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Dramatization of the R.Kipling's "An Elephant's Child"

Updated on December 7, 2017
Mykola profile image

Mykola has teaching experience in French and English for 35 years. He is interested in excursion as the method of teaching.

Key Words

Dialogue, Polylogue, Plot, Animal Literature, Biodiversity, Speech Competency, Tale, Associative Memory,.Reiteration

The Aim of the Article

The aim of the article is to work out dramatization of the tale into a play. The play may be produces on the stage, as theatrical performance or in the screen, as video, etc. The purposes for teachers are to gather while teaching linguistic, psychological, literary elements of different topics such as "Character", "Geography", "Arts", etc. for the best choice of the script and actors among pupils. Also, the play may be used as the phenomenon of art therapy when some pupils have problems in their behaviour..And of course, in artistic form they will meet with the notion of "biodiversity".

Rudyard Kipling


noun1.a narrative that relates the details of some real or imaginary event, incident, or case; story:a tale about Lincoln's dog. 2.a literary composition having the form of such a narrative.

Biography of R.Kipliung

Biography, variant for junior pupils.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born on the 30 th of December, 1865, in India , Bombey. The tales written for his son and daughter in the interesting and gay manner, took the especial place in his creative works. These tales teach us the diligence, blame the ruddiness, laugh at the folly, the vanity. We may see the best features of the Kipling’ talent as a\fine narrator , a great master of words. He tells us about distant countries where there are not seen before trees and animals, but he does it in so exclusive form, that this world of tales begins in at one moment so in time and clear.

R.Kipling tells us about the beautiful face of the Earth, of Her biodiversity in artistic form, of a lots of outstanding, unusual and interesting in the Nature, of the thirst of the great Knowledge.

Answering different “Hows” and “Whys” which are so liked by us, having ground of southern African traditions he explains the most curious incidents :

“How the Whale got his throat”,

“How the Leopard got his spots”

“How the Camel got his hump”, etc.

There are many animals described in his tales and each of them has a character like a man’s one.

For example:

Whale is glutton;

Elephant’s child is curious;

Rhinoceros is rude;

Kangaroo is vain;

Horse, cow, dog are diligent and domestic,

But Cat likes to take care of itself only.

The Place of R.Kipling's Birth

Мумбаи, Махараштра, Индия

get directions

Why R.Kipling? Tips for Teachers.

The Text of the tale "An Elephant's Child" by R.Kipling in 1903, contains the features of the polylogue with a fairy plot. It is sated with a lot of dialogue, its sentences are transformed easily from direct speech to the indirect one, and vice-verse. Besides, this tale is a successful combination of the prose and the poetry in one work of art. Its poem "Six serving men" promotes a quick attaching to the memory words-questions. Also, in the text of the tale there is a lot of reiterations that strengthen this process.The author adds a new word to the used phrase, repeating it once again. As a result the same words are composed in new sentences as in the kaleidoscope. For example:

1st: My father has spanked me

My mother has spanked me

All my aunts and my uncles have spanked me for my Curiosity....

2nd: How strange

My father and my mother

and my uncle and aunt

and my other uncle the baboon

and my other aunt the Hippopotamus

have all spanked me

for my Curiosity...

3d: Nobody spanked anybody more...

Pupils are very interested in the creative activities of R.Kipling , because against a background of urbanization, social gaps, the low level of the pop-art, the original harmony of the flora's and fauna's world , its original colours and forms influences

beneficially upbringing of the young soul.


Psychological and Physical Preparations for Actors-Pupils

The role of Elephant is explained by signs and saying at the same time-

“With fingers together touch the back of your hand to your mouth, then move it forward and swap it down as if it is going down a slide, to show the elephant’s trunk.

I am an Elephant. My nose is my trunk, my ears are great and round . I have four legs. I am very strong, but I like also brain work. For example, I was studying at school for baby elephants in Shri Lanka. I am taught to parade majestically in festivals and ceremonies.

But, don’t never make

The bad mistake

Of stepping on the sleeping snake


His jaws

Might be awake!”

The role of Snake –

“Stand with your back to a wall. Keeping your shoulders hips, and heels against the wall, jump as high as you can, and then try to twist.

I am “mistake” – snake

Th! Th! Th!

It’s no true. The truth is … th-the-th-the

In ancient time I was a symbol of wisdom.

And nowadays in China there is a complex of U-shu-“Snake.

