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The Pet Elephant

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But the goat did some things that made the girl's dad mad. He ate cans and he ate canes. He ate pans and he ate panes. He even ate capes and caps. ...

A car robber was going to steal her dad's car. ... The goat hit him with sharp horns. The car robber went flying. ...

Her Dad said, "That goat can stay with us. And he can eat all the cans and canes and caps and capes he wants."

-- "The Pet Goat," from Reading Mastery 2, by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine C. Bruner

A girl had a pet elephant. She liked to play with him.

They played with a bat and and a ball. They played in the bath and the mall. They played hide and seek and they played snide and meek.

They played cops and robbers. They played cloaks and daggers. They played with rags and riches. They played with loaves and fishes.

Most of all, the girl liked to ride on the elephant's back.

"When I ride on the back of my pet elephant," the girl said, "I am the tallest girl in the whole world."

But the elephant did some things that made the girl's dad mad.

He opened the refrigerator with his long, strong trunk and ate all the food. He opened the pantry with his long, strong trunk and ate all the food in there, too.

When he finished eating all the food in the girl's house, he ate other things.

He ate pork and he ate perks. He ate oil and he ate spoils. He ate squabs and he ate jobs. He ate health and wealth and pleasure and leisure. He ate ballots and ballets and bouillon and bullion.

When he was not eating, he was walking around with his thick, strong legs, trampling things. He trampled hops and hopes. He trampled schools and skills. He trampled trains and training. He trampled sense and science. He trampled vices and voices and writs and rights.

With his long, strong trunk he pulled up all the trees around the girl's house, just in case there was something to eat underneath. He trampled the lawn until there was no grass left, just mud and peanut shells and deep, deep doo-doo.

One day the girl's dad said, "That elephant must go. He eats too many things. He tramples too many things, too. And he snores."

"But dad," the girl said, "he is a good elephant! When I ride on his back I am the tallest girl in the world."

"Okay," said her dad. "I will give him one more chance."

The next day, while the girl was riding on the elephant's back, a bad man came to the girl's house. When he saw her dad's big, red car, he said, "I will blow up that car."

And he did.

When the elephant heard the big bang, he got very mad. He ran into the street and stomped on everything in his way. He stomped on alleys and allies. He stomped on statues and statutes. He stomped on strollers and stragglers and prisoners and pensioners. He stomped on lives and laws.

While he was busy stomping, the bad man got away.

The dad said, "What good is that elephant? He stomped on babies and boobies. He stomped on patients and patience. He stomped on dogs and gods and rights and rites and mosques and masks and truth and trust. He stomped and stomped, but the bad man got away."

"But dad," the girl said, "when I ride on his back and he is stomping, I am the tallest, most powerful girl in the whole world!"

"Oh, well," her dad said. "I guess you can keep him."

The girl slid down the slide of the elephant's rough, tough side and gave her dad a huge hug.

The elephant wrapped his long, strong trunk around the girl's dad and gave him a huge hug, too.

The girl smiled. Her dad smiled.

Somewhere far away, the bad man smiled, too.