The jungle school was over. Professor Bear had packed up his belongings and taken himself off on a fishing trip. A family of monkeys had rented the school house for the summer and everyone was very happy—especially Oliver Elephant. Every day he and Tommy Tapir went on a picnic—and they fished and swam and played all the jungle games you ever heard of—and some that you have not!
Sometimes Uncle Abner went along and told them one of his stories, of which he a trunk full, I assure you! He was not with them this time, however. “It’s too hot!” he said when Oliver and Tommy asked him to go along—and putting his newspaper over his head he had settled down for a nap in his chair.
It certainly was hot—and when it is hot in the jungle, my dears, it is like four Fourth of Julys rolled into one. Tommy and Oliver took turns carrying the lunch, and two or three times they had to stop and refresh themselves with some cold palm leaf tea which Mother Elephant had thoughtfully sent along in a milk bottle. Oliver Elephant, being the stouter, seemed to feel the heat more. He wet his handkerchief in the tea and tied it over the top of his head, and plucking a whole handful of palm leaves, walked along fanning himself vigorously.
At last they came to a deep jungle pool, and, dropping their basket, they shed their clothes and plunged in for a swim. “Let’s have a game of cocoa nut pins,” said Tommy Tapir as they scrambled out feeling very much refreshed. Now, cocoa nut pins is a game much like ten pins—except that you use cocoa nuts for balls. They were soon so deeply engrossed in the game that neither noticed the black clouds that were gathering overhead. “I win,” cried Oliver Elephant, who had just knocked over all ten men. “S—s—aa—ay!” For suddenly he realized how dark it had become.
“Tracks for home!” cried Tommy Tapir, seizing his jacket and falling over a twisted root in his excitement. Before Oliver had time to answer—or Tommy time to pick himself up—it grew dark as ink. The wind shrieked through the trees, bending them double, and rain fell in stinging lashes. Fierce jungle beasts began to rush wildly by. “Tommy,” wailed Oliver Elephant, “where are you?” “Here,” called Tommy faintly. Oliver rushed toward the place where the voice came from but collided violently with a tree and sat down on the lunch basket. “Help!” he shrieked dismally, but no help came.
“What’s that?” whispered Oliver Elephant suddenly, for above the shriek of the wind something was crying bitterly. “Better stay where you are!” warned Tommy Tapir, “It might bite you!” “I believe it’s more frightened than I am,” thought Oliver Elephant! And do you know—as soon as he began to think about someone else being more scared than himself—why—he stopped being scared—right off! He felt around cautiously in the dark with his trunk, for the cries seemed very close. The next minute he gave a little jump, for he touched something warm and soft and very wet! “Ugh!” shivered Oliver Elephant, nervously, then all at once he thought of the Perhappsy chaps! “I don’t believe they would be scared to help anyone, and look how much larger and stronger I am,” he thought. Out went his trunk again, and this time it wound tightly around the soft frightened bit of warmness and lifted it out of the pool of water where it was lying!
It stopped crying immediately and snuggled close against Oliver’s jacket! “O—w!” screamed Tommy Tapir as a flying stone hit him in the nose. “Can’t you keep quiet!” hissed Oliver Elephant warningly—“do you want to frighten it again?”
It had gradually grown lighter—the rain ceased and the wind died down. Very stiffly Tommy Tapir got to his feet and dragged himself over to where Oliver Elephant was sitting on the lunch! Oliver was so surprised that he scarcely noticed Tommy, for curled up close in his trunk was a dear little brown jungle boy. “A Two-leg!” gasped Tommy. “Throw it away, Oliver! Throw it away!” Oliver got slowly to his feet. “It’s tired and wet, and I’m going to take it home!” he said decidedly. And he did!
Poor Mother Elephant had been wringing her trunk she was so worried about Oliver. Father Elephant and Uncle Abner had gone for the sheriff, and the whole house was upside down when Oliver Elephant got home. Imagine her surprise when she saw the little baby. She hugged Oliver, then Tommy and then both of them. The little baby she wrapped in her apron and put to sleep in the work basket, after giving it a thimble full of soup. Next day Uncle Abner, who knew a tame Elephant working in the [Two-legs] camp, called him on the vine-o-phone and he came over and got the baby—and everybody was happy, especially Oliver Elephant!
How the Supposies Spend St. Valentine’s
From every turret, door and house
A silken banner’s swung,
And all Supposyville with ribbons,
Hearts and darts is hung.
And Valentines come pattering
From unexpected places—
Of perfumed paper, candy ribbons,
Flowers, dainty laces.
The postmen can’t be seen at all
Beneath their merry loads,
And couriers and messengers
Post down the lanes and roads.
With tender missives from the Queen
And presents from the King,
Aho! there is no telling what
The merry day may bring!
A rhyme absurd, a dickey bird,
A book, a ring, a wedding,
With faces glowing with delight
Supposy folk go treading.
These hearty folks delight in jokes,
And with this end in view
Each tries his neighbor and his friends
To outwit and outdo.
All day the castle is thrown open;
Heart-shaped cakes and tea
Are served to all; it would appall
A hostess here to see
A million cakes melt like snowflakes
Before the jolly legions.
As for the tea consumed, ’twould cause
A riot in these regions.
If I could choose the place to spend
St. Valentine’s, I’d fill
My heart with merry thoughts and hie
Me to Supposyville.
Copyright © 2022 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.