The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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52                 WHAT ELEPHANTS CAN DO
telling her to empty it. This she did by placing the bottle in an inclined position on the ground and holding it at the proper angle with her foot, while she twisted the cork out with her trunk. This accomplished, she would empty all the water into her trunk without spilling a drop, and then hand the bottle back to her keeper.
In India small children are often given into the charge of an elephant, and it is wonderful to see what care the animals take of them. One elephant took such a fancy to a small baby, that it used to stand over its cradle, and drive away the flies that teased it while it slept. When it grew restless the elephant would rock the cradle, or gently lift it to the floor and let it crawl about between its legs, till the child at last declined to take any food unless her friend was by to see her eat it.
Amazing tales have been told of what elephants can be trained to do, but none is stranger than a story re­lated by a missionary named Caunter, about some wild elephants in Ceylon. Some native soldiers who had been set to guard a large storehouse containing rice, were suddenly ordered off to put down a rising in a village a little distance away. Hardly were their backs turned when a wild elephant was seen advancing to the store­house, which was situated in a lonely place, and after walking carefully round it, he returned whence he came. In a short time he was noticed advancing for the second time, accompanied by a whole herd of elephants, all marching in an orderly and military manner.
Now in order to secure the granary as much as possi­ble, the only entrance had been made in the roof, and had to be reached by a ladder. This was soon found out by the elephants, who examined the whole building atten­tively, and being baffled in their designs, retired to con­sult as to what they should do next. Finally one of the largest among them began to attack one of the corners with his tusks, and some of the others followed his example. When the first relay was tired out, another set
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