What is the meaning of "put a knot in your tail" in the following sentence (Source: The great big elephant and the very small elephant),

He stopped short. The Very Small Elephant stopped too. There in the middle of the path stood Rinaldo. Rinaldo loved to fight.

"If you try to pass here," he shout, "you will be sorry!"

The Great Big Elephant was angry.

"Get out of my way or I will put a knot in your tail.!"


Does "I will put a knot in your tail" mean "I will bite your tail so that your tail will be hurt and you will have a lump(knot) in your tail" ?

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  • Could you give us a source? Is it from a book about talking animals? I suspect the threat is to tie the tail into a knot.
    – godel9
    Apr 5, 2018 at 13:07
  • Yes I could. It is from a book about talking animals(Elephant etc). Source: : The great big elephant and the very small elephant
    – user22046
    Apr 5, 2018 at 13:17
  • When an elephant fights a Rinaldo, how do elephant twist a Rinaldo's tail?
    – user22046
    Apr 5, 2018 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


The elephant is almost certainly talking about tying Rinaldo's tail into a knot. The expression "put a knot in something" means pretty much the same thing as "tie something in a knot".

As to how an elephant could possibly accomplish such a feat, you can take your pick from either of these answers:

  1. Artistic license. Elephants in the real world can't talk either.
  2. With his trunk.

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