Bless the beasts and the children
In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.
Hiking through the bush, he encountered a young bull elephant with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed. Mbembe approached carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. A large piece of wood was deeply embedded in it. Carefully, gently, Mbembe worked out the splinter with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face Mbembe and stared at him for several tense moments. Mbembe stood frozen, fearful of being trampled. Finally, the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the miracle of that day.
Twenty years later, Mbembe strolled through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over 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 repeated the gesture several times then trumpeted loudly, staring intently at Mbembe. Remembering his 1986 encounter, Mbembe was stunned and near tears. Could this be the same elephant? Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He slowly walked 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. Probably wasn't the same elephant.
Cheers from Central Texas
SPICoaster - 2008 Holiday Rambler Alumascape Suite 5th Wheel