Travelers from India had brought an elephant to put on exhibit, and they kept it in a dark room.
Curious people crowded into the room. They had heard of "elephants" but they did not know what an elephant was.
In the dark, they felt the elephant.
One felt the trunk. "It's a water-hose!"
Another grabbed the ear. "No, it's a fan!"
Another rubbed the leg. "No, it's a pillar!"
Another touched the back. "No, it's a throne!"
In the dark, they could not understand what an elephant was.
To see and understand, you must open your eyes in the light.
Inspired by: The English prose version of Rumi in Tales from the Masnavi by A. J. Arberry.
Notes: This is story 71 in the book. Sometimes this story is told about blind people encountering an elephant: The Blind Men and the Elephant.
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