Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mrs. Julia Dent Grant's Elephant Tales

For you, Gab.

In her memoirs Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant records two stories about elephants, and here they are.

The Tale of Mr. and Mrs. Elephant

Elephant by Rembrandt

"I remember once when walking with some friends in Paris we passed a cage which contained a pair of elephants which had just been fed. The male had already finished his portion and was looking sullenly at his mate, who quietly and generously gathered large bundles of hers and threw them to her lord without even turning her eyes in his direction. He quietly munched the largest part of Mrs. Elephant's dinner without once nodding his thanks, thus showing he was from the East."

How Very Smart Elephants Are

Elephant Head by Laura H

"I can only recall our visit to the woodyards of Moulmein [Burma] and the wonderful sagacity of the elephants, who were the chief workmen at these yards. These brutes seemed to have human intelligence. A great chain was fastened to one of their feet. They would walk past a great huge log of teakwoood, let the chain drag not quite past the log, then, with one tusk for a lever, hoist the log on the chain, fasten it securely, and walk off with their loads to the pile of logs. Taking one end, they would hoist it up and place it securely, then take the other end of the log and do likewise. They would then walk off and look to see if it were placed straight, turning their heads first to one side and then to the other, and if it were not in line they would (and did) walk up to the end of the pile and push the log they had carried further on and a trifle back. Their intelligence is wonderful!"

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