Updated: Nov 21, 2020
15 July 2018
Hello :-) would you like to know the story of our friendly elephant Shams? Yes? Well then, let’s begin our story by introducing him properly. Shams is a happy elephant with a sunny disposition. He was nicknamed Sunny by his friends because of his love of Sunflowers and because “Shams” in Arabic means sun. Shams loved all flowers and always took care not to step on one when he had his morning walks to the lake. In fact, that's why he especially loved sunflowers. Because whenever Shams accidently stepped on a tiny flower he would be heartbroken and cry and cry till his friends found just the right words to soothe him and that took a loooong time. So, because sunflowers are one of the tallest flowers in the park where Shams was raised, they made walking a much easier and happier experience for him. Shams dreamed of convincing his human parents to plant a huge garden all filled with sunflowers but he didn't know how yet. His brain was always working on ways to communicate his wish to his parents. One day they found him tied to a bunch of the sunflowers surrounding his playground and whatever they did to try to get him to leave, he wouldn't move an inch. They tried all day but he refused to move. They finally gave up but they still didn't understand the message. On another day, Shams picked up all the sunflowers that naturally fell from their spots. He made a nice bouquets out of them and gave it to his mother. She was so happy and hugged Shams very hard but still didn't understand the message. So now Shams had to think of something really clever to get his sunflower garden. After days and days of thinking and thinking he finally came up with the perfect idea. It was simple and very clever. He decided he's going to paint them a picture! The only problem is he never painted before in his life so he wasn't sure how he will do it but that didn't make him give up. The first time he gave his parents his first painting, it wasn't very clear so though they loved it and gave him very nice compliments for trying, but didn't understand what the picture was and didn't get the message. So, he tried again the next day and then again the next and then the next. He kept painting every day until slowly but surely, the paintings started to be clearer and clearer. On his 30th day and 30th painting, he felt like he was finally ready and that this was going to be his final piece because it was the best ! When he put this painting at his parents' door, as he usually did with his presents, he was feeling especially excited and eager to see their reactions. He hid back waiting for them to come out of the house and see it. He waited and waited when he finally saw the door slightly open but then… it closed again. No one came out. He waited for another 3 minutes then decided to go up to the door and ring the bell with his trunk. He rang the bell and waited again. This time someone did come to the door but it wasn't mother or father. It was…another baby elephant! Or at least Shams thought it was a baby elephant. But why would his parents bring a baby elephant. Did they think he's going to take care of him?!!! They couldn't! They wouldn't! He wasn't ready to take care of a baby! He WAS a baby!! Shams started stepping inside the house to ask his parents about this new addition to their family when he suddenly remembered that he wasn't allowed inside since the last time he entered. That was quite a day. Completely forgetting his size , a few months ago Shams went inside but his huge size and heavy weight were too much for the small house. It was breaking under, over and all around him! He started carefully stepping backwards and out of the house as gently as he could on his tip toes . ( ELEPHANT FACT : Elephants always walk on their tiptoes!) He decided then not to enter and his parents agreed it was a good idea. That's when Shams started dreaming of having his own home filled with sunflowers. It would be a field really not a house but it would be his and he would call it home. Right now though he forgot all about his painting that was safely waiting to be seen behind the open door of the house. He also almost forgot that there was a small elephant standing in his way ! He stood there, really agitated, nervously shifting from one foot to another when finally , the tiny elephant got tired of waiting for him to say something. So , he said something instead…well…he really just trumpeted his horn at him. Which is how elephants usually greet each other. Shams politely trumpeted back. But Shams' trumpeting is so loud and powerful, the tiny elephant flew up in the air it was so loud! When it landed back on its feet it said: "Wow! That's quite a voice you have there!" When she spoke Shams was so surprised…this wasn't a baby elephant at all! It sounded like a voice he hadn't heard since his mother was with him. It was a woman's voice! (Did you know: Female elephants are called Cow & male elephants, bull!)
