Die Reusagtige Olifant, The Giant Elephant and the Rain

Die Reusagtige Olifant, The Giant Elephant and the Rain

Die Reusagtige Olifant and The Giant Elephant and the Rain are the next chapter in die babadiertjies van Afrika, baby animals from Africa series you can enjoy here, on my blog.

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Die Reusagtige Olifant
The Elephant
The Giant Elephant and the Rain, a Folktale Retold

Die Reusagtige Olifant


Die geboorte van ‘n olifantkalfie is ‘n besondere gebeurtenis in die olifantwêreld. Die hele trop kom kyk gewoonlik hierna, en die moeder het regte olifant – “vroedvroue” wat haar bystaan.

Wanneer hy in die wêreld kom, kan die kalfie ‘n massa van tot ‘n honderd kilogram hê. ‘n Volgroeide olifant het ‘n massa van nagenoeg vyf duisend kilogram, wat hom die wêreld se grootste landdier maak.

Die jong olifantkalf word met ‘n slurpie gebore, maar vir die eerste paar weke van sy lewe is dit ‘n nuttelose liggaamsdeel . Hierdie slurp is eintlik net ‘n lang neus wat die olifant het. Hy gebruik dit om voedsel mee in sy mond in te voer. ‘n Olifant se tande slyt baie gou af omdat hy so ‘n groot hoeveelheid kos moet fynkou.

Hierdie kos is grof en gevolglik word sy maaltande gedurigdeur deur nuwes vervang. Die oues skuif geleidelik meer na agtertoe en dan groei splinternuwe tande in hulle plekke uit. Wanneer hy sestig jaar oud is, het die olifant gewoonlik al ses stele tande gehad. Dan kry hy ook nie weer nuwe tande nie.

Die pragtige voortande van die olifant is sy sierlike wapens wanneer hy om die leierskap van die trop meeding.

Die olifant kan allerhande toertjies geleer word.

Sy oë is swak, maar hy kan baie fyn hoor en ruik. Verder help sy sensitiewe slurp hom om sappige takkies en blaartjes bo van die boomtoppe af te pluk.

In droogtetye grawe olifante met hulle voorpote gate in rivierbeddings en dan slurp hulle die syferwatertjies op.

The Elephant

Die Reusagtige Olifant, The Giant Elephant and the Rain
A matriarch and two elephant calves by a water hole. Photo by Matthew Bradford, Unsplash

The birth of an elephant calf is a special event in the life of a herd of elephants. The entire herd usually comes to assist, and the mother has real elephant – midwives who assist and support her.

When he is born, the calf can weigh up to a hundred kilograms. It sounds like a lot, but an adult elephant has a mass of almost five thousand kilograms, which makes it the world’s largest land animal.

For the first few weeks of its life the baby elephant is quite helpless, and he doesn’t even uses his trunk. Elephants use their trunk, that’s nothing but a long nose, to pick up food and deposit it into their mouth.

Interesting, because the food an elephant eats is pretty coarse, his teeth wear out very quickly as he has to chew such large amounts. So his molars are constantly being replaced by new ones. The old ones gradually move backwards and then brand new teeth grow in their place. By the time he is sixty years old, the elephant can have up to six sets of teeth. After this age he will get no more new teeth.

An elephant’s tusks, his beautiful ivory front teeth, become graceful weapons when he competes for the leadership of his herd.

Elephants are very intelligent and can learn all kinds of tricks, although their eyesight is weak, but they can hear and smell very well. Furthermore, their sensitive trunk helps them to pick juicy twigs and leaves from the tops of the trees. Much like giraffes do.

In times of drought, when water is scarce, the elephants dig holes in riverbeds using their front paws and then swallow the seepage water.

The Giant Elephant and the Rain, a Folktale Retold

A herd of elephants splashing by a water hole. Mist in black and white..Die Reusagtige Olifant, The Giant Elephant and the Rain
A herd of elephants splashing by a water hole. Mist in black and white. Photo by Richard Jacobs, Unsplash

Long ago, when the Sun and the Moon were the best of friend and none even thought to compete over the blue skies, when man still lived in caves and had just learned to make fire, long ago the Elephant was one of the greatest powers of the world. All animals accepted him. Even the African Crowned Crane. And Elephant was a good king. A powerful one too. Except that the Spirit of Rain, was just as powerful.

