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Charlotte Bleh’s Collection of Favourite  Nursery  Rhymes, Poems and Prose Book
Six B's - Blind Men and Elephant


     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 he 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 the wondrous beast is like
Is very plain,” quoth he;
Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!” 

The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear
Said, “Even 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
When, 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,
They all were in the wrong!

Moral:  So, oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe
Based on an Indian Fable from the Udana,
a Canonical Hindu Scripture

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