[Notes by LKG]
This story is part of the Jataka Tales unit. Story source: More Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt, illustrated by Ellsworth Young (1922).
The Elephant and the Dog
Day after day the Dog went to the stable, waiting around for bits to eat. But by and by the Elephant and the Dog came to be great friends. Then the Elephant began to share his food with the Dog, and they ate together. When the Elephant slept, his friend the Dog slept beside him. When the Elephant felt like playing, he would catch the Dog in his trunk and swing him to and fro. Neither the Dog nor the Elephant was quite happy unless the other was nearby.
One day a farmer saw the Dog and said to the Elephant-keeper: "I will buy that Dog. He looks good-tempered, and I see that he is smart. How much do you want for the Dog?"
The Elephant-keeper did not care for the Dog, and he did want some money just then. So he asked a fair price, and the fanner paid it and took the Dog away to the country.
The king's Elephant missed the Dog and did not care to eat when his friend was not there to share the food. When the time came for the Elephant to bathe, he would not bathe. The next day again the Elephant would not eat, and he would not bathe. The third day, when the Elephant would neither eat nor bathe, the king was told about it.
The king sent for his chief servant, saying, "Go to the stable and find out why the Elephant is acting in this way."
"Yes," said the keeper, "there was a Dog who ate and slept and played with the Elephant. The Dog went away three days ago."
"No, I do not," said the keeper.
Then the chief servant went back to the king and said, "The Elephant is not sick, but he is lonely without his friend, the Dog."
"Where is the Dog?" asked the king.
"A farmer took him away, so the Elephant-keeper says," said the chief servant. "No one knows where the farmer lives."
"Very well," said the king. "I will send word all over the country, asking the man who bought this Dog to turn him loose. I will give him back as much as he paid for the Dog."
When the farmer who had bought the Dog heard this, he turned him loose. The Dog ran back as fast as ever he could go to the Elephant's stable. The Elephant was so glad to see the Dog that he picked him up with his trunk and put him on his head. Then he put him down again.
When the Elephant-keeper brought food, the Elephant watched the Dog as he ate, and then took his own food.
All the rest of their lives the Elephant and the Dog lived together.