ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church

On Friendship

The fable of the elephant and the mouse could be an illustration for how disparate groups of today could approach each other.

Once upon a time, the elephant and the mouse were talking about being friends.

“Remember when our fathers were together with Noah and all the others. We were shipmates, living close one to the other in the ark. Why have we drifted so far apart over the centuries?”

“Well,” said the elephant, “to be perfectly frank, much of the time I’ve hardly given you any thought at all. You are rather small and easy to overlook.”

“Sometimes precious things come in small packages,” said the mouse. “I know you’re big, but bigness doesn’t mean better. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to imply you’re any less. It’s just a matter of equal dignity for all us animals.”

Careful not to tread on the mouse, who, perhaps imprudently, was edging a little too close for comfort, the elephant retorted, “Sometimes you make me nervous, especially when you get near a sensitive place, like my nose. I know it must seem strange to you, but that’s the way I am!”

The mouse found it hard to believe that he could ever make the elephant nervous, but, the mouse thought, “Part of being friends is believing what your friend says.”

To reciprocate the mouse’s trust and good will, the elephant made a generous offer, “Why don’t you climb up and I’ll give you a ride. The view from my back is vast and greater than from where you are on the ground.”

What a tempting offer it was, the mouse astride the elephant, but how incongruous too. “Maybe once or twice, just for a minute,” said the mouse gently, “but I have my proper place and perspective, and I must mind them.”

“Another part of being friends,” reflected the elephant, “is to spend more time together, perhaps even living in the same neighborhood.”

The mouse, who lived in a rather large old house, indicated that he was reasonably comfortable, even though traps were often set for him.

“You can hardly expect me to move into your burrows with you,” said the elephant.

“Nor vice versa,” said the mouse, “for I fear I would be lost with you. Besides, I’d barely be noticed, while at home I’m known to the landlord and my friends.”

The elephant was becoming increasingly saddened by the turn the conversation was taking, and the mouse was too.

“Is there no way, then,” the elephant said, “for us to share more of our lives with each other?”

“Friendship is not a matter of physical proximity,” said the mouse. “In fact, for me that always remains rather dangerous. But there are other ways to be close. For example, the way we’re talking to one another right now.”

“Ah,” sighed the elephant, “how I wish that there weren’t such differences between us. But, don’t we have a lot in common too? Hopes, fears, sufferings and sometimes even common enemies?”

“Indeed,” said the mouse in fond farewell, “and please God there will be other occasions for us to get together.”

How do an elephant and a mouse become close friends? Carefully!

Msgr. Robert L. Stern, Secretary General of CNEWA

Get to know us and stay informed about the impact your support makes.

Nous constatons que votre préférence linguistique est le français.
Voudriez-vous être redirigé sur notre site de langue française?

Oui! Je veux y accéder.

Hemos notado que su idioma preferido es español. ¿Le gustaría ver la página de Asociación Católica para el Bienestar del Cercano Oriente en español?

Vee página en español