Of Dukes, Duchesses and Elephant Kings


My latest post for the Kitchener Post is now up on their web site, talking about my take on Prince William and Kate’s recent visit to Canada, and suggestions that this country sever its ties to the British monarchy. All fine and good, I argue, but what do you replace them with?

On another subject, following up on yesterday’s post about Max and Ruby, I thought I’d tell you about another television experience I had with my kids. While we were searching through Netflix for other programs to watch, I chanced on Babar.

I thought, I remember Babar. He’s that royal elephant family that wear clothes, crowns and lives in a palace in France. His family hop on a balloon and explore the world. That could be fun.

I remember that there was some peril in these stories (the last episode of the series, I recall, had two of the children slipping down a pit towards a hole at the bottom of a cloud city), but Vivian and Nora are older, now. They can handle a little excitement if I watch this show with them. So, with their consent, I turn on the pilot episode.

And hear Babar (voiced by Gordon Pinsent) describe in detail (and with flashback) a traumatic event of his childhood when his herd encountered a safari hunter, leading Babar’s mother to sacrifice herself in order to save her children. Very quickly, Babar had to fight off the hunter himself, with nothing but his feet and his trunk, to lead the hunter away from his herd. In the end, he finds himself separated from his herd, but that’s all right, since he knows in his heart that he’ll find them again someday, and besides, his own sacrifice has saved them.

I swear, I would have changed the channel if I could have reached the remote. Unfortunately, both children were clinging to me so tightly, I could not move. It was like Phoebe from Friends, watching the end of Old Yeller for the first time: “Okay, what kind of sick (elephant) snuff film is this?!”

Okay, I exaggerate. The episode did upset Vivian, but she watched it through, even though she did cling to me, and seemed assured that, in the end, Babar was all right. So, in some ways, there was an important life lesson there. But on mutual agreement, Vivian, Nora and I resolved to set Babar aside for another few years. At least.

Oh, well. But at least she reacted better than the Shaun the Sheep episode where he’s abducted by aliens.

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