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Lic^ grp^ j^yjL GLOBE. 9p
\^\\ SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1903. f /\^^y
WHEN THE ELEPHANT GOES ON STRIKE
\J — — — 1
I ' ••;: ■-■ :•/..*■■■ ■ . v '•■.'■
i^f^&Wgp' HEN the mist was on the rice fields,
i(£SMyIWM an' ie sun was dr°ppin> slow,
I* A §S«ys She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd play
U| [gp«fi«^j "Kulla-10-lo."
.utrs' ->^K^y With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er
fuffl cheek agin my cheek, '
fllsr^ We useter watch the steamers an' the
"hathis" pilin' teak
Elephints a-pilin' teak
In that sludgy, squdgy creek,
lere the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid
to speak— .
On the road to Mandalay. .
A MAN would naturally suppose," said an Eng
lish engineer who has built many bridges and
irrigation canals in India and Burmah, "that
when he got elephants to work for him mi
d of me*n, he would have no more trouble over the .
But the supposition would be wrong. I have employed
ldreds of elephants to haul and ; carry and build and
np and do a thousand other things, but I never yet ,
:w an elephant that .did not stick up for its rights /■
strenuously as any member of a labor union. And an I
>hant will go on strike in a minute if he does not get I
rything that he thinks is due to him." ,
"he engineer's hearers were incredulous, but he was i
fectly correct. In India and Burmah, where many f
usands of elephants are used to perform work which "; ',
lone in this country by men or machines, the tern i
ament of the beast is understood and his idosyncra- I
■ are humored. \
/very elephant driver and engineer in the East knows, \
——— •" '^- m" ~l^^^r^O<; 1 nvJW I KvNK AriL) 1 UoKo rUPn A nAHUj ■ ■.. „.,•.,. jfj^m^^m^^,.. •'-■■ -<^s^S^SvT^
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l^^a^ K| jmb^ ' fl pom B^ *■■ M>}-- ..> "Jt tL^I i i
BRINGING UO&STOTH£WHARF'FOR SHIPMENT j^^rl
example, that there are castes and
ses among elephants just as there
among men. There is the aristo
ic elephant, whose ancestors for
'^rations have been the honored
of maharajahs; there is the mili
elephant of baser birth, who
vs the big guns and stands un
ed amidst the roar of battle; and
c is the plebeian elephant—the
)lie elephant," as the natives call
—who has performed the menial
-s of drawing and carrying all his
and never expects anything bet-
a high-caste elephant is set to do
ial work, there is sure to be trou
m His high spirit will take fire at
insuk, and in all probability men
be killed. Similarly, the military
hant objects to being taken off
own special work and set to hunt
tigers or carrying teakwood logs.
Jt it is when the elephants work
;angs on some big job that they
v their human disposition to
k" most strongly. "It's just like
lling a lot of union men," declared
American foreman who worked a
of them at Rangoon, Burmah.
the first place, they insist on hav
a regular working day of fixed
•s and a regular scale of payment,
he shape of food and such luxu-
ST. PAUL GLOBE.
HOW TDUNK AND TUSKS FOPM A HAND]
BRINGING- UOG-5 TO THE. WHARF FOR SHIPMENT
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1903.
ries as sugar cane, from which the employer dare not
depart. It is hopeless to try to make them turn out to
work before the regular hour, which varies with different
gangs, and they will not work a minute after the time
for "knocking off" arrives.
In the middle of the day there is a rest hour for lunch,
which consists of an. enormous bundle of hay, some
rank "guinea grass" and a stick of sugar cane. Lunch
time is announced by the ringing of a bell. Immediatel>
the elephants hear that bell they drop the logs they are
carrying, or whatever work they are doing, and troop
together to talk, rub one another fondly with their
trunks, rest, feed and enjoy their leisure hour. When the
bell rings again at the appointed time for the resump
tion of work, there is no sulkiness or skulking. Each
elephant goes quietly and cheerfully back to his task,
and works hard and faithfully at it.
An engineer in charge of a road-building job in Bur
mah some years ago received orders to hurry up the
work*' He had a large gang of elephants engaged in
clearing the forest through which the road had to pass.
The Lieutenant-Governor of Burmah was coming along
in a few days to inspect the work, so the engineer
thought he would make the elephants work harder and
longer than usual. Accordingly he ordered the bell for
stopping work to be rung an hour late.
For the first day the elephants were cheated and
worked on steadily until they heard the accustomed
sound of the bell at 6 o'clock in the evening instead of
5. But next day they did not wait for the bell.
Punctually at 5 o'clock.a veteran tusker, who had
worked as a "coolie elephant" for many years and knew
all about elephants' rights, threw up his trunk and
trumpeted vigorously. The others took that as a signal,
dropped their work, formed into line, and marched
home, headed by the old tusker and all trumpeting de
fiantly at the engineer and his men.
Another large employer of elephant labor in Burmah
once tried to change the lunch hour of a gang from
noon to Ip.m. to suit his convenience. He ordered
the lunch bell to be rung an hour late. It was no good
In a day or two the elephants "tumbled to the game*
and quit at 12 o'clock as usual.
Strikes are not at all uncommon in an elephant gang
Each gang has an old elephant who rules the other:
absolutely, does little or no work of his own, insists 01
special privileges, and may be likened to the "walkinj
mE hathis pain'TCA*'!
delegate" with whom American em
ployers of labor are so familiar.
When this elephant decides that the
gang has been insulted or unjustly
treated in any way, he' throws up his
trunk and trumpets. The others im-"
mediately stop work, and will not re
sume it until the grievance has been
remedied. Their "mahouts" usually
know what is the matter, and can soon
put it n"ght. Perhaps the sugar cane
has been forgotten, or the lunch has
not been sufficient; perhaps a foolish
driver has tried to bully an elephant
into carrying a weight too heavy for
him; perhaps an elephant who is ac
customed only to carrying has been
put in harness to draw a log. Cases
have occurred in Burmah and India
where the "mahouts" could not im
agine what the grievance was, and,
therefore, could not remedy it, with
the result that twenty or thirty ele
phants sulked for days.
If the elephant is handled properly
land allowed all that he thinks ought
to come to him, he is the best workor
in the world. He never idles, never
tries to rob his master of time, and al
ways works willingly, vigorously and
intelligently. His sagacity has been
much written about, but only those
who have seen him at work realize it.
(Copyright, 1903, by E. B. Warner.)