Monday, 18 February 2019

You Don't Often See Heffalumps In February

One day, when Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet were all talking together, Christopher Robin finished the mouthful he was eating and said carelessly: "I saw a Heffalump to-day, Piglet." 
"What was it doing?" asked Piglet. 
"Just lumping along," said Christopher Robin. "I don't think it saw me."
What is it about elephants? They are such great, majestic creatures, swaying through the forest - their powerful feet trampling everything underfoot, their stentorious trumpeting alerting everyone to their arrival. And yet - the pictures of the little cubs scampering along under their mothers' protection, and the scenes of them playing in the water, squirting with their trunks - they are also such fun. Might, majesty, motherly love, and merriment - with what wonderful qualities the Creator has endowed them. I'm not surprised that children love them so much - and they occur so often in children's literature. It took me a very short time to remember half a dozen family favourites without including Pooh [pub. 1926] 

Wonderful patchwork Elmer [1968], Horton from Dr Seuss[1940], Babar [1931] Jill Murphy's Large family with the hassled Mum [1986] Rosie may be a little young for Kipling's Just So Stories [1902] and Morpurgo's wartime adventure [2011] just yet. But these tales span more than a century and show the enduring fascination these beasts continue to have for youngsters, and adults too.
On Saturday, as I was sneezing and snuffling with a cold, and feeling sorry for myself, the post came came. A batik of an elephant! A gift from my friend Bless
This elephant has travelled to Dorset from Sri Lanka via California!
Bless tells me it was made by her friend, and depicts the Kandy Esala Perahera. This is the great Buddhist Festival held every year on the Island, and features a perahera [procession] of wonderfully dressed elephants. I am in awe of the art of batik- the skill with which the crafters use wax and dye to produce such stunningly detailed  pictures. This photo isn't quite true to colour- but the background is deep red, matching our dining room curtains at Cornerstones. So it will be framed and hung there, to be admired by dinner guests!
Having opened my post, I started humming 'Nellie the Elephant' to myself. I taught this song to Rosie last year and she enjoys it [this maybe because the word Trump makes her giggle] Then my phone pinged- Jon sent us a photo of their Saturday morning walk. Rosie's grabbed Liz's binoculars, and is clearly looking for something in the distance. Is she too on a Heffalump Hunt?
"I saw one once," said Piglet. "At least, I think I did," he said. "Only perhaps it wasn't."
"So did I," said Pooh, wondering what a Heffalump was like.
"You don't often see them," said Christopher Robin carelessly.
"Not now," said Piglet.
"Not at this time of year," said Pooh.


  1. There will be lots of multi-coloured Elmers in Ipswich in the summer as decorated elephants are this years Hospice money raising project

  2. OOh! thanks for this information- I must put "Day in Ipswich" on my holiday list. I love these charity animal trails!

  3. My children often enjoyed a Heffalump hunt, but strangely they were always a bit elusive!

  4. Ha, ha, now you have me humming the "Heffalumps and Woozles" song from the Disney animation, "Winnie the Pooh and a Blustery Day"! :D Hope Rosie found whatever she was looking for with her mum's binoculars!

  5. We performed Nellie as part of our Orchestra kids concert in December and funnily enough, my stepmum tells me that if you are performing CPR, they tell you to hum Nelly the Elephant as you are doing it as it gives you the exact tempo and length of time you need to do it for!


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