Once upon a time…

Once upon a time, in the land of Metaphor, there lived a monkey and an elephant. They both lived on one side of a wide, swiftly flowing river. On both sides of the river there were many fruit trees. The monkey was very agile. He could climb to the top of the fruit trees and eat as much fruit as he needed. The elephant was very tall. He could reach up with his trunk and eat as much fruit as he needed.
But the trees grew taller. Soon the elephant could not reach enough fruit to eat. But he was strong and self-sufficient. He found that when he was hungry, he could just pull down a tree and have fruit to eat.
The monkey watched the elephant pull down most of the fruit trees. He was not happy. He said to the elephant, “Don’t do that! I will climb up the trees and get fruit for you.”
The elephant said, “I am hungry. I am strong. I can do things for myself.”
The monkey said, “You dumb elephant. Soon there will be no trees or fruit for you either.”
The elephant said, “I only work on one problem at a time. Things may change. Maybe more fruit trees will come. Or maybe the trees will get shorter. If they don’t, I’ll work out a solution then.”
The monkey had to agree. He only worked on one problem at a time too. Soon there were no more fruit trees left on their side of the river. The elephant said, “I have a solution. I will go across the river and pull down trees over there.”
The monkey said, “You dumb elephant. That didn’t work on this side of the river, and it won’t work on the other side of the river. You will starve us both. Let’s fight it out. I am agile and will run rings around you.”
The elephant said, “That is fine with me. I am big and strong and I will kill you.”
So they began to fight it out. The monkey ran rings around the elephant. But he was not able to stop the elephant from trying to kill him. The elephant thrashed around with his strong trunk and legs, trying to kill the monkey. But the monkey was too agile, and the elephant missed every time.
It was a hot day. Soon the monkey and the elephant got tired. They sat down and tried to figure out what to do next.
The monkey said, “I am agile. I will just scamper across the river and bring back some fruit.” He got a running start toward the river and went scamper, scamper, scamper … splott! The river started to carry him away.
“That dumb monkey!” said the elephant. He waded into the river, picked up the monkey, put him on his back, and waded back to shore. They sat and thought for a long time while the monkey dried out. Finally the monkey said, “Maybe this is a solution. You can carry me across the river on your back. When we get across, I can climb the trees and get enough food for us both.”
The elephant thought for a moment and then answered, “That sounds like it is worth a try.” So they tried it, and it worked.
And they lived happily ever after, until the end of their days.

Some morals to the story:
• Monkeys can do things elephants can’t do.
• Elephants can do things monkeys can’t do.
• Working on one problem at a time may not be a good idea.
• Fighting it out may not be a good idea.
• Finding a collaborative win-win solution may be a good idea.

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