The Man and the Elephant
Seven years have passed since the marriage of the
prince. Chalginna, first captain of the robber band, then
chief of his tribe is now ruler of Yemen and head of a
great confederacy 'of desert tribes. Erigalla is king of
Eridu, having succeeded his father.
Eath of his caravans is pillaged or made to pay tribute
and his subjects 'are kidnapped and held for ransom, by
Chalginna. It is impossible to follow the robber into
the desert or to corner him in battle; because when
attacked, his force riding camels, scatters as chaff across
the desert of loose sand; and neither horses nor elephants
nor man can follow.
There are now thirty-three elephants, Gisco the bull,
which bears the king's howdah, is leader of the herd
and knows no master except his mahout and the king.
One night, the uproar and trumpeting of the elephants
awoke the city, though their pasture was more than a
mile down the river. A company of horsemen sent to
investigate reported that seven of the elephants were
missing and the king's great elephant was badly
wounded, having thirty spear heads buried in his fleshy
sides and many wounds about the head and neck; while
trampled into the earth about hiq feet or torn and
maimed almost beyond identification of form were the
bodies of seven camels and four of Chalginna's troopers.
King Erigalla sent out five hundred horsemen and a
hundred and fifty chariots to recover his elephants.
When they came to the camp of Chalginna, he did not
run but gave battle and drove them back to the very
gates of the city. Then he dared the king to meet him
in the great river valley; but the king declined, feeling
that now he should reserve his strength, expecting an
assault upon the city.