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.