Letters to the Editor: An Elephant Never Forgets

In 1987, Duane Butler went on holiday in Gabon, after graduating from the University of Manitoba.

On a hike through the coastal plains, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Duane approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant’s foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Duane worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face him, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Duane stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and marched away. Duane never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Nearly thirty years later, Duane was walking through the Indianapolis Zoo with his teen-aged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Duane and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Duane, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant repeated this several times, then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the remarkable encounter in 1987, Duane could not help but wonder if this was the same elephant.

Duane summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked straight up to the elephant and stared at it in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Duane’s legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Obviously it wasn’t the same fucking elephant.

This is for everyone who sends me those heart-warming bullshit stories. Cease and desist.

Faithful Reader

Leave a Reply