Are There Any White Elephants?

Yo have probably heard the expression: “he has a white elephants on his hands.” People say this to mean that someone has a object, usually quite expensive, that he cannot sell or get rid of.

The curious fact is that no one has ever seen a white elephant! That name is sometimes given to elephants that are very light in color. In ancient times, these lighter colored, or “white”, elephants were considered sacred.

They were even worshiped in certain parts of the world. They were held to be so valuable that only a kings was worthy to own one! There was good reason for this. Since these white elephants  had to be treated with great care, they were provided with costly luxuries.


They never worked, and they lived in specials quarters. They had special servants whose job it was to care for them, and in some cases their food was served in troughs made of silver, or on special white cloths.

You can see how our expression about a white elephant came into being. It involved having something very expensive to keep up and getting nothing in return!

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