An Elephant Living In The House
(Perth, Western Australia, Australia.)
"Why can't I have an elephant for a pet?" I asked Mum and Dad. We'd gone to the zoo. We were looking at the elephants.
"Elephants are too big to keep," said Dad.
"But Nathan at school has a horse and he's big," I said.
"That's different," said Mum. "You can ride a horse."
"You can also ride on an elephant," I persisted.
"There is no space at home for one," moaned Mum.
"Why don't you get a nice cat instead?" said Dad.
"Everyone has a cat. I want something different," I said.
"We can go to the pet shop and you can pick out something you like," said Dad. "Until then I don't want to hear another word about elephants." Dad took me by the hand to look at the rest of the animals.
But I couldn't stop thinking about one of the elephants. Her name was Tricia. I thought Tricia must be bored living in the same place most of her life. I had an idea.
When Mum and Dad went to the cafe to have lunch, I said, "I'm going to look at the birds. I won't be long."
"Birds and fun and playful," said Mum. "Perhaps you'll see one you'll like as a pet."
"Maybe," I said. I quickly went to look at the birds.
"I can't play with a bird," I said to myself. I ran back to the elephant enclosure. I went over to where Tricia was standing.
"I bet you're bored stuck inside here. Maybe you'd like to come home with me?" I said to Tricia.
Tricia grunted and swayed her truck from side to side as if she understood.
"I've always wanted an elephant. I'll be back to get you," I said and waved goodbye.
Just before we left the zoo, I scooted back to the elephant enclosure. Tricia was waiting for me.
"Nobody is around, let's go now," I said to Tricia and opened up the gate latch and snuck her out of the zoo. I looked around to make sure nobody was looking. Then I opened the back of the station wagon. Tricia hopped inside. I covered her with a blanket.
"It won't be long. Stay under the blanket so Mum and Dad don't see you," I warned.
On the way home Dad said, "The car seems heavy today."
"Maybe it needs a tune up," said Mum. "It does seem sluggish."
I patted the top of the blanket. I didn't want Tricia making one of her rumbling sounds.
Once home, I waited until Mum and Dad were safely inside the home. I took Tricia up the stairs. I made a, 'No Entry - Off Limits to Parents' sign. I hung it on the door.
"I suppose you're hungry after such a long trip? Let's go to the kitchen and find some food," I said to Tricia. She bellowed at the sound of the word food.
"Shhhh. Mum and Dad mustn't know you're here," I said. I checked that the coast was clear before we went downstairs.
I found two large bags of peanuts inside the kitchen cupboard. Tricia finished the peanuts and squeaked to let me know she was still hungry.
"I didn't know elephants ate so much," I said and opened the fridge. I grabbed all the fruit I could find. I also took the two boxes of corn inside the freezer.
After Tricia had finished eating, I took her back upstairs to the bedroom. "I'll be back after I've had dinner."
At the dinner table, Mum said, "I can't find the bags of peanuts or the fruit which was in the fridge. I'm sure I put two boxes of corn in the freezer. They've disappeared too. Did you eat them Olivia?"
"No Mum," I said truthfully.
"Well, someone with a huge appetite must have been here. If I didn't know better I'd say we have an elephant living in the house," said Mum.
I stood up and left my half eaten bowl of ice cream, "I'll be back later to help with the dishes," I said and bolted up the stairs.
When I entered my room, Tricia wasn't there. Panicking I checked the rooms upstairs. I found Tricia inside the bathroom.
"Oh no!" I gasped in horror. Tricia had somehow turned on the bath taps. The bath was overflowing. Tricia was shooting a stream of water from her trunk onto her back.
"What a mess! What will Mum say?" I groaned.
I quickly turned off the taps. I took six of mum's best towels and wiped Tricia dry before taking her back to the bedroom.
Later on, I went to wash the dishes. Mum came to see me.
"Did you have a bath and make that mess in the bathroom, Olivia?"
"No Mum," I answered truthfully.
"Well, someone has slopped a lot of water around. If I didn't know better I'd say we have an elephant living in the house," she said.
I quickly finished washing the dishes and sprinted up the stairs.
"You must stay inside the room. If my parents find you, they'll make me take you back to the zoo," I said to Tricia. "Maybe you're bored. We can go outside and play soon."
That night I waited until Mum and Dad had gone to bed, then I took Tricia outside to play. While I was looking for a ball Tricia must have felt hungry again. She'd used her head to knock down the trees to eat the leaves. She'd also used her tusks to rip off the bark and to dig up the roots.
"Let's play ball," I said to Tricia. She used her long trunk to pick the ball off the ground and throw it to me. She also used her trunk to move objects that were in her way.
After we'd finished playing, I climbed on Tricia's back. "I've always wanted to ride an elephant." Together we circled round and round the backyard.
"That's enough for one night," I said when I felt sleepy. I took Tricia back upstairs to my room.
Next morning at the breakfast table, Dad said, "A mini tornado must have gone through our backyard last night. Did you hear anything Olivia?"
"No Dad," I answered truthfully.
"I can't understand why it was only our backyard that was damaged," said Dad.
"Well, only something very strong could knock down trees. If I didn't know better I'd say we have an elephant living in the house," said Mum.
I quickly went upstairs, dressed and got ready for school.
"You must stay inside the room, and keep quiet until I come home," I warned Tricia before I left.
However I don't think it was good idea leaving an elephant inside a small room. Tricia must have gone exploring again.
"All our beautiful furniture's been ruined," said Mum when she came home that afternoon.
Elephant's don't have very good eyesight. Neither can they turn their head to see behind them. So they have to turn their whole body around to see.
"Have you been playing ball inside the house, Olivia?" asked Dad. He plonked down on the damaged sofa and scratched his head.
"No Dad," I answered truthfully.
"Only a large beast could make this much mess. If I didn't know better I'd say we've got a herd of elephants living in the house," said Mum and cried.
Suddenly I didn't feel good about keeping an elephant as a pet. I ran up the stairs.
"You can't stay here anymore. Mum is beginning to suspect that you're living here. It's time to go home," I told Tricia.
Tricia roared at the word home.
"I need to go back to the zoo," I told Mum and Dad, then explained, "I need to study an animal for my school project."
That afternoon, Tricia went back to the zoo.
That night, when the house was dark and quiet, I carried something else upstairs. Its long black hairy arms poked out from under the blanket.
"Elephants are too naughty and also to big to hide," I whispered to my new playmate.