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Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju
Table of Contents


 

 

THE ELEPHANT AND THE APE

AN elephant named Grand Tusk and an ape named Nimble were friends.

Grand Tusk observed, "Behold, how big and powerful I am!"

Nimble cried in reply, "Behold, how agile and entertaining I am!"

Each was eager to know which was [77] really superior to the other, and which quality was the most esteemed by the wise.

So they went to Dark Sage, an owl that lived in an old tower, to have their claims discussed and settled.

Dark Sage said, "You must do as I bid, that I may form an opinion."

"Agreed!" cried both.

"Then," said Dark Sage, "cross yonder river, and bring me the mangoes on the great tree beyond."

Off went Grand Tusk and Nimble, but when they came to the stream, which was flowing full, Nimble held back; but Grand Tusk took him up on his back, and swam across in a very short time. Then they came to the mango-tree, but it was very lofty and thick. Grand Tusk could neither touch the fruit with his trunk, nor could he break the tree down to gather the fruit. Up sprang Nimble, and in a trice let drop a whole basketful of rich ripe mangoes. Grand Tusk gathered the [78] fruit up into his capacious mouth, and the two friends crossed the stream as before.

"Now," said Dark Sage, "which of you is the better? Grand Tusk crossed the stream, and Nimble gathered the fruit. Each thing in its place is best."


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