Since the bear cubs received their short story from Michal Ajvaz, I also include here the one he wrote about the elephant and its tender which is just as sad as the Japanese comics. We also have in stock from him stories with shellfish, cangaroo, varanus, leopard, beetle, dragon, spider, seahorse, but I do not intend any post about them in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately he wrote nothing about rhinoceroses.
I have a little elephant. He joined me in the Royal garden, and since then he has been with me. He is not even one meter high. At the beginning I was worrying what I would do with him when he would grow adult, but it looks like he will not grow higher. He is affectionate and playful, but only when we are alone, he does not feel well in company, among people and animals he feels embarrassed, he is filled with distress, standing from one foot to the other and making broken, neurotic movements with his trunk. He is oversensitive and immeasurably suffers of everything. He is a veritable master of suffering – no, not of affected and hypochondriac suffering, he does not enlarge little things, but regards them as drips of the large ocean of distress whose depths are revealed in every calamity befalling him.
When we jog along the street together, people often laugh at us and shout after me, saying that I have a dog with a trunk on my side. They, poor ones, consider it laughable that someone keeps an animal with a trunk, even if he is charming and lovable, just because custom has it so that people keep dogs and not elephants. If the custom dictated it so that people keep elephants, they would die of laughter if I took a shepherd dog with me and they would shout after us by asking where it lost its trunk. People are often amazing and they are capable of incredible sacrifices, nevertheless they cannot have any understanding as far as trunk is concerned. While trunk is an excellent and practical thing. I am sad to see all that, and the elephant lives his existence as a being with a trunk as an indelible fault
He loves to come with me on excursion, I go ahead with a map in my hand on some path in the forest or the meadow, the elephant is stamping behind me, with backpacks on both of us. On the way to Karlštejn we stopped by at a restaurant. I ordered tripe soup for both of us. My elephant sat on the chair and started to eat in his usual way, first sniffing up a few soup from the plate with his trunk and then squirting it into his mouth. The sounds of sniffing could not be covered by any means, and the guests – local cottage owners with jiggling paunch swelling out of their sweatsuit – laughed at him, and they even tried to imitate the elephant’s sniffing. He stopped eating, although he was very hungry, and he just kept huddling above his soup with hanging trunk. I again discovered the feeling of indelible fault and the imploring for forgiveness in his look. I recommended him not to take care of anyone and to continue eating. It is not his fault of eating so loudly: if the other guests had trunks, they would not be able to eat without loud sniffing either. But the elephant kept sitting and suffering spiritlessly and in silence. What could have I done? I also wanted to stop eating out of solidarity, but then I realized that if he saw me going hungry because of him then he would feel even worse. So I finished eating my soup and we left. We walked along in silence, but he already did not run about me so happily as before, and he did not give me small pushes for fun as earlier. When finally there appeared the Karlštejn that he had desired to see so much, I discovered that he was simulating joy just for my sake. Tears sat in his eyes.
In that moment I wished I also had a trunk. Looking at the misery of the small elephant, it seemed an immense injustice that I calmly wander about in the world without a trunk. I also felt that the trunk created such a distance among us that could not be overcome. But as in the meantime the elephant really loved me, I also felt something that I formulated in a proverb: “The one with a trunk does not believe to the one who has no trunk.” My request, however, did not gain a hearing