One of the more popular bedtime stories in our house just now is Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss. Horton is an elephant, and unlike the other animals in the jungle, he is capable – thanks doubtless to his large ears – of hearing the faint sounds made by some minute beings called Whos, who live in a town called Whoville on a tiny speck of dust. The other animals think Horton is mad when he talks to the Whos: they take the speck of dust from him and attempt to get rid of it. After a series of adventures Horton retrieves the speck of dust, gets the Whos to shout loudly enough to be heard by the other animals, and so everyone lives happily ever after. In the course of the story, before the speck of dust is taken from him, Horton is walking along and worrying:
‘Should I put this speck down?…’ Horton thought with alarm.
‘If I do these small persons may come to great harm.
I can't put it down. And I won't! After all
A person's a person, no matter how small.’