The problem was an elephant can't/couldn't sleep on a deer's bed: backshifting

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Englishmypassion

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Hello, Everybody.
Do we backshift in the following context or not?

The deer invited the elephant to his place. He bought a lot of food items and drinks for the elephant. Now the only problem of the deer was that an elephant can't/couldn't sleep on a deer's bed. So he needed to find a bed big enough for the elephant.
Would you use "can" or "could" here?

I think it should be "could", which agrees with "was". Am I right?

Thanks.



(The only thing that confuses me is the universality of the situation.)
 
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