hussein's mother took him to the zoo one week-end. it was the first time he had seen so many different animals in one place. they went to the elephant house. a young elephant was tripping over his trunk and falling down, and the baby's mother came to his help every time he did so.
the mother elephant saw hussein looking at them and explained: "you see, my baby is so young, he doesn't know how to use his trunk yet. he will not leave my side for 12 full years, and for the first six months i will teach him to use his trunk properly."
hussein answered: "i have always wondered what do elephants use their trunks for? do you breathe through them?"
the mother elephant told him: "it is our trunks that make us different from all other animals. our nostrils are at the end of our trunks, and we use them to carry food and water to our mouths, pick things up and to smell things with; we can hold up to 1 gallon (four liters) of water in them. and did you know, we can pick even up a tiny pea with them? we didn't acquire our trunks by chance. they are a gift from the mercy of almighty allah, who created everything."
hussein then enquired, "how do you manage to find enough to eat?"
the mother elephant explained: "we are the biggest animals on earth. an elephant eats about 730 pounds (330 kilos) of plants every day. we have to spend 16 hours a day eating."
hussein thought of another question, "what about your teeth?"
the mother elephant answered: "as you can see, on either side of my mouth i have two long, sharp teeth. we defend ourselves with these teeth and also use them to dig holes to find water. of course, our teeth wear down a lot doing all this work, and for that reason, almighty allah has given us a special ability. a new tooth grows from behind to replace the old, worn out one. because allah created us in this way, we are able to grow a new tooth and use it properly."
hussein thought for a moment, "you must be hungry, your stomach is rumbling."
the mother elephant smiled: "we make these sounds to communicate with one another. we can talk to one another from as far away as 2.5 miles (4 km)."
hussein was puzzled, "so, how do you talk to one another?"
the mother elephant said: "allah created a special organ in our foreheads that makes sounds that human beings can't hear. so we speak in a code that other animals can't understand and we can hear one another across very long distances. as you can see, allah's magnificent creation can be seen very well in us elephants. don't forget that we have to think about these things and thank allah all the time!"
hussein nodded: "thanks for telling me all those things. now i have to go back to my mother."
"good-bye hussein," said the mother elephant.
on his way back to his mother, hussein wondered, "who knows how great allah's miracles are in other animals?"