The Story of the Discontented Little Elephant
This verse tale for children was written and illustrated by Edith Somerville (1858-1949). Somerville was a talented illustrator and artist but is best known for the books she wrote in collaboration with her cousin, Violet Martin. Violet wrote under the name Martin Ross and the Somerville and Ross duo achieved notable success with the Irish R.M. series, comic novels which play upon the traditional stereotypes of straight-laced English justice versus native Irish devilment. This children’s story is quite dark by modern standards; the story has a denouement almost guaranteed to give any sensitive child nightmares. The tale is interesting in that it gives insight into what was considered a suitable tale for children in the early 1900s, and has echoes of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales of the same period.