The Flying Elephant

Marguerite Theophil
A businessman approached the Wise One. “All my decisions seem wrong, i never make enough money... you must help me”.
The Wise One simply gave him a tiny locked treasure chest charm, and said, “Take this with you everywhere, and shake it three times whenever you enter a new space or meet someone for the first time”. Somewhat sceptical, he looked at the tiny charm. “Oh well”, he thought, “maybe the magic object inside will bring me luck; no harm in trying it out”.
He carried the little charm everywhere, and in the space that he shook it thrice, waited, and paid attention, he noticed an opportunity here, a danger or pitfall there. A year went by and his luck had totally changed.
He went back to the Wise One and excitedly asked for the key. At first she refused, but he persisted, and she reluctantly opened the tiny little treasure chest. The man reached out and almost snatched it from her. He looked inside.
“Why... there’s nothing inside!” he exclaimed in shock. “But there is on the outside”, she smiled.
The power of talismans to open us to our own capacities needs to be better understood, and this lesson is best communicated through story, as in this beautiful traditional one — but modern tales too have had much the same point to make to a rather different audience, as in the story of Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.
Born into a circus, a baby elephant is rejected by the others because of his unusually big ears. Jeered at by children, rejected by the other performers, poor Dumbo is demoted to appearing as a clumsy, bumbling creature in an act with the clowns.
Only little Timothy Mouse befriends him, and devises a to make lonely little Dumbo a star. He gets a crafty crow to inform Dumbo that magic flying feathers are what really make crows able to fly, and if Dumbo had just one such magic feather, then he would be able to fly too.
Plucking a feather out of a friend’s tail and giving it to Dumbo, he says, “This is a magic flying feather for you”. And wonder of wonders — Dumbo flies on his first try, and because of this, is made part of a more daring performance, where he has to leap from a high platform as part of the clown’s fire rescue act.
All goes well till one day, about to dive off the high platform in the middle of the act, Dumbo somehow loses the magic feather. Timothy Mouse, terrified, immediately yells and convinces him, “It isn’t really magic. You can fly on your own”. And Dumbo, flapping his enormous ears madly, discovers in that moment that it was not the feather at all which had the power of flight, but Dumbo himself.
The feather was only a bridge to put him in touch with a gift that was his all along. In our lives, we are in need of magic feathers in the form of talismans or beliefs that can help us reach new heights. Our lesson is to utilise them for as long as we need them, but recognising them for the temporary gift they are, we are challenged to transcend the need for an outer reminder of what has been ours all along.
The writer is a Mumbai-based organisational consultant, personal growth coach and workshop leader. E-mail:

A lesson on life

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the
express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, tell me, what you learned from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:

"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.
Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

"Life is too short and friends are too few."