While all the
other elephants soaked in the muddy rivers, James sat in the tall
savannah grasses watching butterflies and the wind blowing through the
baobab trees. “I don’t understand why those elephants want to get dirty!
James never sat
in the grass without first brushing all the dust off every leaf. He
shook the trees to make sure no dead leaves would fall on him. Before he
ate his meals, he made sure no sand could possibly blow on his food.
One morning the
sky filled with dark clouds. They grew blacker with each passing moment.
When the first raindrop fell James made sure he ran for cover under the
ledge of a huge boulder. At first the drops came now and then, but they
soon pelted down, turning the dirt to a muddy brown paste.
“This will not
do. How will I get home? I can’t possibly walk through this muck. How
disgusting!” James moved further back against the stone wall, trying to
protect his feet from the approaching mud.
The rain kept
falling. Soon the water swirled around James’s trunk-like legs. “I must
get out of here. I just cleaned my toenails this morning.” He stepped
into the open and bumped right into a giraffe. All the jungle animals
headed up the hill. When James saw the river overflowing, he knew he
needed to follow them.
All day and
night the animals huddled together, fearful that the floodwaters would
rise and drown them all. James lifted his big ears so some of the
smaller animals could hide under them and be protected from the
The next morning
the rain stopped. Inch by inch the water receded, leaving mud in its
path. James’s hide was coated with dark brown filth. It clung to his
legs, his bottom, his tummy and his trunk. He itched so badly that he
rubbed himself against a tree trunk, trying to scrape the dried dirt
off. “I can’t stand this. I hate having mud all over my skin!”
He avoided the
mud as much as possible, staying on clumps of grass and rocks. “The
waterfall! I’ll go there and wash myself off.” On the way there James
watched other animals pass. He could hardly tell what sort of animal
they were because they were completely covered with the mud. “Disgusting
creatures, though I suppose I look as bad.”
pummeled over the top of the cliff, forming a pool of clear water. James
stepped into the pond and then stood right under the waterfall. The mud
washed off his body and floated away. “Ah, that’s much better! I’m clean
again.” He was about to step out from the waterfall when a river of mud
came pouring over him. “Yikes! The waterfall’s turned to mud.” He rushed
out and stood on the banks. “Sigh! I guess I’ll have to stay muddy one
back to the river and saw all the other animals splashing about. “Come
in James,” shouted a rhinoceros.
The rhino looked
“Maybe I will
join you.” James ran into the water. The coated mud washed away. He
filled his trunk with river water and sprayed it all over the giraffe’s
long neck, cleaning it. He sprayed all the other animals too.
From then on
James bathed in the river with all the others and didn’t worry so much
about being dirty.