When Elephants had no Trunk

There was a time when elephants had no trunk. They only had a bulgy nose and it was difficult for them to pick things. They could only move it from side to side, but could not put it to any real use. A baby elephant, named Golu, had no trunk either. According to the ostrich, the giraffe, the hippopotamus and the baboon, Golu was a naughty baby as he asked all of them questions to which they had no answer. He kept asking everybody difficult questions. Once, he asked the mynah if it knew what crocodile had for dinner. Mynah directed Golu to go to grassy Limpopo river to find out for himself.

Golu Meets the Python and the Crocodile

In order to find out what crocodile has for dinner, Golu decided to go to river Limpopo. Since, Golu had never seen the crocodile, he was confused what it looked like. On his way, Golu met the python. Golu asked the python if it had seen the crocodile and knew what he had for dinner. Python uncoiled itself from the tree, but did not say anything. Golu helped python coil around the branch again and moved on. After a few days of walking, Golu reached the edge of the great, grassy Limpopo river.

There  he  saw the crocodile, but not knowing who he was, Golu asked him if knew where the crocodile was. The crocodile winked at Golu and introduced himself as the one whom Golu was looking for. Golu then put his question to the crocodile asking him what he had for dinner.

Crocodile Tries to Drag Golu into the Stream

The crocodile asks Golu to come near him so that he could whisper the answer to Golu’s question in the ear. As Golu put his head close to the crocodile, the crocodile caught him by the nose. Golu began to scream and begged the crocodile to let him go. The python tried to guide Golu by telling him that he must pull himself as hard as possible else the crocodile would pull him into the stream.

Golu’s Nose Grew Longer and Longer

Golu pulled himself and harder. The crocodile too dragged Golu harder into the stream. The python too coiled himself around Golu’s stomach and tried to help Golu. In the act of pulling, however, Golu’s nose kept stretching and grew longer and longer and it began to hurt Golu. Finally, Golu freed himself, but his nose was now five feet long.

Golu Waited for his Nose to Shrink

Golu wrapped his nose in a big banana leaf and hung it in the great grassy Limpopo river to cool it. He kept waiting for two days for his nose to cool and shrink. However, his nose only cooled but did not shrink. A fly sat on Golu’s shoulder. Golu lifted his long nose and with it hit the fly dead. Python immediately pointed out that he could not have done this with a small nose. So, having a long nose was an advantage. When python asked Golu to eat something, Golu plucked a large bundle of grass with his long nose (trunk). The python pointed it out as the second advantage of the long nose. Since it was too hot, Golu scooped some mud using his nose and slapped it on his head. The python told Golu that this was the third advantage of having a long nose. Hearing all this, Golu expressed his gratitude towards the python and said that he would remember all of this. Thanking python thus, Golu went back to his family.

Word Meanings

Word                                                              Meaning in English

Wiggle                                                                  to move in irregular motion

Spotty                                                                   having spots

Uncoiled                                                              to unwind

Coiled                                                                   something would in the form of a spiral

Snout                                                                    a long, projecting nose

Screamed                                                             to shout

Haunches                                                            the area encompassing the upper thigh

Scooped                                                               to dig-out with a ladle

NCERT Solutions

Exercises (NCERT Page 34 and 25)

Answer the following questions.

  1. Whom does Golu ask, “why don’t you ever fly like other birds?”

Ans. Golu asked his tall aunt, the ostrich, “Why don’t you ever fly like other birds?”

  1. Which uncle of Golu had red eyes?

Ans. Golu asked his huge uncle, hippopotamus. “Why are your eyes always so red?”

  1. Golu’s relatives did not answer his questions because

(i) they were shy.

(ii) the questions were too difficult.

(ii) Golu was a naughty baby.

Ans. (ii) Golu’s relatives did not answer his questions because the questions were too difficult.

  1. Who advised Golu to go to the Limpopo river?

Ans. When Golu asked mynah if it knew what crocodile had for dinner, mynah asked Golu to go to the Limpopo river.

  1. Why did Golu go to the river?

Ans. Golu decided to go to the Limpopo river to find out what crocodile had for dinner.

  1. The crocodile lay on the bank of the Limpopo river. Golu thought it was

(i) a living crocodile.

(ii) a dead crocodile.

(iii) a log of wood.

Ans. (ii) a log of wood.

  1. What did the crocodile do to show that it was a real crocodile?

Ans. The crocodile shed crocodile tears to show that it was a real crocodile.

  1. “Come here, little one and I’ll whisper the answer to you.”

The crocodile said this because

(i) he couldn’t stand up.

(ii) he wanted to eat Golu.

(iii) Golu was deaf.

Ans. (ii) he wanted to eat Golu.

  1. Who helped Golu on the bank of the river?

Ans. On the bank of the river Limpopo, the python extended his help to Golu.

  1. Name two things the elephant can do with his trunk that he could not do before.

Ans. The elephant could pluck a bundle of grass with his trunk. He could also use his trunk to get rid of the flies that irritate him. The elephant could not pick things when it did not have the trunk.

Questions and Answers

Very Short Answer Type Questions

  1. State two adjectives used to describe the nose of the elephants.

Ans. Big and bulgy.

  1. Why was Golu called a naughty baby?

Ans. Golu was called a naughty baby because he asked his relatives difficult questions.

  1. Who all were Golu’s relatives?

Ans. The ostrich, the giraffe, the baboon and the hippopotamus were the relatives of Golu.

  1. What all did Golu carry with him on his way to river Limpopo?

Ans. Golu took with him a hundred sugarcanes, fifty dozen bananas and twenty-five melons while setting for river Limpopo.

  1. Why did the crocodile catch hold of Golu’s nose?

Ans. The crocodile thought of eating Golu for dinner.

Short Answer Type Questions

  1. Make a list of the questions Golu asked his relatives.

Ans. Golu asked the following questions to his relatives

(i) To ostrich he asked why he never flies like the other birds.

(ii) To Uncle Giraffe Golu asked the reasons for his spotty skin.

(iii) From hippopotamus Golu wished to find out the reason for his eyes always being red.

(iv) He asked Baboon why melons tasted like melons.

  1. Why did Golu bid goodbye to his family?

Ans. Golu bid goodbye to his family and set on a journey towards the great, grassy Limpopo river in order to find out what crocodile had for dinner.

Golu asked this question to the mynah bird. On being directed by mynah Golu decided to leave his family to find answers for his questions.

Long Answer Type Question

In what ways did the python help Golu?

Ans. The python could not help Golu in answering the question he asked about the crocodile.

However, when the crocodile tricked Golu and tried to drag him into the stream, the python guided Golu to pull himself back as hard as possible. Then, the python coiled himself around Golu’s stomach and helped Golu to pull himself back.

Later, when Golu was upset because of his long nose, the python tried to highlight the advantages of his long nose in order to make him feel better and happy.

Value Based Question

What lesson does the chapter impart?

Ans. The chapter imparts a very important lesson. Golu’s old nose was not very useful. His new nose, on the other hand, had quite a few advantages.

However, Golu could not immediately accept the changes in his nose and became upset because of them. He kept waiting for his nose to shrink again. Soon, Golu is able to realise that the changes that occurred were to his advantage.

The chapter teaches that humans should not unnecessarily crib about the sudden changes in their circumstances, but should reconcile themselves with such occurrences. It is possible that unexpected changes prove beneficial.