But although he was kind, being the only leader among all the animals, men included, the Elephant was quite boastful. He enjoyed to remind everyone what a great leader he was. And everyone agreed, over and over, except for the Spirit of the Rain.

Quite often, the boastful Elephant and the Spirit of the Rain fought. It was very noisy. The Elephant, never losing an opportunity to try convince the Spirit of the Rain into agreeing to what a wonderful leader he, the Elephant, was. The Spirit of the Rain, never giving in.

One hot morning, while they were arguing, again, the Spirit of the Rain burst with anger like never before. He sounded like a cascade throwing its waters over the rocks and into the ocean, not like the young spring he once had been.

‘How dare you?’ The Spirit of the Rain bubbled. ‘How dare you, but an Elephant, to think of yourself being more than me? Me, who quenched your thirst. Me, who made the trees grow to feed you. Me, who cooled your skin and that of your entire herd?’ he plummeted further, from the celestial height of its clouds.

At this, the Elephant lifted his trunk, trumpeted twice, then turned around and left, only his little tail swishing, nonchalantly. After a few steps he slowed down and replied, throwing the words over his shoulder, ‘You do not feed me and thus you are wrong in presuming that you do. For I feed myself. With my trunk.’ And to prove his point he picked a bunch of soft leaves from the heights of the closest tree and swallowed them. ‘Hmm, tasty.’

The Spirit of the Rain let out a low rumble that rolled along the entire length of the horizon, then frowned with the darkest clouds one had ever seen. Then he exhaled the chilliest blow, turned and stormed away.

Die Reusagtige Olifant, The Giant Elephant and the Rain. A bull elephant against stormy clouds. Photo by Geran de Klerk, Unsplash
A bull elephant against stormy clouds. Photo by Geran de Klerk, Unspla. Photo by Geran de Klerk, Unsplash

And life went on. Sunny days came, turned into moon-lit nights that rolled into more bright mornings, hotter as the days became weeks, weeks baking into months. And soon, the only smile left was that of the stars. At night.

Had they seen it all? Is that why they beamed? For no one else was.

The land animals were boiling on the hot slopes, water sources reduced to meager ponds not enough to house two fishes. The sea animals were crowded worst than a mall on Christmas Eve would be today. The birds suffered too, out of heat, thirst, withered trees and lack of fruits and insects.

Everyone suffered. Some even pretended they forgot the sight of clouds, the feel of the breeze, the taste of fresh water. Had it even existed? Had it all been a dream?

So they went to see the Elephant. After all, he was their leader. He was the only one who could make it right. Make it rain.

The Elephant did not like to be cornered like that, from the land, from the air, from under the ground. So he tried to shake them off as quickly as he could. And once alone, he called for the majestic Eagle. Who, among others, could make it rain by using only its powerful beak and strong wings.

But the Eagle just shook his head. He was powerless without the clouds.

The Eagle said ‘no more’, he just gave the Elephant a side glance, no more clouds without the Spirit of the Rain.

At this, the Elephant turned red in the face – if this was possible since he was already burning hot. But he shrugged and turned towards the White-breasted Crow, wise old Crow, a bird of many tales…

Crow shook his head, twice left, not in negation but as a twitch he had developed a while back, after the Snaked lost its legs – but this is a story for another time. So Crow shook his head, twice left, and flew away. And no one knew how, but that evening it rained. A bit. Yet it rained.

How animals partied! How they thanked Elephant who was rather full of himself. Again. Basking in the general attention, not for once mentioning Crow’s help.

Until… until one day (actually three days later) when the water that rained was all gone, drank, sipped into the ground, evaporated, and the animals came to Elephant again. To ask for more rain. And the Elephant turned to Crow. But the spot where Crow always stood, the branch he called his own, was empty.

Elephant scratched his head with his trunk. He looked left, searching for Crow, he peered above, he even bent on his front knees and to seek below. But no sign of Crow. Not even a feather. Where was Crow? And what was he to do now? He was alone. Alone he could not make it rain. Alone he could not face all the angry animals. Alone was just that, alone. Cold and lonely, abandoned amidst all the animals that once were his friends.

You might ask about his herd. Well, truth is that Matriarch had taken control over it long ago.

