The Elephant And The Ants
: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas
In the days of old there was a great deal more jungle than there is
now, and wild elephants were very numerous; once upon a time a red ant
and a black ant were burrowing in the ground, when a wild elephant
appeared and said "Why are you burrowing here; I will trample all
your work to pieces;" the ants answered "Why do you talk like this;
do not despise us because we are small; perhaps we are better than
you in some way
;" The elephant said "Do not talk nonsense: there is
nothing at which you could beat me; I am in all ways the largest and
most powerful animal on the face of the earth." Then the ants said
"Well, let us run a race and see who will win, unless you win we
will not admit that you are supreme." At this the elephant got into
a rage and shouted; "Well, come we will start at once," and it set
off to run with all its might and when it got tired it looked down
at the ground and there were two ants. So it started off again and
when it stopped and looked down, there on the ground were two ants;
so it ran on again, but wherever it stopped it saw the ants, and at
last it ran so far that it dropped down dead from exhaustion.
Now it is a saying that ants are more numerous in this world than
any other kind of living creature; and what happened was that the
two ants never ran at all, but stayed where they were; but whenever
the elephant looked at the ground, it saw some ants running about
and thought that they were the first two, and so ran itself to death.
This story teaches us not to despise the poor man, because one day
he may have an opportunity to put us to shame.
From this story of the elephant we should learn this lesson; the
Creator knows why He made some animals big and some small and why
He made some men fools; so we should neither bully nor cheat men who
happen to be born stupid.