Sunday 15 July 2012

The Elephant And The Rope Round His Neck

The tree loggers ran out of the forests as a herd of wild Thai elephants came marauding out to defend their habitat.

In their haste, Baba, a fully grown male and domesticated elephant was left tied to a tree by a puny rope around his neck. His trainer had gone to pee and never came back…

The alpha male of the herd found the frightened Baba.

“Don’t be afraid. You are one of us. Come! You’re welcomed to join my herd if you so wish. Leave the humans; you’re free now.”

Baba shakes his head, “I can’t! I’m tied to the tree with this rope around my neck.”

“You got to be joking!” The alpha male thundered. “A fully grown elephant like us can easily knock down a whole tree with a gentle nudge of our body. That rope can’t hold you back…”

Seeing the puzzled look of Baba, the frustrated alpha male moved towards Baba, “Here, I’ll break the rope for you.”

“Don’t do it!” 

The old female of the herd bellows to the alpha male.

“It’s not the rope that’s tying him down. He has to figure it out for himself. If you free him now in his current state, he won’t be able to fend for himself in the wild. We could do him harm despite our good intentions.”

Upon reflection, the alpha male nodded in agreement reluctantly. 

“Friend, we have to go now before the humans come back with their thunder sticks. I hate to leave you here like this, but you have to believe no rope can tie a fully grown elephant down. Once you have freed yourself, come seek us out.”

The alpha male turned around and leads his herd deep into the cover of the forest.

Baba looked longingly at the wild elephants as they disappeared from his sight.

“Why do the free elephants keep saying I can break the rope around my neck on my own?” Baba ponders to himself.

“Since the day of my captivity as a baby, many times I’ve tried to pull away and break this rope. I’ve got rope burn scars on my neck as proof. It’s not lack of trying. I’ve tried! 

It’s no use. The rope is the same rope tying me down all this years. It can’t be broken.”   


  1. Some are held back by their own belief that they can't - The Elephant STory.

    Some are held back by people they regularly mix with and listen to - The Eagle Story.

    The Eagle who can't Fly High!

    1. LOL!


      We are two story tellers ;)

      Although it's a beautiful myth about the eagle breaking its beak, talons and plucking its feathers; who is to say I am not doing it to myself now?

      Look out below! Bald cheena man testing flight without parachute!

  2. SMOL,
    This tell me animals can be conditioned to believe what we humans want them to believe. How about humans doing it to humans? That's why until today we still have cult followers. But to a lesser extend, we are all actually "cult followers". We follow our beliefs though there are no leaders.

    1. Got cheerleader shouting this one good and that one not bad; soon some will start to follow.

    2. Temperament,

      Interesting! I never thought of this idea that we can be our own cult leader and follower!!??

      Hmm... Narcissism and hubris? A know it all?

      I bow in humility and gratitude.

      The most dangerous leader is not the external personality or cult shepherds...

      Its our own ego.

    3. CW8888,

      I am a sucker for 36,24,36 cheerleaders...

      My life for you!

      Other than that, I can be critical and not cynical.

  3. SMOL,
    Nice story. But being human, we should know better to give our fellow men a little nudge, just so he moves in the right direction. Leaving him to learn for himself sometimes is not effective.

    1. Anon 8:50

      I understand where you stand.

      I rather not to do any nudging. I would just offer: "Come seek me out when you have freed yourself."

      That's treating the other person as equal.

      For example, not all "poor" people need charity or help. A too eager Samaritan may offend those who are just "broke" when it comes to money - but they are not poor in self-esteem and self-pride ;)

      Just like I do not need my beloved paternalistic govt to tell me when to get married and how many children I need to have - all for my own good of course :)

    2. There was a time a friend had been in debts and could not break out of the cycle with high the high interest on personal loans. After giving him a small loan (interest free) he is now 'freed' and able to save some money. Without this nudge he might still be in a debt cycle. The difference between deficit and surplus is only a fine line you will either get richer or poorer depending on which side you are in.

    3. Yes, its a fine line indeed :)

      Spreading kindness is good; especially if the recipient is ready to receive it.

      Glad you gave your friend a nudge, when needed.

      Your friend is willing to break from his past habits - high interest on personal loans, we know that euphemism.

      If not willing to change, your nudge will just fall into a bottomless pit...

  4. brainwashing works, that's why advertisement could thrive for such a long time :D

    i'm in agreement with Anonymous. anyone who have been "brainwashed" since young that they can't do it, it is very difficult to breakout of this negative mindset.

    1. durio,

      Can you recall an achievement that you did all by yourself after struggling or toiling for a long time? And you almost gave up?

      Wasn't the sweet sense of satisfaction great?

      No imagine someone did that for you... ;)

    2. personally for me, this story is about reminding us to let go of one's self-imposed limitation.

      imho, it's flawed becoz of this
      "Since the day of my captivity as a baby, many times I’ve tried to pull away and break this rope..."
      in a way, it has been already preconditioned (not self-imposed) since baby, and certainly need more help then leaving it alone.

      also, i would have been already domesticated and will not be able to survive on it's own even if it's able to escape.

      and about achievement all by myself? no i don't agree. in every self-achievement, i'm sure there is always someone rooting for you (friends, family etc), no? what sweetness you get from achievement if there is no one you can share with?

    3. durio,

      I agree.

      The wonderful thing about stories or parables is that we can read them in whatever way we want - depending on our life experiences :)

      You are 100% right the rope is metaphor for self-imposed limitation on ourselves.


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