“When I was a little boy I loved the circus and the thing I loved the most were the animals. The elephant attracted me speciallly and I got to know later that it was too the other kids’ favourite animal. During the show the huge creature gave proofs to have a monstrous weight, size and strength… But, after it’s act and a while before going back to the backstage, the elephant remained always tied in to a little stake inserted in the ground, with a chain shackling one of its leg and pay.
However, the stake was not more than a piece of wood buried a few cm in the ground. And, although the chain was thick and heavy, it seemed obvious to me that an animal which could pull a tree from the root, with all of its strengh, it could easily get free from that stake and run away.
The mistery seems clear to me even now.
What detains it?
Why doesn’t it run away?
When I was 5 or 6years old I believed yet in the knowledge of the old people. One day I decided to ask a teacher, a priest and an uncle about the elephant’s mistery. One of them explained me that the elephant didn’t run away because it was mastered.
Then I asked the obvious: If it is mastered then why people chain it?
I don0t remember to receive a consistent answer. With the time going by I forgot the mistery of the elephant and the stake and I only remembered it when I met other persons that had asked the same thing.
Some years ago I discovered that fortunelly for me, someone had been so intelligent and wise that found the answer.
The elephant does not run away because he was tied in to a stake since it was very, very little.
I closed my eyes and I imagined the helpless elephant, recently bornt, tied in to the stake. I am sure that in that time the elephant pulled, kicked and sweat trying to get free. And despite its efforts it couldn’t becausa that stake was too much strong for it.
I imagined it falling asleep, tired, and trying again in the next day, and in the next, and in the next… Until finally, one terrible day for its story, the animal accepted its impotency and resigned to its fate.
That elephant huge a powerful, we see in the circus, does not run away, because the poor thinks it can’t do it.
It has recorded in its memory what it felt a while after it was born.
And the worse is that it never doubted seriously again that memory.
It never, never tried to prove again its strengh”
This text is an extract from the book “Let me tell you” by BUCAY, Jorge…
I translated the story because my book is in portuguese so I don’t now if the translation is good. When I read this story for the first time I felt like it represented me and many other people.
With love, Sara-chan