They Know


This is my entry for this week’s 100-Word Challenge for Adults.

Elsie lay across her cot like a damp rag in the sweltering afternoon heat.  She was trying to digest what she’d seen.  She’d followed the elephant herd  for days, but today was a revelation.  Textbook words long ago had come to life like some ethereal dream in the velvety haze of morning.

The herd had discovered the carcass of another pachyderm.  They gathered around it solemnly, and one by one, each member had caressed the heap of parched old bones.  They fondled pieces of the deceased and carefully set them back, then stood quietly.

“They know they’re elephants,” she whispered.

To see my other 100-Word-Challenge entries go here.  To learn more about the 100-Word Challenge for Adults, and to see what this week’s prompt was, go here.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like Love without Language:  Elephants Pay their Respects to Lawrence Anthony After his Death

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32 thoughts on “They Know

    • This is a behavior that’s actually been observed in elephants. Kind of makes you rethink the whole “they’re just animals” thing and what that means exactly. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

    • Years ago, when I first became aware that elephants did this, it really made me take a step back and rethink the way I viewed the natural world. We humans, I think, are very prone to assuming we are the only species that are self-aware. I don’t think we are.

      • No, I’m sure we’re not the only aware species, in the wild wolves bury their dead which is why you rarely find wolf carcases, I’m sure there are other animals which do the same thing, very enlightening post, thank you.

    • You have to wonder what thoughts they have regarding the recognition of another’s death. If we could understand their perspective, I wonder how they view it. I realize we are very naturally prone to anthropomorphism, but this observed behavior is food for thought.

  1. Wonderful, it’s fascinating how elephants recognise the bones of their own. A very touching piece of writing – one of my favourites this week.

  2. Pingback: Love without Language: Elephants pay their respect to Lawrence Anthony after His Death | MoonLightened Way

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