Rajid lived in India with his mama and papa. Rajid
loved India. It rained a lot in summer, but it was always green and there
were a lot of beautiful buildings. Rajid's mama wore bright-colored
dresses that hung to the ground. Her dark hair wrapped around her head
like a snake. Rajid's papa went to work each day. He had a friend who was
a snake charmer and the man had many cobras. Rajid didn't like cobras.
Rajid loved elephants. He wanted to leave the city and go into the country
to ride an elephant.
One day his papa took a day off work and they all went
into the country on a drive. They stopped in the jungle. "Rajid, my friend
is going to let you ride his elephant. It's a big elephant so you must be
Ekalinga came out of the jungle on the back of his
elephant. He had a spear and wore a turban on his head. "Hello, Rajid.
Your papa says you want a ride on my elephant. Is this true?"
"Oh yes. What is the elephant's name?" Rajid stroked
the elephant's trunk.
"His name is Panduranga. Climb up here and sit with
me." Ekalinga moved back so Rajid could sit in front of him. "Wave goodbye
to your papa and mama and we'll go into the jungle." Ekalinga made the
elephant move. It plodded through the jungle.
"This is fun," Rajid said. "Will we see any wild
"Many," Ekalinga said. "You're not afraid, are you?"
"No. I'm brave."
"Very well." Ekalinga moved along on Panduranga. "Look
over there," he said. "There's an Indian rhino."
"Wow! I've never seen one of those before. Look at its
horn. It's a big animal, isn't it?"
"Very large, but not as large as my Panduranga. My
elephant is very special to me." Ekalinga pointed. "Look over there, Rajid.
There's a black buck."
"That's a pretty deer with big horns. I'm sure it can
run fast," Rajid said.
"There are some cranes in the river. They eat fish and
other river animals," Ekalinga said.
"I like birds. There are some pelicans and ducks and
geese. They look gracious when they fly," Rajid said. "A peacock! How
beautiful. It's spread it's tail."
"Be very quiet, Rajid." Ekalinga put his fingers to his
"Why?" Rajid whispered.
"Don't make any sound. There is a Bengal tiger behind
that tree. If we make noise, it might try to attack us."
"I won't say a word." The elephant walked past. Rajid's gaze was fixed on
the tiger. It opened its mouth and showed its teeth. "I'm scared," he
whispered. "I don't want a tiger to eat me."
"Do not worry. As long as you don't shout, we'll be all
Suddenly the elephant lifted its trunk and let out a
loud screech. The tiger jumped up and ran towards them. "Oh no! The tiger
is coming. What should we do, Ekalinga?" Rajid cried out in terror.
Panduranga lifted her trunk again and hit the tiger on
the nose. The tiger growled and snarled, but then it ran away, back into
the jungle. "See, Rajid. There was no reason to be afraid. My Panduranga
knows how to take care of herself."
They went back along the path and stopped near Rajid's
mama and papa stood. Rajid climbed off the elephant and ran over to them.
"Mama! Papa! I saw a tiger!" He told them all about his walk with the
elephant and Ekalinga. On the drive home Rajid fell asleep, dreaming about
his day in the jungle.