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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)

TITLE: The Elephant's Oozie
By Gerald Shuler


Kyeema took in a deep breath of fresh Burmese air, catching the unmistakable scent of approaching spring rain. The river would grow large tonight so he knew Father would need help bringing the elephants up from their watering. He also knew Ar-Nar, his own elephant, would not be pleased leaving before her drinking was completed. It did not matter to Kyeema. Ar-Nar was the beast, not the master. The elephant would do as instructed. He took in another breath. The rain would begin soon. He must hurry.

Before he reached the waters of the Irrawaddy, Father met him on the path. He had one elephant by the ear and two others trailed behind, tails grasped by trunks, as elephants do. Only three elephants, though. Ar-Nar was not among them.

“Why did Ar-Nar not come, Father?”

“She is your beast, Kyeema.” Father pulled his elephant’s ear, perhaps harder than needed. “Did you teach her to follow when told?”

“I will correct her, Father.”

Kyeema started to pass the elephants, hoping to be able to leave before another word was spoken. It was not meant to be.

“You’ll not correct her without this.” Father threw a whipping cane to the ground at Kyeema’s feet. “That, Kyeema, is why she will not obey.”

Kyeema picked up the stick without looking at his father.

“Yes, Father.”

His head hung low as he again headed toward the mighty river. The path opened to a broad beach and he could see the stubborn elephant sucking up the contents of the Irrawaddy River. Ar-Nar’s ears flapped as she heard the rustle of twigs from Kyeema’s footsteps. As much as he detested working with them, Kyeema was amazed at God’s handiwork in forming the elephant. Ar-Nar fit her name. She was, indeed, Brute Power. The power was contained, though, in a massive body of gentle flesh. With her trunk she could lift a heavy log as easily as she could pick a tender flower. Her hearing and sense of smell were unbelievable. Yes, an amazing animal. Still, she was Ar-Nar, the disobedient.

Kyeema looked at the moonlight reflecting off the river water in shimmering cascades of dancing sparkles. His heart was not in what was to come. He held the whipping cane high in the air and turned to face Ar-Nar.

“Do you see what I hold, Big One?”

Kyeema paused as though he expected Ar-Nar to answer. The elephant just took another drink of river water.

“Father wants you corrected. He could be watching from behind the trees at this very moment. What am I to do with you?”

Kyeema saw Ar-Nar’s ears lift slightly. Her trunk raised and she shook her head from side to side.

“No... I will not let you off so easily this time. I am your Oozie. You must learn to obey when given commands.”

Kyeema waved the stick in front of her to make his point understood. Ar-Nar paid him no attention so Kyeema readied the whipping cane for the first blow. Her ears were still alert and her trunk raised far above her head. Suddenly, she dropped to her knees and lowered her head. Kyeema had not given her the command to kneel... something was seriously wrong.

“What is wrong, Gentle Giant? Has something frightened you? Or are you...”

His words froze in his throat as his inferior human ears finally heard what Ar-Nar’s ears and trunk had already sensed. Rain had already been falling up river. The elephant heard flood waters rushing toward them at an incredible speed. Kyeema now knew why Ar-Nar knelt. He tossed the cane to the ground and leaped onto the elephant’s knee. He then scrambled to settle across her mighty neck. As he settled, Ar-Nar rose to her feet and started for the trees at the edge of the beach. Kyeema could see the wall of water sweeping down the river. If they were hit by that wall, not even Ar-Nar’s strength would be enough.

“Run, Ar-Nar... Run!”

The elephant’s feet hit the path just as the raging river reached them. Ar-Nar’s legs nearly went out from under her, but her strength held both beast and Oozie up. She had gotten them to safety.

Kyeema, still straddled atop her neck, reached down to pat her head.

“Okay, Wise One. You have proved your point. You have trained your Oozie far better than your Oozie has trained you.”

He patted her head one more time.

“And you did it with love... not a whipping cane.”

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This article has been read 1190 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 03/05/09
Such rich descriptions and sense of place. Love the message as well.
Sonya Leigh03/05/09
I am moved by the portrayal of this gentle giant who lovingly protects his master. What a beautiful message of love, loyalty and kindness. Very good writing.
Debbie Roome 03/06/09
What a lovely story with a wonderful ending.
Carolyn Crook03/06/09
Wow! I loved your story. I am a beginner and having read your story, I realize why you are a master ~ it was amazing.
This has inspired me and gives me a vision as to what I can aspire too....thank you.
Sheri Gordon03/06/09
Very interesting story, and well written. I was intrigued from the beginning. Nice job.
Gregory Kane03/08/09
I enjoyed this story. I have never given any thought whatsoever to how to train an elephant and the thought of a man leading one by the ear was quite a mind-blowing image. I liked the very unexpected turn which the story took in the middle.
Sharon Kane03/08/09
Sorry, I didn't see Gregory was logged on. That comment was from me.
Lynda Schultz 03/08/09
Wonderful story.
Connie Dixon03/08/09
Oh, this is great. I love how we think we train our animals and everyone but us knows that they are the ones who have us trained. Where is that elephant whisperer?
I really liked this story.
Peter Stone03/09/09
Great descriptions and when I realised why the elephant knelt down, I was moved. Lovely message about love being a stronger motivation that fear.
Dena Wilson03/09/09
When I saw the title I thought this story will be funny, since I had no idea what an elephant oozie was. After starting the story I quickly encouraging the boy to stand with his beliefs and not beat the elephant. You did a great job showing the act of love being returned.
Linda Payne03/09/09
I enjoyed your story immensely! I could feel the pain of the boy having to chastise his elephant. This would make a wonderful children's story.
Lyn Churchyard03/09/09
Wonderful story Gerald! When I read the title, and began reading, I felt sure Ar-Nar was going to give Kyeema a soaking by spraying him with water. What a wonderful twist to the story. You've done it again my friend.
Karlene Jacobsen03/10/09
I loved the last line. Discipline with love instead of a whipping cane holds much power.
Thank you, I did enjoy this very much.
Jim McWhinnie 03/10/09
Delightful story filled with such a wondrous sense of place.

You certainly have a mastery of sentence structure - so very readable.
Jan Ackerson 03/10/09
Beth LaBuff 03/10/09
Your hint made me laugh. :) What a great story this is with a great lesson.
Yvonne Blake 03/11/09
I remember accounts of this. One elephant even picked up his owner and ran away from the tsunami...amazing!
Mona Purvis03/11/09
You are a talented writer. Interesting story.
...and the moral of that story is...
love those stories.

Sara Harricharan 03/11/09
Oooh, I love Kyeema and Ar-Nar! Such delightful characters and I was really hoping for a good ending like this. loved it! I would even read more of this to see what happens afterwards. Great stuff here!
Tallylah Monroe03/12/09
I really love this story.

This is the winner this week in my book!
Lisa Wells12/10/14
I was there, at the river, expecting like others to be soaked, with Kyeema. But that was not to be. What a sweet story! You have such a wonderful ability to transport us out of our world, into the world of your characters. Who would ever want to come back?