  And the elephant's child's nose kept on stretching; and he spread all his little 
             four legs and pulled, and pulled, and pulled.

Narrator 1:  And the crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and pulled, and 
             pulled and at each pull the elephant's child's nose hurt him terribly!

Narrator 2:  Then the elephant's child felt his legs slipping, and he said through his nose, 
             which was now nearly five feet long:

Elephant:   "This is too much for me!"

Narrator 1:  And he pulled as hard as ever he possibly could, and the crocodile let go of his
             nose with a plop that you could hear all up and down the Limpopo.

Narrator 2:  Then the elephant's child sat down most hard and sudden, and the first thing he 
             did was to be kind to his poor pulled nose.  He wrapped it all up in cool banana 
             leaves and hung it in the great grey-green greasy Limpopo to cool.

Narrator 1:  The elephant's child sat there for three days waiting for his nose to shrink.  But 
             it never grew any shorter, and besides, it made him squint. For, O Best Beloved, 
             you will see and understand that the crocodile had pulled it out into a really, 
             truly trunk, same as all elephants have today.

Narrator 2:  So the elephant's child went home across Africa frisking and shisking his trunk.

Elephant:   "When I want fruit to eat, I can pull it down from a tree, instead of waiting for it
             to fall, as I used to. When I want grass, I can pluck it from the ground, instead 
             of going down on my knees.  When the flies bite me, I can break off a branch of a 
             tree and use it as a fly-whisk; and I can make a new, cool, squishy mud-cap 
             whenever the sun is hot."

Narrator 1:  One dark evening he came back to his family.  They were very glad to see him and
             immediately said:

Brother 1:  "Come over here and be spanked for your 'satiable curiosity!"

Elephant:   "Pooh!  I don't think you people know anything about spanking, but I do and I'll 
             show you."

Narrator 2:  Then he uncurled his trunk and knocked two of his brothers head over heels!

Brother 2:  "O Bananas!  Where did you learn that trick, and what have you done to your nose?"

Elephant:   "I got a new one from the crocodile on the banks of the great, grey-green greasy
             Limpopo River.  I asked him what he had for dinner, and he gave me this to keep."

Brother 2:  "It looks very ugly."

Elephant:   "So it does.  But it's very useful."

Narrator 1:  And he picked up his brother by one leg and shoved him in a hornet's nest.

Brother 2:  "OOOWWWWwwwwwwww!"

Narrator 2:  Then that bad elephant's child spanked all his dear family for a long time till 
             they were very warm and greatly astonished.

Narrator 1:  He pulled out his tall Ostrich aunt's tail-feathers.

Ostrich:    "Ouch!"

Narrator 2:  And he caught his tall uncle, the Giraffe, by the hind-legs and dragged him 
             through a thorn-bush.

Giraffe:    "Aaaaaaahhhh!"

Elephant:   "Ha ha ha ha ha!"

Narrator 1:  He shouted at his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus:

Elephant:   "Hey, Hippo!"

Narrator 2:  His broad Aunt Hippo pretended to sleep and he blew bubbles in her ear when whe 
             was sleeping in the water after meals.

Narrator 1:  But he never let anyone touch the Kolokolo Bird.

Narrator 2:  At last, things grew so exciting that his dear family went off one by one in a hurry
             to the banks of the great, grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, to borrow new noses 
             from the crocodile.

Narrator 1:  When they came back nobody spanked anybody an more, and ever since that day, O Best
             Beloved, all the elephants you will ever see, besides all those you won't, have 
             trunks precisely like the trunk of the 'satiable elephant's child.

All:        (Bow to audience)