Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 143 pages of information about Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories.

This annoyed Cara, and he pranced awkwardly about, making queer, discontented noises, until his mother, noting his restlessness, rose up, felt and caressed him with her long, cleft, upper lip, and allowed him to have the meal he longed for.

After the meal he found that Camer had risen up and was moving with feeble steps towards him.  Cara at once went forward, and, after examining her with a superior air, gave a curious little grunt, which meant that he wished to be friends.  Camer said she should like it, too, but here her mother, who was feeling irritable and nervous, thinking Cara was going to hurt her beloved one, came forward and gave him a good bite, to which Cara responded in true camel fashion by groaning and grumbling and making as much fuss as he possibly could.

But Camer comforted him in baby fashion by caressing him, and then went to her mother, who had lain down again.  And this is how the friendship between Cara and Camer began.

The next day the Arabs once more packed up their tents, loaded their camels and continued their journey; very slowly and carefully, though, for the Arabs are invariably kind, thoughtful and fond of their camels; not like the Indian camel-owners, who, because they know they will receive payment for every camel that dies, sometimes purposely overload and ill-treat them.

Away they went over the desert, the camels swinging slowly, clumsily, and yet easily along, although many of them carried from five to eight hundred pounds on their backs, and had already been traveling for three days without water.  But their backs were made for burdens, and their feet specially adapted to walking on the loose sand; for each of the broad toes had a soft, wide cushion, and this cushion enabled them to have a grasp on the sand, and at the same time kept them from sinking into it.

In his clumsy way, Cara trotted beside his mother, continually bumping against her as she walked slowly and heavily along, and having almost miraculous escapes from being kicked by the other camels.  But he was getting stronger each day, and looked in amazement, not unmixed with contempt, at the new calf who had appeared the night before, and who was straggling feebly along, doing its best to keep up with the others.  But the journey that day was a short one, for, as the sun grew hotter and hotter, Camer, the new calf, grew more and more feeble, and once more the Arabs dismounted and rested in the desert.

But as the days went on Camer gained strength, and in a week’s time was as lively as Cara himself.  They were great friends by this time, and played together in a most awkward and ungainly manner, but one which their mothers greatly admired.  Their friendship and gambols continued for many happy months, and then the Arabs prepared for a long journey across the desert in another direction.

It took some time to prepare the camels.  In the first place, their masters fed them until the humps on the camels’ backs grew large, plump and fat.  Then each camel was made to store as much water as its stomachs would hold, for a camel, like all ruminants, has four stomachs.  Most of them could store as much as five or six quarts of water, which would last several days.

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Rataplan, a rogue elephant; and other stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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