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The Blind Men and the Elephant in Thread Narratives
January 20, 2013
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Dear stitching sisters:-) and a brother too,

I hope we have all been thinking about our narrative in cloth and thread.

I know some of you wrote immediately with ideas. Please share so that we can all be inspired.

I have narrowed my story to an old one, not very creative in production or design at the moment, but very well suited to how I see the world in 2013.

My piece will be based on the old Sufi story about the Blind Men and the Elephant. 

Growing up with hegemonic English in a literate household, I learnt about the origins of this story late in life. That, it came from this part of the world and  not the other . 

I first stumbled upon this story in a poem by John Godfrey Saxe in a school text book. It stayed. I now have at least 4 books that have beautiful illustrations of this very same poem but I want to do my own. Why this and not something else, I will share as my thoughts unfold and I become  more coherent uniting my head and my hands.

I was talking to Riz ( my 12 year old) and he sketched this image for me, to inspire me and move me on. I am blessed. I am sharing the poem here and will start today

The Blind Men and the Elephant

John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

DSCN1456

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

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