It was dry and dusty and the waterhole had turned to mud. Fish slopped pathetically, where once he drank and played. With nothing to stay for, his mother urged him away, although the horizon only shimmered dangerously with mirage. She’d been calling the gods of thunder but he was afraid of them. And he had never been thirsty.

She marched with certainty towards scrubland on the horizon. After many hours she trumpeted delight sighting an ancient baobab.

Pulling bark from the tree, she offered him its miraculous water. He would remember where to come next time the rains failed.


This week’s Charli’s flash fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch was:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write story about water.

I had tasked myself with also writing something positive with whatever prompt Charli came up with this time. I regretted this as the ideas for drowning, dehydration, desiccation, parched throats and other sorts of want of water came flooding to mind. The best I could do was focus on the resilience of the elephant – elephants having been on my mind with the 10th bite size prompt and an upcoming trip.

Doh! Hilarious once again to have written the piece before seeing the connections. Later in the year we’re holidaying in Sri Lanka with specific plans to see “The Gathering” as hundreds of elephants migrate to the Minneriya National Park each year to the shores of an ancient reservoir built imagesby King Mahasen in the 3rd century AD. They’ve made the trip for centuries, coming from across the region to bathe, mate, socialize and above all else, feed. During the dry season, as the water in the reservoir recedes, lush green grass grows. Between meals, the elephants head into the reservoir, spraying themselves with the shallow, muddy waters to create one of the world’s biggest pool parties. So whilst there are baobabs in Sri Lanka elephas maximus maximus doesn’t have to resort to hunting them down as much as her African counterparts.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.31.29Baobab trees grow in Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Madagascar and a large one can store up to 30,000 gallons of water which animals such as elephants and giraffes and nomadic people use as a source of water in dry seasons. No wonder it is known as the Tree of Life.

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