A holy person came with his elephant to a remote village that was suffering from severe drought. On the back of the elephant he brought a large vessel of fresh water to the home of six blind men who always stuck together to help each other, but somehow always quarreled. After the water pot was lowered from the elephants back, down to the ground, the first blind man reached out and caught hold of the elephant’s tail. “The elephant,” he declared, “is like a piece of rope.”
The second man grabbed an ear and said, “No, the elephant is like the leaf of a banana sapling.”
The third man was holding the trunk and said, “Wrong. The elephant is very much like a huge snake.”
The fourth man had his arms around one of the elephant’s legs. “What nonsense are you talking!” he exclaimed. “It is definitely like a pillar.”
“Wrong,” cried out the fifth blind man, clinging to a tusk. “You are all misled. The elephant is certainly like the branch from a magnolia tree.”
The sixth man, rubbing the elephant’s belly, said, “Can’t any of you see? It’s obvious the elephant is like a sack of grains.”
Soon a quarrel erupted between them. While they were on the ground punching and tearing each other’s hair, they rolled right into the water vessel. All the water spilled out onto the ground while the elephant stood by looking on with an expression of pity.