2nd Annual Holiday Contest/ Jumbo the Elephant

Hi Friends!

I’ve done it again! I’ve submitted a piece of writing to a contest for Susanna Leonard Hills 2nd Annual Holiday Contest! The rules and story are below. It seems kinda irrelevant what with all the horror in Connecticut but I thought this up long ago and now it’s time to publish. My prayers and thoughts go out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary. I know all of you feel the same way.  It’s not that cheery and I don’t have a chance in a million to win anything.  I just like the practice and fun of writing. So thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story beginning with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.” not to exceed 350 words and it’s a story to be about Christmas or any holiday you celebrate. This holiday contest is one of Susanna Leonard Hill’s favorite so click on over and check out the others.

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Saturday December 15 and Wednesday December 19 at 11:59 PM EST So here it is!

JUmbo by Gary Radford in Flickr.

Jumbo by Gary Radford in Flickr.

JUMBO the Elephant.

Clumping up the ramp to the crate with chains on, Jumbo felt like a prisoner already. That crate would be his home for thirty days while traveling to America. It was 1881 and a trans-Atlantic ocean trip was still dangerous and long. The thought of the trip made him nervous and he shivered. How was Santa going to find him? What did they do on Christmas Eve?

He already missed his young friends that he had given rides to. His throat got a lump when he thought about all those letters from the kids who loved him. They all said “Please don’t go!” And there had been many angry notes to the Queen Victoria about P. T. Barnum the millionaire who bought him. Seems like no one wanted him to leave.  Jumbo felt tears running down his big cheeks.

“Oh, Jumbo. You might just settle down now. Your feelings do you credit and all that, but there’s no good in such displays. You must be a brave boy. You’ve got through worse before, haven’t you?” Scott, Jumbo’s keeper, said.

Fortunately Scott was going along with him on the ship. Scott had been with him since Jumbo saw his parents shot to death in Africa by the poachers long ago. Scott knew him backwards and forwards. He knew he liked onions and always shared his whiskey at night. Why, he even slept next to him in the straw.

Scott said all he would have to do was to walk around the rink during the circus. He knew he could do that.   

So Jumbo trudged up the ramp to the crate and day dreamed about Santa. The following morning he remembered vaguely that he had heard sleigh bells ringing during the night, and when he looked,  the zoo was covered with a blanket of beautiful snow. There was a bag full of apples and peanuts and when Scott woke he exclaimed. Merry Christmas, Jumbo! Merry Christmas!

(Thanks to Emma Donoghue and her new book “Astray”, especially the first story “Man and Boy”. And Wikipedia’s entry for Jumbo.)                                                                             

Jumbo mit Matthew Scott

Jumbo mit Matthew Scott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in blogging, Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, personal growth, social networking, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to 2nd Annual Holiday Contest/ Jumbo the Elephant

  1. Wow, Clar! What an original take on a Christmas story! I love the historical details about P.T. Barnum and Queen Victoria. And I love that you’ve chosen to write a story from an elephant’s point of view! Very creative! 🙂

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Susanna,

      I took it one step farther than Donoghue who did a story from Scott’s perspective. I really owe her and that’s why I gave her credit down below my story.

      Glad you liked it. 🙂

      Like

  2. Laura Renauld says:

    A historical Christmas! Thanks for including the pictures of Jumbo.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Laura.

      The one with Jumbo and Scott was a total surprise. It came up after I had written the post in the editor and WordPress brought it to my attention. Thanks to WordPress for the wiki one. 🙂

      Like

  3. I think this would be a great non-fiction piece even without the Christmas angle. Fascinating story!

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  4. Lovely story, Clar! Thank you.

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  5. Margot Finke says:

    Endearing story Clar. Hope you win. Here in Portlamd, Oregon, the Zoo has a new two week old female elephant named Lily. We are all ga-ga about her.

    Books for Kids + My FREE Book Catalog
    http://tinyurl.com/d8ppylg

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  6. Wow, Clar! Such an original entry for the contest. Love it!

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  7. I really like this story Ms Clar!!

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  8. What an original topic. Seeing animals in captivity, while fascinating, is always sad for me, too. This is a really interesting historical topic.

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  9. Clar…this is fantastic! What an original children’s story, told from the perspective of the elephant. I, along with Carrie, often wish zoo animals could return to their wild habitat. I love that Jumbo has his friend, Scott, to help him weather the difficult journey…a great message for kids that there will always be people near and dear to us who will be there to help them through the tough times.

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  10. Wow…what an amazing story- a Christmas story from an elephant’s viewpoint and from a different era. I was just going to ask if this was based on a true story. Then I read Susanna’s comment. Your story left me wanting to read more! You’ve got the beginnings of a marvelous story!

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  11. I’m fascinated by the lives of circus people and animals from back in the day, so I really enjoyed this, Clar. And what a unique POV. Well done!

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  12. Melissa says:

    What an interesting take on the prompt, awesome.

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  13. joanna says:

    So unique to give it an historical slant, Clar, I found this quite a fascinating read!

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  14. Linda Boyden says:

    Elephants are so special and smart. A Xmas story + elephant = priceless!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Oh thank you for saying that. I had a hard time deciding weather to post this or not because it wasn’t cheery. The response I”m getting is marvelous. 🙂

      Like

  15. Good job, Clar! Your story stands out and is quite unique. I really love the way you write.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Pamela.
      When I read the first story in “Astray” it drove me to write this story as an answer to that perspective. Seeing how Scott saw what was happening to Jumbo made me realize that Jumbo had a voice, too. 🙂

      Like

  16. laurimeyers says:

    What a unique story! This would be a wonderful topic fo ra book.

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  17. I was feeling sad for Jumbo, but it helped knowing Scott was with him. I enjoyed this Christmas story so much that I wanted it to continue. I want to know what happened to Jumbo next.

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  18. Very nice, I love it! 🙂 This was a very unique idea! I like Jumbo and Scott!

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  19. Maria says:

    So original! What an interesting story. And now I want to read more about Jumbo and Scott. Will have to hit up the library. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Anna says:

    I’m glad you introduced me to Jumbo through your story. Though his circumstances are sad, I’m glad in your perspective, he is still hopeful and believes in Santa. Hardships are better when we have friends to lean on. Inspiring!

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  21. What a sweet story. Great job. And I love a happy ending. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  22. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. Jumbo and Scott must have been a wonderful pair.At the beginning I was a little saddened for Jumbo (our zoo’s elephant area is under renovation, so it made me think those poor elephants don’t have a lot of room). Nice ending. Have a Merry Christmas.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      They are a family lot and like it when they are together even when it is crowded. Jumbo and Scott were like family to each other so they were happy together.

      Have a Merry Christmas, too, Stacy! 🙂

      Like

  23. Really great, Clar. I love your historical take on a Christmas tale. And including Jumbo, to boot!

    Merry Christmas!

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