Robert will always remember the day his mother took him to the street market to buy some fruit, and on the way there he stopped in front of a store window, to look at the carved wood elephant head on the other side. Until then, he had been to the zoo twice, and had discover that nothing made him feel safer than being surrounded by animals. But going to the zoo was difficult, and even being a kid he knew he couldn’t dream of living in the zoo.
So, the elephant’s head was a revelation to him, as he felt attracted to it, as if he was in front of a real elephant. The details of the carving on the wood, the lines drawing the elephant’s trunk and ears, the vivacity of the elephant’s eyes, all made him feel happy, and safe.
They didn’t buy the elephant’s head that day, but for a couple of months he visited it, and stood in front of the window to look at his new elephant friend. And, after saving for all summer, he was able to buy it. It was the first thing he ever bought for himself, and he thought it was appropriate. If the elephant needed a new home, he would give him one.
Robert woke up every morning, and checked on his elephant friend. He still visited the zoo, when his parents had the time to take him, and watched animal shows on tv, and learned about animals as much as he could, but having the carved wood elephant in his house made him feel closer to the animals he learned about.
As he grew, he was able to increase his collection, and the elephant welcomed new friends each time. Robert found a Zebra, and was suddenly stroked by the quality of the carving. The zebra, just like the elephant, had warm eyes, and its stripes on the wood looked so real that Robert thought for a second it could run away.
By the time Robert moved out of his parents’ home, he had his own personal zoo of carved wood animals. He moved away, but he knew he would never feel alone, his animals went with him.