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The King's White Elephant
Once upon a time a number of carpenters lived on
a river bank near a large forest. Every day the
carpenters went in boats to the forest to cut
down the trees and make them into lumber.
One day while they were at work an Elephant came
limping on three feet to them. He held up one
foot and the carpenters saw that it was swollen
and sore. Then the Elephant lay down and the men
saw that there was a great splinter in the sore
foot. They pulled it out and washed the sore
carefully so that in a short time it would be
Thankful for the cure, the Elephant thought:
"These carpenters have done so much for me, I
must be useful to them."
So after that the Elephant used to pull up trees
for the carpenters. Sometimes when the trees
were chopped down he would roll the logs down to
the river. Other times he brought their tools
for them. And the carpenters used to feed him
well morning, noon and night.
Now this Elephant had a son who was white all
over--a beautiful, strong young one. Said the
old Elephant to himself, "I will take my son to
the place in the forest where I go to work each
day so that he may learn to help the carpenters,
for I am no longer young and strong."
So the old Elephant told his son how the
carpenters had taken good care of him when he
was badly hurt and took him to them. The white
Elephant did as his father told him to do and
helped the carpenters and they fed him well.
When the work was done at night the young
Elephant went to play in the river. The
carpenters' children played with him, in the
water and on the bank. He liked to pick them up
in his trunk and set them on the high branches
of the trees and then let them climb down on his
One day the king came down the river and saw
this beautiful white Elephant working for the
carpenters. The king at once wanted the Elephant
for his own and paid the carpenters a great
price for him. Then with a last look at his
playmates, the children, the beautiful white
Elephant went on with the king.
The king was proud of his new Elephant and took
the best care of him as long as he lived.