Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sepia Saturday #133 The Blind Men and the Elephant

When I saw the elephant, the centerpiece of this week's theme, I thought of the following poem.

 The Blind Men and the Elephant

 It was six men of Indostan
 To learning much inclined,
 Who went to see the Elephant
 (Though all of them were blind),
 That each by observation
 Might satisfy his mind

 The First approached the Elephant,
 And happening to fall
 Against his broad and sturdy side,
 At once began to bawl:
 God bless me! but the Elephant
 Is very like a wall!

 The Second, feeling of the tusk,
 Cried, Ho! what have we here
 So very round and smooth and sharp?
 To me tis mighty clear
 This wonder of an Elephant
 Is very like a spear!

 The Third approached the animal,
 And happening to take
 The squirming trunk within his hands,
 Thus boldly up and spake:
 I see, quoth he, the Elephant
 Is very like a snake!

 The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
 And felt about the knee.
 What most this wondrous beast is like
 Is mighty plain, quoth he;
 'Tis clear enough the Elephant
 Is very like a tree!

 The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
 Said: Even the blindest man
 Can tell what this resembles most;
 Deny the fact who can
 This marvel of an Elephant
 Is very like a fan!?

 The Sixth no sooner had begun
 About the beast to grope,
 Than, seizing on the swinging tail
 That fell within his scope,
 I see, quoth he, the Elephant
 Is very like a rope!

 And so these men of Indostan
 Disputed loud and long,
 Each in his own opinion
 Exceeding stiff and strong,
 Though each was partly in the right,
 And all were in the wrong!


 So oft in theologic wars,
 The disputants, I ween,
 Rail on in utter ignorance
 Of what each other mean,
 And prate about an Elephant
 Not one of them has seen!


An with baby elephants in Sri Lanka


  1. I'm so glad you posted this story. I always liked it. I'm surprised no one else used it in their Sepia post this week.

  2. It’s a very clever story poem, and there’s a moral there too.You saved the best till last with that picture of you and the baby elephant - bang on theme! Thanks for your comments re my Noahs’ Ark elephants too and the answer is yes, I did do more, but not the full works. I’ll put them in a future post.

  3. As Little Nell already said, this was a very clever twist on the theme.

    Great pic of you with the baby elephant too!

  4. I love the moral.
    You actually got to touch a baby elephant! I'm so impressed...and jealous. What did it feel like?