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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Simply Smashing

A wooden vat sat on a patch of tall green grass; its tight-fitting oak boards held together by thick ropes that were wound around the outside for support. It was filled halfway with plump, juicy, purple grapes.

A small group of men and women, who were standing near the vat, walked away and headed for the nearby river to wash off and cool down. The sun beat down on their skin, bronzed by its rays.

Eisa, a wrinkled gray elephant, stomped through the grass, in search of a mimosa tree. He knew its leaves would shade him from the searing sun. He noticed an odd looking thing in the distance and headed towards it.

As he moved nearer to it, he could smell something sweet. He lifted his trunk into the air and sniffed. “Mmmmmm, grapes,” he said happily.

When he reached the rim of the vat, he gazed inside. He couldn’t believe all the grapes. Each was perfect – purple, ripe, bursting with juice and delicious looking. Not being able to resist, he stuck his snake-like trunk in, grabbed as many grapes as he could and lifted them to his mouth. “Mmmmmm, delicious,” he mumbled as he gobbled them down.

Eisa wanted more. The ones in the middle of the vat looked like they were the biggest. He tried to reach them with his trunk, but couldn’t, so he lifted his thick legs over the edge and climbed inside. He walked around in the soft squishy grapes, enjoying the feel of them as they mushed up between his toes.

“Hee, hee, hee! This is fun,” Eisa giggled.

He lifted each huge trunk-like leg and brought them down onto the grapes, smashing the juice out of them. Then he would stick his trunk deep down to the bottom of the vat and slurp up the juice.

A while later, after he’d had his fill of grape juice, and after he was bored with stomping the grapes, he climbed out of the vat. He looked down at himself as he felt globs of smashed grapes and juice drip to the ground. His beautiful white ivory tusks were stained by the purple juice, as were his trunk and four legs.

“Oh dear,” he mumbled. “I think I need a bath.”

He plodded off towards the river to wash. On the way there, he passed the group of men and women who were on their way back to the vat of grapes. As Eisa walked by, they stared at him. They watched intently as he waded into the river and began blowing water all over himself.

When the group reached the wooden vat, they stopped and stared silently. They were supposed to have stomped the grapes, a task that would have taken them hours to do. The juice was to be used to make wine for the pharaoh.

“The elephant did our job!” Karif shouted as he leaned over the vat, scooping up a handful of the juice.

He took a sip. “It’s perfect,” he called out to the others.

He then turned and ran down to the river to talk to Eisa.

Each day from then on, Eisa came to the vat and stomped the grapes into juice. In return, the group gave him a bath, scrubbed his tusks, his trunk and his four stout legs. The best part, so Eisa thought, was that he got to eat all the grapes and drink all the grape juice that he wanted.

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