Saturday 16 May 2009

Travelling light .. next few days ..flu 1892, elephant's child

Dear Mr Postman .. I'm travelling light .. and will 'cheat' a little and just copy things out that I know my mother will like to hear ..things from her childhood and ours ..

Elephant crossing the Limpopo

.. the Limpopo in the dry season .. showing the ribbon of river separating South Africa and Zimbabwe

Rudyard Kipling wrote wonderful stories and poems for children .. and you'll know some of them as Disney films .. Jungle Book, Mowgli (2nd Jungle book) .. or other earlier films .. his life is really interesting as he was born in 1865 in India travelling between there and England .. he was the son of an art teacher and nephew of two of the greatest late Victorian painters - Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Sir Edward Poynter ; however he started life as a journalist at 17 back in India.
He turned his hand to writing poetry and short stories and was published in both areas. By 1889, when he gave up his job to go back to the UK, his reputation was such that he could become a full time writer.

He married the sister of his American publicity agent, Carrie Balestier, on 18 January 1892, in London, (per Wikipedia) in the "thick of an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones." They travelled extensively .. USA, Japan, England, South Africa, India .. and as you would expect from me - I've just seen so many other interesting facets about him, when I'm home and in due course I'll do some other posts.

Today as I promised in my journey of surprises post is the story of The Elephant's Child, which starts ...

In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn't pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant--a new Elephant--an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions.

And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his 'satiable curtiosities. He asked his tall aunt, the Ostrich, why her tail-feathers grew just so, and his tall aunt the Ostrich spanked him with her hard, hard claw. He asked his tall uncle, the Giraffe, what made his skin spotty, and his tall uncle, the Giraffe, spanked him with his hard, hard hoof. And still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity!

He asked his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, why her eyes were red, and his broad aunt, the Hippopotamus, spanked him with her broad, broad hoof; and he asked his hairy uncle, the Baboon, why melons tasted just so, and his hairy uncle, the Baboon, spanked him with his hairy, hairy paw. And still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity! He asked questions about everything that he saw, or heard, or felt, or smelt, or touched, and all his uncles and his aunts spanked him. And still he was full of 'satiable curtiosity!

Please see the rest of the story here - I loved these stories as a child .. and now re-reading them .. one can evoke the feeling and emotion of the extraordinariness of them, but how true .. and fabled they have become .. (the elephant's child reaching for bananas - woodcut illustration is above)

In my earlier post .. there's a woodcut illustration of the elephant child's trunk being pulled .. with Kipling's artistic description thus.. it is just so (how appropriate Just So Stories) accurate and his illustrations are superb:

THIS is the Elephant's Child having his nose pulled by the Crocodile. He is much surprised and astonished and hurt, and he is talking through his nose and saying, 'Led go! You are hurtig be!' He is pulling very hard, and so is the Crocodile: but the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake is hurrying through the water to help the Elephant's Child. All that black stuff is the banks of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo River (but I am not allowed to paint these pictures), and the bottly-tree with the twisty roots and the eight leaves is one of the fever-trees that grow there.

Underneath the truly picture are shadows of African animals walking into an African ark. There are two lions, two ostriches, two oxen, two camels, two sheep, and two other things that look like rats, but I think they are rock-rabbits. They don't mean anything. I put them in because I thought they looked pretty. They would look very fine if I were allowed to paint them.

Thank you for being around for us while I travel Mr Postman .. it's being a good trip .. lots to learn and lovely people to meet ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters


postively present said...

Have you ever heard of the story of Bella the elephant? You might enjoy it...Thanks for this wonderful post. Always learning new things from you! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Dani .. I think I have .. but I may be thinking of an earlier version .. I'll have to have a look for it ..

Thanks for the comment - just glad you appreciate them and that you're always interested which is so kind ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary,

I am sooo glad i got a chance to meet you at the event over the weekend. :) I hope we continue to stay in touch. Thank you for your positive encouragment on starting a blog. It meant a lot to me. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. Take care.


Marketing Unscrambled, Home edition said...

Hilary, thank you for the great story and the art that went with it. Enjoy that so much.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Janice .. so great to meet you too .. and I do hope we stay in touch .. email me .. great I look forward to reading your blog shortly ..

Thanks - had a great time .. no doubt you'll hear ..
Bye for now

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dan & Deanna .. many thanks for posting .. and so glad you enjoyed the art ..

Back in the UK by Tuesday a.m.

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Marketing Unscrambled, Home edition said...

Hilary, hope that you had a great journey. Have a good day.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dan and Deanna .. had a great journey .. probably the right word with the travel and the learning .. now to put it to practice! Thanks for the thoughts -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Peter Baca said...

Hello Hilary,

Your blog definitely has a wealth of information in your posts! Who is not familiar with the works of Rudyard Kipling...but I was not familar that the some of the Disney movies were based on his works.

Interesting post!

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete ..thanks for enjoying the post and finding the snippets informative .. again that link across the decades .. as to what influences people to dream as in Disney's case, or develop a new process due to something that happened years ago ..

Thank you for visiting and commenting ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters