Colonel Sinitra, of the Indian elephant herd, was summoned by Chief Tunnuko. Colonel Sinitra made the trek to the weeping willow to find Chief Tunnuko resting under its cool shade. His large, dull brown and wrinkled body was resting against the trunk of the tree. Small birds sat upon his head, picking at gnats.
“Colonel Sinitra, you have shown great leadership these past years.” Chief Tunnuko licked his lips and slowly batted the dust out of his weary eyes. “There comes a time in every elephant’s life where he has to make a great decision. There comes a time where he has to move on.” The next words tumbled out of Chief Tunnuko’s mouth with such care. “Colonel Sinitra, I am entrusting you with my herd. You are to lead them with caution. Today, I daub you as Chief of our herd.” Chief Tunnuko closed his eyes. “Chief Sinitra, be on your way. We will announce to the herd the big news at sunrise.”
Chief Sinitra bowed his head with grace and batted his long eyelashes at the elderly Chief Tunnuko. “This honor is one I will cherish for all the years to come. Thank you.” Chief Sinitra turned around and headed back to the herd. His head was held high as his trunk waved in the air. He marched with such joy back to the rest of the herd.
Immediately, Sinitra’s wife greeted him. “Darling, what did the Chief want?” Her high voice fluctuated as she took a step closer to her husband. “Why were you gone for so long? What wrong have you done?” She nudged Sinitra lovingly.
Sinitra tried to keep a very low whisper so the rest of the herd could not hear. He ducked his face into his beautiful wife’s ear. “Chief Tunnuko is retiring and has made me the new chief!” Sinitra caressed his wife’s trunk. “Do you know what this means? Do you realize how much power we have over the herd?”
Sinitra’s wife gave him a loving gaze. She was very excited. Her soft whisper could barely be heard. “What will you do first, my love?”
“First we shall go on a walk.” Sinitra nudged his wife along the forest path. The two elephants continued to walk as the evening grew warm. They enjoyed the setting Indian sun. “My beautiful wife, I must ask you a question.”
Sinitra licked his lips and tilted his chin as he gazed at the setting sun. “What do you think of the mice?”
“I am actually quite fond of them. They scurry and scavenge like no other animal I have ever seen. Quite magnificent creatures.”
“Sure, but they are nothing compared to the great elephant.”
“Oh, but of course dear.” Her eyes widened as her head cocked to the left. “What are you getting at?”
“I was talking to Macaw the other week, you see. Macaw saw old Rintu buck up at the sight of a mouse. Macaw laughed at me. He laughed at our whole herd. He said that he was amazed at how scared an elephant can get at such a small creature.”
“Old Rintu? That old wonk tripped! I was there. I saw him. He wasn’t afraid of the mouse. What a silly thing to assume.” She shook her head in amusement.
“Whether Rintu really tripped or not is beside the point. We need to protect the elephant name. We can not let the other animals think we are inferior to such a worthless being.” Sinitra nudged his wife to turn around. “We need to prove to the forest who is the real crowning. We need to prove that we are not cowards.”
The next morning at dawn, all the elephants of the Indian herd gathered at the willow tree. Chief Tunnuko’s legs were shaking. He began to stutter, “My great herd, it is my honor to bestow my rank as Chief unto Colonel Sinitra. You are to call and respect him as Chief. He will lead you through these upcoming years with great strife.” Tunnuko took a forward bow towards Sinitra. He approached Sinitra with great respect. He began to whisper in his ear. “Sinitra, I hope you understand what is in front of you. With great power comes great responsibility, and with that, I leave you my herd.”
Tunnuko gave a large smile to his herd as his trunk went in the air. Cheers and trumpets from trunks filled the air as the herd welcomed Sinitra as their new Chief. Tunnuko went back to the trunk of the willow tree and laid down.
Tunnuko died later that night.
In the early hours of the next morning, the proper elephants of the herd announced to the group Tunnuko’s death. Many gasps and cries were heard. By midday, Chief Sinitra gathered the mourning herd.
“I am your new chief. Things are to be slightly different. I expect no less of respect than you gave to Tunnuko. He was a great chief and I hope to be great as well.” Silence filled the air. Blank stares were exchanged amongst the herd. Sinitra cleared his throat. “It is rumoured amongst the forest that elephants are scared of mice and that they are seen as the inferior being.” Gasps and shrieks could be heard from miles away.
Random remarks from the crowd were let out. “But why?”
“No such thing!”
“We will not take that!”
Sinitra stomped his feet and let out an abrupt trumpet. Silence trickled over the herd. “Stay calm my brethren. I have a plan.” The herd stomped in joy. “We will demolish the mice of the forest. We will wipe them all out. There will not be a single mouse left in this forest when we are done. We will prove to the forest who is superior.” Sinitra broadened his stance.
Silence overcame the heard once more.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” The elephants stared at him in disbelief. “Lets pursue this task!” Sinitra began shouting orders. The elephants scurried.
One by one, elephants came back with dozens of mice mounted on their tusks. The elephants put the dead vermin before Sinitra’s feet. It wasn’t long until Sinitra was standing before a mountain of dead mice. By dusk, all the elephants came back.
“There are no more mice Chief, we killed them all.”
“Well done, my herd. Well done.”
The next day, Chief Sinitra called a forest meeting to announce his accomplishment. The animals were excited to hear the great news. When the sun was at it’s peak, Chief Sinitra exhibited the mountain of dead mice. Eyes widened and jaws dropped. The animals could not believe their eyes. Chief Sinitra stood next to the dead mice with a proud smile. “My great friends of the forest, I would like to present to you the elephant herd’s latest accomplishment.” Harsh whispers flew across the crowd of animals.
Glances were exchanged between the animals. With a quick nod of the head, the animals were gone. They fled. All the birds, rodents, felines and canines alike. They left.
“Ahah! My proud herd! We are feared! We are no longer seen as cowards!”
Chief Sinitra’s wife shook her head. “No my love. No one is here to see us as cowards.”
My parable demonstrates the Just War theory, specifically Jus in Bello. The Just War theory is established criteria that prohibits unjust conduct before, during and after war. Jus in Bello specifically regulates the rules during war time. One of the principles of Jus in Bello is Malum in Se. This latin phrase means, “Wrong or evil in itself.” For example, many find murder, rape, and theft are wrong regardless of whether a law governs such conduct. The Malum in Se principle restricts murder out of rage. In my parable, the chief wants to deplete the mice population of India to prove his superiority amongst the forest. The other animals of the forest disperse from the site immediately because they find this act wrong.
I attempted to create a sense of culture or community when describing the elephant herd and the various gatherings of the animals. I personified the animals to make them easier to relate to. I used descriptive language to implant the setting of an Indian outback in reader’s minds. I also strived to create strong characters. I put in subtle details to help bring them to life. For example, “Chief Tunnuko licked his lips and slowly batted the dust out of his weary eyes.” My characters are so real, they need an identification card. Lastly, I went above and beyond with perfecting my writing. I had a total of seven drafts. This editing process has proved to help my writing.