Lesson 70 The Trunk Of The Elephant
The long trunk of the elephant is a wonderful example of design and skill.
The neck of four-footed animals is usually long, to enable them to reach their food without difficulty;
but the elephant has a short neck, to enable him more easily to support the weight of his huge head and heavy tusks.
The difficulty of getting food is admirably overcome by his long trunk.
The trunk of the elephant is to him what the neck is to other animals.
It is also a nose to him, for at the end of it there is a hollow place like a cup,
and in the bottom of the cup are two holes or nostrils, through which the animal smells and breathes.
It is an arm and a hand too; so that it has been said that the elephant carries his nose in his hand;
and it might also have been said that he breathes by his hand.
How strange it would seem to us if we were to breathe through our hand!
At the end of the trunk, there is a curious part, about five inches long, which forms a finger.
With this finger the animal can pick up a pin or the smallest piece of money from the ground;
he can select herbs and flowers, and take them one by one;
he can untie knots; he can open and shut gates, by turning the keys or pushing back the bolts:
and with this finger an elephant has been taught to make regular marks like letters, with an instrument as small as a pen!
The trunk of a full-grown elephant is about eight feet long.
It can be made shorter or longer as the animal chooses, and can be moved with great ease in every possible direction.
It has such prodigious strength that he can knock down a man with it, and pull up trees of moderate size by the roots.