Once upon a time long long ago a great many elephants lived happily on the vast African grasslands. But the elephants of one tribe were less happy than the others. This was because they did not like too much sunshine, and they did not like the long marches in search of water during the dry season.
So they decided to head north where the weather was cooler and the rain more frequent.
They travelled through many exciting countries and saw a lot of interesting sights but no place was quite suitable until they arrived eventually in Scotland.
This place is perfect, they agreed, not too much sun and plenty of rain to keep our skin damp.
They wandered around happily for some time until they found the ideal spot to set up home. It was near Drumnadrochit on the west shores of Loch Ness.
The elephants settled there and lived contentedly for a while.
Then the bad thing happened.
The adult elephants were roused by the shrieks of the babies.
A huge monster had come out of the water and attacked them.
The male elephants rushed to the children, thrusting out their great tusks, lifting their trunks and trumpeting loudly.
The creature fled back to the dark waters of the loch, scared off by the long curved tusks which were sharp enough to skewer even the fiercest monster.
The elephants were sad.
They knew they had to leave their new home and find a place where their children could play safely.
They headed west and met a lady called Flora MacDonald.
When they told her their tale she laughed and clapped her hands.
I know the perfect spot for you, she told them, it is the island where I was born.
It is beautiful, with not too much sun and enough rain to keep the lochs full for you to bathe.
The elephants were delighted and went with Flora to the west coast.
That island is called Skye, she pointed across a narrow stretch of water, and beyond that is our destination.
I can take the babies in my little boat, she added, but you big folk will have to swim.
So they plunged in and swam over to Skye, while Flora rowed across with the youngsters.
She led them to the western shore and pointed far out to sea.
That is my home, she said, and that is where you will always be safe from harm.
That is a long swim, said the elephants, we are already tired. Carrying these great tusks is not easy in deep water.
Then leave them here, said Flora, you will not need them, for there are no monsters on Uist.
So the elephants piled their tusks into huge mounds and leapt cheerfully into the Atlantic Ocean.
It was a long hard swim, but without their tusks the elephants had no problems.
Soon they were all gathered together on the eastern shore of South Uist, gazing back across the sea to Skye.
Their tusks were still clearly visible, piled high along the coast, like a great range of mountains.
Wonderful, Flora smiled, you have made this place even more beautiful.
We will call those mountains The Cuillin, said the elephants, because that is our African word for tusk.
And so the Elephants of Africa set up home on these wonderful islands in the Outer Hebrides.
And Flora? Well, she had many more adventures in her long and eventful life but was always greeted with great joy when she returned home to visit her friends, the Elephants of Uist.