As a kid I remember Christmas being a time of sitting around an open fire, listening to stories, especially told by relatives and the stories so often conjured up thought-provoking ideas and reflections. I liked the subtle play on the three wise men of the Christmas story and this wonderful prose from Rudyard Kipling. Here’s a charming short story that just might find a place into your classroom or your holiday time.
Wishing you a very merry winter holiday from The Vision Journal.
The wise men and the elephant
Six wise men of India
An elephant did find
And carefully they felt its shape (For all of them were blind).
The first he felt towards the tusk, ‘It does to me appear. This marvel of an elephant
Is very like a spear’.
The second sensed the creature’s side
Extended flat and tall, ‘Ahah!’ he cried and did conclude,
‘This animal’s a wall’.
The third had reached towards a leg And said, ‘It’s clear to me
What we should all have instead This creature’s like a tree’.
The fourth had come upon the trunk
Which he did seize and shake, Quoth he,
‘This so-called elephant s really just a snake’.
The fifth had felt the creature’s ear
And fingers o’er it ran, ‘I have the answer, never fear,
The creature’s like a fan!’
The sixth had come upon the tail
As blindly he did grope,
‘Let my conviction now prevail
This creature’s like a rope’.
And so these men of missing sight
Each argued loud and long
Though each was partly in the right
They all were in the wrong.
Reflections on the story:
- What events this term have left you thinking about the differences in perception that others have compared to you? How has this impacted on you?
- What might be alternative perceptions you can bring to that difference of view or opinion?
- Who might benefit from hearing this Elephant story? And what might the reflective questions be to accompany it?