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Georgina put the article down on her desk and sighed. "If only I could discover something that would make me famous." She liked adventure, and when she and her sister Meghan or her brothers Michael and Andrew were not involved in a mystery, then life at their orchard farm was sometimes boring.
Oh, she wasn't complaining. She thought the world of her Mom and Dad. Her sister was almost like a twin, everyone thought they were but that was ancient history. She just felt that she needed something to twig her interests.
"Meghan, do you believe that there is a place where the elephants go to die?" Her question drew the attention of her sister from the Adventures of Nancy Drew. The sisters shared a room in a small home that lay outside the village of Spoonerville. Andrew and Michael were older and had a great deal of responsibility in running the daily operations of the apple orchard. Their father was an executive of Magnatrox Technologies and often visited firms doing business in all parts of the world. When he could he added on vacation time and took the family with him. That was how they got to Britain several years ago and solved the mystery of the Rainbow Warrior.
"No, I don't think it's real; our science teacher said it was a myth that went far back in time."
"Well, just because no one has every found the place doesn't mean it didn't or doesn't exist. It's a good thing that ivory is no longer in demand. It seems so cruel to kill an elephant for its tusks."
"That's true. It's hard to believe that those tusks may weigh several hundred pounds and are really just their eye teeth. Wouldn't you think itmight be easier to catch the elephants and just saw their tusks off without killing the poor beasts? Then all would be winners!"
"I don't think the elephants would be very cooperative. You know how you feel every time you go to the dentist. Just think how the elephants would feel? Besides, sometimes they need their tusks to twist down trees or dig up bushes. It would be a cruel joke if they couldn't do that."
"When we were at the Zoo last month I watched the way that bull elephant used his trunk to rip the branches off a tree," Georgina said. "Didn't you get soaked by an elephant when you went to the Taranga Park Zoo in Sidney Australia, that time you visited Aunt Paula?"
"Oh yes, Mom told me that elephant had a sense of humour; she called him a pachyderm prankster. That old bull would go wading in the moat and fill his trunk with water. Then he'd come to the edge of his enclosure and shower the tourists. I guess he did that all the time, but the people just visiting didn't know about the elephant's joke. I was only 4-years old, so I don't really remember. Dad said I had fallen asleep in the stroller and was suddenly shocked awake by the stream of ice cold water the elephant sprayed at us. I guess I woke up angry. They said I shouted at the elephant that he was 'A bad elephant!' Now I can understand the joke. Who says that animals don't have a sense of humour?"
"Well, wouldn't you want to discover where the elephants go deep in the jungle to die? It would solve a mystery and we'd make a name for ourselves?"
"You are just anxious to do something again, like the time we saved our aunt and discovered the treasures of Queen Boadicea, but I don't fancy trekking into the jungle on a wild goose chase," Meghan said.
"It would be more of a wild elephant chase!" Georgina said, and was about to say something else but the call "Dinner" made her change her mind. She didn't like the idea of becoming mosquito food in Africa or risking the chance of being attacked by lions, so she put the elephant, idea aside. Still, it left a gem of an idea. A matriarch, an old female elephant because of her wisdom ruled each elephant herd. The older males traveled alone. Why would all of them return to a special area to die? Some elephants might live thousands of miles away, so it didn't seem to be a possibility, but other animals migrated.
In their geography class she learned about caribou in northern Canada, wildebeests in Africa and other animals such as whales, and hundreds of species of birds that migrated each fall and spring. The only insect she knew about that migrated was the beautiful orange and black Monarch butterfly. Next week they were going to do a grade seven field project on the Monarchs. They were going to learn how to tag them, and rear them and feed them on weeds such as milkweed. It was something that was different and it made her think that here at least she could keep her mind occupied.
Copyright © 2005 George W.J. Laidlaw