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Faithful Elephants

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Sunshine English Course 3 (Heisei 24) pg. 45-48

Many years ago, there were three wonderful elephants at the Ueno Zoo. The elephants were John, Tonky, and Wanly. They could do tricks. Visitors to the zoo loved to see their tricks. Japan was at war then. Little by little the situation was getting worse. Bombs were dropped on Tokyo every day. If bombs hit the zoo, dangerous animals will get away and harm the people of Tokyo. So, the Army ordered the zoo to kill all the dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, and bears.

Before long, it was time to kill the three elephants. The zookeepers did not want to kill them, but they had to follow the orders. They started with John. John loved potatoes, so they gave him poisoned potatoes together with good ones. But John was so clever that he ate only the good potatoes. Then they tried to give him an injection. But John’s skin was too hard for the needles to go through. When this did not work, they decided to give him no food. Poor John died in seventeen days.

Then the time came for Tonky and Wanly. They always looked at people with loving eyes. They were sweet and gentle-hearted. However, the elephant keepers had to stop giving them anything to eat. When a keeper walked by their cage, they stood up and raised their trunks high in the air. They did their tricks because they were hoping to get food and water. Everyone at the zoo said with tears, “If they can live a few more days, the war may be over and they will be saved.”

Tonky and Wanly could no longer move. They lay down on the ground, but their eyes were beautiful. When an elephant keeper came to see them, they looked so weak. He became too sad to go back to see them. Bombs continued to drop on Tokyo. And a few days later, Tonky and Wanly died. Later, when the bodies of the elephants were examined, nothing was found in their stomachs — not even one drop of water. Today, the three elephants rest in peace with other animals under the monument at the Ueno Zoo.

See also