TU || Flax Golden Tales || Four Levels of Interpretation Lesson 30

 Level: B.A/ B.B.S || Lesson 30 The Four-Tusked Elephant (Armand Denis, Belgium 1896-1971)

Words Meaning

Unicorn = mythical creature like a house

Pygmy = a tribe of people in Africa

Non-committal = not taking either side

Scared = frightened

Stiff = very hard

Put off = post pone

Grin = smile broadly

Swindle = cheat

Rip = to break into pieces

Embarrassed = ashamed

Approaching = coming near

Possessed = belonged

Caution = careful

Anxious = worried

Enormous = huge

Grandiose = attractive

Hefty = huge

Deduce = reduce

Swindle = cheat

Plump = round fat

Genial = frank

Wicked = mean

Nuisance = trouble

Rummaged = scattered

Pile = heap

Rogue = dishonest person

Outskirt = border

Enrapture = enjoy

Suspiciously = with doubt

Marshy = muddy

Dispatched = sent

Pursue = look for

Despondently = sadly

Stench = unpleasant small

Jubilant = happiness

Expedition = journey

Lash = tie

Wrapped = covered

Sweep off = remove completely

Solitary = lonely

Snarling = crying

Fortnight = a period of fifteen days

Seize = catch

Specimen = sample

Stuff = filled

Pursue = look for

Cumbersome = difficult to carry


This story talks about the personal hobby of Armand Dennis to find a four-tusked elephant. He makes and adventurous trip to find the four-tusked elephant so, he went to Africa in search of four-tusked elephant. One of the pigmies informed him that such elephant was only available in the East part of the country. But the Putnam-owner of the camp discouraged him to find such elephant because it is terrible and can attack him. Armand had also heard that it could speak like human beings and it was king of elephants. The writer traveled with one of the pigmies and reached to a swampy land where they could find foot tracks of the elephants. Finally, they saw two tusked elephants. The Pigmies told him that four-tusked eelephants had gone way. Then he stopped at Butembro. It was the place where many people came to buy and hunt animals. The writer heard about a person who used to sell elephant’s tusks. At Butembro people were speaking in Flemish language. He heard that one African had sold tusks to a Greek trader. Xantos was a Greek trader. Xantos didn’t show the tusks to the writer. Xantos didn’t know the name of the African seller.

Later on Armand knew the seller’s name. He was Mombeli. Mombeli told that he had seen four-tusked elephant lying on the forest. Armand requested Mombeli to bring the head of the four-tusked on the forest. Later on he met Belgian administrator and asked him. While he was returning from Belgian administrator-Renaud, he saw something in the mud. And he took out. It was elephant’s head. The writer became happy to find the head of the four-tusked elephant. He went to Europe putting head on the back of his truck. It was attacked by the hyena and then he went home. His father had already sent all the tusks to New York then he went to New York to visit museum. They put the elephant’s tusk in the skull of the head. But Armand still got confusion for four-tusked elephant.

Four Levels of Interpretation

  1. Literal Comprehension

This is writer’s autobiographical note. When he heard about four tusked elephant from Pygmies of Ituri Forest. He wants to know about that elephant. But his friend’s Putnam and Texan advices him not to go in search of four- tusked elephant because it was the king of elephant and it could harm the writer but he didn’t agree with them and headed in search of the four-tusked elephant. He reached to the swampy land where he could see only foot prints of the elephant’s. he visits Mr. Xantos who tells him that the tusks have been south to the ware house of the trading company at house of the trading company atAbba. Then he visits Beligan administrator Armond and asks him whether Mombeli had left anything form him. Four months later he goes to Mombeli but he finds him missing. When he was returning form Renaud, he saw head of the elephant in the mud and takes out. The hyena attacks him but with a great difficulty he reaches his home town after 18 months. The tusks which he has been searching had already been sent to the Museum of Natural History of New York city. Finally, he fits those tusks on the skull of the elephant.

  1. Interpretation

The writer tires to show if someone has interest in doing something, he/she doesn’t go back. He keeps on doing that until he gets success. Similarly, the writer heard about four-tusked elephant and doesn’t go back until he finds its skull. If we try to do anything in life, we need to keep continuity until we get success. We shouldn’t go back if we get failure in course of our adventure.

  1. Critical Thinking

The writer presents this adventurous journey in search of four-tusked elephant. But he presents different places which are difficult to learn for readers. But it is difficult to know why he looks so deep interest in searching that elephant.

  1. Assimilation

After reading this text about the journey. I learnt that we should keep on doing something until we get success. We shouldn’t turn back if we get failure once or twice. Failure is the foundation of success.

Possible questions

  1. Chance plays a decisive role in scientific discoveries. In Armand Denni’s case, for instance, his search for the four tusked elephant received boost from a chance conversation of four people in the Butembro Motel and from the fact that these people spoke the language of Denni’s childhood. Can you describe other episodes where fortunate and unfortunate chance occurrences played a significant role in Denni’s ultimately successful quest for the four tusked elephant?

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