Once upon a time there was an elephant that wanted to be a lion-turtle. Now every animal had heard of lion-turtles and some even looked up to them as wise, noble and holy, but the problem was that no animals had seen, heard or met a lion-turtle.
The elephant had the added problem of being so small as far as elephants go, that the other elephants sometimes dismissed him for being a guinea pig. Which pained him endlessly because he was at least a hundred times bigger than a guinea pig.
Unable to find any animal, great or small, who could help him become a lion-turtle, he decided to leave the elephant herd and find his own path toward becoming a lion-turtle.
The elephant had a sharp mind and knew that all animals left tracks behind them as they walked. And he studied the tracks for what he was looking for and discovered where the lion-turtle tracks lay and what they looked like. These tracks had been dismissed by the other animals as natural land formations because of their huge size. Undeterred, the elephant set off on his quest to find and become a lion-turtle by following the lion-turtle tracks.
Now it happened one day that the elephant found himself arguing with a well-meaning pig about his lion-turtle quest. By now the elephant had grown so large that he had become bigger than a giant amongst elephants. And the dirt on his back had grown hard and started sprouting small plants because he could no longer bathe like the other elephants. The pig being much smaller and loving to get wisdom from elephants had noticed this. In the pig’s opinion the elephant was growing arrogant in his stature and so decided to put the elephant back on the right path of humility like the rest of the elephants.
“Hey elephant!” The pig called out. “How dare you be so large. Are you trying to be better than your fellow elephants?”
“My dear friend pig. I am on a quest to become a lion-turtle.” The elephant answered.
“A lion-turtle?! A lion-turtle is a work of fiction. A myth. Nobody’s ever seen one.” And with that the other animals who had come to see what’s going on laughed and jeered at the elephant.
“ Little pig.” The elephant called back. “Perhaps you are right. But just because no animal alive has seen one, how do you know they do not exist? Our old stories are full of them.”
“I know,” The pig said. “Because I’ve spoken to the mouse - He’s wise and noble and knows everything there is to know. He’s so wise he gets to send time with humans!”
“The mouse?” The elephant said.
“Yes! The mouse! He knows more than you.”
The elephant stopped, paused and looked back upon the path he’d been walking. And then he looked back to the pig and said as gently as he could, “When I walk the ground quakes. When I speak the sky thunders. I have seen your wise mouse. He lives in a maze, spending his days chasing cheese for the bemusement of humans. I will not seek guidance from a circus rodent.” And with that the elephant started on his journey again to become a lion-turtle.
Upset at what he had said about the mouse, the other animals jumped up and attacked the elephant. But it was useless. The elephant had grown so big and powerful that even the other elephants had started to look like pigs to him in size. And that the pig looked like a mouse in size.
“Tiny pig!” The elephant bellowed down. “Stop being so small in thought. You take advice from a mouse therefore you look like a mouse to me. My legs are bigger than mighty tree trunks and you call me arrogant. I am so large now that I can see and hear the other lion-turtles. And they are beautiful.”
“Bah! I don’t believe you!” The pig yelled back. Barely could the elephant hear the tiny pig add, “Prove it!”
The elephant smiled at the other animals and simply said, “Look upon me and then read the old stories. There you shall find the proof.” And with that the elephant went off and joined the other lion-turtles waiting for him.
When the elephant had disappeared. The pig being truly upset, went to the old stories seeking to disprove the elephant about lion-turtles. And there, picture after picture, description after description all he could see was the elephant he’d been arguing with.