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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Elephant Statues

Elephant statues are a common sight in many households across different countries of the world. One of the reasons for this may be that there are plenty of similar beliefs associated with the presence of such statues at home or in the workplace. In a majority of cultures it is believed that elephant statues that have the animal’s trunk pointing upwards bring good luck to the home or place where it is kept. Elephants in general have been considered to be mystical and legendary. Considered as a symbol of wisdom, prosperity and power, these sacred and majestic creatures have had their dominance in many Eastern tales and ancient stories.

Today people place elephant statues in their houses as decorative pieces. Beautiful and attractive, elephant statues are loved by children and elders alike. A part of this fondness lies in the many stories one has heard growing up. An old Indian fable, which was later popularized by the celebrated American poet John Godfrey Saxe is one such story many of us have heard. The story is called Six Blind Men and an Elephant.

Once there were six blind Indian men who went to see an elephant. And while each of them was blind, they wanted to touch the elephant and figure out what kind of creature it is. The first man happened to touch the elephant’s side and thought it to be a wall. The second touched only his tusk and concluded that the animal is just like a spear. The third blind man felt the elephant’s trunk and claimed that it was just like a snake, while the fourth man touched the knee and confirmed that the elephant was exactly like a tree. The fifth happened to touch the creature’s ear and concluded that it was like a fan, and the last blind man touched its swinging tail and felt it to be just like a rope. And since each one of them had felt and come to a conclusion, started arguing about their opinion of the animal being accurate, but while they all were partly right they were all wrong.

Another old Indian tale teaches children the evils of being too proud. There was once an elephant swimming in the water. The elephant was very proud of his enormous size and status in the jungle. Seeing his feet dangle beneath the water, an alligator caught his limb and started pulling him into the depths. The elephant then realized that his size was of no use and started to pray to the almighty to help him escape. God then appeared and set him free of the alligator’s clasp.

Such colourful tales and all the other myths and beliefs associated with elephant statues, make them very popular with people even today.

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