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The Elephant God   By:

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THE ELEPHANT GOD

BY GORDON GASSERLY

NEW YORK 1921

TO A CERTAIN ROGUE ELEPHANT RESIDENT IN THE TERAI FOREST

THE SLAYER OF DIVERS MEN AND WOMEN

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF MUCH INSTRUCTION AND IN THE HOPE THAT SOME DAY IN THE HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS THEY MAY MEET AGAIN AND DECIDE THE ISSUE

FOREWORD TO AMERICAN EDITION

Twenty years ago I dedicated my first book, The Land of the Boxers; or China Under the Allies , to the American officers and soldiers of the expeditionary forces then fighting in the Celestial Empire as well as to their British comrades. And when, some years afterwards, I was visiting their country, right glad I was that I had thus offered my slight tribute to the valour of the United States Army. For from the Pacific to the Atlantic I met with a hospitality and a kindness that no other land could excel and few could equal. And ever since then, I have felt deep in debt to all Americans and have tried in many parts of our Empire to repay to those who serve under the Star Spangled Banner a little of what I owe to their fellow countrymen.

Only those who have experienced that sympathetic American kindness can realise what it is. It is all that gives me courage to face the reading public as a writer of fiction and attempt to depict to it the fascinating world of an Indian jungle, the weird beasts that people it, and the stranger humans that battle with them in it. The magic pen of a Kipling alone could do justice to that wonderful realm of mountain and forest that is called the Terai that fantastic region of woodland that stretches for hundreds of miles along the foot of the Himalayas, that harbours in its dim recesses the monsters of the animal kingdom, quaint survivals of a vanished race the rhinoceros, the elephant, the bison, and the hamadryad, that great and terrible snake which can, and does, pursue and overtake a mounted man, and which with a touch of its poisoned fang can slay the most powerful brute. The huge Himalayan bear roams under the giant trees, feeding on fruit and honey, yet ready to shatter unprovoked the skull of a poor woodcutter. Those savage striped and spotted cats, the tiger and the panther, steal through it on velvet paw and take toll of its harmless denizens.

But, if I cannot describe it as I would, at least I have lived the life of the wild in the spacious realm of the Terai. I would that I had the power to make others feel what I have felt, the thrill that comes when facing the onrush of the bloodthirstiest of all fierce brutes, a rogue elephant, or the joy of seeing a charging tiger check and crumple up at the arresting blow of a heavy bullet.

I have followed day after day from dawn to dark and fought again and again a fierce outlaw tusker elephant that from sheer lust of slaughter had killed men, women, and children and carried on for years a career of crime unbelievable.

No one that knows the jungle well will refuse to credit the strangest story of what wild animals will do. Of all the swarming herds of wild elephants in the Terai, the Mysore, or the Ceylon jungles no man, white or black, has ever seen one that had died a natural death. Yet many have watched them climbing up the great mountain rampart of the Himalayas towards regions where human foot never followed. The Death Place of the Elephants is a legend in which all jungle races firmly believe, but no man has ever found it. The mammoths live a century and a half but the time comes when each of them must die. Yet no human eye watches its death agony.

Those who know elephants best will most readily credit the strangest tales of their doings. And there are men white men whose power over wild beasts and wilder fellow men outstrips the novelist's imagination, the true tale of whose doings no resident in a civilised land would believe.

GORDON CASSERLY.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE SECRET MISSION 3

II. A ROGUE ELEPHANT 20

III... Continue reading book >>




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