3 thoughts on “White Elephant II

  1. I say, old chap, perhaps the current usage originated in Jolly Olde England, eh wot?

    I came across an unsourced bit of trivia (at http://www.umkc.edu/imc/elephant.htm ) which says “In 1629, the emperor of Siam sent King Charles I of England an elephant — records do not say whether it was white — and the cost of its maintenance was a great drain on the royal treasury. Gradually, the phrase ‘white elephant’ came to designate possessions that are expensive but useless.”

    I tried to find more on this, but the best I could do was another unsourced bit that only added that “it is said” King Charles was already having money problems at the time, and the elephant’s weight on the wallet was such that it “supposedly forced the Queen to put off her annual trip to Bath.”

    Tally ho…

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