You might be thinking, why is this such a big surprise for Shams? I mean we all know there are male and female elephants right?. But you see, Shams lived his life so far as the only elephant in the park. Besides that, she was tiny! While Shams was thinking these thoughts she said: "let me guess, you're thinking about how small I am. That's ok. It used to bother me when I was young but now I think I'm Unique." proudly raising her trunk slightly and stretching her neck she gave Shams a wink. Shams then asked: "what's "You neek"?" "well to me it means valuable" she replied. Shams still looked confused. So she tried again, "it means very very important" Shams liked that word so he repeated "Val ee you bubble" "haha no not valubbuble, Val you ble. Haha I like you…wait what's your name?" "My name is Shams" Shams perked up and thought, I like this tiny elephant and before he got the chance to ask he heard her say "Hello Shams. Mine is Amar (Moon). You're called Sun and I'm called Moon! Isn't that a funny coincidence?!! Now we must be friends. What do you say? Shall we shake our trunks and be friends?" Amar then straightened her short trunk out as far as she could to shake with Shams'. So, he raised his slowly and with the tip of his, gently shook trunks with her. "Shams aren't you coming in?"
"I can't I'm too big"
"So are you just going to stand there?" Suddenly Shams remembered and shouted out "My Painting!"
"painting? What painting?" asked Amar. But Shams was already rushing to check on his painting, so she quickly went out of the house and walked behind Shams. Shams stopped where he had left the painting, so Amar stopped too. Amar tried to see what Shams was looking at but he was blocking her view, so she slipped her tiny body carefully under his belly, tickling him a little bit and making him giggle, and finally reached the painting. She now stood right under his trunk. “ooooh woooow. That's beauuuutiful…did you make this?” She asked with her eyes open wide in fascination. "Yes." Shams answered proudly. "so are you like a famous painter or something?"
"No." Shams started telling Amar about his dream of a field of sunflowers. "I think that's a wonderful idea." Amar then went quite for a few minutes thinking then "I'll help you." she finally said, decisively. "Let me take the painting in to our human parents but first make sure you leave your footprint on the back so they know it's from you" Shams agreed to let Amar help in this way and rushed off to get some paint to colour his foot and stamp his footprint on the back of the painting. Shams didn't think it would be a problem to do that until he tried it. The problem was elephants have very long nails. 4 at the front and 3 at the back of their feet. So, whenever he tried to stamp his foot, his long nails got in the way! "What now?!" Shams cried frustrated."hmmm don't worry. A Problem is just a chance for us to exercise our brain and get smarter. So, let's think!" replied Amar. So, Shams decided to exercise his brain once again (like he did when he came up with the idea to paint). He closed his eyes and started thinking calmly. Suddenly he opened his eyes and feeling so excited to have come up with an idea, he said :"I got it!" and rushed to the side of the house. "Hey Waiiit!" Amar shouted after him "what are we looking for huh? tell me! tell me! tell me!" "An open window."
"An Open Window? Why?" Amar looked confused, so Shams explained: "As elephants we're famous for having a great memory, right?"
"right. An elephant never forgets"
"But we forgot something very important!" "What's that?"
"That we have Trunks! And the reason we have them is to pick fruits from the top of tall trees." "I didn't forget I had a trunk but mine is too small for trees" Amar then shook her head in confusion and said "I don't understand. What are you talking about?!!?!!!"
"What I'm saying is, if I can find an open window, I could just hand my parents the painting using my long trunk!"
"Oh yeah! Well why didn't you just say so already!"
"Well, we walked all around the house and there's only one window, but it's closed"
"I can go in and open it!" Shams looked unsure "Are you sure? It's pretty high up"
"Hey being tiny taught me ways to solve those kinds of problems all the time. I'll find a way. You just wait here. But first, are you sure your trunk will fit in the window?"
"Yes. It's a big window"
"O.K then wait here" and she rushed inside the house. A few minutes later Shams heard furniture moving around inside then Amar's big ears and tiny face popped out of the window and she sang:"Tadaaa!"
"Great job Amar! Now, could you find a way to bring our parents to this window, so I can hand them the painting?"
