Elephant Justice

The story about the elephant without tusks, tail and end of trunk is true, the rest is made up.


Ashok and Hari hurried away from the flailing elephant, tusks, tail and end of trunk stuffed into a bag and slung over Ashok’s shoulders. The elephant kicked its feet in the mud only to find itself too weak to stand.

The poachers made it to the outskirts of Goalpara in Assam, India by midnight and hoped the following day to meet the man who would pay them for their highly prized goods. They sat on the floor at the low table while the woman of the shack served them tea. The woman was silent but her eyes took in the men’s belongings and she eyed them cautiously. They barely noticed her lips moving quietly and assumed she was praying.

The single smudged lantern cast gloomy shadows along the planked walls. Ashok saw the huge basket by the bed mat and knew she was one of the villagers who walked daily up to the tea fields to harvest the leaves. He smugly asked for more tea.

Hari drifted off to sleep at the table. Soon Ashok took the woman’s bed mat for his own. The woman continued moving her lips, her eyes glistening by now.

When the men were both asleep, she slipped out of the shack and quickly turned on the path leading up into the hills. When she could no longer see the shack or her surrounding neighbors, she broke into a mournful chant, the fervor of her emotions building in her vocal lamentation.

Soon other voices joined in, the sorrowful screams of elephants grieving the loss of a friend. The woman’s chant grew louder, as did the elephants. At her loudest and highest pitch she lifted her arms in the air and swayed back and forth crying out for justice.

When it ended, the woman walked very slowly out of the hills and with each curve of the road she was joined by another elephant companion. By the time she reached her door, 42 elephants accompanied her.

And when Hari and Ashok awoke, they were surrounded.

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