So, today is my day of elephants…. first, there’s this new book called Jumbo, This Being the True Story of the Greatest Elephant in the World by Paul Chambers. I am ordering this book today, because it sounds like an amazing story about this incredible journey of this runty baby elephant that was sold out of Africa, rejected in the zoos of France, next adored, then feared for its temper tantrums in the zoo of Great Britain, and finally became the famous elephant of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the United States. Another interesting tidbit is that the word “jumbo” itself is an eponym of the elephant’s name: the name had no meaning before the popularity of this elephant, and no one knows why the elephant was named such, or where the name came from.
It also is the story of Matthew Scout, the zoo trainer that became obsessed with the elephant and never left its side for more than a few minutes until the elephant’s death when it was hit by a freight train. From the review at The Christian Science Monitor by Marjorie Kehe:
Scott attached himself to Jumbo and under his devoted care the sickly animal blossomed into a towering, magnificent beast. In the process the two bonded so powerfully that for the next 20 years neither wanted to leave the other’s side. “We are one,” proclaimed Scott.
You can read a little bit about the book and listen to an interview at the Monitor’s website: here.
And, the best for last: This movie is truly amazing. As a side note: there was an article in last month’s National Geographic about the intelligence of animals. One interesting tidbit I remember from the article (and I’m probably going to butcher the point, so bear with me) was how the author illustrated animal intelligence by saying that intelligence isn’t a long straight line of a tree that ends at the top with humans, but rather must be compared to a bush, with variations of intelligence sprouting up and out from all sides. This, my dear readers, is a testament to that:
BONUS: One of the single most twisted and amazing animation sequences of all time: the Pink Elephant segment from Dumbo (loosely based upon the story of Jumbo, by the way)
Currently listening to: “Pink Elephants on Parade” from Dumbo