The Elephant

There was once a zookeeper who was responsible for looking an after elephant. The elephant’s cage was modest but plenty for an elephant. It had enough space to wander around, somewhere to scratch and to lie down. It had everything the elephant needed to lead a healthy life. It should have been happy in its cage. Instead, all day long the elephant banged on the sides of cage.

The zookeeper decided to move the elephant to a bigger enclosure. This new space for the elephant had trees to remind it of the jungle, much more space and lots more to do. It was, thought the zookeeper a really fantastic environment for any elephant, and should solve the problem of the elephant banging on the cage all day. As soon as the elephant moved into its new home, it started banging on the sides of the cage again. I know what I can do, thought the zookeeper.

Wanting the elephant to be happy, the zookeeper decided to build the elephant a very large space, something that was truly like the place the elephant had come from, with deep lakes it could swim in, great pools of mud to wash with, vegetation and sweet fruit it could eat. It had warm sunny spots for the elephant to lie in when it wanted to rest, cool shady places when it was too warm. There were imitation rainstorms, at the same time every day during the rainy season, paths through the brush for the elephant to roam, places to hide. At huge expense, after consulting with several experts, and looking at everything given to elephants in other zoos, the zookeeper built a remarkable and special place for his elephant. He left nothing out. But as with all things the space was finite, and the elephant could not roam everywhere freely, so there had to be a fence somewhere. The elephant moved into it’s newest home and was at first delighted with the new toys. However, after just a few hours, it once again started banging against the perimeter.

Frustrated and exasperated, the zookeeper turned to the elephant.

“What’s wrong with you?! I have built you this fantastic place to live. I have given you everything you could ever want, all the toys money can buy. But you’re still banging on the edge of the cage. What’s wrong with you? Why are you doing that?”

The elephant replied immediately, “I’m just checking it’s strong.”

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