This Month’s Short Travel Story –
By, Gee Armstrong
of Florence, Oregon
While traveling in a remote area of northern Nigeria
last year, we came to a village where the residents were in a panic because an
elephant herd that frequently trashed their rustic settlement was nearby.
My silver-bearded friend and I had never seen elephants
up close, so of course we had to check them out. The timid villagers stayed well behind us,
assuring us that we’d be trampled. We
were able to inch our way almost into the herd.
What an awesome sight! Suddenly
an enormously tusked bull elephant–no doubt the protective leader of the
herd-charged my friend, who ran to hide behind a flimsy nearby shack.
The bull elephant, his ears flapping menacingly, chased
my friend around back. Eventually my
friend found himself behind the huge angry beast, starting at its colossal
rump. My friend couldn’t resist. He reached up and spanked the elephant’s
hindquarters with all his strength and then ran!
The terrified villagers scattered. The big, beautiful bull elephant’s eyes
widened with a look of shock. It
bellowed an ear-piercing shriek and thundered away, completely bewildered at having
been touched by this silver-bearded alien.
Word spread quickly in the countryside. In the weeks to come, as we traveled,
villagers instantly recognized my friend’s silver beard and welcomed him like a
celebrity, greeting him as “The One Who Touches Elephants.”
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