| Fifty Famous Stories Retold|
|by James Baldwin|
|Includes fifty legendary tales depicting certain romantic episodes in the lives of well-known heroes and famous men, or in the history of a people. Children naturally take a deep interest in such stories. The reading of them will not only give pleasure but will lay the foundation for broader literary studies, as nearly all are the subjects of frequent allusions in poetry and prose. Ages 6-9 |
THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT
THERE were once six blind men who stood by the
roadside every day, and begged from the people who passed. They had
often heard of elephants, but they had never seen one;
for, being blind, how could they?
It so happened one morning that an elephant was driven
down the road where they stood. When they were told that the
great beast was before them, they asked the driver to let
him stop so that they might see him.
Of course they could not see him with their eyes; but they
thought that by touching him they could learn just what
kind of animal he was.
The first one happened to put his hand on the elephant's
side. "Well, well!" he said, "now I know all about this
beast. He is exactly like a wall."
The second felt only of the elephant's tusk. "My brother,"
he said, "you are mistaken. He is not at all like a wall.
He is round and smooth and sharp. He is more like a spear
than anything else."
 The third happened to take hold of the elephant's trunk.
"Both of you are wrong," he said. "Anybody who knows
anything can see that this elephant is like a snake."
The fourth reached out his arms, and grasped one of the
elephant's legs. "Oh, how blind you are!" he said. "It is
very plain to me that he is round and tall like a tree."
The fifth was a very tall man, and he chanced to take hold
of the elephant's ear. "The blindest man ought to know
that this beast is not like any of the things that you
name," he said. "He is exactly like a huge fan."
The sixth was very blind indeed, and it was some time before
he could find the elephant at all. At last he seized the
animal's tail. "O foolish fel-lows!" he cried. "You surely
have lost your senses. This elephant is not like a wall, or
a spear, or a snake, or a tree; neither is he like a fan.
But any man with a particle of sense can see that he is
exactly like a rope."
Then the elephant moved on, and the six blind men sat by
the roadside all day, and quarreled about him. Each
believed that he knew just how the animal looked; and each
called the others hard names because they did not agree with
him. People who have eyes sometimes act as foolishly.
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