The making of...The Rabbits and The Elephant
The Panchatantra (200 BCE - 300 CE) is an ancient Indian collection of interrelated animal fables in Sanskrit verse and prose. These stories are arranged within a ‘frame story’, meaning each individual tale contributes to a wider narrative. The Panchatantra is considered to have influenced later European books, such as Boccaccio and The Grimm Brothers. These stories are filk tales, passed down through centuries and generations, so no two versions are exactly alike. For this collection, Sabina developed her own version of her three favourite tales.
The Rabbits and the Elephant design was based on a Panchatantra story named ‘How The Rabbit Fooled the Elephant’. Read Sabina’s re-telling below:
A drought befalls the land, and the elephant-king sends his trusted companion to seek water for the herd. He walks for hours through the dusty landscape and scorching heat until dusk begins to fall. Upon discovering a crystal-clear lake, the envoy is overjoyed and believes he has found paradise for his ruler and the herd. In the cool evening light, the envoy treads down to the water’s edge and readies himself to take a long drink. However, he soon hears the objections of the thousands of tiny rabbits around his feet. The elephant has unwittingly trampled their lakeside homes, and they are notably upset. The rabbit-king is alarmed and realises that this elephant will return with others if he is not deterred from visiting this place. He uses his quick wit, cunningly explaining that the lake belongs to the Moon and must not be touched. The elephant envoy is unsure and dips his toe into the crystal water. Upon seeing the rippling reflection of the full moon in its surface, the elephant interprets the moon’s anger and retreats to his herd.
THE RABBITS AND THE ELEPHANT ILLUSTRATION IN PROGRESS
AVAILABLE IN TWO DIFFERENT COLOURWAYS