The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.
As carefully and as gently as he could he worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled.
Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.
The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail. The large bull elephant
stared at him and lifted it's front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.
After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.
The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.
Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.
Probably wasn't the same elephant.