Carousel of Happiness Operator John Callahan was not so happy on a recent morning when he discovered an empty space where the Carousel’s beloved Elephant was supposed to be standing. After searching up and down and all around, Callahan ran next door to the police department and announced in a loud voice, “The Elephant is gone! The Elephant is gone! Call 911!”

Nederland Police Chief Jake Adler quickly mobilized his team of highly-trained investigators who swept the town for signs of the missing pachyderm. The police set up roadblocks at all known points of egress from the Nederland roundabout and attempted to search all suspicious vehicles. However, the roadblock was abandoned when a traffic jam resulted due to an overabundance of suspicious vehicles driving around and around the traffic circle. The elephant was nowhere to be seen.

A few hours later, an old hippie attempting to hitch-hike to Ward noticed what looked like giant four-toed footprints leading down the road to Caribou. Catching a ride, the anonymous hippie borrowed the driver’s cell phone and alerted the authorities before calling his mother in Virginia. A team of courageous local volunteer firemen and handsome EMS workers followed the trail for several miles, but decided the footprints belonged to a Yeti. Disappointed, they gave up the search, returned to the fire station and ate leftover spaghetti while watching old reruns of Baywatch.

Back at the Carousel, longtime local resident and Carousel carver Scott Harrison did his best to calm the other animals, who were running around and around and around in circles. The Peacock was hysterical and had to be sedated.

Carefully inspecting the scene of the crime, Chief Adler followed a trail of peanut shells and bluebird droppings which led into the men’s room. There he discovered an elephant-sized hole in the exterior wall. “I suspect the Elephant crashed out through this large hole,” surmised the chief, “but don’t hold me to it. The investigation is not over yet. We still have other leads to follow.” Asked to elaborate, the chief said he had something more important to do. Shortly afterwards he was seen in Buffalo Bill’s munching on tiny doughnuts.

Curiously, at dawn the next morning the Elephant was found standing innocently in her usual place on the Carousel. The only sign of anything amiss was a small sprig of cedar snagged in her basket, which was slightly askew. Asked to explain her disappearance, she had nothing to say. However, the little bluebird sitting on the tip of her trunk sang out: Having noticed for the first time a small mouse hiding in the deer’s tail, he precocious pachyderm had panicked, leapt off the floating platform, and crashed through the men’s room wall after pausing briefly to check her appearance in the mirror.

By opening time, all had returned to normal at the Carousel of Happiness. The animals were calm and ready to resume their endless cycle of leaping, swimming, flying and galloping. Precious tots were seen banging on the front door and wailing. At last report the Elephant still had not spoken, instead standing peacefully with her trunk raised in a defiant pose.