Long ago six old men lived in a village in India. Each was born blind....Since the blind men could not see the world for themselves, they had to imagine many of its wonders....The men were curious about many of the stories they heard, but they were most curious about elephants....The old men argued day and night about elephants....Finally, the villagers grew tired of all the arguments, and they arranged for the curious men to visit the palace of the Rajah to learn the truth....When the blind men reached the palace, they were greeted by an old friend from their village who worked as a gardener on the palace grounds. Their friend led them to the courtyard. There stood an elephant. The blind men stepped forward to touch the creature that was the subject of so many arguments.
The first blind man reached out and touched the side of the huge animal. "An elephant is smooth and solid like a wall!" he declared. "It must be very powerful." The second blind man put his hand on the elephant's limber trunk. "An elephant is like a giant snake," he announced. The third blind man felt the elephant's pointed tusk. "I was right," he decided. "This creature is as sharp and deadly as a spear." The fourth blind man touched one of the elephant's four legs. "What we have here," he said, "is an extremely large cow." The fifth blind man felt the elephant's giant ear. "I believe an elephant is like a huge fan or maybe a magic carpet that can fly over mountains and treetops," he said. The sixth blind man gave a tug on the elephant's coarse tail. "Why, this is nothing more than a piece of old rope. Dangerous, indeed," he scoffed....Their argument continued and their shouts grew louder and louder.
"Stop shouting!" called a very angry voice. It was the Rajah, awakened from his nap by the noisy argument. "How can each of you be so certain you are right?" asked the ruler. The six blind men considered the question. And then, knowing the Rajah to be a very wise man, they decided to say nothing at all. "The elephant is a very large animal," said the Rajah kindly. "Each man touched only one part. Perhaps if you put the parts together, you will see the truth. Now, let me finish my nap in peace."
The Goal of this Site
Elephants hold a special appeal to many people like you and I, but little concrete information about them may be known. Just like the blind men in the fable above, your knowledge may be in bits and pieces. You may not know what rumors you have heard about these pachyderms are true but aren't inclined to read long tomes on the subject just yet. As you move through the five elephantine subjects that comprise this site, you will learn about distinctive aspects of Earth's largest land animal that have made it so appealing to not only you, but human beings throughout time. Whenever you wish, you can test your knowledge and attempt to put the poor elephant you see behind these words properly back together.