From time to time here on the blog we’ll feature a profile of an author or their writing. Today, it’s my privilege to introduce Ellis the elephant, a bullying story for children.
Ann Rochelle Aben gets introduced, too, as Ellis’ creator. Have a read and give me her thoughts!
Ellis the elephant was big and fat. For this, he was snubbed by many; imagine that. Yet he’d go through his day smiling at the trees and enjoying the songs of the happy honey bees. There were rivers to splash in and rocks upon which to sun, Ellis the elephant, knew how to have fun.
One day when he was playing shadow tag with low hanging branches a group of wild cats were giving Ellis funny glances. Never had they seen something so big and fat try to move as quickly and agile as a cat. Watching him lumber from side to side made them laugh so hard they had tears in their eyes. Rather than join in and play the game, these wild cats decided to call Ellis cruel names.
They kept at him and at him until he stopped and with the saddest of hearts, to his knees he dropped. Ellis put his head down as his tears hit the ground and from his tender heart came a mournful sound. He cried out with hurt, his heart was in pain, for his size was not who he was, and he felt ashamed. All he was doing was enjoying his day, hoping for a friend to come his way.
In the middle of those who were tormenting Ellis, was a cat named Claudius, who just wanted to be one of the fellas. Claudius was not accepted at first because he was different from his moment of birth. He came into this world without claws or a tail so at defending himself he would surely fail. To make certain that he would always be protected, he did whatever he could to always be accepted. If the others around him were mean, big and bad, Claudius joined in so as not to make them mad. It worked most of the time, he could blend in, all right, that is, until one fateful night.
The gang was out in full force, to find someone to pick on, of course. They all decided to climb a big tree hoping that from their perch they would see their prey just hanging around, but when they did, that left Claudius alone on the ground. He wanted to join them but didn’t know how, he had never thought about climbing a tree until now. He paced back and forth and let out a howl, this made the others mad and they began to growl.
“He’ll give us away if he keeps up that noise, we’ve got to get him up here, let’s go get him boys!”
So down they came as quick as can be and went after Claudius, chasing him right up that tree. He never even knew what hit him but he was excited, in a way, because now he could be with them. From up on his perch he could see all around, Claudius was so enchanted, he never thought about how he’d get down. In the middle of thinking he noticed his friends had vanished and up into this tree, he’d been banished.
They chased me up here, knowing I didn’t have claws to climb down. I’m so frightened, it’s such a long way to the ground. It’s not my fault I was born with no tail or claws, I’m still a good cat in spite of those flaws. The others who did this, don’t really have a clue. Claudius thought and thought and he didn’t know what else to do. So he cried out loud and he cried out strong, hoping that someone would hear his distressing song.
When out of nowhere, Ellis’ trunk did appear and he called out to Claudius, “You’re safe, have no fear. Those who teased you to climb up that tree, have gone, open your eyes, look and see. Climb onto my trunk and I’ll get you down. You’ll feel much better once you are on the ground.”
Claudius was silent as he tried to understand, why someone he teased so badly would lend a helping hand. What if he means to crush me, or eat me, when then? If I stay in this tree, at least I am safe from him!
“Why would you help me after all I have done? I was just as much to blame as anyone. I teased and made fun of you whenever I had the chance and when you were hurting, I never gave you a second glance. I walked right by when you cried out in pain, so why on earth, aren’t you doing the same?”
“I never thought about it that way, you see. All I saw was a scared, little cat up a tree. I knew in my heart that if that I were the one, being stuck in that tree, it would surely be no fun. So here is my trunk, it’s all I have to give or perhaps in that tree, is where you want to live.”
So the cat thought about it and heaved a big sigh, for this elephant could have ignored him and kept walking by. And all those others who he thought were there to protect him had actually had fun treating him like a victim. And the one that everyone one imagined to be a fool was actually someone pretty cool!
Upon the sturdy trunk, Claudius sat and slowly and carefully, Ellis lowered the little cat. When half way down Claudius could see eye to eye, with his hero, what he saw made him cry. For in Ellis’ eyes was the most beautiful glow, as though he could see right into Claudius’ soul. Where there was a heart so kind and pure, Claudius knew he had found a friend for sure.
Ellis too, felt something inside shift, as if this was a turning point, a miracle, a gift. Acceptance is all each of them wanted and to enjoy their days without worry of being taunted. Perhaps they weren’t really different at all. Does it matter if one is bigger and the other small? Inside, they both have beating hearts and the love that keeps them going is the most important part.
Now that Claudius was safe, Ellis started away for it had been quite a long, emotional day. There was a river that was waiting for him to come and splash and fire flies who would want to play a game of flash. Lumbering along he headed home, when he all of a sudden realized, he wasn’t alone. Looking down he saw a smiling cat, who reached up with a grateful paw and stopped him in his tracks.
“After all that we’ve been through, I hope we can be friends. I’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
Ellis smiled and began to dance as though this moment in time was his hoped for chance.
And so the two walked off together sharing hopes and dreams. In search of sunning rocks and fire flies, and water filled streams. Free to live the lives each would choose. Happy to be themselves, knowing, there was no way they could lose.
My thoughts: It’s cute! I think the characters are cute, easily identifiable, and interesting. The plot makes sense, and the story is charming. I can totally see this as a book I’d buy for my daughter.
Can you just see the illustrated animal characters?
What are your thoughts on this one?
Thanks, Ann, for sharing it!
Here are Ann’s Blog link and Amazon author page