The Wonders of the Jungle, Book Two

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ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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CHAPTER I

The Elephant Herd a Republic

An elephant herd is a kind of republic, something like the United States of America, only much smaller and much simpler. So its leader is a sort of president. He is usually the wisest elephant in the herd.

You may like to know how the elephants choose their president. I shall tell you how they do that.

But you must first consider how the people of the United States choose their President. They find out who among their important men is best able to lead them in all the great duties of the nation. Then they choose him.

But if afterward they find that he is not leading the nation in the wisest manner, then the people of the United States choose another man to be their President the next time.

The elephants in a herd do something like that. They first follow the elephant who, they think, is best able to lead them. But if afterward they find that he is not leading them through the jungle in the right way, and that another elephant could lead them in a better manner, then they follow him instead. He then becomes the president of the herd.

"But what is the best way of leading the herd through the jungle?" you may ask.

I shall now tell you about that. The best way to lead the herd is to satisfy all their needs. So the president of the herd has four great duties.

First Duty: He must lead the herd in such a manner that all the elephants will get enough food to eat every day.

Second Duty: He must lead the herd in such a manner that all the elephants will get enough water to drink every day.

Third Duty: He must keep order in the herd, and not allow any naughty elephant to fight or quarrel.

Fourth Duty: He must guide the elephants in such a manner as to avoid all danger from outside; and if such danger does happen to come, he must guard the herd from that danger.

I shall now tell you about these four duties more fully.

He Must Provide Daily Food

Elephants are such large animals that they need a great amount of food. So they have to walk a long way every day, munching the leaves of the trees as they go.

They walk in line, one behind another, as that is the easiest method of walking through the thick jungle; for then one gap through the jungle is enough for all the elephants to go through, one at a time, and they need not make a different gap for each elephant.

Now you will understand that if that one gap is big enough for the largest elephant to go through, it is of course big enough for all the elephants to go through. So, if the largest elephant walks first, in front of the line of elephants, he can force a way through the thick jungle that will be big enough for all the other elephants who come behind him.

So usually the largest and strongest bull elephant is the leader of the herd—if he also has the other qualities of a president, which I shall presently describe more fully. To have all the qualities of a president, he must not only be strong, but also wise and clever. Why? Because even in merely going through the jungle a wise leader avoids many difficulties. It might be that the jungle straight ahead was very thick, and it would be hard to force a way through it; but by turning a little to the right or to the left, an easier passage could be made. This a wise leader would find out, and then turn in that direction.

Again, in the jungle, the ground is sometimes too soft; it might be made of clay which had become soft owing to rain a few days before. But elephants are such heavy animals that they cannot go far over soft ground, as their feet would sink in too deep. And the ground might be covered with bushes or tall grass, so that the elephants could not see to what distance the ground was soft. They might not mind going over soft ground for a few yards, but they would not like to go over such ground for a whole mile.


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