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An Elephant in the Garden

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      An Elephant in the Garden
Michael Morpurgo

A thrilling and moving novel about an extraordinary animal caught up in a very human war, for anyone who loved The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips or The Butterfly Lion…It’s 1945. Elizabeth's father is fighting with the German army on the eastern front. Her mother works at Dresden zoo, where her favourite animal is a young elephant named Marlene. When the zoo director tells her the dangerous animals must be shot to prevent them running amok if the town is bombed, Elizabeth's mother moves Marlene into the back garden to save her… and then the bombs start to fall.Their home destroyed, Elizabeth and her family must flee the bombed-out city and through the wintery landscape, all the while avoiding the Russian troops who are drawing ever closer. It would be hard enough, without an elephant in tow…

An Elephant in the Garden

Michael Morpurgo

Copyright (#ulink_4d9c2535-b9f2-5722-b866-426ae066bb04)

First published in hardback in Great Britain by HarperCollins Children’s Books 2010

HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9GF

Visit us on the web at www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) Visit Michael Morpurgo at www.michaelmorpurgo.com (http://www.michaelmorpurgo.com)

Text copyright © Michael Morpurgo 2010

Illustrations copyright © Michael Foreman 2010

Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman reserve the right to be identified as the author and illustrator of the work.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Conditions of Sale

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form, binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication

Source ISBN: 9780007339570

Ebook Edition © MAY 2010 ISBN: 9780007352128

Version 2018-09-05

Dedication (#ulink_0a99613c-0625-50fa-a99d-d1829f00431e)

For Bella, Freddie and Max


Title Page (#u762e65dd-9fa3-5c84-9a42-d2519996906d)

Copyright (#ud626f686-77ab-5183-8fa3-2399cdfee032)

Dedication (#ulink_a624d34d-09eb-56b8-beb6-1daec895d98b)

Part One Ring of Truth (#u6491fc6d-0e11-545c-ba79-0aa3359175d2)

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3. (#u696ba750-aa0a-50e0-89e2-55a6e1e269c3)

Part Two Ring of Fire (#ua129c1a1-beaa-5645-a90b-6a11f81c2752)

1. (#u3b1f9477-f34f-545f-a056-053d87f99ea4)

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Part Three Ring of Steel (#litres_trial_promo)

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Part Four Ring of Bells (#litres_trial_promo)

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About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Part One Ring of Truth (#ulink_f52f6e8e-e582-5984-a953-edac6d9e1592)

1. (#ulink_e71539c3-552b-53d8-98dd-db5cdfca07ee)

TO TELL THE TRUTH, I DON’T THINK LIZZIE WOULD EVER HAVE told us her elephant story at all, if Karl had not been called Karl.

Maybe I’d better explain.

I’m a nurse. I was working part-time in an old people’s nursing home just down the road from where we live. It was part-time because I wanted to be home for Karl, my nine-year-old son. There were just the two of us, so I needed to be there to see him off to school, and be there for him when he got back. But sometimes, at weekends, they asked me to do overtime.

I couldn’t always say no – we all of us had to take our turn to do weekend duties – and if I’m honest, the money helped. So at weekends, if Karl hadn’t got anywhere else to go, or anyone else to look after him, they let me bring him into work with me.

I was a bit worried about it at first – whether anyone would mind, how he’d get on with all the old folks – but he loved it, and as it turned out, so did they. For a start, he had the whole park to play around in. Sometimes he’d bring a few friends. They could climb the trees, kick a football about, whizz around on their mountain bikes. As for the old folk, the children’s visits became quite a feature of their weekends, something for them to look forward to. They would gather around the sitting-room windows to watch them, often for hours on end. And when it was raining, Karl and his friends used to come inside and play chess with them, or watch a film on the television.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, on the Friday night, it snowed, and snowed hard. I had to go to work at the nursing home the next day – I was on morning shifts that weekend – and so Karl had to come too. But he didn’t mind, not one bit. He brought half a dozen of his friends along with him. They were going tobogganing in the park, they said. They didn’t have a toboggan between them. They simply brought along anything that would slide – plastic sacks, surfboards, even a rubber ring. As it turned out, bottoms worked just as well as anything else. The nursing home was loud with laughter that morning as the old folks watched them gallivanting out there in the snow. In time, the tobogganing degenerated into a snowball fight, which the old folks seemed to be enjoying as much as Karl and his friends were. I was busy most of the morning, but the last time I looked out of the window I saw that, much to everyone’s delight, Karl and his friends were busy building a giant snowman right outside the sitting-room window.

So I was taken completely by surprise when I walked into Lizzie’s room a few minutes later and found Karl sitting there at her bedside in his hat and his coat, the two of them chatting away like old friends.

“Ah, so there you are,” Lizzie said, beckoning me in. “You did not tell me you had a son. And he is called Karl! I can hardly believe it. And he looks like him too. The likeness, it is extraordinary, amazing. I have told him also about the elephant in the garden, and he believes me.” She wagged her finger at me. “You do not believe me. I know this. No one in this place believes me, but Karl does.”

I hustled Karl out of the room, and away down the corridor, ticking him off soundly for wandering into Lizzie’s room like that, uninvited. Thinking back, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Karl was always wandering off. What did surprise me, though, was how furious he was with me.

“She was just going to tell me about her elephant,” he protested loudly, tugging at my hand, trying to break away from me.

“There isn’t any elephant, Karl,” I told him. “She imagines things. Old people often do that. They get a bit mixed-up in the head sometimes, that’s all. Now come along, for goodness’ sake.”

It wasn’t until we were back home that afternoon that I had a chance to sit Karl down and explain all about Lizzie, and her elephant story. I told him I knew from her records that Lizzie was eighty-two years old. She had been in the nursing home for nearly a month, so we had got to know one another’s little ways quite well already. She could be a little prickly, and even cantankerous with the other nurses sometimes. But with me, I said, she was considerate and polite, and quite co-operative – well, mostly. Even with me, though, she could become rather obstinate from time to time, especially when it came to eating the food that I put in front of her. She wouldn’t drink enough either, no matter how much I tried to encourage her.

Karl kept asking me more and more questions about her. “How long has she been in the nursing home?” “What’s the matter with her?” “Why’s she in bed in her room, and not with the others?” He wanted to know everything, so I told him everything…

…how she and I had taken a particular shine to one another, how she was very direct, to the point of bluntness sometimes, and how I liked that. She’d told me once, on the very first day she came into the nursing home, “I might as well be honest with you. I do not like being in here, not one bit. But since I am, and since we shall be seeing rather a lot of one another, then you may call me Lizzie.”

So that’s what I did. To all the other nurses she was Elizabeth, but to me she was Lizzie. She slept a lot, listened to the radio, and she read books, lots of books. She didn’t like to be interrupted when she was reading, even when I had to give her some medication. She especially loved detective stories. She told me once, rather proudly, that she had read every book that Agatha Christie had ever written.
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