Six Blind Men and an Elephant

In response to a comment to yesterday’s blog, I said I’d publish on my blog of today a story I once heard about six mice and an elephant. I was a little confused. The story is actually about six blind men and an elephant. The story is quite old but is captured here in a poem by John Saxe in the 1800’s. It speaks to people’s opinions of what life is all about. Here is the story…

The Blind Men and the Elephant
John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong.


I Took My Fiddle

This poem by Byron Herbert Reece was given to me recently and some of my musician friends came to mind. I share it with these friends today and with all other musicians and artists…and we are all artists.

I took my fiddle
That sings and cries
To a hill in the middle
of Paradise.

I sat at the base
Of a golden stone
In that holy place
To play alone.

I tuned the strings
And began to play,
And a crowd of wings
Were bent my way.

A voice said
Amid the stir:
“We that were dead
O fiddler,

“With purest gold
Are robed and shod,
And we behold
The face of God.

Our Halls can show
No thing so rude
As your horsehair bow,
Or your fiddewood;

And yet can they
So well entrance
If you but play
Then we must dance!”

Byron Herbert Reece


Morning Docking

Standing on the dock in the early morning, I watched a bug of sorts bunny hop the water sending radial circles that crashed into one another. They say our every thought and action does this, send ripples out until they hit a shore, but never have I thought that these circles we create intersect. So what does one do then? I am conflicting with my own opinion expressed last week or when I was 13.

I saw the lake’s bottom through the still water and there was a clam pretending to be a butterfly there, not fluttering one iota so the truth was given away.

Birds, white with black bottoms and long red beaks. Oh, for my Minnesota Bird book now. One heads out to the middle of the lake, another nears the dock until it realizes my watching, then takes flight and I see that the black bottom was its wing tips tucked under.

I realize that nature, to be known, must reach out and grab me. And then, only for a split second am I held before my thoughts seep in.