The Spartacus Circus was a popular circus. They had some of the most amazing acts, and they had a large menagerie of animals. The circus’s star attraction was the sole elephant named Shantanu. He was a young elephant who never failed to impress the audience. The people gazed in wonder at his majestic body.
However, Shantanu was also a very lonely elephant. He was the only elephant that the circus owned. The circus formerly owned two other elephants, Shantanu’s mother and father. However, because Spartacus Circus was financially struggling, they had to sell Shantanu’s father before Shantanu was born. They decided to keep Shantanu’s mother because the owners knew that a calf needs his mother. Unfortunately, Shantanu’s mother became very sick. There was nothing the doctors could do to make her feel better. The only other animal that Shantanu seemed to get along with was a tiger named Parth. However, Parth was always with the other big cats and was often being trained, so the two never truly did have enough time to hang around together.
Shantanu’s only true friend was his trainer, Ken Wesley. Shantanu loved Ken like a dog loves his master. Ken was extremely gentle with Shantanu and had great respect for the elephant. Ken seemed to know that what Shantanu needed in his life was another elephant. However, because the circus had a tight budget, they could not seem to afford any new elephants.
Shantanu remembered the day he first met Ken. It was not long after his mother died. Shantanu was not eating or showing any natural behavior of a baby elephant. Then one day, the circus owner came into Shantanu’s pen, bringing along a new human.
“Shantanu” said the circus owner, “I would like you to meet… what was your name again?”
“Ken Wesley” answered the other human.
“Ah yes, Ken from America… you are from America, right?”
“Um, yes. Massachusetts, to be exact.”
“Yes, yes” said the circus owner. “Sorry about that, it is no wonder why we are accused of treating our animals better than our humans.” Then the circus owner turned to Shantanu. “Ken here will be taking care of you from now on. I will leave you two alone.” Then, the circus owner left.
Ken walked up to the scared calf. He gently put his hand on the elephant’s forehead. “I understand you lost your mother. I know how you feel. You don’t need to be afraid.”
Shantanu was confused. However, he somehow knew that Ken was one who could be trusted. Over time, Shantanu began to eat regularly. When he reached a healthy weight, Ken started to train him for the circus. Ken was a firm trainer, but tried his best to resist unnecessary force. He treated the bull hook like a guide and never as a weapon. Now, Shantanu became a full grown elephant, and the bond between him and Ken was inseparable.
Ken hoped and prayed that their next show would bring in the money needed to support more elephants. The show was being held near a wealthy city in India. A large sum of money was sure to come in, unless fate has other plans for the circus.