Relax, close your eyes and picture Ester, an old woman who many years ago had been a celebrated acrobat but now earned her meagre living telling tales about the circus. One night she had a special delivery that was to change her life for ever. Would you like to know what happened? Listen carefully to her story.
Ester was sitting alone by the fire when there was a loud “knock, knock” at the front door. “Who can be calling at this time of night?” she wondered. She opened the door, but no-one was there. Then she took a step back in surprise.
On the doorstep was a large basket with a baby elephant inside! Ester dragged the basket into the house. The little elephant was sleeping soundly wrapped in a blanket.
“Well, my horoscope said I'd receive an unexpected delivery. This must be it!” she chuckled, smiling at the sleeping baby elephant. “I’ll call her Lucky,” she said.
Ester never worried why Lucky had been left on her doorstep. Lucky just needed someone to care for her and that is what Ester did. There was not much money in circus tales, so Ester took in washing and did any little jobs that would help feed Lucky.
Lucky grew into a very happy little elephant. Every day she swam with the local children in the pools under the waterfalls in the forest. They shared lemonade and ice cream, picnicking among the ancient, moss-covered trees.
In autumn, Lucky and the children played chase among the fallen leaves. When winter rolled out a carpet of snow, they built snow elephants. Then the air grew warmer and spring brought forth buds on the trees. Many years passed in this way and soon Lucky was a fully grown elephant.
One day Lucky said to Ester, “Come to the woods today. You’re looking tired. I’m sure the walk will do you good.”
“But I must go to work,” replied Ester. “If I don’t work there’s no money, and if there’s no money there’s no food.”
Lucky hadn’t realized that Ester's storytelling wasn’t just for fun. Or that all that washing was to get money to buy food. She looked at Ester and saw for the first time that she’d grown old. “I’m young and strong,” Lucky thought. I’ve had plenty of playing. Now I must make time to work.”
Lucky decided to find some work to earn money. She had no idea what she could do, but she headed off along the river to ask the people in next village if she could help.
Heavy rains had washed away the bridge to the village, but Lucky calmly waded through the waters. She was met by a cheering crowd of villagers. Since the flood they’d had to travel far upriver to find a safe crossing place.
The mayor said: “Great elephant, we’ll pay you a silver piece each time you help us to cross the river.”
“Happy to help,” said a delighted Lucky. She enjoyed chatting to the villagers as she carried them. At the end of the day the mayor gave her a pouch full of silver pieces.
When she got home, Lucky gave Ester the silver. “Now you can stay home and I'll work,” said Lucky, pleased that her work had made so many people happy.
From that day forth Lucky worked and Ester stayed at home. When Lucky had finished her days work, they'd sit in the garden and Ester would tell stories of the circus - just for the fun of it. Working might not sound like much fun, but try doing work that helps other people as well as yourself - you may find you have even more fun than when you’re playing!