Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jumbo



Jumbo was an African bush elephant, born in 1861 in French Sudan. He arrived at the London Zoo, via Paris, in 1865, and was soon widely known and beloved throughout Britain. In 1882, when P.T. Barnum sought him for his circus, 100,000 English schoolchildren wrote to Queen Victoria, begging her to stop the sale. It was to no avail. Their precious pachyderm crossed the Atlantic, was paraded up Broadway, and melted the hearts of Americans. He stood 11.5 feet tall and the public was urged to see him while he could still fit through the tunnels on the route of the circus train. And see him they did. He was the biggest draw for "The Greatest Show On Earth".

In 1885, a runaway locomotive struck and killed Jumbo in St. Thomas, Ontario. A life size statue there commemorates the tragedy, He stood 13 feet tall at the time of his death. Some say Jumbo sacrificed himself to save his closest companion, Tom Thumb, a miniature elephant whom he flung from the tracks just before he was struck.

Jumbo's influence on our culture survives to this day. At the time, "jumbo" was not a word in the English language - his name was a combination of two Swahili words: jambo (hello) and jumbe (chief). The word "jumbo" has come to mean anything large, thanks to a big elephant, with an even bigger heart.

Jumbo's story was first told here in April, 2008.

For more Sunday Shadow Shots, click Hey Harriet, our hostess in Australia.

28 comments:

Barry said...

What a sad story. St. Thomas isn't that far from where we live. Next time Linda and I are out that way, we'll have to visit that statue.

High Desert Diva said...

I didn't know Jumbo's history....very interesting.

I'm glad you're joining the shadow shot craze! Make sure you add your link....

Quilt Works said...

Beautiful photo and interesting story. I heard of Jumbo, but did not know the whole story.


... See the "Bubbles"

steven said...

hello golden west, this is an entirely new story to me. i know st. thomas although i think i've only passed through it and not stopped. i like your shadow shot. there's real beauty in shadows. the trick is to be as aware of them as of the objects casting them. have a lovely day. steven

Sylvia K said...

What a sad but fascinating history! I, too, knew of Jumbo, but didn't know his background! What a great post and a great shadow shot! And welcome to the fun of SSS!

Enjoy your weekend!

Sylvia

Sweet Repose said...

Yayyy...was a wonderin' when you'd join us...and how cool, 'Jumbo', another history lesson, what a tragic ending to such a magnificent creature, but a hero indeed!

Hot Fudge said...

Oh, poor Jumbo - thank you for telling his story. Have a very happy Christmas.

Ralph said...

A proud and regal pachyderm, his shadow as big as the heart of this noble animal. The raising of trunk is the roar of a champion. A fitting tribute!

bobbie said...

I love Jumbo. And he makes such a beautiful shadow.

Jacqui said...

Thanks for sharing that story. I vaguely recall the Queen Vistoria bit. I like the photograph.

Quasi Serendipita said...

That's such a sad story. And a lovely shadow shot! :)

Martha Z said...

Great shadow and interesting story.

32˙North said...

He's just adorable!

chubskulit said...

Wow, your post is very informative. I only knew Jumbo through cartoon movies.

My first time participating

Jonny Hamachi said...

Disco

BLOGitse said...

Have a great ShadowShotSunday
and
Happy holidays!

BLOGitse

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely shadow sot and what a sad story, Jumbo was a hero indeed.

frayedattheedge said...

Lovely photo and interesting story!

Gerald (Ackworth born) said...

A delicious shadow!

Patti said...

Interesting history of Jumbo. The P.T. Barnum Museum is about 12 miles from here, in Bridgeport, Ct.
It's a great place to visit.

You captured a cool shadow.

Sarah said...

What a sad tale to accompany the lovely old tin elphant. Lovely heroic Jumbo. I had no idea about where the word came from-thanks for sharing the story.

Joops said...

Great shadow!

My SSS can be found here. Merry Christmas!

Diane AZ said...

Lovely shadow and interesting history of Jumbo. Thanks for sharing. :)

Dorte said...

Thank you for the story about Jumbo ... very interesting!

jlshall said...

What an interesting story - but sad. I've heard of Jumbo, but really didn't know his story until today. Thanks for the little history lesson and the gorgeous shadow shot!
Happy Holidays,
Joysweb

Jazzbumpa said...

Great shot, and a terrific, but sad story.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Cheers!
JzB

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

What a lovely shadow and a facintaing story about Jumbo!

Hey Harriet said...

What a fascinating story. Yet, so very sad. Your photo is super! Thanks very much for joining in Shadow Shot Sunday. Great to have you play along! Happy holidays to you!