George Holley
Fictional Character
"The Yorkshire Mammoth"
POD: c. 11,700 years ago
Type of Appearance: Direct narrator
Nationality: England, United Kingdom
Date of Birth: 1910s
Occupation: Veterinarian

George Holley was a British veterinary surgeon. After matriculating in Glasgow, he joined the practice of brothers Wotan and Donner Rengaw in Thrsk, Yorkshire.

In 1938, Holley was hired by farmer Wilf Latchett of Longyoke Fells to fix the tusk of his mammoth, Old Bill. (Latchett had originally wanted one of the Rengaws, but settled for Holley.) While Holley had been trained in veterinary dentistry, he'd had no experience with mammoth tusks. Still, he made his way to Latchett's farm, and got to work on Old Bill.

With Latchett present to help keep Old Bill calm, Holley sedated the mammoth and then filled in the cavity and exposed nerve. However, he came up short when Latchett asked him what would happen when Old Bill started digging again. After thinking about it, Holley took the broken part of the tusk to Aryeh Teitelbaum, a dentist in nearby Ripon. Specifically, Holley requested that Teitelbaum create a prosthetic tusk. While Teitelbaum realized that Wilf Latchett, wouldn't be able to afford such a thing, he decided the challenge of building a tusk would be worth it. He sent Holley back to the Latchett farm to get an impression of the remaining stump of the tusk, providing him with sufficient molding compound to take an impression. (Teitelbaum didn't hide his brief frustration that Holley hadn't done this in the first place.)

Holley returned to the Latchett farm, and with the help of Wilf's son Ralph, took the impression with the molding compound. Holley was pleased to see that Old Bill accepted Holley without aggression. Ralph was relieved to learn that Teitelbaum didn't want payment for the new tusk. Holley delivered the casting to Teitelbaum, who was pleased with the casting Holley took, concluding that he couldn't have done a better job himself.

Twelve days later, Teitelbaum provided the "denture" and the original tusk to Holley. With the help of local man Josh Doggett, Teitelbaum had made a concrete tusk reinforced with steel rods. Teitelbaum realized that the original ivory tusk was quite valuable, and would be very helpful to the Latchett family. Holley returned to the Latchett farm, and with Wilf's help, installed the new tusk. After exploring it briefly, and finally concluding the new denture was a good thing, Old Bill went out of his barn and began being a mammoth again.

Holley was pleased when Latchett called a week later to confirm that the prosthetic was holding. Old Bill didn't have any troubles with it for the remainder of his life. In September, 1939 (a week or two after the outbreak of World War II), Holley was in Teitelbaum's office for a cavity. Teitelbaum told him that the Latchett's had sold the real tusk and paid him five pounds for his work. Wilf's wife Kitty even made him a pendant in the shape of a mammoth.[1]

Literary comment[]

George Holley is based on Alfred Wight's fictional alter-ego James Herriot.


  1. Clarkesworld #155.