My fingers in unique touch is a head,

My leg is a tail

Here is my double circle…

The, th, the, th…”

And, so on, for the role on an each animal, using elements from attached videos with animals style kung-fu (VIDEO № 5,6,)self hand-made masks and costumes (VIDEO 7), the phone of traditional African music..


After watching this video several times answer these questions in oral form:

.1. Was an elephant' child a curious creature ?

.2. About what did he ask the giraffe?

.3. What animal did he ask about the spotted coat?

.4. Why did the giraffe kick him with her hard hoof?

.5. Where was a large ostrich grazing?

.6. About what did he ask the ostrich?

.7. What was the answer of ostrich?

.8. What did a hippopotamus do in the shade?

.9. What did an elephant's child say about hippopotamus' child?

.10. Where did an elephant's child meet a monkey ?

11. Why did the mother cry in horror when her child asked about the crocodile's dinner?

12. Is the crocodile a dangerous beast according to the mother's words?

13. Was anyone going to change the child's mind?

14. What did he put into the basket going to the river?

15. For how many days and nights did he reach the bank river?

16.Hasn't he ever seen the crocodile?

17. What snake did he see on the riverbank?

18. What animal opened his mouth wide in rage?

19. How many rows of razor-sharp teeth has he got?

20. What does "crocodile's tears" mean?

Question "What?"


'What?' often asks for noun responses, seeking things that are or will be. They may also prompt for verbs when they seek actions.

'What' questions include:

What are you doing? - What is the elephant's child doing now?
What shall we do next?What shall the elephant's child do next?
What happened? What happened with him on the banks of Limpopo river?
What is stopping you from succeeding? What is stopping him from succeeding?
What is the most important thing to do now?

Three 'Whats' that may be asked in sequence to solve problems are:

What are you trying to achieve? Why is the elephant's child trying to achieve it?
What is the real problem? What is the real problem of The elephant's child?
What is the solution?

Repeat the Poem after this audio and learn it by heart! VIDEO 2

Learn by Heart Using the Method of Omitted Words

"I Keep Six Honest
Serving Men ..."

I KEEP six honest ...-men
(They ... me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And.... and Where and Who.
I ... them over land and ...,
I send them ... and west;
But after they have ... for me,
I give them all a.....

I let them rest from ... till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as ..., lunch, and tea,
For they are... men.
But different folk have ... views;
I ...a person small—
She keeps ... million serving-men,
Who get no rest at ...!

She sends'em... on her own affairs,
From the second she ... her eyes—
One million Hows, two million ...,
And seven ... Whys!

The Elephant's Child

Linguistic Preparations

Animal Idioms

How well do you know these “ animal “ idioms?

Choose “a”, “b” or “c” as the best explanation.

.1. What does it mean if you have got a frog in your throat?

.a. You keep having to clear your throat.

.b. You have got a sore throat.

.c. Something you’ve eaten is stuck in your throat.

.2. What does it mean if you have got butterflies in your stomach?

.a. You are feeling nervous.

.b. You have got indigestion.

.c. You feel sick.

.3.That vase is rather a white elephant, isn’t it?

.a. It’s old and very valuable.

.b. Even though it was probably quite expensive , it’s useless.

.c. It’s big and simple design.

.4.What does it mean if you chickened out climbing the tree?

.a. He refused to climb the tree.

.b. He apologized for not being able in climb the tree.

.c.He decided not to climb the tree after all, because he was afraid to.

.5. What does it mean if you drive at a snail’s pace?

.a. You drive very carefully.

.b. You drive very slowly.

.c. You drive in the middle of the road.

.6. Is there something fishy about him?

.a. He smells.

.b. He likes swimming.

.c. There’s something about him that I don’t entirely trust.

.7. What does it mean if you look very sheepish?

.a. You look terrified.

.b. You look ashamed of yourself.

.c. You look warm.

.8. What does it mean if you shed a few crocodile tears?

.a. You shed with big tears.

.b. Your tears were not real tears of sorrow.

.c. You were crying because you were angry.

9. What does it mean if you haven’t been to the cinema for donkey’s years?

.a. You haven’t been to the cinema for a few years.

.b. You haven’t been to the cinema for many years.

.c. You haven’t been to the cinema for ages.

10. What does it mean if you has the cat’s whiskers?

.a. You are too self-important.

.b. You are shy.

.c. You are mad.

