The Elephant’s Rope

The world traveler visited India for the second time. He was fond of the country, and wanted to explore and experience more of it. On this particular journey, he visited the north-eastern region of Assam. One day, he was hiking along a road in the country side when he came across a camp where elephants were being held in captivity.

The people looked friendly. He approached a group of elephants that were lying in the shade of some large trees. A leashed Golden Langur monkey was chattering nearby, curiously inspecting the traveler from a distance. At once, the traveler noticed that the elephants were tied only by a thin rope around one foot. He realized that the elephants could, if they tried, easily break free from the thin rope that tied them.

One of the elephant trainers approached him with a jovial greeting. “I don’t understand. The rope tying the elephants is so thin, they could snap it with a single jerk”, said the traveler. “Quite right, sir.”, the trainer replied, “You see, these elephants, they are tied with that thin rope since they are calves. When they are small they are not strong enough to break it. After some time, you see, they realize the rope is too strong for them to break. They still believe it, even now that they are big and strong”.