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Emily the Tusk Girl and Herbert the Elephant
by Sarbani Das (Prose - Short Story) | Published On: 18-May-2017

I slowly placed one foot in front of the other.  It is after all not an easy task to walk on the tusk of an elephant. You must think it strange for a girl of ten to be walking on an elephant’s tusk so let me tell you about myself and Herbert. 

A traveling circus found me cradled in a white blanket one winter afternoon by a forest which I have named Rainbow Forest. No one knows how I got there. The circus people say my parents lost me.  So they took me in and named me Emily. On the same day they purchased Herbert from another circus family. Herbert was born with unusually long tusks but now he has only one. That’s because a long time ago a mean circus trainer broke one of his tusks while teaching him a trick. Since then I’ve left the circus as well, traveling with Herbert anywhere our six feet take us. Each day we walk through the Rainbow Forest where the leaves on the trees are luscious green, fiery red and burnt orange. As the trees grow fewer and fewer, a meadow and a stream greet us. I slide down Herbert’s trunk and land with a bounce on the thick patch of grass. 

Herbert begins sloshing his feet in the white stream as I cup my hands to drink the fresh water when I suddenly see eight hands waving fiercely at us. 

‘I think those four men are stranded on the mountain over there!’

Herbert wants to rescue them by wrapping his trunk around each person. 

‘No Herbert, what if you accidently squeeze them to death?’  So here I am now, standing on Herbert’s tusk. 

‘I can’t reach them,’ I say stretching my hand out to the tall man in front of me.  ‘Closer Herbert, I need to be closer to them!’ 

Herbert took a step closer and I finally clasped my fingers around the man’s hand. ‘Quickly Mister!’  I told the man while handing him a belt.  ‘Put this on your waist so that Herbert can pick you up and carry you down to safety!’  The man did as he was told as I walked back to sit on Herbert’s back.  Herbert hooked his sole tusk underneath the man’s belt and brought him down to the meadow.  The man took off his belt and hooked it onto the tusk.  Herbert and I did this until all four men stood safely on the meadow. 

‘Thank you little girl for saving us!  If not for you and your elephant then we would’ve died on that mountain without any food or water,’ said one man.

‘I’ve heard the legend of the Tusk Girl, you are that girl!’ said the second man.

‘How can we ever repay you?’ asked another man.

Emily stood silently by the stream while slowly stroking Herbert’s trunk. His trunk nudged her shoulder and she knew what Herbert wanted her to ask the men.

‘Can you tell me if anyone is looking for a lost girl?’

The four men looked at each other, their eyes full of tears. The fourth man bent down on his knees so that he could be at the same level as the little girl.

‘Are you looking for your folks?’ He asked.

‘I am,’ I said looking at the nice man.

‘We will return to our homes tonight and spread the word that the Tusk Girl is real and that she is looking for her family.’

‘You are kind Sir. Tell everyone you know that I’m Emily and I live here, in Rainbow Forest with Herbert, my one-tusked elephant.’ 

After thanking her, the men left and treaded their way through the forest. One of them suddenly asked, ‘Say, why do you think Emily calls it the Rainbow Forest?’ They turned around and saw a vibrant rainbow.

‘But it hasn’t rained how can there be a rainbow?’ One of them asked.

After some minutes had passed, the fourth man found the answer. 

‘She’s crying for her family. Her tears are the raindrops and the rainbow a compass for those who look for her.’  

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Author
Sarbani Das

Sarbani Das

Written: 13 Stories

Member Since: 16-May-2017

Country: India

Category

Flash Fiction