Correct Answers:

1c,2a, 3b, 4c, 5b, 6c, 7a, 8b, 9c, 10 a

Crocodile tears (or superficial sympathy) are a false, insincere display of emotion such as a hypocrite crying fake tears of grief. ... While crocodiles do have tear ducts, they weep to lubricate their eyes, typically when they have been out of water for a long time and their eyes begin to dry out.

The Elephant's Child with his Mother

English Hand and Body Gestures Necessary for Pupils-Actors While Dramatizing VIDEO 3

About Gestures

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The Traditional Music and Dance in the Southern Africa, the Beginning of the Performance VIDEO 4

Screen Play, Script, Reading then Learning by Roles


.1.Elephant’s child

.2.Kolokolo Bird

.3. Black and White Rock Snake –abr. (SWRS)

.4. Crocodile (Croco)

.5. Ostrich

.6. Giraffe

.7. Hippopotamus (Hippo)

.8. Baboon

.1.Announcer (AN)- or Broadcaster (A.E.)

Screenplay, Introduction

Introduction, VIDEO № 4 - African Dance and Music (3 min.)

AN – Once upon a time

The Elephant had no trunk. He had only a blackish flat nose, as big as a boot. He could move it from side to side; but could not pick up things with it.

But there was one Elephant – a new Elephant – an Elephant’s Child who was full of CURIOSITY; and so he asked very many questions. And he lived in Africa and he filled all Africa with his CURIOSITY:

(All actors dance and sing this poem in the rhyme of jazz)

I keep six honest serving men

(They taught me all I knew)

Their names are WHAT and WHY and WHEN

And HOW and WHERE and WHO!

I send them over land and sea;

I send them east and west

But after they have worked for me

I give them all a rest.VIDEO №2

1st Part -Kolokolo Bird


El: what does the Crocodile have for dinner?


EL: My father has spanked me

My mother has spanked me

All my aunts and my uncles

Have spanked me




I want to know


The Crocodile has for dinner!


Kolocolo Bird: “Go to the banks of the great-grey-green Limpopo River

And find out!”

El. (with some pounds of bananas):


I am going

To the great-grey-green Limpopo River

To find out


The Crocodile has for dinner? (GESTURE OF CURIOSITY BY HANDS)




2nd Part- Limpopo River


El. To black and white rock snake (BWRS):

Excuse me,


Have you seen such thing as a Crocodile here?

BWRS: Have I seen a Crocodile?

What will you ask



El.: excuse me,

But could you tell me

What he has for dinner?( HIS GESTURE OF KNOWLEDGE)

(Then the BWRS came down from the rock, and spanked the elephant’s child with his hard , hard tail)

El. Himself:

How strange

My father and my mother

And my uncle and aunt

And my other aunt Hippopotamus

And my other uncle Baboon,

Have all spanked me

For my CURIOSITY, - I think this is the SAME THING, THE SAME THING !!!

(Having said goodbye to the BWRS he stepped on something. He thought that it was a piece of wood on the bank.)(ACTOR USE THE ELEMENTS FROM THE STYLE "SNAKE" IN ACCORDANCE WITH A TEACHING VIDEO)


But haven’t you seen a Crocodile here?

Croco: Come here, little one, why do you ask such things?

El.: (most politely): Excuse me,

But my father has spanked me,

And my mother has spanked me,

And my tall aunt the Ostrich,

And my tall uncle, the Giraffe, who can kick very hard;

And my broad aunt, the Hippopotamus,

And my hairy uncle the Baboon,

And the Black and White Rock Snake with his hard tail;

- everybody has spanked me MY CURIOSITY; and

- if it’s all the same to you,

- I don’t want to be spanked again”.



Croco: You are the person that I am looking for.

Come here, little One, I AM A CROCODILE!

EL. Please, tell me what have you for dinner?

Croco: Come here, Little One and I’ll whisper.

(the Croco caught him his little nose).

Croco: (to himself) I think… ( he said it between his teeth), I think today I will begin with an Elephant’s Child.

El. (through his nose) Let go, you are hurting me!

(Then the BWRS came down from the rock very quickly)

BWRS: My young friend, if you not pull now as hard as you can, I think that the crocodile will pull you into the river before you can say a word.

( the Croco pulled and pulled and pulled and each pull the Elephant’s child nose grew longer and longer).

El. This is too much for me! GESTURE OF AN ANGRY PERSON)


BWRS: (came down from the rock, coiled up round the hind legs.)

