229. “Cornelius” a fable by Leo Lionni

Cornelius was not an ordinary crocodile. Instead of moving around on all fours, as every decent crocodile should, Cornelius walked on two legs. He could see further and more, but none of his mates on the river beach appeared to care. Cornelius decided to walk away from the ignorant crowd. He met a monkey, who taught him other things, like standing on his head or hanging from the tree by his tail. The crocodiles on the beach didn’t SEEM excited about this achievement either, but as soon as Cornelius wasn’t looking, they rushed to a tree trying to… hang by the tail like a monkey.

What I love about Leo Lionni’s stories, is their power to overwhelm you with reflections. Not one, or two, but with the whole bunch of them. ‘Cornelius’ makes me think about the toxic power of jealousy and ignorance, and about the immunity one must have on order not to get infected by the crowd stupidity. It makes me ponder about how difficult it is to be a teacher in your own country, and how liberating it can be  to just walk away from those who don’t understand and don’t appreciate. If you can SEE great things, if you can also learn to DO great things. And why wouldn’t you? “All you need it a lot of hard work and a little help.”, as the monkey told Cornelius.


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