Only the Animals: Stories - I, the Elephant, Wrote This: Soul of Elephant, Died 1987, Mozambique Summary & Analysis

Ceridwen Dovey
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Summary

This story opens with an elephant saying she and her twin were raised on “a feast of stories about our ancestors, whose souls glowed at us from constellations in the sky” (155). The elephant notes that only elephants who died “a noteworthy death” made it into constellations, gaining “eternal life” (156). When the elephant twins get older, they ask their aunt why the stories always focus on Indian and North African elephants, never elephants from the African savanna. The aunt avoids answering.

The twin then elephants begin listening to the story of Suleiman, their ancestor from the 16th century. Suleiman is received at the Archduke of Hasburg’s court; on his home, the following quote from Pliny the Elder is inscribed: “[the elephant] has virtues rare in man—honesty, wisdom, justice, and respect for the stars and...

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This section contains 2,210 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Only the Animals: Stories Study Guide
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