A Tale from India Adapted by Laura Simms ©2001.
Once upon a time there was a colony of mice who feared the elephants. Whenever the elephants walked through the mice’s land with their enormous feet many mice were harmed. One day, the mouse king went to the King of the Elephants and said, “If you spare our lives, we will help you in a time of need.” The elephant king agreed. He ordered the elephants to be careful never to step on a single mouse.
From that day forth the elephants paid attention and lifted their huge legs carefully, never harming their tiny friends. If they entered the land of the mice, they lifted their trunks and trumpeted a warning; “We are walking. We are walking.”
One day, elephant trappers came to the forest. They were seeking many elephants for the human king’s soldiers to ride into battle. Day by day more and more elephants were caught in great rope traps.
The elephant king was very sad. Then, he remembered the promise of the mice and sent for his little friend, the mouse king. The king of the mice arrived and listened to the elephant’s story.
Then the mouse king called all the mice together. Thousands and thousands of mice gathered to discuss how they might help the elephants. No one had forgotten how their huge friends had spared their lives. One clever mouse made a plan. All the mice rejoiced.
The mice formed into little groups. Each group gnawed the ropes of a single trap with their tiny sharp teeth. By morning, all the elephants were freed. Frustrated, the trappers left the forest.
The elephant king was grateful. He lifted the little mouse on his back and decreed that from that day forth the elephants and the mice would be the best of friends. And to this day, that is the truth. The elephants and the mice are still good friends.