So Elephant did what he should have from the beginning. He turned around and headed for the horizon. And for an opportunity to say he is sorry.

Well, the Spirit of the Rain was not that far away, just at the end of the Savannah. And was very happy to accept Elephant’s apologies, for he, too, was missing the animals, the sea creatures, the green forests and the tiny insects.

But Matriarch, she never abdicated the leadership of the herd. To teach Elephant a lesson or perhaps, perhaps because she quite enjoyed it.

As retold by Patricia Furstenberg, after a Bushman story

More elephant stories:

The Elephant and the Sheep

When a lamb meets an elephant calf the two are happy to share a small patch of grass and a tiny water puddle available during the Big-Bad Thirst.

die Olifant en die Skaap

Twee klein stertjies het een dag ontmoet,
Heel per ongeluk onder warm sonstrale het hulle gegroet:
“Hallo, kom ons speel!” met swaaiende sterte wat wys.
Hulle was nie dieselfde nie, tog albei was grys.
Een het groot voete, die ander was korter;
Een glimlag wyd, die ander se mond was kleiner.

A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers

A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers

The idea behind A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers is to have some fun. 🙂

First read each question and attempt to answer it, then, too see the answer:

* scroll with your mouse over the image – if you view from a PC
** select the image (tap and hold to select) – if you view from a mobile device.

1. What is the name of the Celtic harvest festival that many people believe Halloween is based on?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. halloween toothless pumpkin haiku

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2. What fruit would you go for, bobbing at Halloween?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers 
What fruit would you go bobbing for at Halloween?

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3. Count Dracula is based on a real person. What was his name?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Vlad Dracula, Romanian Voievode also known as Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler

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4. Where is Transylvania located?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers - Transylvania, Romania

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5. What was Bram Stoker’s original name for Dracula?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Halloween haiku, bats goblins

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6. What is a group of witches called?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. A group of witches called a coven

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7. In which town of medieval Transylvania were witches executed?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Strada Sforii, Rope Street, Brasov, wehre witches were executed during the Middle Ages

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8. What is the day after Halloween called?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers

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9. Which countries traditionally celebrate The Day of the Dead instead of Halloween?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. Celebrating All Saints Day instead of Halloween, Romania

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10. What do we call the fear of, or the Halloween phobia?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. What do you call a fear of Halloween?
black and white square moon photo

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11. What does the word “Hallow” means in old English?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers. What does the old English word “Hallow” mean?

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12. Why did Victorians put bells above the graves, attached to a string that reached inside the coffin?

A Halloween Game: 13 Questions & Answers, Why did Victorians put bells in their coffins?

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13. What do you call a ghost that moves objects around the house?

What do you call a ghost that moves things around your house?

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I hope you found A Halloween Game 13 Questions & Answers fun!
What about you? Do you know any Hallowe’en questions for me?
Write them in comments below and I’ll answer to the best of my knowledge 🙂

Christmas Haiku
Christmas Haiku

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Kinda Pink, Poetry Like a Puppy’s Tongue

Kinda pink rose poetry

Enjoy reading this kinda pink, humorous poetry just like a puppy’s tongue. I do hope it will please most dog and nature lovers too, as it is accompanied by square photos of pink roses we are lucky to enjoy in our garden.

“I hear children laughing in the yard today,

I hear puppy barking, I hear a horse’s neigh.

The chickens are peeping, “all is good!

“It’s a birthday party; we’ll get bits of food.”

And puppy’s tail wiggles;

He sees IT… It is loose!

It’s oval, it bounces, it floats away,

It’s pink like his tongue, it wants to play!”

pink rose like a puppy's tongue and a poem

“I’m coming!” barks pup and off he goes.

Down the hill the pink shape flows

And puppy follows suit. It’s just within his reach,

Just above his nose.

As pink as a rose, yet as light as snow,

While puppy’s paws drum on the ground below.

Floating shape and furry dog, they’re one with the day,

It’s summer, I hear a donkey bray, “let’s play!”

“I’ll catch you! Just wait!”

And puppy jumps once more.

“Whoosh!” blew the wind, just as pup’s mouth came near,

And up flew the pink ball, as fast as a spear.

While puppy lands with a loud “splash”

Right in the pond, in the green, slimy marsh.”

“A drippy, green form comes out.

Where is pup?

