An elephant calf followed her father down a dusty trail. The path had withering trees, and was overcast. Far behind and beyond the bend, their herd grazed in sunshine basked savannahs. Father and daughter stopped at the top of a hill. It overlooked a barren, mud-cracked plain, covered in massive bones and broken tusks.
“Why are we visiting the graveyard again?” the calf asked. “Why can’t we romp with the herd?”
The father swatted his daughter, and she cried.
“How many times must I tell you?” he said without looking at her. “We are visiting your grandpa.”
“But…grandpa has passed,” the calf whimpered.
“Want another spanking when we get back to the herd?” the father asked and the crying calf shook her head.
The father gazed at the graveyard. “Your grandpa’s spirit still roams here, and I must understand.”
“Understand…what, father?” the calf moaned.
“You must know your origins to understand who you are,” the father said. “Your grandpa was an unkind elephant—distant and disciplined often—for reasons I do not know…and I am angry for it.”
There was silence as father and calf stared at the cold graveyard.
“What is he saying?” the calf asked but was immediately hit by her father’s trunk.
“I can’t hear with all your complaining. It’s no use. Let’s return to the herd,” he said and the two turned up the path.
“I am starting to see why origins are so important,” said the calf. “Do you think my children will be as angry as us one day?”
The father elephant stopped and looked at her daughter. He slowly shook his head and his large ears flopped from side to side. “So the spirits do speak, child. Only if we let the anger escape this moment.”
It was then the father embraced his child and the two returned to the sun and the merriment of the herd.