Ellie was scared. Very scared. Very anxious. And very confused. When she'd gone to sleep - she thought that must have been last night, as there was now daylight filtering through the tree canopy high above – she had known that, as usual, she was in her home territory. But now, awake and looking increasingly anxiously around her, she had absolutely no idea where she was!
Or worse still, how she'd got here.
She looked down at her body...
"Phew, at least I can see I'm an elephant", she thought. But which one? And how did I get here?
Her trunk was swaying nervously from side to side, as though searching for a clue: and then, as it did so, it brushed against a sapling branch and almost instinctively the trunk curled itself round it and gripped.
The movement steadied Ellie; and it also suddenly brought back a memory...!
She was very young again - could see herself quite clearly, at home with the herd as they were walking together.
"Hold on to my tail with your trunk Ellie" her mother instructed. "As long as you stay holding on, you will never be lost!"
"How amazing!", thought Ellie now. "I can't remember where I am, or how I got here, or anything that must have just been happening to me. And yet I can remember absolutely clearly all those years ago! And I never did get lost then!"
She felt much calmer now. And she had an idea...
"What if I pretend that I am back with my mother and the herd. And that the young sapling is my mother's tail. Maybe if I hold on to it again I won't be lost any more, and some other memories will start to come back?"
So she held the young tree in her curled trunk, and as she breathed more slowly, images began to flash into her mind. Almost like a chain of memory pictures leading from her trunk round her mother's tail, along through to right now, and including suddenly recognising this clearing, and arriving in it last night with the others !
The others! Where were the others? She looked rapidly round the clearing...and there they were, the younger herd members, staring, worried, at her.
"Are you alright Ellie?" they asked "You seemed miles away".
"In a way...I suppose I was lost in thought."
She began to get them into line behind her, trunks to tails........
"How will you know where to lead us next?" one of them asked her.
!Oh, I just remember how I held on to my own mother's tail, and that memory comes right up to now, one memory leading to the next like an anchor chain through my life.
So any time I feel lost, I have only to go back to the times I remember clearly, and let my trunk curl round my mother's tail again; and then one by one, they'll lead me home to now!"
© 2017 Dee Shipman
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