Elephants are an important cultural symbol throughout Africa and Asia. In the Hindu religion, Lord Ganesha is depicted and described as having an elephant head.
There are countless mythical anecdotes of Ganesha, many which can be used to teach children important values in a fun, memorable way.
One story can be summarized as such:
When Ganesha was a child, he was invited by Kubera, the god of Wealth, to dine at the palace. Kubera bragged to Ganesha about his great wealth.
Like any elephant, Ganesha had an enormous appetite. He not only ate all the extravagant food, but also the fancy dinnerware and even the highly valued, ornate chandelier. Kubera was upset and told him to stop, but Ganesha replied that he was so hungry that he would never stop.
Kubera ran to ask the supreme god Shiva for help. Shiva told Kubera to give Ganesha some rice, one of the simplest foods on earth, and to serve it with humility, respect, and love. Only then would Ganesha be satisfied and stop destroying everything.
Kubera then returned to the child. After offering these things, Ganesha became calm and satiated.
Picture of Ganesha: Napur, circa 1810, public domain