Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Fable of the Blind Men and the Elephant

Once there were four blind men. And encountering an elephant, each described the elephant according to what he could feel.

And the man who took the trunk said "an elephant is like a snake."

The one who felt its side said "no - it is like a wall. "

One grabbed a leg, and said "it's like a tree."

And the one who took its tail said"No - it is like a riding crop."

And so all these men thought they had the truth. But in fact each had only a partial truth.

The one who had the whole truth was the coach driver who had taken them on their trip to the zoo in the first place. And he got six months for recklessly endangering their lives by getting them into the elephant enclosure.

The zoo received a heavy fine for Health and Safety breeches that made it so easy to get at the elephant.

The author of the fable was much maligned on Twitter,  partly for only including men in the story and partly for assuming that blind people are so ignorant they don't know what an elephant is.

But the one who came off worse was the man who grabbed the tail. It took weeks for the smell to wear off. But how was any one to know that the elephant had eaten a bad cabbage earlier?


  1. Health and Safety breeches? Are they some sort of trousers worn by jobsworths?

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