"Sure!" She said excitedly but when she tried to get her head back inside, she was stuck! Her big ears got her stuck! Amar panicked and kept trying to pull her head back in shouting "I'm stuck! I'm stuck!" suddenly, she saw Shams' huge trunk right in her face and a very strong wind surrounded her as he started blowing at her with all his strength till he heard a “POP!” sound and a CRASH! as Amar fell back inside. “I’m alright! I’m ok!” he heard her shout. Inside the house Amar was doing everything she could to grab their parents’ attention. She needed to get them upstairs to where Shams was patiently waiting with the painting held in his trunk, hanging through the window. She was jumping up and down, trumpeting loudly, pulling at her mother’s arms, then her father’s legs and their clothes, running towards the door leading to the upstairs window and then rushing back when she finally heard them say:” What’s going on with Amar?!” “She must be trying to tell us something.” “Ok. Ok. Calm down Amar. We’ll follow you and you lead us to where you want us to go.” Amar, even more excitedly, skipped to the upstairs window, looking back all the time to make sure her parents are following, until they finally saw Shams’ trunk hanging from the window. “What’s this?!!” “Shams what are you holding in your trunk?!” ”OH Wow!! Look at that beautiful painting daddy” “That is beautiful. Shams did you paint this?” Shams’ raised and lowered his trunk in a nodding action to say yes. “Look at all those beautiful sunflowers! And look! That’s us with Shams and…is that Amar? How wonderful! What a great idea!” Amar didn’t know she was in the picture so when she heard them say that she came up to them, looking so touched by being included in Shams’ painting that she almost cried… but instead of crying she said” when did you have time to paint me Shams? We only just met” Shams explained that when she ran upstairs to open the window, he quickly added her. This was Shams’ way of telling Amar that he now thinks of her as family too, so it was a very important moment for Amar and, because elephants have great memories, she never forgot this one � And guess what? this time Shams and Amar’s parents finally understood the message!
They chose a large piece of land and decided this will be the elephants’ home. They all worked together to plant the field of sunflowers. Even Shams’ friends, who used to soothe him every time he stepped on a flower, came to help. The birds flew above and scattered the sunflower seeds, while the monkeys dug the ground then patted it when the seeds were sitting comfortably in their spots then Amar and Shams used their trunks to spray water all over the seeds. Shams was so excited he couldn't wait for the sunflowers to grow! Sure enough, within 1 week they began to see long green stems sprout out of the ground! Shams started squealing with excitement “Anytime now! Anytime now we'll see a field full of sunflowers. Woohoo!” but what Shams didn't know was that it could take 2 whole months for a sunflower to bloom. Planting flowers needed patience as well as care. So, when the flowers didn't bloom, Shams began to worry. “did I do it wrong? Did I not take good care of my flowers? Why aren't they in bloom yet?”
“I don't know” replied Amar. Sad that she couldn't comfort her brother. Amar then decided to search for an answer. You see, Amar had a very special hobby just like Shams. While he liked planting flowers, Amar just loved to read! So, she searched in her little library of books and finally found the answer. She ran back to Shams quickly, carrying her book in her trunk and shouted “Shams! Come quick! I have what you're looking for" After Amar explained to him, Shams understood that he has to be patient a little while longer to get his dream. After 2 months exactly, Shams and Amar stood again in the middle of the field of green stems and excitedly waited. They waited and waited but the flowers still didn't bloom. Shams began to panic. What if he did it wrong? What if he didn't give the seeds enough water? What if he wasn't caring enough for the flowers to bloom? Oh No! What if they never bloom?!!! As all these sad thoughts ran through his brain, suddenly Shams started crying. He cried so loudly that all the animals and birds in the park came running to see if they could help! He kept crying and crying no matter what everyone around him tried to say to soothe him. He was feeling so sorry for himself. He didn't even hear Amar shout “Look!” Only when everyone went silent so suddenly, did Shams finally hear her. He slowly peeked at her with his wet eyes. When he saw what Amar was pointing at he couldn't believe his eyes. So he rubbed them to wipe away his tears and opened them wide. What he saw was so beautiful…he suddenly jumped up and carried Amar in his trunk and started dancing around with her! Can you guess what he saw? One after the other, the sunflowers started blooming into these big orange flowers! It was like watching pop corn as it pops. ‘Pop!’ ‘Pop!’ “Pop!’ went the flowers till the whole field was a sea of Orange Sunflowers, just like he dreamed… Shams apologised to everyone for being so silly and having a tantrum when all he needed to do was be patient a little while longer. He learnt his lesson then and no one ever heard Shams cry again. He was the happiest sunny elephant there ever was and wherever Shams went, he carried a sunflower on his back to remind him to always be patient. That’s the end of our story but remember, if this happy elephant comes to visit you, remember to stroke the flower on his back to give you joy and happiness so you can have a sunny disposition too!