The Blind Men and the Elephant

Six blind men sat by the side of the road every day and begged from the people who passed by. They’d often heard stories of elephants. But being blind, none had ever seen one.

One morning, they heard an elephant coming down the road. As the elephant came closer, they shouted for the driver to stop and let them see it.

They explained to the driver that while they couldn’t see the elephant with their eyes, they knew by touching it they could find out what kind of animal it was.

When the driver stopped in front of them, the first man touched the elephant’s side and declared the beast was exactly like a wall. The second grabbed the elephant’s tusk, telling the first he was mistaken. The elephant wasn’t like a wall at all. If anything, the animal was more like a spear.

The third man found the elephant’s trunk and told the first two they were both wrong. Anyone could see the elephant was just like a snake.

The fourth had wrapped his arms around one of the elephant’s legs. He scowled at the first three men and said it’s clear elephants are round and tall like trees.

The fifth man, being tall, had taken hold of the elephant’s ear. He told the others even a blind man would know the elephant wasn’t like anything they described. The elephant was exactly like a large fan.

The sixth man was so blind it took some time before he could even find the elephant. Once he had, he grabbed the elephant’s tail. The elephant was nothing like a wall or a spear or a snake or a tree or a fan. Anyone with sense would know elephants were exactly like an old rope.

As the six men argued among themselves, the driver grew weary and told the men as they’d each only touched one part of the elephant, they needed to put the parts together to know the truth.

Sometimes people with eyes act just as foolishly as the blind men.

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