Little traveler,

Let us pull together


If we don’t pull together hard enough

The Crocodile will have you for a dinner.

(At last the Croco let go of the Elephant’s Child’s nose.)

El. To BWRS:


(El. covered his poor pulled nose with cool bananas leaves and put it into the great grey green Limpopo River to cool)VIDEO №9



3d Part -Why Are You Doing That?

3d PART- “Why are you doing that?”

El: Excuse me,

But my nose is too long now and perhaps it will shrink in the water.

BWRS: Some people do not know what is good for them.

(El. killed that fly, put out his trunk to picked some grass, and put it into his mouth).

BWRS: You see how useful your trunk is. You could not do that before with your little nose- Now tell me, do you want to be spanked again?

El: Excuse me,

I don’t wont it at all.

BWRS: But do you want to spank somebody?

El. Oh, yes, of course, I do.

BWRS: Very well, you will find that it is quite easy to spank people with your trunk.

EL. Thank you I’ll remember that and now I think I’ll go home to all my dear family and try.

Style of the Snake in the Kung-fu VIDEO 5

Elements of Snake's Style in the Play

The elements of the Snake's style (Kung-fu) may be used by young actors in different situation with the word -verb " to spank", also actors meet with the style of Monkey, Elephant, etc. It helps to unite the link "word" - "emotion" -"action" ., at the same time to develop speech competency without gap between speech and action.Before the performance young actors use these styles for representing their roles.

4 th Part- An Elephant's Child in a New Role, Conclusion


ALL ANIMALS: Oh, what have you done to your nose?

El. I got a new nose from the Crocodile on the banks of a great grey-green Limpopo River. I asked him what had for dinner and he gave me this trunk.

Baboon: It looks very ugly.

El. It does, but it’s very useful.

(Elephant spanked all his dear family, without stopping for a long time.) (ACTOR USE THE ELEMENTS OF MOVEMENTS FROM THE STYLE "ELEPHANT"IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TE ACING VIDEO"





At last when all the Elephant’s Child’s sisters and brothers saw how useful the trunk was, they went to one by one in a hurry to the banks of the great grey-green Limpopo River to get new noses from the Crocodile. When they came came back NOBODY SPANKED ANYBODY ANY MORE and since that day all the Elephants

Which you will ever see, besides all those that you won’t see have trunks exactly like the trunk of the Elephant’s Child.

I keep six honest serving men

(They taught me all I knew

Their names are WHAT and WHY and WHEN

And HOW and WHERE and WHO !VIDEO №1

Masks and Costumes

These pictures will help children to make up masks and costumes for future scenery

Crocodile, Drawing

Elephant Style in Kung-Fu VIDEO 6

Preparations of Crafts and Arts VIDEO 7

After Watching this Video SeveralTimes, Answer the Questions which HelpYou in Doing the Mask

.1. What are materials for Elephant's mask?

.2. What is the role of a paper plate?

.3. What are you going to do first?

.4. When do you put the elephant's years?

.5. What trunk do you like?

.6. Where do you put the tusks?

.7. How do we use the craft stick?

Limpopo River

Limpopo River:
Река Лаймпопо

get directions

Actor in the costume of an Elephant's Child ( Example)

The video and Performance

May this video be included into our dramatization?

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Ivan Franko, Ukrainian Writer, and animalistic literature

You May Use Also the Text Mykyta Fox for Dramatization. Tips for Teachers


"Now take a very careful look

While reading this amusing book:

You'll recognize that some of them

Have qualities we all condemn,

Like spite, hypocrisy and greed.

But who are they, these beasts, indeed?

The answer is not hard to find,

Just keep the following in mind:

Behind each beast, whate'er its race

There always hides a human face.

It is, therefore, a human tale

Wrapped in an allergic veil.

Its every part imbued with wit

makes this great classic exquisite."

The Tale of I.Franko "Mykyta Fox"

If history were taught in the form of stories it would never be forgotten, Rudyard Kipling

Teaching Activities

Do you use theatrical elements in your teaching activities?

See results

Banana Bread


  • 2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, extract
  • 11/2cups all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F (175C*), and butter in a loaf pan
  2. In a mixing bowl,mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas
  3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
  4. Pour the butter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350*F (175*C), or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. then remove the bananas bread from the pan let cool completely before serving. Slice and serve.


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      7 months ago

      It is very interesting! I was excited! I knew inerpretation of this tale. Yours.


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