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July 1963

On Ambiguity

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine and the University Hospitals of the College of Medicine of the State University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(1):2-5. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860010048002

Now We Are Seven*

It was six men of Hindustan

To learning much inclined

Who went to see an elephant,

(Though all of them were blind)

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant

And happening to fall

Against his broad and sturdy side,

At once began to bawl,

"God bless me, but an elephant

Is very like a wall."

The second, feeling but the tusk

Cried, "Ho, what have we here

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me, 'tis mighty clear,

This wonder of an elephant

Is very like a spear."

The third approached the animal

And happening to take

The squirming trunk within his hands,

Thus boldly up and spake,

"I see," quoth he, "the elephant

Is very like a snake."

The fourth stretched out an eager hand

And felt about the knee

"What most this wondrous beast is like,