Blind Men and an Elephant

Published on , 477 words, 2 minutes to read


le'i ka na viska kakne ku e le xanto

Adapted from here. Done in Lojban to help learn the language. I am avoiding the urge to make too many lujvo (compound words) because the rafsi (compound word components) don't always immediately relate to the words in question in obvious ways.

KOhA4 lojban english
ko'a le'i na viska kakne the blind people
ko'e le xanto the elephant
ko'i le cizra danlu the strange animal

A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form.

ni'o le'i na viska kakne goi ko'a e le xanto goi ko'e
.i ko'a cu ti'erna lo nu cizra danlu goi ko'i noi ko'e cu se bevri fi lo tcadu
.i ku'i no ko'a cu sanji lo tarmi be ko'i

Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable".

.i .a'u ko'a dai cusku lu .ei ma'a pencu lanli le danlu sei ma'a kakne li'u

So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it.

ni'o ro ko'a cu sisku ko'i
.i ro ko'a cu sisku penmi ko'i
.i ro ko'a ca pencu lo drata stuzi ko'i

In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said "This being is like a thick snake".

.i pa ko'a cu pencu lo ko'i betfu
.i pa ko'a cu cusku lu ti cu rotsu since li'u

For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan.

.i re ko'a cu pencu lo ko'i kerlo
.i re ko'a cu cusku lu ti cu falnu li'u

As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk.

.i ci ko'a cu pencu lo ko'i tuple
.i ci ko'a cu cusku lu ti cu tricu stani li'u

The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, "elephant is a wall".

.i vo ko'a cu pencu lo ko'i mlana
.i vo ko'a cu cusku lu ti cu butmu li'u

Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope.

.i mu ko'a cu pencu lo ko'i rebla
.i mu ko'a cu cusku lu ti cu skori li'u

The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.

.i xa ko'a cu pencu lo ko'i denci
.i xa ko'a cu cusku lu ti cu jdari e xulta li'u

All of the men spoke fact about the elephant, but none of them spoke the truth.

.i ro ko'a cu fatci tavla fi ko'e
.i jeku'i no ko'a cu jetnu tavla fi ko'e

Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.