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Observations placeholder

Dr Seuss - Horton Hatches the Egg 01



Type of Spiritual Experience





A description of the experience

Horton Hatches the Egg is a children's book written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss and published in 1940.  The book tells the story of Horton the Elephant, who is tricked into sitting on a bird's egg while its mother, Mayzie, takes a permanent vacation to Palm Beach. Horton endures a number of hardships but never gives up, true to his word stating,

"I meant what I said,
and I said what I meant.
An elephant's faithful,
one hundred percent!"

Ultimately, the egg hatches, revealing an elephant-bird, a creature with a blend of Mayzie's and Horton's features. So popular became Horton that he appeared again in the 1954 Dr. Seuss book Horton Hears a Who!

It sold 6,000 copies in its first year and 1,600 in its second. And Horton Hatches the Egg has remained extremely popular. In 2001, Publishers Weekly reported that the book had sold 987,996 to that point, placing it at 138 in the magazine's list of the best-selling children's books of all time.

Its popularity hinges on the sheer silliness of the story – an elephant sitting on a nest up a tree attempting to keep an egg warm, but also on the general loveableness of the central character.  Horton is an extremely endearing animal, slightly innocent and genial, honest and true.  He is also courageous, faithful to his promise, and stalwart in the face of ridicule.  He is a hero, in contrast to Mayzie who is a feckless mother, a lazy, irresponsible bird, who abandons her egg and permanently relocates to Palm Beach.

Horton is exposed to the elements, laughed at by his jungle friends, captured by hunters, forced to endure a terrible sea voyage, and finally placed in a traveling circus. However, despite his hardships and Mayzie's clear intent not to return, Horton refuses to leave the nest because he insists on keeping his word, often repeating,

 "I meant what I said,

and I said what I meant.

An elephant's faithful,

one hundred per cent!"

And although Horton seeks no reward for his sacrifice,  he is rewarded  - when the egg hatches, the little creature that emerges is an "elephant-bird", a cross between Horton and Mayzie, - a treasure! - and Horton and the baby are returned happily to the jungle, rewarding Horton for his persistence, and patience, leaving lazy Mayzie with nothing.


Love conquers all.



The source of the experience

Dr Seuss

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps