By Margo Wayman
A wooden vat sat on a patch of tall green grass; its tight fitting oak boards held together by thick ropes that were wound around the outside for support. It was filled halfway with plump, juicy, purple grapes.
A small group of men and women who were standing near the vat walked away, headed for the nearby river to wash off and cool down. The sun beat down on their skin, bronzed by its rays.
Eisa, a wrinkled gray elephant, stomped thru the grass, in search of a mimosa tree. He knew its leaves would shade him from the searing sun. He noticed an odd looking thing in the distance and headed towards it. As he moved nearer to it, he could smell the grapes inside. He lifted his trunk up into the air and sniffed. "Mmmmmm, grapes," he said happily.
When he reached the rim of the vat he gazed down inside. He couldnt believe all the grapes. Each was perfect purple, ripe, bursting with juice and delicious looking. Not being able to resist, he stuck his snakelike trunk in, grabbed as many grapes as he could and lifted them to his mouth. "Mmmmmm, delicious," he mumbled as he gobbled them down.
Eisa wanted more. The ones in the middle of the vat looked like they were the biggest. He tried to reach them with his trunk, but couldnt, so he lifted his thick legs over the edge and climbed inside. He walked around in the soft squishy grapes, enjoying the feel of them as they mushed up between his toes. "Hee, hee, hee! This is fun," Eisa giggled. He lifted each huge trunk-like leg and brought them down onto the grapes, smashing the juice out of them. Then hed stick his trunk deep down to the bottom of the vat and slurp up the juice. He was having so much fun.
A while later, after hed had his fill of grape juice, and after he was bored stomping the grapes, he climbed out of the vat. He looked down at himself as he felt globs of smashed grapes and juice drip to the ground. His beautiful white ivory tusks were stained by the purple juice, as was his trunk and his four legs. "Oh dear," he mumbled. "I think I need a bath."
He plodded off towards the river to wash off. On the way there he passed the group of men and women who were on their way back to the vat of grapes. As Eisa walked by, they stared at him. They watched intently as he waded into the river and began blowing water all over himself. When the group reached the wooden vat they stopped and stared silently. They were supposed to have stomped the grapes, a task that would have taken them hours to do. The juice was to be used to make wine for the pharaoh. "The elephant did our job," Karif shouted as he leaned over the vat, scooping up a handful of the juice. He took a sip. "Its perfect," he called out to the others. He then turned and ran down to the river to talk to Eisa.
From then on, each day, Eisa came to the vat and stomped the grapes into juice. In return the group gave him a bath, scrubbed his tusks, his trunk and his four stout legs. The best part, so Eisa thought, was that he got to eat all the grapes and drink all the grape juice that he wanted.