An excerpt from my book:
With a low throaty rumble MmmmRRRRRrrrrrr, his own elephant greeting, Doug slips under Thembi’s jaw and stands by her side. He reaches up and strokes the skin just in front of her ear.
“Steady, Thembi,” he says, “you’re a pretty girl, aren’t you Thembi?” He pronounces her
She nods Yes. Later I will learn Thembi always nods Yes at the word “pretty.” But she is a beautiful elephant, all her proportions flawless. And Thembi knows she is pretty. She holds herself perfectly still in half-profile, the way beautiful women do all over the world when under regard by an admiring eye.
But her pose does not last long. She turns her attention to a pile of mopane branches. She picks up a single branch, strips its bark and stuffs the curled peelings into her mouth. Thembi is after the sweet, green inner bark of the smaller branches. Dessert first, the main course later.