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Animal Stories: Mollie The Elephant

Mollie the elephant became lonelier and lonelier and lonelier as her friends became fewer and fewer and fewer. In the end, she never went out to play and she never had anyone call on her. It never crossed her mind that being unable to forgive other people was the very reason for her unhappiness.

Graham Whitcroft tells another children’s story which brings a message to all of us.

For more of Graham’s stories please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/animal_stories/

Most people accept that elephants have good memories but there is always an exception to the rule and Mollie was one of those exceptions.

Mollie often forgot what day it was or what job she was supposed to be doing. On one occasion, after a trip to the shops, she should have collected her younger brother from his friend’s house but she forgot. On another, the logs she’d been asked to move from the side of the house were left there for weeks. When reminded, she claimed she’d never been asked.

“I know what we’ll do’, said her mother, ‘we’ll put a knot in your tail to remind you that you have things to remember”. It worked. From that moment on, Mollie forgot nothing. When she did errands for her Mum, she felt that uncomfortable knot in her tail and remembered what she was supposed to be doing; when she got home from school, she remembered exactly what homework the teacher had set and she never forgot the outings she had arranged with her friends.

That was all good news but with the advantages of a good memory, there were also the disadvantages. Mollie never forgot anything, including the times when someone upset her.

One day, Ali, her best friend, called her a buffoon. There was nothing intentionally cruel in what Ali said, it was just a matter of teasing as friends do, but Mollie decided that she would be her friend no longer. She never forgot the insult. On another occasion, her brother Brian stole some of the coconuts she’d left lying around, so, she went into his room, scattered his books and other possessions around the place and overturned his desk. Of course, his Mum was furious with the untidiness and he wasn’t believed when he claimed to be innocent. Mollie never hesitated to take her revenge with anyone. She became a nasty piece of work!

Mollie went to elephant church on Sundays with her Mum and Dad, brothers and sisters. At one time she enjoyed going to church, but not these days. Many of her old friends were there but she wouldn’t speak to any of them. She soon began to feel ‘out of it’. “It’s not my fault’ she told herself, ‘it’s them, they hate me”. Each Sunday, and without fail, she joined in with everyone else as they prayed, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” but it never crossed her mind that being unable to forgive other people was the very reason for her unhappiness.

Mollie got lonelier and lonelier and lonelier as her friends became fewer and fewer and fewer. In the end, she never went out to play and she never had anyone call on her. Her hobbies and her interests were non-existent simply because she couldn’t share them with anyone.

One day, her Mum found her sitting under a tree in their big garden (they lived on the edge of the jungle, so their garden seemed to go on for ever). Mollie was crying.

“What’s wrong Mollie?” Mum asked, but all Mollie could do was sob.

Mum sat next to her and waited. She waited a long time and eventually Mollie grunted, “Nobody likes me”.

“Now let’s think this through” said Mum, “why do you think nobody likes you?”

Then, very slowly, the complaints began to spill out of her mouth; “My brother never speaks to me”, “Ali ignores me”, “I have no friends anywhere”.

Soon, it became quite clear to Mollie’s Mum as to what was wrong. “I think it’s about time you learnt to ‘forgive and forget” she said. “Now, let’s think, how do we set about forgetting?”

They both sat and thought. “I reckon I know what’s wrong”, said Mum, “it’s that knot in your tail – take it out”.

“I would if I could”, said Mollie, “but my trunk, even though it’s a very long trunk, won’t reach that far”.

“Stand up” said Mum. Without any more fuss, Mollie’s Mum started to untie the knot in her tail. It wasn’t easy. The knot had been there a long time now and it was very tight, but eventually after a lot of hard work and a lot of pain as far as Mollie was concerned, the knot was released and so, eventually was Mollie. She began to forget. “Now’ said Mum. ‘we must learn to forgive”. But she couldn’t wave a magic wand, she had to work at it.

The first thing she did was to find her brother. “Would you like one of my coconuts?” she asked. He was so surprised that he very nearly fell over but recovered quickly enough to take advantage of the invitation.

Some days later, plucking up courage, she made her way to Ali’s house. Ali saw her coming and pretended not to hear the knock on the door, but eventually went to confront Mollie.

Mollie, with a tear running down her cheek, looked at Ali and said one word, “Sorry”. It didn’t take them long to fall into an elephant embrace, then, embarrassed no more, they were once again the friends they had always longed to be.

It took another couple of months before things were back to normal – well, almost. While Mollie really had learnt to forgive her friends and forget their misdemeanours (though most of their offences had been in Mollie’s mind alone), the difference was that she was not as forgetful of the practical things in her life as she had been. She remembered what errands she was supposed to complete, when to collect her younger brother from his friends and all the other things that make life easier when they are remembered.

At last, Mollie had escaped out of the hole she had dug for herself – but she put no more knots in her tail!


Ephesians 4: 31 to 32


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