Chapter 2 - The strange animals
Shanti is now seven years old - and things have changed since she was a little elephant.
For starters, she’s way bigger now, almost as big as her Mum. She now weighs ten times that of the jungle’s biggest hunter, the tiger, and is a match for just about everything - including trees that get in her way. She and the herd move through the jungle in any direction they want, creating huge paths that smaller animals, like deer and wild pigs, use to get around.
And now she knows how to use her trunk. Really use it. From heaving aside huge logs to using it as a snorkel when crossing a deep river, it comes in handy for just about everything. The little finger at the end is so dexterous she can pluck the juiciest fruit from the tops of trees – or poke one of her cousins when they’re not looking.
However all these new grown-up elephant skills haven’t quite helped her overcome one thing. The clumsiness. It was okay when she was a little ele, only reaching the other elephants’ waists, but now she’s bigger she makes much more impact. As she trundles along with the herd she can’t help but bash over trees, her aunties and …well everything really. But still, maybe there’s time to grow out of it yet.
Shanti’s favourite food in the jungle is delicious and yellow and grows under giant green leaves. Covered in thick, bitter skin, soft and sweet inside - nothing beats a banana! One hot afternoon Shanti and the herd are searching out the yellow delight when they stumble into an unfamiliar area.
Shanti sniffs around with her super-smelling trunk. Something smells very strange, very different. What is that animal?
The trees have been cut away and instead the flat land is dotted with strange little huts. Are they bird nests - or maybe termite mounds? Made of logs and some strange ridged, grey material, they’re unlike anything Shanti’s ever seen before. What lives in them?
Mum, at the front of the troop, blows her trunk in warning and all the elephants stop. Suddenly an animal appears out of the nearest mound, spots Shanti’s mum and starts to squeak excitedly.
The animal is one Shanti’s never met before, with a topping of dark fur on its head and material wrapped around its body, it stands fully upright on its back legs.
As it squeaks more of the strange animals emerge, they group together staring at the herd of giant elephants.
Mum is about to order a return to the jungle, when Shanti sees it. One of the animals is holding a gigantic, delicious, mouthwatering bunch of yellow bananas. She runs forward, flapping her ears in excitement, and takes one before Mum can stop her.
Delicious. Soon the whole herd are crowded round eating bananas. The strange animals seem excited. One even reaches out to touch Shanti - but a few trumpets from Mum quickly sends it skittering back.
Within moments the delicious fruit is gone and Mum leads the herd away. Shanti wants to stay and explore a little more, maybe find some more tasty snacks, but Mum’s not messing around. She pushes Shanti with her trunk. It’s time to go.
They plod back into the jungle and away from the strange animals, their scent slowly fading from Shanti’s trunk.
Watch out for chapter three coming soon!
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