June 10

That’s Why He Can Stop Your Elephant

Once upon a time there lived a king who had a nice elephant. The attendant of the elephant used to take it to the river every day for a bath. One day as the attendant was bringing the elephant back to the palace, a little boy came walking up to the elephant. He took its trunk in his hands, saying, “Stop! Look at the way you are walking!” The elephant stopped. “Walk gently, carefully,” he told the elephant. He let go of the trunk, and the elephant started walking again. The next day as the elephant passed the same spot, the boy came running and stopped the elephant to reprimand it again. This happened several days in a row.

The attendant couldn’t believe what was happening. He told the king, who sent his minister to check on the boy. In a few days, the minister came to report to the king. “Sir, I observed the boy. He lives with his grandmother. He’s just a playful little boy. He seems ordinary, but he has absolutely no fear. That’s why he can stop your elephant.”

“I can’t believe it,” said the king. “What do you mean?”

“Sir, a mind without fear and worry can do anything.”

The king wanted the minister to prove his point. The only way to do so was to make the boy worry about something. The minister approached the boy’s grandmother. After hearing from her that the boy was allowed to do anything he wanted, the minister asked, “Has he ever asked for anything and been refused?”

“No. I have given him everything that he wanted. He is just a happy-go-lucky boy.”

“Is he afraid of anything?”

“Nothing at all.”

The minister had to prove his theory to the king, so he said, “All right. When he comes home today give him the usual food, but add less than the usual amount of salt. If the boy asks about it, tell him that you don’t have enough money to buy salt, so you had to be sparing with what you have left.”

The grandmother said, “If the king wants me to do that, I shall do it.”

That evening when the boy came home, she served his supper right away. After a few bites, the boy said, “Grandma, what is this? It’s not tasty today.” The grandmother repeated what the minister had told her, and the boy said, “Okay, Grandmother, I will get you some salt.” He ran to the shop and asked the shopkeeper to give him a little salt. The shop-keeper explained that he couldn’t give him salt without receiving money in exchange.

“Where can I get some money?” the boy asked.

“You have to go and work for it.”

“I don’t know how to work.”

“Then you can’t get any salt.”

The boy was a little depressed. He went home. “Grandma, I don’t know what to do. He wants me to go and work and get money so I can get some salt. I don’t know how to work.”

“All right, sweetheart,” said the grandmother, “it doesn’t matter. Go to sleep. We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”


The boy went to bed, but he couldn’t sleep all night. In the morning, the elephant came as usual, and as usual, the boy went to stop the elephant, but he couldn’t do it. The elephant pushed him aside and walked off. All the young fellow had in mind was, “I couldn’t get a little salt for my food.” That one small worry had taken away all his strength.

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