A wooden vat sat on a patch
of tall green grass; its tight-fitting oak boards held together by thick
ropes that were wound around the outside for support. It was filled
halfway with plump, juicy, purple grapes.
A small group of men and
women, who were standing near the vat, walked away and headed for the
nearby river to wash off and cool down. The sun beat down on their skin,
bronzed by its rays.
Eisa, a wrinkled gray
elephant, stomped through the grass, in search of a mimosa tree. He knew
its leaves would shade him from the searing sun. He noticed an odd looking
thing in the distance and headed towards it.
As he moved nearer to it,
he could smell something sweet. He lifted his trunk into the air and
sniffed. “Mmmmmm, grapes,” he said happily.
When he reached the rim of
the vat, he gazed inside. He couldn’t believe all the grapes. Each was
perfect – purple, ripe, bursting with juice and delicious looking. Not
being able to resist, he stuck his snake-like trunk in, grabbed as many
grapes as he could and lifted them to his mouth. “Mmmmmm, delicious,” he
mumbled as he gobbled them down.
Eisa wanted more. The ones
in the middle of the vat looked like they were the biggest. He tried to
reach them with his trunk, but couldn’t, so he lifted his thick legs over
the edge and climbed inside. He walked around in the soft squishy grapes,
enjoying the feel of them as they mushed up between his toes.
“Hee, hee, hee! This is
fun,” Eisa giggled.
He lifted each huge
trunk-like leg and brought them down onto the grapes, smashing the juice
out of them. Then he would stick his trunk deep down to the bottom of the
vat and slurp up the juice.
A while later, after he’d
had his fill of grape juice, and after he was bored with stomping the
grapes, he climbed out of the vat. He looked down at himself as he felt
globs of smashed grapes and juice drip to the ground. His beautiful white
ivory tusks were stained by the purple juice, as were his trunk and four
“Oh dear,” he mumbled. “I
think I need a bath.”
He plodded off towards the
river to wash. On the way there, he passed the group of men and women who
were on their way back to the vat of grapes. As Eisa walked by, they
stared at him. They watched intently as he waded into the river and began
blowing water all over himself.
When the group reached the
wooden vat, they stopped and stared silently. They were supposed to have
stomped the grapes, a task that would have taken them hours to do. The
juice was to be used to make wine for the pharaoh.
“The elephant did our job!”
Karif shouted as he leaned over the vat, scooping up a handful of the
He took a sip. “It’s
perfect,” he called out to the others.
He then turned and ran down
to the river to talk to Eisa.
Each day from then on, Eisa
came to the vat and stomped the grapes into juice. In return, the group
gave him a bath, scrubbed his tusks, his trunk and his four stout legs.
The best part, so Eisa thought, was that he got to eat all the grapes and
drink all the grape juice that he wanted.