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Imbo & Eli

Imbo & Eli revolves around the unlikely friendship between Imbo, an elephant with a short trunk, and Eli, a mouse with an unusually long tail. There are many versions of this story: this one is inspired by the group of PANCHATANTRA tales that are centered on the friendship between animals. These stories first appeared in India over 2,000 years ago.

Ask Preeti & Yo-Yo

Ask Preeti and Yo-Yo

Preeti and Yo-Yo collaborated on this digital story performance over video calls. Take a listen to their conversations below:

Storyteller's toolkit (Imbo & Eli)

The Storyteller's Toolkit

The techniques an Indian classical dancer uses to create an emotional mood are grouped under the term "saatvika abhinaya" (SAAT-vika ab-in-EYE-a). In particular, the face is a key tool for communicating emotion—Indian dancers train for years to perfect these expressions!

Watch how Preeti manipulates different aspects of facial expression (eyes, lips, eyebrows) to create the emotional effect.

(Note: These videos do not have voiceover/subtitles.)

Every culture uses its hand gestures for expression: in bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) these gestures are classified in minute detail. Each gesture has specific meanings and applications. Each video includes the name of different facial expressions, or "saatvika abhinaya," and hand gestures, or "mudras" in Sanskrit (the classical language of India) along with examples and applications.

Commentary & Analysis

In the video In the video below Preeti demonstrates how she uses the classical gestural vocabulary of Indian dance to depict Imbo and Eli.

Analysis & Activities (Imbo & Eli)

The Red Curtain Drawing Challenge

Imbo and Eli are unlikely friends. Now that you've heard their story, we challenge you to draw a pair of unlikely friends—animal or human! Artist Alaina Buffalo Spirit paints and draws over maps of her home state. Can you find old newspaper or paper maps to use as a canvas?

Send us your drawings at and you'll see them here on the site.

Activities (Ganga)

Panchatantra Stories Across the World

The Panchatantra stories are among the most famous in the world.  Some of the stories in the book can be traced to the Rigveda from around 1500 BC. It is estimated, however, that the tales were gathered into a separate book somewhere between 200 BC and 500 AD. The work is one of the most translated Indian works. 


These fables have had great influence on literature in the West, in particular in the Middle Ages.  Folk tale motifs in the Panchatantra are found in Boccaccio, La Fontaine and the works of Grimm Brothers.