The green form just drips, his ears lay low,

He stands on his feet, yet his heart sinks below…

The green form sighs twice, then looks up at the sky

Where the pink balloon flies away, its tail saying “bye-bye.”

And puppy whimpers.

And sneezes, once.

The children still play, up on the hill, all the way up.

How will he climb all the way back? He’s but a pup.

“Come here, you silly boy,” Mom picks him up;

She’s got a blanket; she gets him all cleaned up.

“The balloon might fly up with the wind,

But I’ve got my Mom to cuddle with.”

As Good as Gold, poetry for dog lovers

The above poem is titles As Pink As a Puppy’s Tongue and is an extract from my poetry book for dog lovers (and not only) As Good As Gold.

Squarres Photography

Kinda Pink, Poetry Like a Puppy’s Tongue is a contribution to Becky’s incredible October Squares #KindaSquare blog feature.

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Die Fennek of Woestynjakkals, the Fennec or Desert Jackal and a Story

Die Fennek of Woestynjakkals, Jackal

Die Fennek of Woestynjakkals, or the Fennek or Desert Jackal, is the second story in die babadiertjies van Afrika, baby animals from Africa series, and for your reward you can also read The Jackal and the Lion, a Khoisan folktale, down below.

Die Fennek of Woestynjakkals, babadiertjies van Afrika

Hierdie woestynjakkalse is wilde diere, maar hulle maak steeds vriende met die honde van die Arabiere wat in die woestyn woon. Nogtans word woestynjakkalse nooit heeltemal mak nie, en raak hulle ook nooit ontslae van hulle sluwe, agterdogtige natuur nie. Die geringste verdagte geluidjie laat hulle halsoorkop op die vlug slaan.

Vir die jong jakkalsie is dit van die allergrootste belang dat hy baie gou vyande soos gevaarlike insekte, skerpioene en dies meer moet kan uitken en vermy. Dan moet daar ook aan hom geleer word hoe om ‘n grondverskuiwing te laat plaasvind. Dit is baie belangrik dat hy moet weet hoe om sy eie grondtonnel blitsvinning te laat intuimel as die een af ander giftige slang of ongedierte hom probeer volg.

Om in die barre woestyn te kan bly voortbestaan, moet hierdie dier feitlik alles eet. So bestaan sy dieet uit klein knaagdiertjies, insekte, voëltjies en selfs voëleiers as hy dit in die hande kan kry.

Water is skaars, en daarom leer die klein jakkalsie baie gou dat hy die bloed van sy liggaam te verskaf.

As hy eers volgroeid is, staan die woestynjakkals ongeveer veertig sentimeter hoog. Sy pels is dik en het ‘n goudbruin kleur. Sy ore is spits en hy het twee donker vlekke naby sy oë.

Hierdie diere is nagadiere. Soms sal die klein jakkalsies, terwyl hulle wag dat hulle ouers vir die jag gereed moeet maak, heerlik saam vir die maan sit en tjank. Vir alle ander jakkalse in die omgewing is dit dan die teken om by die jagparty te kom aansluit.

Die woestynjakkals, of fennek, word heel selde buite Afrika aangetref. Vroeër jare is hulle gevang en na dieretuine oorgeplaas, maar hulle het nog selde die koue oorleef. Hulle treur hulle letterlik dood or die warm, sonnige woestynwêreld waar hulle vandaan kom.

(Charl Durand, Unsplash)

The Fennec or Desert Jackal, baby animals from Africa

The fennec or the desert jackals are wild animals, but they still make friends with the dogs of the Arabs who live in the desert. Yet desert foxes never get completely tamed, nor do they ever lose their cunning, suspicious nature. At the slightest strange sound they get spooked and make a run for it.

For the young Fennec it is of utmost importance that he learns from a very young age how to identify and avoid his enemies, such as dangerous insects, scorpions and the like. Then he must also be taught how to cause a landslide… This skill is very important during his defense, as desert jackals hide in underground tunnels if a poisonous snake or vermin attempts to follow him.

In order to survive in the barren desert, the Fennec has adapted by eating virtually everything. So his diet consists of small rodents, insects, birds and even bird eggs if he can get his paws on them.

Water is scarce here, therefore the little fox learned quickly to make use of any resources that will increase the liquids his body needs.

