Bringing up Kari – Summary

Bringing up Kari is written by Dhan Gopal Mukerji. The narrator, a nine year old child took care of Kari, a five month old elephant.

Summary

Kari was a five-month-old elephant. The narrator, a nine-year old child, took care of him. Both grew together. Kari grew tall earlier than the boy. He lived in a shed with straw roof.

Kari once saved the life of a boy drowning in the river. He ate 40 pounds of twigs a day. Every morning he was taken to the river for his bath. The narrator rubbed his body with ash sand for an hour. Kari loved to roll in water for a long time. The narrator led him by the ear to the border of a jungle. He liked to eat tasty and sweet smelling leaves of the banyan tree.

One spring day in March, the narrator suddenly heard the call of Kari. He went to the river bank. He saw some creature trying to save itself from drowning. He felt helpless. Kari pushed him into the water to save the boy. Kari also stood firmly on the bank for help. Kari saw the narrator being carried away by the current. He rushed into the water and spread out his trunk around the boy’s neck. He then pulled them both to the bank.

Kari was like a baby. He had to be trained to be good. He was naughty also. One day somebody gave him some bananas to eat. Very soon he developed a great love for ripe bananas. He then started taking away fruit from the dining table. One day all the bananas on the table disappeared. The family blamed the narrator and servants for eating all the fruit. The narrator child couldn’t convince them that he was innocent. Then one day he saw Kari picking up fruits, with its trunk, through the window. He then found Kari eating bananas in its pavilion. He pulled the thief by the ear and presented him before his parents. He scolded Kari for that. Afterwards Kari never stole anyting. He accepted the punishment for his mischief quietly.

Kari was a fast learner. He learnt what to do when the narrator said dhat or Mali, Dhat was a signal to sit down while ‘Mali’ meant to walk. He took three weeks to learn Dhat.

The most difficult thing to teach an elephant is the master call. Kari took five years to learn it properly. The master-call is a strange hissing and howling sound, as if a snake and a tiger were fighting each other. Each sound was to be made in Kari’s ear. It was necessary to teach him such a sound. If someone got lost, the only thing to do then was to give the master call. Kari would instantly come for his help.

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