How the elephant got his trunk

by Daniel Mackie July 28, 2016

Elephant squirting water watercolour illustration

Daniel's Elephant squirting water and crocodile design's available here.

This is a family favourite to start our series on African folklore - involving two of the creatures in the DM Wild Animals Collection.

According to a popular East African folklore tale, the elephant did not always have his long snout. The elephant was quite happy with this short nose, never having known any different. It did make drinking from the lake a little tricky, as bending right down to the water when you are such a large creature is not easy. 

All the animals who drank from that lake were wary of the crocodile who lived there. Watch out! A crocodile in a folktale is what a gun is to Chekhov - if one is introduced, it's sure to go off.

One day the elephant came along for a drink, and sure enough disturbed the crocodile who grabbed him between his mighty jaws by the nose. A lesser animal would have been pulled in by the vicious croc but the mighty elephant heaved all his weight backwards away from his attacker. A kind of tug of war ensued where the elephants nose, being used as the rope, grew longer and longer. 

Eventually the elephant won out and escaped. He ran off to nurse his new long trunk, initially dismayed at such an obvious dis.. However, the elephant soon discovered his trunk meant he could reach the succulent leaves at the top of trees, did not need to bend to drink and could even give himself a refreshing shower - as Daniel's illustration shows.  

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Daniel Mackie
Daniel Mackie


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