Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gentle Giants Among Us - Elephants in Legend and Lore

The Pearl of the Elephant
by Edmund Dulac c. 1920
While researching upcoming holidays I found out that September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day. The Ashanti of Ghana relate that an elephant is a human chief from the past. When they find a dead elephant in the forest, they give him a proper chief's burial.

The founder of this celebration is Wayne Hepburn, of Mission Media. It began when he received a paperweight of elephants on parade from his daughter as a gift. To learn more about his mission visit his website . You will find information, crafts, lesson plans and more!

My friend's son Jadiel adores elephants and is a frequent visitor at the Buttonwood Park Zoo to visit Emily the Elephant. Recently, I bought him a pink elephant watering can for his small raised garden at my sister's house. When I gave it to him he hugged it close and said, "I love elephants!"

So here is my new blog post for the week, in honor of  sweet, kind and caring Jadiel, and his love for these magnificent creatures. 
  • The elephant is the largest land mammal in the world.
  • Both males and females have tusks, but the males tend to be larger.
  • The gestation period for a female elephant is 22 months!
  • Other females in the herd are protective toward all newborn elephants.
  • Baby elephants are always in the middle of the herd for protection.
  • The cool themselves down elephants will pump more blood to its ears and flap them around.
  • They have children up to fifty years old.
  • The elephant's trunk has over 100,000 muscles units.
  • They can live up to 70 years old or more.
The above information was found at the following website:


And Elephants Did Fly - Southern Orissa, India
The Blind Man and the Elephant - India
The Elephant and the Dog – Bhutan

The Elephant and the Mahout – Magadha/Ancient India
Elephant and Tortoise – South Africa

Fearing the Wind - India
How the Elephant Got His Tusks - Africa
The Tortoise and the Elephant - Nigeria
The Tortoise Captures the Elephant - Africa

The Elephants Nose – India – More elephant information than you can shake your trunk at!


The Best Kid’s Booksite – A list of books suitable for children, all featuring elephants.

The Blind Man and the Elephant
(story above)

The Elephant Sanctuary
– Two units focusing on the study of elephants offering teaching and learning activities for children grades K-8 consisting of  72 pages of instruction, background information, charts and graphs, activities, etc.

– Story starters, elephant shapes and more for young children.

Shape Book from ABC Can Teach


Danielle’s Place of Crafts and Activities – Lots of fun, easy to make elephant crafts.

Elephant Puppet
– For ages 3 and up. Easy craft.


The White Elephant – A play for acting out the Indian folktale along with curriculum information.


Animal Rhymes

Perpetual Preschool
– Elephant Songs

Animal Hokey Pokey
– Featuring the elephant and animals galore!

Storyteller Susi Wolf generously shared this poem with me; I share it here with her permission.
by Susi Wolf 

There once was a female elephant 
Who was strong and clever. 
But one day 
She became quite ill and even though 
She recovered she was now blind. 
Being a survivor, 
She learned to walk slowly 
Using her trunk as a guide for every step. 
She taught herself how to eat, 
How to cross rivers 
How to be independent 
Within her own world of darkness. 
The other elephants noticed that 
All the young elephants stopped following 
Their own mothers and were now following 
The blind female. 
The herd grumbled among itself 
About why the foolish youngsters would 
Follow a blind creature 
Until an old male spoke, 
“Have you not noticed 
How she moves 
Through the forest with 
Confidence and strength? 
She walks with dignity and determination. 
Who would not follow such a leader?” 
And the other elephants were silent, 
Letting their youngsters go. 

Copyright, © February 2007, Susi Wolf 

Karen Chace 2011 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.


evita said...

Karen! you are a true treasure!
love and inspiration

Karen Chace said...

Thank you for your lovely words Evita. It is so niced to know that the work will be used. I appreciate your note!


Sebastian Lockwood said...

brilliant idea - I want to share this one around... Elephant tails & tales... there is the amazing George Orwell short story, shooting the elephant...

Sebastian Lockwood said...

brilliant idea - I want to share this one around... Elephant tails & tales... there is the amazing George Orwell short story, shooting the elephant...

Karen Chace said...

Thank you Sebastian. I will have to look up the Orwell story.