• Barbara Dickinson

The Story of Baby Elephant - The Lesson in the Leaves


Once, a fairly long time ago, when my son was tiny, we would buy him a small toy as a souvenir from any special visit. When we went to the Philadelphia Zoo, he chose a small elephant. He immediately named it "Baby Elephant" and kept it clutched in his little hand wherever he went.


One day, we were raking leaves in our yard. There were a great many leaves, and the procedure was to rake them all out to the curb and leave them in the street to be scooped up by a giant machine sent by the town to clean the roads. On this particular occasion, when we went back inside the house, a piercing cry erupted from my small son, "Where is Baby Elephant?"


We looked all around inside the house and then went out into the yard and looked all around where we had been raking and playing. We even looked as best as we could in the huge pile of leaves by the curb. In my memory, we searched for hours. He was so forlorn at the loss of Baby Elephant that it was impossible to stop the search until it became clear that Baby Elephant was gone for good.


He went to bed that night very sad. “I want Baby Elephant!” was the last thing on his lips. We continued searching in the days that followed, until the day the giant machine came and scooped up all the leaves. It seemed all hope was lost.


Some people might say that a parent should not “make it better,” that a child has to learn the hard lessons of life. Sometimes, life made that happen and there was nothing I could do. But on this occasion, it seemed that I could be the agent of the Universe delivering on the fervent wish of my tiny son.


I decided to call the Philadelphia Zoo’s gift shop and asked if they could identify the toy by my description and if they could, by any chance, send us a new one? The kind lady on the phone said she thought they might still have such a toy, but she wasn't sure. She would look and see what she could do. I didn't mention any of this to my small son, though. The disappointment would’ve been too intense if the story ended sadly.


Then one day, a package arrived in the mail from the Philadelphia Zoo’s gift shop. There was a note inside that said, "Here is a new elephant and one to spare."


I handed my tiny son Baby Elephant #2. I kept Baby Elephant #3 in reserve, just in case. My son was elated and held onto Baby Elephant “for dear life” for the rest of the time of that particular toy (because, as you know, toys have their seasons).


In the springtime, we were climbing into the car at the front curb. I happened to look down at the street, which still had a few remnants of the leaves that had been scooped up by the giant machine the previous autumn, and there, among the leaves, was Baby Elephant #1!


I handed him to my tiny son, who was overjoyed once again!


The lesson in the leaves for me was the power of a small child’s wish. Not one, not two, but three Baby Elephants came home in response to his wish.


I wonder if you can remember a powerful wish from when you were a small child. We would love to read your story! Please don’t hesitate to contact us and share. And, if you would like to read about one of mine - it had something to do with elephants, as well - it is here, in our post about “clarity.”


Next week, our post will be brought to you by the letter “t” for thoughts. Stay tuned!


Until then,

Peace and All Good,

Margie and Barbara

The Wish Mavens


Photo Credit


The photo featured in this post was taken by (and is copyrighted by) Barbara J. Dickinson.