The Elephant by Alexander Kuprin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The Elephant – Contents

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That night they brought the elephant to visit the sick girl.

He marched importantly down the very middle of the street, nodding his head and curling up and uncurling his trunk. A great crowd of people came with him, in spite of the late hour. But the elephant paid no attention to the people; he saw hundreds of them every day in the menagerie. Only once did he get a little angry. A street urchin ran up to him under his very legs, and began to make grimaces for the diversion of the sight-seers.

Then the elephant quietly took off the boy’s cap with his trunk and threw it over a wall near by, which was protected at the top by projecting nails.

A policeman came up to the people and tried to persuade them:

“Gentlemen, I beg you to go away. What’s there here unusual? I’m astonished at you! As if you never saw an elephant in the street before.”

They came up to the house. On the staircase, and all the way up to the dining-room where the elephant was to go, every door was opened wide; the latches had all been pushed down with a hammer. It was just the same as had been done once when they brought a large wonder-working ikon into the house.

But when he came to the staircase the elephant stopped in alarm, and refused to go on.

“You must get him some dainty to eat,” said the German…. “A sweet cake or something…. But … Tommy! … Oho-ho … Tommy!”

Nadya’s father ran off to a neighbouring confectioner’s and bought a large round pistachio tart. The elephant looked as if he would like to eat it at one gulp, and the cardboard box it was in as well, but the German gave him only a quarter of the tart…. Tommy evidently liked it, and stretched out his trunk for a second morsel. But the German was cunning. Holding the tart in his hand he went up the staircase, step by step, and the elephant unwillingly followed him with outstretched trunk and bristling ears. On the landing Tommy was given a second piece.

In this way they brought him into the dining-room, from whence all the furniture had been taken out beforehand, and the floor had been strewn with a thick layer of straw…. Tommy was fastened by the leg to a ring which had been screwed into the floor. They put some fresh carrots, cabbages and turnips in front of him. The German stretched himself out on a sofa by Tommy’s side. The lights were put out, and everybody went to bed.

< < < . IV .
. VI . > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The Elephant – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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