Thursday, January 27

The Elephant's Trunk And The Crocodile Coincidence

the crocodile and the elephant
It looks like Rudyard Kipling's story The Elephant's Child was all true, well judging by these photos anyway - quite a coincidence.

Below is the pic from Kipling's 1902 classic story and above is a scene caught on camera by photographer Johan Opperman in the Kruger National Park.

Kipling's The Elephant Child picture
Kipling's Just So story told of how elephants got their long noses or trunks. The little elephant was looking for a crocodile and then he found him:

"Come hither, Little One," said the Crocodile, "for I am the Crocodile," and he wept crocodile-tears to show it was quite true.

Then the Elephant's Child grew all breathless, and panted, and kneeled down on the bank and said, "You are the very person I have been looking for all these long days. Will you please tell me what you have for dinner?"

"Come hither, Little One," said the Crocodile, "and I'll whisper."

Then the Elephant's Child put his head down close to the Crocodile's musky, tusky mouth, and the Crocodile caught him by his little nose, which up to that very week, day, hour, and minute, had been no bigger than a boot, though much more useful.

"I think," said the Crocodile - and he said it between his teeth, like this - "I think today I will begin with Elephant's Child!"

At this, O Best Beloved, the Elephant's Child was much annoyed, and he said, speaking through his nose, like this, "Led go! You are hurtig be!"

But all was not lost:

Then the Elephant's Child sat back on his little haunches, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose began to stretch. And the Crocodile floundered into the water, making it all creamy with great sweeps of his tail, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled.

And the Elephant's Child's nose kept on stretching; and the Elephant's Child spread all his little four legs and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and his nose kept on stretching; and the Crocodile threshed his tail like an oar, and he pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and at each pull the Elephant's Child's nose grew longer and longer - and it hurt him hijjus!

Then the Elephant's Child felt his legs slipping, and he said through his nose, which was now nearly five feet long, "This is too butch for be!"

The Elephant's child eventually broke free from the crocodile but with a very much longer nose from all of that pulling and stretching.

And that is why today elephants now have long trunks. According to experts, crocodiles rarely attack elephants though, perhaps, baby elephants sometimes look tasty at lunch times.

Further Reading:
The Dog Who Waited And Waited For His Owner
How Leaf Cutting Ants Look After Their Young
The Cat Who Just Wouldn't Go Away

Bookmark and Share


  1. Love this one. And what a stunning synchro between the book and the photo. Good detective work, Mike!

  2. I love Kipling and these comparable pics are great too. And it's good to know how the elephant got his trunk!

  3. That photo makes me sad. I have a thing for elles.

  4. I meant to add (especially for Nancy) that the elephant was okay. Like you I love all animals including elephants - it's why I'm vegetarian!

    1. Anonymous09:07

      im so glad to hear the elephant was ok !!!!

  5. I am Johan Opperman, the photographer of the photo, and thought I'd share with you some amazing coincidences...

    My photo is regarded as a depiction of Rudyard Kipling's "Just so" story. Kipling and I share the same birthday: 30th of December.
    Kipling was 37 when his story was published. I was 36 when I took the photo.
    I am a Freemason, as was Kipling.

    1. Anonymous22:27

      Uncanny, Johan. How did the encounter end?