upon a time there were three elephants. The first elephant
was as big as a house. The second elephant was as big as a
room. But the third elephant was very, very small. He was
only as big as your thumb.
big elephant thought he was the king of the forest. The ground
shook when he walked. The trees swayed when he roared. Even
the mighty lion was afraid of him. One day the big elephant
said to the other two elephants, "Let's have a contest, to
see who is the best elephant of the forest." (He was sure
he would win.)
''All right," squeaked the littlest elephant.
middle-sized elephant nodded. "What shall we do first?"
have a race," said the big elephant. "Whoever can get to the
edge of the forest first wins."
the animals of the forest gathered to watch. The lions came,
and so did the antelopes. Monkeys, squirrels, and birds chattered
excitedly as they watched from the trees. A porcupine poked
its nose out from a bush, and a frog hopped up from a nearby
large green and orange parrot started the race. "GO!" he called.
big elephant thundered off. The middle-sized elephant ran
as fast as he could, but he was soon far behind. The littlest
elephant just sat there for a moment, thinking. Then he squeaked
fluttered a small bird from a tree. The littlest elephant
hopped on the bird's back. Off flew the bird, toward the edge
of the forest. Swiftly he flew, swifter than a train, swifter
than an antelope, swifter even than the big elephant.
When the big elephant reached the edge of the forest, there
was the littlest elephant waiting for him.
littlest elephant has won the race," called the parrot."
The big elephant was angry. "Let's see who can build the highest
mound," he thundered. But first they had to sit down and wait
until the middle-sized elephant reached the edge of the forest.
At last he arrived, huffing and puffing. Now the animals gathered
around once more to watch the new contest.
The big elephant found a boulder as big as a house. Then he
found another boulder as big as a room. With his trunk and
his front legs he gave a mighty heave and lifted the room-sized
boulder onto the larger boulder. Then he climbed on top of
the pile and sat there proudly. "No one could build a mound
as high as this!" he thundered. "I am higher than the tops
of the trees."
The middle-sized elephant huffed and puffed. He pushed a boulder
the size of a room into a clearing. Then he lifted one the
size of a table on top of it. He looked up at the big elephant's
mound and sighed.
Then he found another boulder the size of a chair and put
it on the top of his pile.
Sadly the middle-sized elephant climbed on top of his mound.
He did not even reach the top of the trees.
The littlest elephant looked around for a boulder he could
lift. Finally he chose a pebble the size of a pea. Nearby
there was a very high hill.
The littlest elephant carried his pebble up to the top of
the hill. There he put it down and climbed on top of it. He
was higher than the treetops and higher even than the big
elephant on his great mound.
littlest elephant has won," squawked the parrot.
The big elephant was very angry now. He stormed, "Let's see
who can make the loudest noise." Then he roared. He roared
so loud that the ground shock and the trees swayed.
Now it was the middle-sized elephant's turn. He trumpeted
as loud as he could. But the ground did not shake and the
trees did not sway. Only a single leaf fluttered.
Now it was the littlest elephant's turn. He picked up a pebble
in his trunk. Then he blew it out. Through the air the pebble
flew -- straight into a hornet's nest.
of angry hornets stormed out. They buzzed about and began
to sting all the animals. They stung the lions. They stung
the antelopes. They stung the monkeys and squirrels and birds,
too. They even stung the middle-sized elephant and the big
elephant. But they did not sting the littlest elephant, for
he was hiding under a leaf.
Each of the animals that was stung let out a scream or a yell
or a roar. All together it was a mighty sound. It was louder
than thunder, louder than a cannon, and louder even than the
roar of the big elephant.
littlest elephant has won again," cried the parrot, dodging
The big elephant did not hear him. For he was running away
from the forest, with a dozen hornets chasing him. He was
very, very angry now. And he never came back to the forest
2013 The Silversteins