The White Elephant

The White Elephant storyImage credit

The White Elephant

A classical story from Jataka Tales. Once upon a time there lived a herd of elephants at the foot of the Himalayas.  Their king was a magnificent white elephant. He was extremely kind hearted and soft by nature. He was loved and respected by all the members of his herd. 

As the white elephant was getting older, he decided to give up the job of being king of the herd and to spend more time with his family. He loved his mother who had grown old and blind. The white elephant wanted to spend more time with his mother and family.

Everyday the beautiful white elephant would go deep into the forest in search of food. While coming back , the white elephant heard a loud noise of a human voice. He was crying loudly for help. The person had lost his way in the forest. On hearing the crying the white elephant went to help him. On seeing the white elephant the man got even more scared. 

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But white elephant with a lot of compassion and care told him not to get scared as the elephant knows the route to go out of forest and he would help him to go out of forest. The elephant carried the man on his back and took him outside the forest. The man was very happy and thankful to the elephant.

After a few days the forester heard that the king’s elephant was dead and he was searching for a new elephant. So the forester went to the king and informed him about the white elephant he met in mount Candorana. 

The king was very pleased and happy, he immediately sent elephant trainers along with the forester to get the white elephant. After travelling for many days the forester along with the trainers reached the lake and waited behind a bush for the white elephant.

When white elephant was collecting shoots of lotus for his mother he saw human beings around him. The white elephant also saw the forester and felt very bad. He was upset with the selfish attitude of the man and decided not to show any resistance and that would cause a lot of bloodshed.

Poor white elephant just walked with the king's trainer to the palace. That night white elephant’s mother  was very worried and disturbed as he had not come home from the forest. She did sense that King’s trainer must have taken her son white elephant. She was worried that nobody would be there to take care of her now.

The white elephant was taken to Banaras city where he got a grand welcome. The trainers had laid a huge feast to the white elephant. But the elephant who was not happy on leaving his mother and forest. But nothing either the grand food or the beautiful shed, did not make the elephant happy. He was just sitting in the shed with a lot of depression.

The trainers tried their level best to make the elephant happy and to eat. But they could not so they went to the king and informed him of the state of the elephant. The king was extremely concerned and went to the shed to see the elephant. On questioning the white elephant, he said about his blind old mother and said he wants to go back to his mother and forest.

The king felt very sad for the elephant and at once asked his trainers to take back the elephant and leave him in the forest where his mother stays. He thanked the king for his understanding. The white elephant was very happy and ran as fast he could to reach his mother. He was happy to join his mother and see his mother alive and they lived happily.

Moral: One should  always respect others feelings

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