Elephant and Dog – A Jakata Tale

One of the ancient Jakata Tales as retold by Ellen C. Babbitt.

The Elephant And The Dog Fable

ONCE upon a time a Dog used to go into the stable where the king’s Elephant lived. At first the Dog went there to get the food that was left after the Elephant had finished eating.

Day after day the Dog went to the stable, waiting around for bits to eat. But by and by the Elephant and the Dog came to be great friends. Then the Elephant began to share his food with the Dog, and they ate together. When the Elephant slept, his friend the Dog slept beside him. When the Elephant felt like playing, he would catch the Dog in his trunk and swing him to and fro. Neither the Dog nor the Elephant was quite happy unless the other was near-by.

Elephant Dog Friends Jakata Tale-1

Farmer Separates Dog From Elephant

One day a farmer saw the Dog and said to the Elephant keeper: “I will buy that Dog. He looks good tempered, and I see that he is smart. How much do you want for the Dog?”

The Elephant keeper did not care for the Dog, and he did want some money just then. So he asked a fair price, and the farmer paid it and took the Dog away to the country.

The king’s Elephant missed the Dog and did not care to eat when his friend was not there to share the food. When the time came for the Elephant to bathe, he would not bathe. The next day again the Elephant would not eat, and he would not bathe. The third day, when the Elephant would neither eat nor bathe, the king was told about it.

The king sent for his chief servant, saying, “Go to the stable and find out why the Elephant is acting in this way.”

Sad Elephant Dog Jakata Tale

Elephant Sad Without Best Friend

The chief servant went to the stable and looked the Elephant all over. Then he said to the Elephant keeper: “There seems to be nothing the matter with this Elephant’s body, but why does he look so sad? Has he lost a playmate?”

“Yes,” said the keeper, “there was a Dog who ate and slept and played with the Elephant. The Dog went away three days ago.”

“Do you know where the Dog is now?” asked the chief servant.

“No, I do not,” said the keeper.

Then the chief servant went back to the king and said. “The Elephant is not sick, but he is lonely without his friend, the Dog.”

“Where is the Dog?” asked the king.

“A farmer took him away, so the Elephant keeper says,” said the chief servant. “No one knows where the farmer lives.”

“Very well,” said the king. “I will send word all over the country, asking the man who bought this Dog to turn him loose. I will give him back as much as he paid for the Dog.”

Happy Elephant Dog Jakata Tale

Elephant Happy Again

When the farmer who had bought the Dog heard this, he turned him loose. The Dog ran back as fast as ever he could go to the Elephant’s stable. The Elephant was so glad to see the Dog that he picked him up with his trunk and put him on his head. Then he put him down again.

When the Elephant keeper brought food, the Elephant watched the Dog as he ate, and then took his own food.

All the rest of their lives the Elephant and the Dog lived together in happiness.

Missing Friendship Of Bruno

By Michael J. Weber

friendship of Bruno
Photo credit: Renee V

There have been a number of tragic stories about animal abuse in the past few weeks. Most often, the stories are about people who died and/or left numerous cats and dogs in their home unattended, with many becoming sick or dying.

These sad stories anger most of us with sensibilities toward animals. Perhaps if we looked at animals in a different way, we might prevent some of this abuse.

Someone once said that our relationship with animals mirrors our relationship with God.

I think dogs, more so than other pets, often bring out the best in us. They often show us what being human is all about, teaching us to enjoy life’s simple things.

They also offer lessons in friendship and trust and, more important, in steadfast, unconditional love. In this sense, they are gateways to the divine.

Most people have heard the one about the agnostic dyslexic who questioned: “Is there a dog?” Well, a few days with Bruno and one would find sufficient metaphors to answer in the affirmative.

Bruno Weimaraner
Photo credit: Janet’s photography

Bruno was an 80-pound Weimaraner that lived eight short years with us before he had to be euthanized. He died of heart disease and bone cancer, not uncommon in large purebreds. We all have heard of owners who grieve their dogs and vice versa, but experiencing this firsthand was gut-wrenching.

Bruno’s love for us was unconditional. He turned our lives upside down. This is what I mean when I say that dogs can be gateways to the divine.

Anyone who has cared for a dog knows what it means – you lose control of your life. You eventually have “to let go and let dog!”

Borrowing from the book “Dogspell: A Dogmatic Theology on the Abounding Love of God” by Mary Ellen Ashcroft, one can find many theological metaphors in the behaviors of most dogs: the open table-fellowship (dogs don’t care whom they eat with), the “full-body wag greetings,” the getting down and dirty (touching lepers and spitting in the mud), the disrespecting of the standoffish and the well-heeled (dogs will jump on everyone) and the rushing head-long into anything. Bruno had all of these traits and more.

Bruno gave his all, no matter what the situation. Two of his major surgeries were due to football injuries on his back legs.

Bruno at play
Photo credit: Janet’s Photography

Bruno’s approach to life was filled with wild exuberance and joy – pulling the Thanksgiving turkey on himself, eating full bags of doughnuts, getting into lipstick. Our vet’s assistant called him the “dog that ate Grafton.”

He once chased a raccoon and got the worst of it. He never figured out opossums. He got a fishing hook stuck through his nose after messing around in the garage. He would fearlessly pick up snakes. He was constantly hiding things but was happy to show you later where he hid them (if he remembered). He would never eat alone. He would sit like a human on the couch, philosophizing with the best of us.

If you weren’t giving him enough attention, he would literally sit on whatever you were reading as if to say, “You weren’t really interested in that, were you?”

When Bruno became sick, he didn’t stop his body wags and his joy in seeing us. Even near the end, when he vomited everything because of the meds, he still tried to please, still wanted to play, even if for a few minutes before he collapsed in exhaustion.

Friendship of Bruno with cat
Photo credit: Janet’s Photography

He probably knew when it was time for him to go, but it was still hard – much harder on us than him, I suspect.

With Bruno gone, life is less vibrant; there’s less laughter, but it’s much quieter. No floppy ear noises, no four-paw prancing, no barking, no body wags.

I miss his companionship but most of all his approach to life, full of innocence, wonder and his unconditional love.

Michael J. Weber of Grafton is a design engineer and teacher.
Reprinted with permission

Irish Wolfhound teaches boy life is good

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Josh, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

old Irish wolfhound

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for him, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

The Passing

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be a good idea for six-year-old Josh to observe the procedure. They felt as though Josh might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Josh seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that the life of an Irish Wolfhound is shorter than a human’s life. Josh, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I live.

Little Boy’s Wisdom

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

The six-year-old boy continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

  • Live simply
  • Love generously
  • Care deeply
  • Speak kindly

joy and happiness in sunset

 Lessons from an Irish Wolfhound

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them
  • Never pass up the opportunity to be happy
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy
  • Take naps
  • Stretch before rising
  • Run, romp, and play daily
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk
  • Be loyal
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently
  • There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it
  • You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good
  • Love the people who treat you right
  • Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t
  • Life is too short to be anything but happy
  • Falling down is part of LIFE
  • Getting back up is LIVING

For more information on Irish Wolfhounds read The New Complete Irish Wolfhound book from Amazon (affiliate link).