the little clean grey elephant

the little clean grey elephant (for Jonathan & Luke)

Dad had been working late and he was driving home in the dark. He was very tired. Mum had already put their little boy to bed for the night because by seven o’clock he was very tired too.

Dad turned his car up the bumpy road that led to their house. The porch light was on and in the glow he caught sight of a shape. He couldn’t quite make out what it was. Imagine his surprise when he got closer and the shape turned out to be a little elephant. Not a baby one but a grown up one only smaller! He was a clean shade of grey with wrinkly legs, big toes, bright eyes and a winning smile. Oh! And a trunk, well two trunks actually. The one that he had instead of a nose and the battered leather one that was by his side.

Dad got out of the car slightly worried. What do you say to an elephant? So he said, “Hello”, and the elephant said, “Hello”.
“Can I help you”, said Dad.
After studying his response for some time the elephant said, “No, but I think I can help you”.
“Oh! Well you’d better come in then”.

This was certainly a great mystery.

“Hi, darling”, dad shouted to mum.
“Hi!”, mum shouted back.
“Have you got a minute, I’ve got someone I want you to meet”.

He’d already led the elephant into the sitting room and sat him down on the biggest comfy chair.

“Goodness, what’s all the racket about”, said mum, “it sounds like you’ve got a pet elephant in……”, and she stopped dead in her tracks, because quite frankly there was a pet elephant in the sitting room.

Mum didn’t quite know what to say!
“Hello”, she said.
“Hello”, said the clean grey elephant with wrinkly legs, big toes, bright eyes and a winning smile. And two trunks.
“Mum this is…….”
“Sidney”, said Sidney the elephant.
“Sidney”, said dad.
“Pleased to meet you Sidney”, said mum, ever polite to guests, “would you like a cup of tea”
“Hmmmm….. I don’t think I like tea”, said the elephant in a studied manner, “not the sort of thing we get in the zoo. I don’t suppose you have cocoa do you?”
“Yes, I do as a matter of fact. I’ll go and get you some!”
Mum looked at Dad completely puzzled by the presence of an Elephant in her living room and even more puzzled by the fact he wanted cocoa!

“How do you come to be here”, said Dad, “don’t elephants live in Africa of India”.
“Well yes”, said Sidney, “except the ones that live in zoos”.
“Oh”, said Dad.
“Oh”, said Sidney. “I’ve been sent by the Zoo Keeper-in-charge on a most important mission. It’s your son. I’ve been told he’s a little sad at the moment”.
“Well yes”, said dad. “His best friend has had to move away and now he won’t see him anymore.”
“Well there you go then! That’s why I’m here”

Mum returned with the cocoa and the elephant drank it in one gulp. “If you don’t mind I’d like to get some sleep now, I’ve got a busy day tomorrow. Little boys to cheer up and that kind of thing. Could you show me to your spare room.”
“We don’t have one”, said mum, worried.
“Oh! Well if you wouldn’t mind I’ll just sleep here on the couch”. And he did!
He got out blue stripy pyjamas, his toothbrush and his bed socks and got ready for bed.
Mum and Dad left him too it and went to bed themselves.

Dad woke up with a start early the next morning and remembered the events of the night before and thought it must have been a dream. But, he decided to check anyway. Wouldn’t it be wonderful though, he thought, if the Zoo Keeper-in-charge really did send clean grey elephants, with wrinkly legs, big toes, bright eyes and winning smiles to cheer up little boys and girls? He walked into the living room expectantly but there was no sign of him. It must have been a dream Dad thought until he heard laughter coming from his little boys bedroom. It sounded like there was a pet elephant in there. And when he looked…….there was!

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