The Unusual Friends

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The Unusual Friends

Elephants simply did not like dogs, and dogs were afraid of elephants. But some Best Friends are just meant to be!

Before the time of this story, people in Asia used to say that there would never be a time when an elephant and a dog would be friends. Elephants just did not like dogs, and dogs were afraid of elephants.

When dogs are frightened by those who are bigger than they are, they often bark at them very loudly, to cover up their fear. When dogs do this at elephants, the elephants would get annoyed and scare them off. Elephants had no patience when it came to barking dogs. This is why everybody agreed that elephants and dogs were ‘natural enemies’, just like lions and tigers, or cats and mice.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a Royal bull elephant, who was very well fed and cared for. Near the elephant shelter, there was a scrawny stray dog. He was attracted by the smell of the rich sweet rice being fed to the Royal elephant. So the dog would to sneak into the shed and eat the tasty leftovers. He liked it so much, that soon the dog would eat nowhere else. While enjoying his food, the big mighty elephant did not notice the tiny shy stray dog.

By eating nourishing, rich food, the once underfed dog grew bigger and stronger, and looked well-bred. The good-natured elephant noticed him. Since the dog had gotten used to being around the elephant, he was not afraid of the elephant. So he did not bark at the elephant. As he was not annoyed by the friendly dog, the elephant also got used to him.

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Slowly the dog and the elephant became good friends. Before long, neither would eat without the other, and they enjoyed spending their time together. As they played, the dog would grab the elephant’s heavy trunk, and the elephant would swing him forward and backward, from side to side, up and down, and even in circles! They soon became ‘best friends’, and was never ever-hesitant to leave each other’s side.

One day a man from a remote village, who was visiting the city, passed by the elephant shelter and saw the good looking dog. He loved how active and playful the dog was and inquired to the mahout whether he can buy the dog for his children back home. The mahout pocketed some cash and happily sold off the dog. The village man promptly took the dog back to his far-away village.

Soon the royal bull elephant missed his best friend and became very sad and anxious waiting for the dog. He became so sad that he didn’t want to do anything, not even eat or drink or bathe. So the mahout had to report this to the King, although he said nothing about selling the friendly dog.

Fortunately, the King had an intelligent Minister who was known for his way with animals. So the King urged him to go and find out the reason for the elephant’s condition.

The wise Minister went to the elephant shelter. He saw at once that the royal bull elephant was very sad. He thought, “This once happy elephant does not appear to be sick in any way. But I have seen this condition before, in men and animals alike. This elephant is grief-stricken, probably due to the loss of a very dear friend.”

Then the Minister said to the guards and attendants, “I find no sickness. He seems to be grief-stricken due to the loss of a friend. Do you know if this elephant had a very close friendship with anyone?”

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They told him how the royal elephant and the stray dog were best friends. “What happened to this stray dog?” asked the Minister. “An unknown man took him away,” they replied, “and we do not know where he is now.”

The Minister returned to the king and said, “Your majesty, I am happy to say your elephant is not sick. As strange as it may sound, he became best friends with a stray dog! Since the dog has been taken away, the elephant is grief-stricken and does not feel like eating or drinking or bathing. This is my opinion.”

The King said, “Friendship is one of life’s most wonderful things. O wise Minister, how can we bring back my elephant’s friend and make him happy again?”

“My Lord,” replied the Minister, “I suggest you make an official announcement, that whoever has the dog who used to live at the royal elephant shelter, will be fined.”

The official announcement was made and soon the remote villager heard of it, and let the dog go with the guards. The dog was filled with great happiness and ran as fast as he could, straight back to his best friend, the royal bull elephant.

Seeing his best friend, the elephant was so overjoyed that he picked up his friend and kept him on top of his head. The happy dog wagged his tail, while the elephant’s eyes sparkled with delight. They both lived happily ever after.

Some friendships need no label. They mean more than the what the society tags it!

(This story has been edited to adapt to the taste of early readers)

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