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The Four Harmonious Friends by Antoine de Paauw

Currently unavailable for purchase

A recently finished paper sculpture for a café that sells tea, coffee and chocolates.

Below is the story behind the artwork with the tree adapted for the cafe.

Once in a forest in Varanasi, four animals: an elephant, a rabbit, a monkey, and a partridge disputed about the ownership of a tree where all of them had fed. The elephant claimed, “Well, this is my tree because I saw it first.”

To this the monkey replied: “Now, elephant do you see any fruits on this tree?”

The elephant agreed that the tree was without any fruit.

The monkey continued: “That’s because I had been feeding on the fruits of the tree long before you ever saw it.”

Next the rabbit spoke up: “I fed on the leaves of this tree when it was just a small sapling before the monkey ate its fruit and way before the elephant ever saw it.”

Finally the partridge who had been watching the argument, came forward and asserted: “The tree belongs to me because the tree wouldn’t have grown if I hadn’t spit it out as a seed. I helped plant the seed that grew into this huge tree before the rabbit fed on it, or the monkey ate its fruit, or the elephant saw it.”

The elephant, monkey, and rabbit, conceded that the partridge was the first to know the tree. So all of bowed to the partridge and regarded it as their elder brother.

The four animals became friends and decided to share the tree together in peaceful harmony, enjoying the beauty of the tree’s fragrance, the nourishment of its fruits, and the bounty of its shade. They worked together to obtain fruits. The fruits on the ground and on the lowest branches, the partridge and rabbit found by working together. The monkey climbed the tree and dropped the fruits for everyone to share but only the elephant could reach the highest branches with his trunk. The four animals worked co-operatively and with their combined strength, each one benefited and no one went hungry.

Other animals in the forest often saw them together with the partridge on top of the rabbit who was held up by the monkey who rode on top of the elephant. Since then, they were called “The Four Harmonious Brothers.” The four animals were looked upon as an example of peace, harmony, co-operation, interdependence and friendship.


  • Rosalie Dale
    Rosalie Daleover 2 years ago

    Must be viewed larger … the detail is amazing! Brilliant job Tonny, and thank you for sharing the story behind it.

  • Thanks Rosalie and my pleasure. Yes, there is a lot of detail in the animals. Actual size is approximately 390 mm square.

    – Antoine de Paauw

  • Chris Brunton
    Chris Bruntonover 2 years ago

    Lovely art work and lovely story. Great sentiments.

  • Thanks Christina, glad you enjoyed.

    – Antoine de Paauw

  • Hi Christina,

    I answered your comment via the new RB system of going through my personal email department so I didn’t notice until today that you had put it in your ‘favourites’. Thank you.

    – Antoine de Paauw

  • George Petrovsky
    George Petrovskyover 2 years ago

    Magnificent artistry, Tonny – most assuredly one of your very best! (Must be due to Wendy’s design input!) The wonderful story gives greater depth to the sculpture. An instant Favourite! :)george

  • Thank you Mr P. and also for inserting it into your FAV department. May be a while before we see another one.

    – Antoine de Paauw

  • Albert
    Albertover 2 years ago

    well done.

  • Thank you Albert, and also for putting it into your favourites.

    – Antoine de Paauw

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