Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived an elephant named Gordy. Gordy was a very big elephant. He had smooth gray skin, a long trunk, and white tusks. His ears were large and flopped about as he slowly trudged along the dirt and gravel. The animals that lived near him included lions, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and woolly mammoths. It was an odd mix of animals, yes. But nevertheless, they lived together in harmony. Well almost, that is.
See, Gordy was a grumpy sort of elephant, a loner. He didn't get along very well with the other animals, despite their efforts to include him. His most common response to the other animals was, "NO WAY and NO WAY!" After a while, the other animals stopped talking to Gordy, because they knew what he would say. They couldn't figure out why he was so upset all the time and they were tired of dealing with him.
Gordy was the only elephant in this strange far off land. He didn't know where his family was and always felt different. The truth is that he wanted a friend, he wanted to feel like he was part of a family, but he wasn't sure how to make that happen.
One day, in the hot summer, as the animals were eating grass and chatting, a small boy appeared. He was mostly hidden among some trees and Gordy was the first to spot him. The boy was fairly young and wiry, with long, wavy blond hair. He looked tired and afraid. Surprisingly, Gordy eased up on his typically harsh temper, and slowly walked up to the boy, trying not to let the others see. He gently asked, "Who are you?" The boy answered with hesitation, slightly stuttering, "Ra- Ralph."
Gordy felt protective of the boy almost immediately and asked him where he had come from. The boy explained that he was from a nearby land, and had been playing with his bow and arrow at the edge of town. He said, "I shot my arrow farther than I've ever shot it before. It was amazing! But I searched and searched and couldn't find it. I knew my parents would be really upset if I didn't bring it back home, so I travelled further and further. I ended up here. Where am I?" The boy had come to life as he told this story to Gordy. His eyes glistened when he spoke of the arrow, but then darted downward when he spoke of the trouble he might be in if he didn't return home with it. Gordy was in awe of the boy. And he noticed that at the boy's feet lay the arrow. Ralph looked down and picked it up. He still eyed Gordy nervously, unsure of what the towering elephant might do to him.
Gordy walked a little closer and patted his trunk on the boy's back. "This land only has big animals. I've never seen a human. I never even knew people lived so close to us. Which way did you come from? Show me."
Ralph, beginning to realize Gordy was not going to hurt him, walked North and started pointing and talking as he walked. "Just a little ways over here is the bridge that connects our homelands. But something bad happened. As I was stepping onto your land, the bridge broke and crashed down into a dangerous lake. I don't know how to get back home." As Ralph finished speaking, they walked up to that very spot. There was a terrifying drop down to crashing waves and deadly sea creatures. Gordy thought and thought. Then something came to his mind.
Gordy only had one hobby, besides being grumpy and walking around. He liked to line things up. Especially rocks. He lined them up in all sorts of patterns... big rock, median rock, little rock, repeat or sometimes the pattern looked completely random, but made sense to Gordy. Gordy started busily fetching rocks. Some of these rocks were huge, and some were rather small. He worked and worked for what seemed like hours. The boy rested against a tree.
Finally Gordy told Ralph his plan. He would throw down the rocks, in a certain pattern by size in order to build a staircase back to his home. The boy was excited but looked uncertain. Gordy was focused though, unfazed by Ralph's lack of confidence. He began pushing the big rocks off the cliff. They were building up along the edge of the water and Ralph's land. Then he threw down smaller rocks and smaller. Until all of the sudden, Ralph saw the staircase. It was perfect, it was beautiful really. Ralph gasped. "You did it! Thank you."
By this time, the other animals had slowly started coming up. They saw what Gordy had done and they were all so moved by it. As Gordy helped Ralph onto the stone staircase and gave him instructions for getting across, people from Ralph's hometown started gathering at the bottom of the stairs. On both sides people and animals alike were cheering Gordy on, praising him for saving Ralph's life. Gordy smiled for the first time that he could remember, as he realized that he did have friends, he did have family. They were right there all along.