Folk tales and stories are ideal for teaching kids how different people can have distinctly different perceptions of the same thing. For instance, The Blind Men and the Elephant story in English will help kids learn different perspectives of people and how those perspectives impact an individual’s point of view.
Continue reading to know The Blind Men and the Elephant full story.
Origin And History Of The Blind Men And The Elephant Story
The origin of the story The Blind Men and the Elephant can be traced back to the Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain writings. The story has been adapted by many religions and published in various versions for adults and children.
Story Type Of The Blind Men And The Elephant
The Blind Men and the Elephant is a folk tale from India that can be read to children as a bedtime story.
Here is the list of story characters:
- Six blind men
- Rajah’s daughter
- Young boy
The Blind Men And The Elephant Story For Children
Very long ago, six old men lived in an Indian village. Each of these six men was born blind. The villagers loved these old men and kept them safe, away from harm. Since the six blind men could not see the world for themselves, they imagined many of its wonders. They listened carefully to the stories of travellers to learn about life outside the village.
The six men were curious about the traveller’s stories they heard, but they were most curious about elephants. They were told that elephants could carry huge burdens, trample forests, and frighten young and old with their loud trumpet calls. But the men also knew that the Rajah’s daughter rode an elephant when she travelled in her father’s kingdom. They thought, would the Rajah let his dear daughter get near such a dangerous creature?
The old blind men argued day and night about elephants.
“An elephant must be a mighty giant,” said the first blind man. He had heard stories about how elephants were used to clear forests and build roads.
“No, you are wrong,” replied the second blind man. “An elephant must be a graceful and gentle animal if a princess is to ride on its back.”
“You’re incorrect! I have heard that the creature can pierce a man’s heart with its strong, terrible horn,” said the third blind man.
“Please,” spoke the fourth blind man. “You are all mistaken. It’s nothing more than a large cow sort of animal. You know how people exaggerate.”
“I am pretty sure that an elephant is something magical,” said the fifth blind man. “That would explain why the Rajah’s daughter travels safely throughout the kingdom.”
“I don’t believe elephants exist,” argued the sixth blind man. “I think we all are the victims of a cruel joke.”
The villagers grew tired of the blind men’s arguments, and they arranged for them to visit the Rajah’s palace to learn the truth about elephants. A boy from their village was selected to guide the six blind men on their journey. The smallest man kept his hand on the boy’s shoulder. The second blind man kept his hand on his friend’s shoulder, and so on until all the men were ready to walk safely behind the boy who would lead them to the Rajah’s majestic palace.
When the six blind men reached the palace, they were greeted by an old friend from their village who worked on the palace grounds as a gardener. The gardener led them to the courtyard. There stood the big creature. The blind men stepped ahead to touch the animal.
The first blind man kept his hand on the side of the creature. “An elephant is smooth and solid like a wall!” he said. “It must be a very powerful creature.”
The second blind man raised and put his hand on the creature’s limber trunk. “The animal is like a giant snake,” he announced.
The third blind man touched the elephant’s pointed tusk. “I was right,” he decided. “An elephant is sharp as a spear.”
The fourth blind man touched the elephant’s one of the four legs. “It’s an extremely large cow,” he said.
The fifth blind man felt the elephant’s enormous ear and said, “I believe this creature is like a magic carpet that can fly over treetops and mountains”.
The sixth blind man touched the creature’s coarse tail. “Why, is this elephant nothing more than a piece of old rope? Dangerous, indeed,” he said.
The gardener led the blind men to the shade of a tree. “Sit here and rest before the long journey home,” he said. “Let me bring you some water to drink.”
While they waited, the blind men talked about the elephant.
“The creature is like a wall,” said the first blind man. “Surely, now we can finally agree on that.”
“A wall? No. An elephant is a giant snake!” the second blind man said.
“It’s like a spear,” said the third blind man.
“I’m sure it’s a giant cow,” said the fourth blind man.
“It’s like a magic carpet without any doubt,” said the fifth blind man.
“Don’t you see? Someone used a rope to trick us,” said the sixth blind man.
The argument of the blind men continued, and their shouts grew louder and louder.
“Wall!” “Snake!” “Spear!” “Cow!” “Carpet!” “Rope!”
“Stop shouting!” A very angry voice called out.
It was the Rajah. He was awakened from his nap by the noisy argument of the blind men.
“How can all of you be so certain that you are right?” asked the Rajah.
The blind men considered the question. Knowing that the Rajah is a very wise man, the blind men decided to say nothing at all.
“The elephant is a very huge and large animal,” said the Rajah. “Each of you touched only one part. Perhaps if you all will put the parts together, you will see the truth. Now, let me take a nap in peace.”
When the gardener returned with the water, the six blind men rested quietly in the shade, thinking about what the Rajah’s advised.
“The Rajah is right,” said the first blind man. “To learn the truth, we all must put the parts together. Let’s discuss this on the journey back home.”
Again, the first blind man kept his hand on the shoulder of the young boy who would guide them home. The second blind man kept a hand on his friend’s shoulder, and so on, until all six men were ready to walk back together.
Here is the summary of The Three Blind Men and the Elephant story.
Six blind men heard that there was an animal called an elephant. They were curious about its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they visited the Rajah’s palace to find out the truth. One of the blind men, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This creature is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand felt its ear, it seemed like a kind of magic carpet. As for another blind man, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is like a large cow. The blind man who kept his hand upon its side said it is like a wall. Another who felt the elephant’s tail described it as a rope. While all the six men were arguing loudly about the creature, the Rajah suggested they put all the parts together and then imagine the creature.
Moral Of The Story
‘The story will teach kids that truth is relative to one’s own perspective, and because the truth is relative, we all should respect the opinions of others’. After all, their views of reality are based on a different viewpoint than our own.
How Can Children Apply The Moral Lesson Of The Story In Their Real Life?
The children can apply the lesson of this story with pictures in their real life by listening to other people’s viewpoints, especially by listening to their elders. With the help of this short story, kids will learn to respect other people’s opinions and perspectives.