Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Snelefant Sets Out

An explanation - the story evolves

Since I can remember, I've told the stories of Snelefant to my little sisters. The adventures and the character come from my head... perhaps not the safest place to reside - especially at times of stress! We'd sit on the bed, all three of us and I'd tell the stories of our little friend in a strange nasal voice.. Mr Bean-ish in it's simplicity. I sounded like an absolute fool and no-one else was ever permitted to hear the epic stories, particularly not our brother or parents. The girls loved it. I loved it more.

The character himself is small, purply pink and looks somewhat between a mix of an elephant and ant-eater. Think small, cuddly, and cartoon-like. His skin is wrinkle free, his trunk is short and stumpy and his temperment is nothing short of cheeky.

When I was 15 I left our family farm to head to college in the City. Snelefant came with me - or so the girls believed, and our stories continued over the phone... better still, on my rare visits home. Uncool or not, we couldn't let him die... and gawd knows the little critter wouldn't have a bar of it anyway. He was firmly embedded in our imaginations and wasn't going anywhere.

Nights huddled on the bed with cries of "tell us about snelefant, tell us about snelefant" became a rare and precious was to catch up and share a special 'sisterly secret'. Snelefant joined me throughout my uni days... through all the drunken debauchery and exam stress. He came on our first night clubbing, disapproved of the random men that flitted by my heart and went on to fall in love with tutors and bar ladies himself.

At 21, I left Australia and headed for Germany and tucked safe in my back pocket was the little purple squish ball himself. Customs didn't notice a thing, but then again, he's made of fluff and soft squishy stuff so I guess it was never too much of a threat. While I cried a sea of tears and battled a severe flying phobia, snelefant made use of the airplane food. Being so small made the food store easily accessable. The little consumer had to sit in my bag when we disembarked... the porker couldn't fit in my pocket anymore! Adjusting to life in a strange, cold new country was hard, but the converstaions and letters with my little babes back home got us through.

My sisters never tired of hearing about the latest adventures... snelefant's addiction to Bretzeln (pretzels), his Oktoberfest 'session' swimming in steins of Hoegarten and falling into the Trevi Fountain in Rome were amongst the fun and games. If there was trouble to be had, he found it...

Now, life in London is keeping me busy. Snelefant doesn't come out much anymore... my sisters have grown up but occasionally one of us pipes up, with a mischevious hint to our voice and asks "I wonder what snelefant has been up to". And then it begins... he's back - leaving us gasping in a laughing heap on the floor, phone to our ears and tears in our eyes.

I'm heading home for the first time in 2 and a half years in December 2005. I want the stories to carry on... and this way they can. One day we can tell them to our own little girls (no boys allowed) and perhaps, I'll put them all into a book some day.


Sassy and Snelefant


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