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Why Elephant Has a Long Nose

Published August 15, 2014
Countries: None
Age Levels: 4-5 and up

Long ago, Elephant has a very short nose that looked a lot like the nose of a pig.  Though his nose was short, Elephant could smell very well, and he smelled smoke.  Elephant looked all around him.  He did not see fire.  But, he did see a cloud of Bees.

"Bees," called the Elephant.  I smell smoke.  Where there is smoke, there is usually fire.  The Bees flew up high.  There was fire to the North.  There was fire to the East.  There was fire to the West.  There was a river to the South.  Fire could not cross the river.

"Follow us," said the Bees.  We will take you to the river where you will be safe.  So Elephant ran South, following the Bees.  He ran until he came to the river.  Elephant would be safe in the middle of the river.

"Mr. Elephant," called the Bees.  "We saved you.  Now you must help us.  The smoke from the fire can hurt us.  We cannot stand smoke.  Open your mouth, and let us fly inside.  We will be safe inside your mouth until the fire and smoke are gone."

This sounded fair.  The Bees helped the Elephant.  The Elephant would help the Bees.  He opened his mouth and let the bees fly inside.  Oh, my - there was a loud buzzing sound inside the Elephant's head. "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  The sound hurt the Elephant's big ears.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."

When the fire was out, the Elephant said, "You must come out now Bees."

The Bees just said, "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.  We like it in here.  We will not come out.  Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."

The Elephant shook his head.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  The Elephant flapped his ears.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  The Elephant jumped up and down.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."  Elephant was getting a headache.  "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."

Elephant knew that Bees hated water.  He sucked up water in his nose and blew it out.  "Errumph."  The Bees still buzzed.

"Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."

Elephant sucked up more water in his nose and blew it out.  "Errumph."  The Bees still buzzed.

"Buzz, Buzz, Buzz."

Elephant blew his nose over and over.  As he blew, his nose got longer and longer and longer.  Still the Bees went, "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz," inside of his head.  Then the Elephant remembered that Bees cannot stand smoke.  He walked back on the shore where the fire had died out.  He walked to where a tree still smoked from the fire.  Elephant took a deep breath and sucked the smoke up his nose and opened his mouth. 

"We hate smoke," said the Bees.  They came flying out of the elephant's mouth.  The Bees saw a hollow tree that had survived the fire.  It had a hole in it that was as big as the Elephant's head.  They flew straight to that hole in the hollow tree.  There they made their new hive and lived very comfortably.

Ever since, Bees still like to make their hives inside of hollow trees.  Also, ever since then, the Elephant has had a long nose.  Some Elephants still feel like they have bees inside their heads.  They still suck up water with their long noses and squirt it out to make the buzzing stop.

Note: A wonderful version of this story is available -in Shake-It-Up-Tales by Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald (2000).  The version is adapted for tandem telling.