THE ORANGE ELEPHANT, THE GREEN ELEPHANT, AND THE BLUE ELEPHANT
By Mary Wright (me)
The orange elephant was thin, and the green one was not. The green one so desperately wanted to be orange, and thin, and the orange wanted to be not thin, and green like the other one. They desperately wanted to be each other, and could not, because that’s not how being an individual works.
For the purposes of what happened next, let’s call them O and G for short.
For years, O made fun of G for being not thin, and G made fun of O for being orange instead of green. It was a nonstop torment that went back and forth within different pockets of time in their lives.
Then one day, a blue elephant came along, and they laughed to themselves. How funny it was to be the color of the sky! O reasoned with themselves that at least they were the color of the setting sun, and G reasoned with themselves that at least they were the color of the trees.
Slowly but surely, O and G decided they would feel better about themselves if they were to make fun of the blue elephant together. They hated themselves after a while for doing so, but it was better than hating themselves for their original reasons.
One night, after the blue elephant had run away into hiding to cry, O and G realized what they were doing.
“We are bad elephants,” said O.
“We were bad to each other, and now to B.” G agreed.
“We need to be ourselves,” said O.
“Nice to ourselves, and nice to the blue elephant.” G agreed again.
“Let us go talk to B.” O said, and they marched off to the cave where B had sought refuge.
“Go away,” said B.
“You are blue like the sky,” said O.
“I know I am,” B replied, sniffling, “You have told it to me harshly many times.”
“We were jealous that we could not be something else than what we actually are,” G continued.
“We were bad to each other before you arrived in this plain,” O explained, “but now we must work through that.”
“We are all elephants,” G said, “But we are all different.”
“All of us have mighty trunks, and stomp the earth with great power,” B said, smiling a little.
“That cannot be debated,” O said, raising their trunk.
“Let us all walk to find water…..together.” B said.
“That is what you are like too!” G exclaimed, “The beautiful reflection of sky upon water.”
B blushed, “Let us all raise our trunks, because we are elephants, and be on our way!”
G and B and O all raised their trunks, and still saw their differences but accepted them now. Not immediately, not that day, but eventually, after they had become friends, and realized that not liking themselves – or being jealous of other elephants – was ridiculous, because all of them needed to find water to drink, anyway.