20 February 2009

Elephants Never Forget


I received an e-mail a couple years ago with this story in it. It's such a great story, that I decided to save it for a future day to enjoy all over again....today is the day.


In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after
graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike
through the bush, he came across a young
bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the
air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Mbembe
approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee
and inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large
piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and
as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the
wood out with his hunting knife, after which the
elephant gingerly put down its foot.




The elephant turned to face the man, and with a
rather curious look on its face, stared at him for
several tense moments. Mbembe stood frozen,
thinking of nothing else but being trampled.
Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned
and walked away.




Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of
that day.




Twenty years later, Mbembe was walking through the
Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the
elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked
over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were
standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe,
lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down.
The elephant did that several times then trumpeted
loudly, all the while staring at the man.




Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't
help wondering if this was the same elephant.
Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the
railing and made his way into the enclosure. He
walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.
The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one
of Mbembe's legs and slammed him against the railing,
killing him instantly.




It probably wasn't the same elephant.

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