The Elephant and The Mouse | The Beauty of Big and Small Business

Once upon a time, there lived a colony of mice who feared elephants. The elephant was large and the mouse was small. The elephant would trample on the mice without realising and every time the herd of elephants walked through the mice’s village, some of their kin would die. The mice were very saddened by this.

This happens all the time in the business world, doesn’t it? The big trample on the small.

One day, the small King of Mice decided to have a meeting with the big King of the Elephants. He said, “You keep trampling on us whenever you come through our village. If you would be gentle enough to spare our lives, we will help you in a time of need.”

The Elephant King had not even realised that he had been killing the mouse. Elephants are vegetarians and do not hunt mice. They prefer apples, bananas and sometimes are even known to drink beer. The Elephant King was sad to hear that he had killed the mice’s family and quickly agreed to the demands of the King of Mice.

The Elephant King had never harboured any intention of hurting the mouse. It was an accident. The Elephant King gathered his community and commanded them to be careful from now on. They were to never to step on a single mouse ever again.

From that day forth, the elephants paid close attention to how they lifted their large legs. They no longer wanted to harm their tiny friends who had been hurt by their behaviour. Whenever they entered the city of the mice, they would lift their trunks and trumpet a warning to let the mice know that they were coming through.

That warning prevented many casualties and the mice grew in number, as they do. Soon, the mice were a powerful force again.

One day, elephant trappers went to the forest where the elephants lived. They were seeking to draft the elephants into the army to help their king to win the war. The elephants were a peaceful race and did not like this. Day by day, more and more elephants were getting caught in great rope traps. The king’s men were greedy, indeed.

The Elephant King became very sad. He then remembered his friends and allies–the mice–and he sent for his little friend, the King of Mice. The King of Mice arrived and listened to the tale of the elephant’s plight. The mouse king became very sad listening to his friend. He did not feel that this was how the elephant should be treated.

The King of Mice then called his colony together. Thousands and thousands of mice gathered together to discuss how they could help the elephants. All the mice remembered how their giant friends had showed them compassion and treated them as kin.

One clever mouse sat down and made a plan. All the other mice were mobilised to put the plan into action. The King of Mice organised the rest of his kin into little groups. Each group gathered and gnawed the ropes of a trap with their tiny sharp incisor-like teeth. They continued biting all through the night. By morning light, all the elephants were freed.

When the trappers returned, they were frustrated to find that the elephants had escaped. Boo hoo! Woe be to them!

The Elephant King was grateful. He accepted the little mouse as his companion and decreed that from that day forth elephants and mice would be allies. And ever since that fateful encounter, the elephants and the mice have remained the best of friends.

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