Who would expect to see a huge elephant take care of a delicate little child? Yet more vigilant and gentle nurses cannot be found than are some of these animals.

The wife of a mahout, or elephant driver, was frequently in the habit of giving her baby in charge of an elephant. The child would begin, as soon as it was left to itself, to crawl about, getting sometimes under the elephant’s huge legs, at others becoming entangled among the branches on which he was feeding. On such occasions the elephant would gently disengage the child, by lifting it with his trunk or removing the boughs. The elephant, it should be said, was himself chained by the leg to the stump of a tree. When the child had crawled nearly to the limits of his range, he would advance his trunk, and lift it back as tenderly as possible to the spot whence it had started. Indeed, no nurse could have attended an infant with more good sense and care than did this elephant his master’s child.