Posted by Claudia Moser on 9:40 AM in ,
The quest of any person is to grow and to find happiness. During our journey one main barrier is the own limitation, the fear of not daring.

At one point in time we should be aware of the importance of acknowledging one’s greater strengths and for this I want to share with you a wonderful story!

The Story of the Chained Elephant
by Jorge Bucay

When I was a small boy, I loved going to the circus. Animal acts were my favorite. I was quite impressed by the elephant, who is — as I found out later — the favorite animal of all children. The elephant’s part of the show was a display of his huge weight, his immense size and power… Then, as the show was approaching its end, slightly before the elephant had to return to his tent, he was standing tied to a tiny wooden stake driven partially into the ground. A chain was wrapped around his feet.

The size of the stake was very small, and the part of it that was driven into the ground was even smaller. The chain that was wrapped around the legs of the elephant was quite large, but it seemed quite obvious, even to my childish mind, that an animal whose power was so large, so immense that it could rip trees off the ground and hurl them to others, was more than enough to let the elephant just rise and walk away.

That was the mystery of the elephant.

What sort of immense force could keep the elephant tied to that tiny stake?

Why didn’t he rise and walk away?

When I was five or six years old, I put great trust in the wisdom of the elder people. So I asked my teacher, my father, and my uncle about the mystery of the elephant. I don’t remember anymore who gave me the particular answer, but one of the replies was that the elephant doesn’t run away because he is “tame”.

Then I asked the obvious question: “If he’s tame, why do they have to chain him?” I don’t think I ever got a satisfactory answer to this question.

As time went by, I forgot all about the mystery of the huge elephant and the tiny stake. The mystery would only resurface when I was at the company of others who had wondered about the same thing.

Then, a few years ago, I discovered that someone knew why the elephant doesn’t run away.

The elephant doesn’t run away because they have been tying him to a similar stake ever since he was very very small too.

I closed my eyes, and I tried to imagine the small, newborn elephant, chained to the ground. The small elephant would push, pull and struggle with all his strength, trying to free himself, but he would fail. Despite all his efforts, he would fail again and again, because that stake and chain was too big for his strength.

The elephant would sleep exhausted from all his efforts to free himself, and would wake up the next day. All his struggles would fail the next day too, and a third day, and a fourth, and many tiresome, exhausting days after those. Then one day would come — a horrible day for the history of our elephant — a day that he would just give up, and accept his fate, deciding that he was too weak to escape, that his strength was not enough and would never be enough.

The huge and immensely powerful elephant that we see in the circus does not run away because the poor animal believes that he cannot do that.

The memory of the lack of strength he felt a little after his birth is now deeply engraved to his very soul and spirit.

The worst of it all is that he has never tried to free himself since.

He never ever tried to test his powers again.



I love this story, this little Elephant feels very empowered from it.

I don't want to be the big elephant. I think I'll try once more to jump over the stake.

Most people think this way too. Trouble is, since we're sentient beings, we know what we're doing wrong as well... and yet, in small ways and big, we become the elephant as well. That's the world's biggest tragedy.

Arnab Majumdar on SribbleFest.com

I heard of the story of elephants training, how limitations is only in our head. I just noticed that you are asking a guest writer? I would love to guest write for you, I own a small fashion company, I noticed that you've commented on our blog, and it's a bit of personal musing of receipes, cooking, vintage styles etc. So maybe you would be interested?

@Luan - you are no little elephant, you are a great person!
@Sarah - it's a very meanigful story, isn't it?
@Arnab - in many ways, you are right!
@Sisi - would love you to have as a guest writer! I'll try to email you OK? THANK YOU :)

Even though I had heard of elephant training, I am amazed that such an intelligent animal can be limited by it's lack of imagination. Very well written. I enjoy stories that make you think and remember, we are not elephants!

@Humor after 50 - yes the story is amazing, Bucay is a great writer!

There is so much you can learn from this story. Children who are told they are no good have a long road ahead of them to learn differently. We are all products of nature/nurture as is the elephant.

@Belle - yes, the story is very meaningful! I read it already a couple of times!

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them all!


"A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you."
by Alice Munro

Copyright © 2009 The story All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek. | Bloggerized by FalconHive.