Hannibal Jasper planned to cross the Knockma Alps on an elephant
IT’S Arts Festival time again and I had a great idea for the big Tuam opening event. I heard from my friends at the Zoo that a new bull elephant has just arrived. Upali is making new friends at the Zoo at this very moment.
So I had a brainwave. You know how they always have a great party to open the Tuam festivities with battles and giants and fairies and lots of great things. They are usually based in old Irish legends, Fionn MacCool and all that, but I thought maybe a change this year.
My idea was we would borrow Upali from the Zoo, with a few of his new friends, and take them to Rose Cottage. Then on festival opening night we’ll all dress up as warriors and ride the elephants over Knockma and down into Tuam – just like Hannibal rode his elephants over the Alps.
I’m sure you’ve heard about Hannibal. He was an important general who lived in North Africa. He decided he’d take on the Romans who were the big bullies of the time. Hannibal got a huge army together and said goodbye to his family and friends. “I’m off to give those bold Romans a good spanking,” he told them.
With his army there were a large number of war elephants. He had to cross from North Africa to Spain first on ships. Get out your atlas and see where. Then he marched up through Spain, into France and then across the Alps mountains and into Italy. All with the elephants. It was some trip.
When he got to Italy he and his elephants gave the Romans a good hiding. Then he went home again and all the elephants went back to the jungle and their families. Hannibal was so grateful that he made an order granting them free bananas for life. They were very happy elephants because elephants love bananas.
So I thought it would be great to arrive up Shop Street on top of a huge elephant. All you children could be part of the Roman army, probably led by Big Midie because he’s always the boss.
Can you imagine it? We’d charge into the Square and make lots of noise. There’d be fireworks and flames and acrobats and the whole place would go crazy.
But would you believe it? Garda Mick said “no way, Josey”. He wouldn’t hear of me and my friends riding into Tuam with a herd of elephants. He said I caused enough problems in my old car, never mind on top of an elephant which is as big as 10 cows.
“But what about my idea. How will we stage the Hannibal story without elephants?” I asked. “Find a story where they crossed the Alps on donkeys instead,” he said.
I had to ring back the Zoo and tell them the bad news. Upali and his pals would not be spending their holidays in Tuam after all.
They didn’t seem too disappointed. I hope they’re still not cross with me over the time I borrowed the Hippo. That was just a misunderstanding.
I’ll just have to think up another plan. Certainly not one with donkeys. That’s just silly.
I have to go now because I have a mountain of bananas to eat. I bought up every banana I could find to make sure I had enough for the elephants when they arrived.
Now that they’re not coming, Aunt Molly says I have to eat every one before I get any other treat.
It’s not easy being in show business, boys and girls.
Bye for now,