When you think of children’s stories associated with India, the first thing that should pop into your head is Rudyard Kipling and his Just So Stories. This is the story of How the Elephant’s Child Got His Bedtime Story (spoiler alert!) by acting out as many of them at once as elephantly possible.
You can see said baby elephant in the following video — as its title suggests — in the process of being rescued from a well:
Since this is just raw footage, and it’s always nice to have some backstory, we turn to Yahoo! to fill us in on the details. Because we just wrapped up finals last Thursday, and because today was the first day of Spring semester classes, and I’m consequently in a bit of a legal mood (but not enough of one to be doing my reading), I’m going to treat the article as an issue-spotter exercise — except looking for children’s stories instead of legal questions. The article is included below in order and in its entirety, but in pieces:
After spending 12 hours trapped at the bottom of a well, a baby elephant was rescued with the help of a bulldozer near Ranchi, India.
This is a story about a baby elephant, so the obvious parallel is to Dumbo. But if this elephant could fly, he probably wouldn’t have needed rescuing in the first place.
So the more apt comparison is to Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo (Note: Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Children’s Asian Literature). This elephant could be rescued from the well because “elephant” is only three syllables.
A report from The Times of India notes that the elephant may have been looking for its mother when it tumbled into the well. The forestry service responded and used the bulldozer to build a ramp.
The rescue was caught on video and features a lot of joyous cheers from onlookers. The elephant, estimated to be between 9 and 10 months old, was later returned to the nearby jungle.
At first, I was hesitant to cite the Jungle Book, both because it’s by Rudyard Kipling so that feels like cheating, and because Mowgli is returned to civilization — davka not the jungle — but then I reconsidered because the elephant is only 9-10 months old, and where was Mowgli at 9-10 months? That’s right, in the jungle, so there’s still plenty of time for him to end up safely in civilized society — that means (spoiler alert!) the zoo (sad face).
I will also note that if you watch the elephant being “returned to the nearby jungle” in the above video, it looks more like the World War Z trailer than anything appropriate for children. But Zombie extravaganzas are beyond the scope of the present exercise.
According to the paper, the locals were happy for the elephant, but may have been even happier that larger elephants hadn’t come looking for the missing baby. Lately, a parade of elephants have been damaging area crops.
And that’s when the baby elephant’s friends decided to get involved. One easy link is to Peter Rabbit, but I personally prefer If You Give a Moose a Muffin: If you give an elephant a banana plantation, he’ll want some water to go with it. And then he’ll fall down a well.