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The Elephants and the King of Mice

Published January 15, 2010
Countries: India, Pakistan
Age Levels: 7-8 and up

Many years ago a village in India suffered a large earthquake.  The villagers left, and mice moved into the empty houses.  The mice were happy with their new homes for many years until the elephants came. 

There was a lake next to the village.  Elephants had been drinking from and bathing in that lake for many years.  While villagers lived in the village, the elephants walked around the village on a narrow elephant's path.  With the villagers gone, they began taking a short cut down the main street of the village.  This caused problems for the mice.

Many of the mice were smashed while walking across the street.  The elephants walked in large groups visiting with each other on the way to the lake.  Their heads were in the air as they talked to each other.  They did not even see the little mice who suffered beneath their feet.  The king of the mice knew the deaths were accidental, but he decided to talk to the elephants to stop more accidental deaths.

"Please, mighty elephant," said the king of the mice to the leader of the elephants.  My people respect your need to go to the lake every day for water and to bathe.  But, every day, my people are being hurt by your people.  I request that you and your large, strong friends take a different route to the lake.  You will save many lives, and perhaps we can help you some day in return."

The leader of the elephants began to laugh.  "Oh, king of mice, you are too small to ever help us or do a favor for the elephants.  But, we are not cruel.  We are sorry for hurting anyone.  We will honor your request.  We will change the path we take to the river so we do not endanger you any longer."
 The king of the mice thanked the leader of the elephants for his kindness and accepted his apology.  The herd of elephants never entered the village again.
 A long time later, the elephants were caught in traps that were set by elephant hunters.  They were caught and tangled up in thick nets.  No matter how they tried, they could not free themselves.  The leader of the elephants was one of the elephants caight in the trap.  He remembered the promise of the king of the mouse to help them.  He called to one of the elephants that had not been caught in the trap.  "Go to the village by our lake.  Call out to the king of the mice.  Remind him of his promise to help us."

The elephant went with great speed to the village and told the king what had happened.  The king of the mice summoned all of the mice at once.  It is time to repay the elephants for listening to our plea to change their route.  Let us hurry to go to their aid.  The mice followed the elephant back to where his leader and his friends were trapped.  The mice chewed and nibbled on the ropes that made up the nets and cut them loose.

The elephants were freed from the nets.  They thanked the mice for their help. "I was wrong when I said that you were too small to help us," said the leader.  I will never judge anyone again by the way they look."