The Elephant (Kuprin)

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The Elephant
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A sick little girl wished for a live elephant, and her father managed to bring one home for a day, which helped her recover from her mysterious illness.

A little girl named Nadya was unwell and her condition was worsening day by day. The doctors could not understand her illness and advised her mother to fulfill all her desires to make her happy. One day, Nadya expressed her desire to see a live elephant. Her father tried to bring her a toy elephant, but she insisted on seeing a real one.

Nadya — six-year-old girl; sick, weak, and uninterested in anything before meeting the elephant.

Mother … could I have … an elephant? Only not one that’s painted in a picture. … Eh?

Determined to fulfill his daughter's wish, Nadya's father went to a menagerie and requested the manager to bring an elephant to their house.

Nadya's Father — caring and determined to fulfill his daughter's wish; resourceful, loving.

The manager agreed, and they brought the elephant named Tommy to their house at night.

Tommy — elephant; large, gentle, and good-natured; fond of children.

Nadya was delighted to see the elephant and spent the entire day playing with him. They even had dinner together, with the elephant eating vegetables and salad while Nadya had chicken broth and cutlets.

The next morning, Nadya woke up feeling fresh and healthy. She was told that Tommy had to go back to the menagerie to take care of his children but had left a message for her to visit him when she was well. Nadya smiled and informed them that she was already feeling better.

Tell Tommy that I’m quite well now.

The presence of the elephant had a miraculous effect on the little girl's health, and she recovered from her mysterious illness.