“Jumbo’s eaten something that has disagreed with him,” replied the vet, drying his hands. “He’s got indigestion — kind of a big stomachache”
li’s place was busier than ever. Day after day, there were lines of people at the ticket office, eager to get inside.
The newest draw at the animal center was Jumbo the elephant. Everybody loved to watch the big, friendly creature splashing around in his pool, lowering his trunk into the water, and squirting it over himself to cool down.
One afternoon, Eli was in his office doing paperwork when there was a knock at the door. Izzy, his assistant, came in, looking worried.
“Something’s wrong with Jumbo,” he announced.
“Oh, no! What’s up?” asked Eli.
“Come and have a look,” replied Izzy. “It’ll be quicker than me explaining.”
Eli and Izzy hurried over together to the elephant’s enclosure. Usually, Jumbo would greet them with a loud, “Harrumph!” But today, the enormous elephant lay on the ground, looking miserable. His keeper was stroking his rough skin, trying to soothe him.
“I have no idea what’s wrong,” he informed Eli worriedly. “He was right as rain this morning, and then he got sick and started making retching noises.”
“We’ll get a vet to look at him,” declared Eli at once. “I hope it’s nothing serious.”
Izzy steered some curious visitors away, so that Jumbo shouldn’t be disturbed. Soon the vet arrived with his case, and got into the enclosure to examine the elephant. When he was done, he packed away his instruments and went to wash his hands.
“What’s wrong?” asked Eli worriedly.
“Jumbo’s eaten something that has disagreed with him,” replied the vet, drying his hands. “He’s got indigestion — kind of a big stomachache.”
“Oh, no! What can we do about it?”
“I’ll give him some medicine. But make sure he only eats foods that are good for him, like grasses and fruits, will you?”
“Of course. That’s what he always eats. I can’t imagine what’s given him a stomachache.”
The vet shrugged.
“No idea. Maybe a visitor gave him something.”
Eli pointed, tight-lipped, at a sign that read, “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS.” Had somebody ignored the sign and made Jumbo ill? He would tell all the workers to make extra sure everyone was following the rules. He couldn’t allow any careless visitors to harm his animals.
By that evening, Jumbo looked a lot better. He slept well, and was up and about the next morning.
But in the afternoon, he started moaning and retching again.
The keeper gave him some more medicine.
“I can’t understand it,” he muttered worriedly.
Eli came to check on the big animal.
“What’s he eaten today?” he asked.
“The usual. Nothing to give him a stomachache, that’s for sure.”
“Are you saying the vet said he has indigestion — but he’s eaten nothing that could cause it?”
The keeper shrugged.
“What a mystery. This calls for some help. Let’s get Jolly Solly!” declared Izzy.
Eli didn’t think the clown would be able to help. He was marvelous at juggling and doing tricks, but he wasn’t an animal expert.
“Besides, I just remembered that Jolly Solly’s away,” he told Izzy.
Suddenly, there was a loud screech. It was Tuki. The parrot flew around his cage, flapping his wings wildly.
“Cupcakes two-for-one! Chocolates! Chips!” he screeched.
Eli and Izzy couldn’t help chuckling. Tuki sounded exactly like the lady that ran the kiosk near the elephant enclosure. She did a brisk trade selling food to the many hungry visitors.
An idea came to Eli.
“D’you think somebody’s been giving Jumbo food from the kiosk?” he wondered.
“Maybe,” replied Izzy. “Let’s keep watch.”
The next day, Eli stationed a worker near the kiosk to watch the goings-on. Soon after, there was a commotion.
“Aha! Got you!” exclaimed the worker.
Eli and Izzy came running.
“I caught the culprit!” cried the worker.
“Where?” asked Eli, looking around. There was nobody else in the area.
The worker pointed dramatically.
“It’s Jumbo himself! He’s been using his long trunk to steal food from the kiosk!”
The keeper, who was sweeping up at the other side of the enclosure, came running. He was shocked to hear about Jumbo’s antics.
“You naughty fellow! You’ve been making yourself sick!” he scolded Jumbo. “No wonder you’ve got a stomachache!”
Everybody was glad the mystery had been solved. Eli went to speak to the kiosk owner about moving to a different location.
Izzy treated Tuki to a handful of his favorite birdseed.
The parrot puffed out his chest proudly.
“Hurray for Tuki!” he screeched.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 974)
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