The following event was related by a Christian in the East Indies to the Missionary, Father Oliver,
“That I am alive at this moment,” he said, “is owing entirely to the protection of the Blessed Virgin. Some time ago I went, with several others to fell wood in a neighbouring forest; as we intended to stay some considerable time, we erected a small hut, and covered it with branches. One night as we were all together in our little house, we heard a great noise, proceeding from the direction of the wood, and we did not for a moment doubt that this betokened the approach of an elephant. As we hardly considered it safe to remain where we were, we agreed to separate, and that each one should endeavour to provide for his own safety.
Scarcely had I left the hut, when an elephant-for our surmise had been only too correct-coming up to me, seized me by my hair, and lifted me five or six feet from the ground, and then carried me some distance. In this frightful situation, the horror of which I cannot give you the remotest idea, I placed myself under the protection of Our Lady, adjuring her to intercede with her Divine Son for my life. I had only time for this short prayer, as I became unconscious, through very fear. Having carried me some way, the animal dug a kind of ditch with his foot, into which dropped me, heaping over me a mound of earth, he then left me, and trotted back towards the wood.
Recovering from my first swoon, I managed by dint of great exertion, to extricate myself – from my strange grave, but no sooner had I emerged, and was – proceeding to a safe retreat, when the wily beast returned, evidently suspecting some foul play on my part, and seizing me by the foot, he threw me savagely on the ground.
Not far from where I lay was a sandy bank and here the elephant now scooped out another hole, rolling me into it, and covering me with such a mass of sand, that 1 was unable to stir. Being quiet satisfied with his work this time, he now left me, and the whole of that night, I remained in that painful situation; unceasingly, I prayed to Mary, the Mother of the destitute, to send me assistance, for I knew that if I did not die of starvation, I should probably become the prey of some wild beast.
At last, morning dawned, and I thought I heard the voices of several persons lamenting, and moaning, and above them I clearly discerned the voice of my beloved mother, evidently directing a search; she called again and again, but I had no strength to answer, still I felt confident, now that she was aware of my danger, that she would not cease her quest till she found me, dead or alive; and Almighty God so directed her steps, that she came close to the sand where I lay half buried.
After a while, she distinguished a slight sound, and when she saw a mound of sand, newly piled up, the thought flashed across her mind that I might be beneath, but how I came there, she knew not. Calling to my late companions, who accompanied her, they hastened to examine the pile, and found me lying half dead. Yes, as I said at the beginning, it was owing to the Mother of God, that I was thus preserved, and I feel as grateful now to her as I did on that day, when she rescued me from such a miserable fate.”