At the end of his line, as he drew it up, was dangling one of those golden tench so abundant in the Ganges.
When Soupramany perceived what a fine fish he had caught, he uttered one of those long, low gurgling notes of satisfaction by which an elephant expresses joy; and he waited patiently, expecting Jim to take his prize off the hook and put on some more bait for him. But Jim, the little rascal, sometimes liked to plague Old Soup. He nodded at us, as much as to say, “Look out, and you’ll see fun, now!” Then he took off the fish, which he threw into a water-jar placed there for the purpose, and went back to his place without putting any bait on Old Soup’s hook. The intelligent animal did not attempt to throw his line into the water. He tried to move Jim by low, pleading cries. It was curious to see what tender tones he seemed to try to give his voice.
Seeing that Jim paid no attention to his calls, but sat and laughed as he handled his own line, Old Soup went up to him, and with his trunk tried to turn his head in the direction of the bait-box. At last, when he found that all he could do would not induce his willful friend to help him, he turned round as if struck by a sudden thought, and, snatching up in his trunk the box that held the bait, came and laid it down at the major’s feet; then picking up his rod, he held it out to his master.
“What do you want me to do with this, Old Soup?” said the major.
The creature lifted one great foot after the other, and again began to utter his plaintive cry. Out of mischief, I took Jimmy’s part, and, picking up the bait-box, pretended to run with it. The elephant was not going to be teased by me. He dipped his trunk into the Ganges, and in an instant squirted a stream of water over me with all the force and precision of a fire-engine, to the immense amusement of the children.
The major at once made Soup a sign to stop, and, to make my peace with the fine old fellow, I baited his hook myself. Quivering with joy, as a baby does when it gets hold at last of a plaything some one has taken from it, Old Soupramany hardly paused to thank me by a soft note of joy for baiting his line for him, before he went back to his place, and was again watching his cork as it trembled in the ripples of the river.
Four little houses, blue and round,
Hidden away from sight and sound.
What is in them? The leaves never tell,
But they know the secret very well.
The daisies know, and the clover knows;
So does the pretty, sweet wild rose.
Don’t be impatient, only wait
Just outside, at the leafy gate;
Soon a fairy will open the door,
And let out birdies—one, two, three, four!
UNDER THE LILACS.
BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.