Once fully grown, the desert fox stands about forty centimeters high. Its fur is thick and has a golden brown color. His ears are pointy and he has two dark spots near his eyes.

These animals are rodents. Sometimes the baby desert jackal, while waiting for their parents to get ready for the hunt, will sit and howl together at the moon. This is the sign to join the hunting party and all the other foxes in the area know it.

The desert fox, or Fennec, is rarely found outside Africa. In earlier years many were captured and transferred to zoos around the world, yet they rarely survived the cold weather. In the zoos the Fennec literally feels homesick, missing his African lifestyle and the warm, sunny desert world he come from.

Image courtesy Geran de Klerk, Unsplash)

The Jackal and the Lion, a Story from the Khoisan Folklore

Once upon a time, long ago, when humans still foraged for food, Jackal was scurrying through a narrow, rocky pass in the Omatako Mountains, today’s Namibia.

He was half laughing at himself over how silly humans were to give this mountain such a hilarious name, for its two tops, looking like buttocks, gave way to its name, Omatako Mountains. Snickering and sniffing Jackal was, trying to find something juicy to eat, perhaps caught underneath a rock or burried shallow, to fill his growling stomach and quench his thirst. When his eye suddenly caught some movement ahead of him, in the pass.

Something that shouldn’t have been there.

Jackal froze in his tracks. And swallowed hard, his tail already tucked between his hind legs. The mighty Lion, his mane glowing under the setting sun, was coming straight toward him. Had Lion gotten bigger since I last saw him? thought Jackal to himself.

Out of the corner of his eye Jackal looked left, then right. There was no way of escape! And his hind legs trembled a little. Jackal cursed his streched muscles, not allowing his fright to steal into his mind. But a claw clutched at his heart already.

Alas! He’d lost count of all the tricks he’d played on the king of animals over the years… Was this it? Will he pay today, of all the days? Will Lion prove to be just a beast and use this sudden encounter to get his revenge?

A breeze tickeled Jackal’s nose, carrying with it the scent of open planes, of the Namib desert. Of freedom. That Jackal loved above everything else. So he thought of a plan.

His tail left its place of safety and swiped the dirt behind its feet, sending it up the cliff. When it rolled down, Jackal howeld.

‘Help! Help!’ cried Jackal and crowched, half crawling half sliding down the cliff, looking back at every other step.

Lion stopped, an eyebrow lifted. Annoyance? Surprise?

‘Help!’ Jackal yelled again and looked over his shoulder at the boulders piling high. ‘The rocks are about to tumble over and crush us. Oh, great Lion, I am but a mere wild dog, but you, the king of animals, with your great strengh, you can save us! And all beasts will learn of your bravery and praise you.’

Then he looked back again and yelped for help again, covering his head with his paws.

On hearing this and seeing how destraught Jackal was, Jackal who was always laughing and joking, Lion looked up at the towering rocks, feeling most alarmed. But pretending he is as cool as ever.

‘Oh, great Lion, put your shoulder to the rock and prevent the mountain from tumbeling over, for only you can do it,’ yelped Jackal further.

So Lion, without giving it a second thought, put his strong shoulder against the rock. To heave and stop the mountain from rolling over.

‘Oh, great king, thank you!’ yelped Jackal, ‘for you have saved us. Let me fetch that spear over there and we will use it to prop the mountain.’

And with that he sprang out of sight.

Lion waited and waited, shouldering the mountain and trying his best to chase away the flies, but he had only his tail as a weapon. All the time listening, waiting to hear Jackal’s footsteps.

When the last rays of the setting sun became blunt and their heat turned to a gentle embrace, Lion felt as if the weight of the mountain was resting on his shoulders. So much so that his hind legs were trembling and heat grew inside his chest, ready to erupt in his throat.

While Jackal was already reunited with his folk, all laughing and admiring his cunningness and bravery.

Now in Afrikaans: Drie populêre kinderboeke, nou beskibaar in Afrikaans. Helder en kleurvolle illustrasies en beminlike karakters wat opwindende avonture deel. Vir kinders en ouers om saam te geniet.

Die Leeu en die Hond
Die Olifant en die Skaap
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond

multicultural kids books

I hope you enjoyes die Fennek of Woestynjakkals, the Fennec or Desert Jackal from babadiertjies van Afrika, animal cubs from Africa series.

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