Help! I'm looking for the title or author...
Of a fantasy childrens book I had back in the 60s when, yes, I was a child. The artwork absolutely captivated me.
I cant remember much of it but I seem to recall there were three travelers and they all had special powers. One of the travelers I remember most clearly could turn himself into an elephant. Another could turn himself into fire, and I cant remember anything about the third companion.
I recall that they journeyed a long way and came to a king who set himself to make them prove their powers so he set before them three impossible tasks; the only one I recall clearly is the man transforming himself into an elephant to drink the huge vat of wine the king put before him. I cant recall what the others did about their tasks.
Does any of this sound familiar? Ive searched keywords like man changes into elephant childrens story and gotten nowhere. Im guessing maybe its an adaptation of some old Persian or East Indian legend but I havent found anything there either. Deeply appreciative in advance!
I was thinking about a book I reread in the 90s and thought Id share how I came to rediscover it.
Many of us have books we remember as a child that left behind the gift of a fond, albeit hazy, memory. There are several in my past, many of which I remember quite clearly. One, however, stood out. While the title eluded me, the story continued to visit, usually in the wee hours while trying to fall asleep. I remembered a young king with a yodlers hat and a pointed beard. He lost his kingdom and was told that he could be a king again if he could accomplish a number of impossible feats. To do this, he enlisted the help of some men he rescued from various dangers along the way. I remembered that one turned into an elephant (and drank a huge vat of wine, as only a king could do). Another, a swarm of bees (who defeated an army). One, a hatchet, and one a tree. There was also a man who could become a snake (who spanned a gorge, making a bridge for them to cross) and one who could turn into fire (who consumed a king-sized meal). The last line of the book was etched indelibly in my memory. When asked why the king should be given a kingdom when these impossible tasks were accomplished by his friends, the elephant guy said, He did what a good king should do. He led us.
So, that was the gist of the story. It was also the first time I put the then-newfangled Internet to its proper use. I consider myself a pretty decent keyword artist and was able to track it down, despite having forgotten the title. Turns out it was called The King With Six Friends, written by Jay Williams.
Watched the book reading on YouTube and the picture of the elephant drinking the wine is exactly as I remembered!
The lesson about seeing past our differences and working together, using our varying talents to accomplish larger goals is perfect for our time, I think.
Try asking at the "Tip of my tongue" sub.