Elephant Parable

Here is an Indian parable, featuring an elephant:

Once upon a time, six blind men were walking together along a path and came upon a large object.  It was an elephant but of course none of the men could see it.  “What is this?  What is blocking our path?” they asked each other.


One man felt its side, another felt the tusk, the third man felt the trunk, the fourth man touched the tail, the fifth man stroked the ear, and the sixth man hugged the leg.

Annoyed by the humans, the elephant moved off the path.

The first man said, “The mud wall moved!”  The second man laughed, “It was a spear, not a wall.” The third man shouted, “It was a rope!”  The fourth man sighed, “No, it was surely a snake.”  The fifth man declared, “It was a fan.”  The sixth man said, “You are all wrong, it was a tree that I hugged.”  The men argued and were so disgusted by each others’ stupidity, their friendship ended.

Of course, they were all wrong.  If only they had truly listened to each other and pooled their knowledge together, then they would have discovered the real answer to their original question.









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