Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/505

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491
ABOUT ELEPHANTS.

ing Mr. Turley's attention to the fore-leg was simply an expression of admiration for the gentler treatment to which he had subjected his patient; the quieter medical treatment contrasting apparently with the rougher surgical measure to which the fore-leg had been subjected. It is thus clear not merely that the elephantine nature is endowed with an active memory, but that a lively sense of gratitude for past kindness is also represented in the list of mental attributes of this giant race.

A parallel instance of elephant memory is afforded by the case of an elephant which, having broken loose from the stables on a stormy night, escaped into the jungles. Four years thereafter, when a drove of wild elephants was captured in the "keddah," or inclosure, the keeper of the lost elephant went to inspect the new arrivals, arid climbed on the railings of the "keddah" to obtain a satisfactory view of the captured animals. Having fancied that among the animals he recognized the escaped elephant—an idea ridiculed by his comrades—he called his lost charge by name. The animal at once came close to the barrier, and, on the keeper proceeding into the inclosure and commanding it to lie down, the elephant obeyed, and the man led his former charge triumphantly forth from among its wild companions. But the memory of kindnesses is equaled in the elephant by that which recalls acts of injury to remembrance. The well-known story of the Indian elephant which, on being pricked by a native tailor near whose stall it had wandered, returned and deluged the man with a shower-bath of dirty water, finds many parallels in the history of elephant character. An elephant, which was kept at Versailles by Louis XIV, was in the habit of revenging himself for affronts and injuries. A man who, feigning to throw something into his mouth, disappointed him, was beaten to the ground with the trunk and trampled upon. On a painter desiring to sketch this elephant with trunk erect and mouth open, his servant was instructed to feed the elephant for the purpose of inducing the animal to assume the desired attitude. But, the supply of food falling short and elephantine chagrin being aroused, the elephant, drawing up water into his trunk, coolly showered it down upon the unfortunate painter and his sketch, drenching the one, and rendering: the other useless.

The pugnacity of the elephant is very great, and the determination with which contests are carried on between these animals is highly remarkable. Mr. Darwin, on the authority of the late Dr. Falconer, tells us that the Indian species fights in varied fashions, determined by the position and curvature of his tusks. "When they are directed forward and upward, he is able to fling a tiger to a great distance—it is said to even thirty feet; when they are short and turned downward, he endeavors suddenly to pin the tiger to the ground, and, in consequence, is dangerous to the rider, who is liable to be jerked off the howdah"—for it is on

"Elephants endorsed with towers,"