Online Children's Magazine from India
Preeti was nine years old. She lived with her family in a village in Kerala. Her family did not live right in the village, but on the outskirts of the village. This was because her father was a mahout.
One of the first commands an elephant learns is to kneel down and allow the mahout to sit atop him. From that moment on, the elephant obeys every other command his master will give him. The mahout commands the animal with gentle prods and with words of encouragement.
Preeti never stopped marvelling at how such a huge animal would obey a man who was physically so much smaller than he. If he so wished, the elephant could take his mahout in his trunk and hurt him mortally. But, both man and beast had great respect for each other, so this happened only very, very rarely.
Preeti loved going with her father into the jungle. Here, huge trees were cut down. They would have to be transported to the saw mills. But it was not easy for cranes or other such vehicles to move about in the thick forests. This was where the elephants came in handy. They were so strong that they could move many tree trunks at a time.
Preeti wished she didnít have to go to school everyday. She was happiest when there was a holiday. Then, she would help to bathe and feed the elephant. She would sit atop it with her father, and, in her childish but firm voice, she would repeat her fatherís commands to the elephant. Sometimes she did believe the elephant obeyed her.
One day, after Preeti had finished her homework and put her books by, she noticed that her father had not yet returned from the forest. He was usually back before sunset. When her mother began to worry too, Preeti went in search of her father.
She went straight to Raman, her father's friend. He also was a mahout. She asked him whether she could borrow his elephant. He agreed as he knew that little Preeti could try and manage the elephant because she was devoted to 'Appu', their elephant and she would also show the same devotion to his elephant. And also she knew how to manage any elephant. 'Here, take Keshava, hope you can manage him. He's awfully naughty sometimes". Little Preeti commanded Keshav to sit. He trumpeted and sat down and took little Preeti with her trunk, and lifted her on top. He liked her and had made up his mind to be good with her. Besides Appu was his friend and he sensed that he was in trouble. 'Walk, go to the forest. FOREST, you understand," said Preeti gently. They walked slowly to the forest. When they reached the middle of the forest, Preeti suddenly spotted her father. He was standing near, a big hole. He had a worried look on his face. When he saw his daughter, he hugged her and told her that Appu had fallen into that hole and he couldn't see how he could take him out. Suddenly Preeti had a brainwave! She commanded Kesav to reach out his trunk into the hole. When he did so, Preeti told Appu to hold Keshav's trunk with his own. Then she told Keshav to pull hard. Keshav pulled Appu and finally got him out of the hole. Appu was so grateful that he took Preeti on his trunk, lifted her and put her on his back. Father and daughter went home together each on the back of an elephant. Now Preeti and her friends sometimes ride Appu and how they enjoy it!
After hours of search she saw her elephant in the midst of the forest without her father. She then thought that it was during such difficult times that a man could take the help of their own pet. The elephant made a big sound and started to run. She too followed it. It stopped near a pond and became restless. Then Preeti saw her father getting drowned. Poor Preeti did not know to swim. But the elephant suddenly jumped into the water and rescued him. Then all of them returned back home happily.
So while Preeti was searching for her father and the elephant, she heard a very large and un-human roar or cry. She was so surprised and scared that she could hardly breathe, but she decide that she was going to follow the cry. After a while she found out that she could not hear the cry anymore and to her disappointment she also found out that she was also lost! So she went on walking and found a huge gray coloured stone like thing sitting near a pond. She ran towards it and found out that it was their very own elephant. She was relieved to find her father but he was unconscious so she sprayed a little water on her dad's face and waited for him to wake up. Soon he was awake and told Preeti that while he was cutting the trees by mistake he had somehow fallen down from the branch he was sitting on! So after that he, Preeti and their elephant all returned home happily!
Someone had killed the elephant and Preeti's father was crying because his elephant was dead.Preeti asked her father to stop crying but he woun'dnt stop.Then it became night and Preeti and her father went home in grief.
Preeti had no neighbour living near her. So she went to the elephants. She knew that they could understand people - inspite of whatever everyone told her. Preeti depended on the lessons his father had given. She gently bid the elephants to her command. The elephants didn't listen to her first. In such cases, Preeti would have given up her hopes and went away. That was the main reason no elephant listened to her properly. But this was an emergency. She went on coaxing the elephants and they led her to her father. He was hiding behind the trees to see Preeti's progress. He knew that she had the ' Mahout spirit' in her, but she never had the patience to do it long enough. He told her that this had been a ploy to make her learn. He also told her that he was proud of her.
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